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Expert Cube Development with SSAS Multidimensional Models Paperback – 24 Feb 2014

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 402 pages
  • Publisher: Packt Publishing (24 Feb. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849689903
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849689908
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 2.3 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 478,434 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Chris Webb

Chris Webb (chris@crossjoin.co.uk) has been working with Microsoft Business Intelligence tools for 15 years in a variety of roles and industries. He is an independent consultant (www.crossjoin.co.uk) and trainer (www.technitrain.com) based in the UK, specializing in SQL Server Analysis Services, MDX, DAX, Power Pivot, and the whole Power BI stack. He is the coauthor of MDX Solutions with Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services 2005 and SQL Server Analysis Services 2012: The BISM Tabular Model. He is a regular speaker at user groups and conferences, and blogs about Microsoft BI at http://cwebbbi.wordpress.com/.



Alberto Ferrari

Alberto Ferrari (alberto.ferrari@sqlbi.com) is a consultant and trainer who specializes in Business Intelligence with the Microsoft BI stack. He spends half of his time consulting for companies who need to develop complex data warehouses, and the other half in training, book writing, conferences, and meetings. He is a SQL Server MVP and a SSASMaestro. He is a founder, with Marco Russo, of www.sqlbi.com, where they publish whitepapers and articles about SQL Server Analysis Services technology. He coauthored several books on SSAS and PowerPivot.



Marco Russo

Marco Russo is a Business Intelligence consultant and mentor. His main activities are related to data warehouse relational and multidimensional design, but he is also involved in the complete development lifecycle of a BI solution. He has particular competence and experience in sectors such as financial services (including complex OLAP designs in the banking area), manufacturing, gambling, and commercial distribution. Marco is also a book author, and in addition to his BIrelated publications, he has authored books about .NET programming. He is also a speaker at international conferences such as TechEd, PASS Summit, SQLRally, and SQLBits. He achieved the unique SSAS Maestro certification and is also a Microsoft Certified Trainer with several Microsoft Certified Professional certifications.


Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is a must read if you are looking for some useful and practical information in your SSAS Multidimensional models. But it must be noted that this is not an introduction into SSAS Multidimensional modelling, rather practical real world examples.
I found that the book is a wealth of information that can be applied to your working environment. There are a lot of real world examples that I have had a look at and made me check and update my SSAS Multidimensional models so that they can be that much faster and quicker.
It is also a great reference book, for when you are looking for a specific issue, where you can find the requirement and how to solve your particular issue.
I also really enjoyed the book, because it got straight into the requirement and then explained how to potentially solve or improve your requirement. Along with this I found that it was great where they applied their working experience in what they encountered and how they overcome an issue.
It is written by the guys who I consider to be some of the leaders in SSAS Multidimensional modelling. And you can see by the context of the detail in the book, as well as their examples that this happens often in the working environment, and how to get the best performance from your SSAS Multidimensional models.
A great read and I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a wealth of information as well as some great insight into the inner workings of SSAS Multidimensional models.
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Format: Paperback
When the first edition came out in 2009 I said that this was the best SSAS book. I still maintain that view in this second edition. Bear in mind that SSAS now has 2 worlds, multidimensional and tabular. This book is the best for the former (for tabular the best book is also written by the same authors). Chris, Marco & Alberto are well known SSAS experts, speakers in many conferences and training classes. They are also SSAS Maestro. This book is technically reviewed by four SSAS experts, ensuring the quality, including John and Sean who are top SSAS and MSBI consultants in London.
It is amazing how the authors managed to explain data warehousing very clearly in detailed in just one chapter. The book is packed with so many important practical things in SSAS development, for example: DSV vs views, grouping and banding, measure groups from dimension tables, DateTool dimension, drillthrough using transaction detail dimension, many-to-many relationship performance issues, currency conversion techniques, common aggregation design issues. These are from their experience, not from books online which we can read ourselves. This book is very valuable because it encapsulates the vast experience of three SSAS Maestros.
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Format: Paperback
An excellent theory and practical book with very well explained examples that covers complete cube development. This book is fine tuned from the first edition which i thoroughly enjoyed and gained vast knowledge from. Even though this book is not for beginners, it does provide detailed explanations good enough for beginners to gain an insight on the internals for example data warehousing, dimensional modelling, cube structures and definitions and my favourite, of course, fine tuning techniques.
The best practises advice by the authors is invaluable piece of information by these well know SSAS Maestros. My favourite readings from the books are many-to-many relationships modelling, currency conversion in MDX, calculation dimensions, best cube designing techniques, fine tuning and efficient MDX writing.
Finally, I will conclude by saying this book is is good value for money and it will definitely not disappoint anyone willing to become an expert in cube development and MDX scripting.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Poor book. Not great explanations between steps.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars 10 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical implementations for SSAS 26 Mar. 2014
By Gilbert Quevauvilliers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is a must read if you are looking for some useful and practical information in your SSAS Multidimensional models. But it must be noted that this is not an introduction into SSAS Multidimensional modelling, rather practical real world examples.
I found that the book is a wealth of information that can be applied to your working environment. There are a lot of real world examples that I have had a look at and made me check and update my SSAS Multidimensional models so that they can be that much faster and quicker.
It is also a great reference book, for when you are looking for a specific issue, where you can find the requirement and how to solve your particular issue.
I also really enjoyed the book, because it got straight into the requirement and then explained how to potentially solve or improve your requirement. Along with this I found that it was great where they applied their working experience in what they encountered and how they overcome an issue.
It is written by the guys who I consider to be some of the leaders in SSAS Multidimensional modelling. And you can see by the context of the detail in the book, as well as their examples that this happens often in the working environment, and how to get the best performance from your SSAS Multidimensional models.
A great read and I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a wealth of information as well as some great insight into the inner workings of SSAS Multidimensional models.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid 19 Dec. 2014
By Dimitri Shvorob - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
What can I say - another excellent book from the author team I came to associate with high quality after reading their books on SSAS Tabular and PowerPivot. (And one finds even more SSAS wisdom by following the links in the book). However, I would moderate enthusiasm of some of the other reviews, which seem to recommend the book to everybody, and confirm that this is indeed an intermediate-to-advanced book. At the risk of sounding like a Packt hired gun :), I would recommend SSAS Multidimensional beginners to start with "Getting Started with SQL Server 2012 Cube Development" by Lidberg, and point to "SQL Server Analysis Services 2012 Cube Development Cookbook" by Dewald et al. as the best entry in the intermediate category. (But don't learn MDX from those books - "Microsoft SQL Server 2008 MDX Step by Step" by Clay and Smith is so much better). Unfortunately, the genre of SSAS Multidimensional books is not as developed as I would like - isn't it odd, for example, that this (intermediate-to-advanced, as I said earlier) book seems to be the only one mentioning something as bread-and-butter as slowly-changing dimensions? - and "Expert cube development" is a necessary, high-impact entry into the market.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book Review: Why You Should Read Expert Cube Development With SSAS 2012 Cover to Cover 15 Jun. 2014
By Sherry Li - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Expert Cube Development with SSAS 2012 Multidimensional Models was published earlier this year by Packt Publishing. It’s the second edition of the very successful book on SSAS cube development by three well-known industry leaders, Chris Webb, Alberto Ferrari and Marco Russo.

This book is not a tutorial book on using SSAS as a tool. It is more of a guided tour through the lifecycle of building an Analysis Services solution with an informed commentary telling you what to do, what not to do, and what to look out for.

Reading this book cover to cover

If you are a SSAS cube developer, you would want to read this book cover to cover, no matter what level you are, with the exception of absolute beginners who do not understand basic Analysis Services concepts yet, such as what a cube and a dimension is.

I bought the first edition a few years ago, but didn't read it cover to cover because at the time I didn't find some of the topics relevant to my work. Earlier this year I bought the second edition and I found myself unable to put the book down. By the time I knew it, I had already read it cover to cover once, with pages of notes in Microsoft OneNote. Knowing that my cube development skills could have progressed much faster, I wish I had read the book a few years ago cover to cover.

So don’t repeat the same mistake I made. Whether you already have the first edition or just bought the new 2012 edition, go ahead and start reading it now.

What I enjoyed about the book

I don't wish to spoil your fun with the book, so I'll just gloss over a few key points about the book.

1. Beginner developers might think that cube development is all about how to use SSAS as yet another tool. This book will change your mind. The big chunk of Chapter 1 focused on the data modeling for Analysis Services. Then the book moved on to Chapter 2 to show you how to build basic dimensions and cubes. More complex dimension modeling is covered in Chapter 3. Data modeling for measures and measure groups is covered in Chapter 4. What I enjoyed the most is how the book presented the challenges we all encountered in our day-to-day work and provided the best practices in terms of data modeling in Analysis Services multidimensional model.

2. Microsoft Analysis Services is not a standalone technology, it's part of a family of technologies and disciplines that all work together to make it possible for end-users to do interactive data analysis, reporting, and visualization. From a developer's point of view, these technologies include the SQL Server engine, the Reporting Services, the Analysis Services, with the Integration Services in the middle as the glue. The disciplines include, but are not limited to, data warehouse data modeling, multidimensional modeling, and designing and implementation for performance and good user experience. I personally find that being able to fit all these techniques and disciplines together in the lifecycle of building an Analysis Services solution is not an easy task. Throughout the book the authors did a fantastic job of showing how each technique and discipline can fit seamlessly to build high performance cubes.

3. As a tool, Analysis Services is very easy to use; some might say too easy. Dimensions and cubes are built with various wizards with properties already being filled with default values. You can have a cube up and running in a matter of minutes. Some properties are for cube's client tools to consume, but many of the properties are cube's metadata and will end up having some impact on the cube processing performance, query performance, and/or storage engine performance. Assuming that your cube has started its life with a good design, then a good portion of a cube developer's job is to understand what those impacts are and to make informed trade-off decisions. This book is a life-saving book that tells you what those properties mean, what to do with them, what not to do, and what to watch out for.

4. Bad cube query performance can be detrimental for your Analysis Services projects. The book has devoted an entire Chapter 8 to query performance tuning. The concept of query performance tuning is very familiar to SQL Server developers, but cube query performance tuning methodology has its own twist and turns, such as the Formula Engine vs. the Storage Engine, the partitions and aggregations, and tuning an algorithm in MDX. The book explains in detail what to do with each methodology and even the right tools and scripts to use to get the job done correctly.

5. I also like the many links in the book to other very detailed white papers, such as "The Analysis Services 2008 R2 Performance Guide", and "The Many-to-Many Revolution". Many blog posts are also included in the book, such as the blog posts from Mosha Pasumansky who was considered the most influential person in MDX.

No covering of SSAS Tabular models

As you may know, as of SQL Server 2012, there are two versions of Analysis Services: Multidimensional and Tabular. Although both of them are called Analysis Services and can be used for much the same purposes, the development experience for the two is completely different.

I have bought the first edition a few years ago. Although this is basically the same book as the first edition, I still went ahead and bought it because the 2012 edition has a new section that talks about the DAX query support in SSAS 2012 multidimensional model. Don't get me wrong, this book only covers SSAS Multidimensional models. But it's nice to have a new section on how SSAS 2012 multidimensional model supports not only MDX queries, but also DAX queries.

No substantial changes in this second edition

Since there are no substantial changes in this second edition, it’s probably not worth buying a copy of the second edition if you already have a copy of the first edition. What is covered in the first edition should work perfectly fine in SSAS 2008 and 2012, and even in 2014. This is because Microsoft has not added anything that is substantially new to SSAS Multidimensional models since the 2008 version. But if you don't have the 2008 edition, I'd recommend you to buy this new 2012 edition, even if you are still working on cubes in SSAS 2008.

Not a book for absolute beginners

If you still need to understand basic Analysis Services concepts, such as what a cube and a dimension is, then this book is not book for you. This book does not take the form of a basic tutorial either.

Authors’ personal experience and thoughts are invaluable

Chris Webb, Alberto Ferrari, and Marco Russo are well-known in the SSAS and MDX community. This is an invaluable book because it contains their personal experience and thoughts. I myself visit Microsoft books online (BOL) very often. But if a book is solely derived from BOL then it is not too useful for me, as I can read it in the BOL myself. I am putting this review on my blog, and also planning to put it out on Amazon and Barnes and Nobel, hoping that all cube developers will read the book cove to cover.

Packt Publishing

Packt Publishing is one of my favorite tech book publishers. Their books focus on practicality, recognizing that readers are ultimately concerned with getting the job done. They also offer a subscription service, which I personally also use. Good job for putting out "Expert Cube Development with SSAS 2012"!
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best guide to SSAS 2012 Multidimensional Models 30 July 2014
By Rick Oller - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Expert Cube Development with SSAS Multidimensional Models is a thorough, in-depth tour of SSAS 2012 from the Multidimensional models perspective. The authors state up front that this is not a book about SSAS Tabular models and this is an important distinction to keep in mind, as it affects the entire approach to SQL Server BI, from the installation of SSAS forward.
We are taken through a basic cube setup, mercifully not using the Northwinds sample database. I like how the authors repeatedly caution that a number of key elements need to be gotten right in the data mart before cube setup begins. While these elements can also be dealt with in the cube definition, it doesn’t mean they should be, and that distinction is borne out by experience, which the authors clearly have, in spades.
We are presented with a number of useful components of SSAS Multidimensional Models including Measure Groups, Drillthroughs, Calculations (with a smattering of MDX code, about as much as I could handle) and some useful chapters on security and performance tuning.
I was relieved that this was not a 1,000+ page book designed to monopolize shelf space in the tradition of old school technical book publishing. For me, it struck a good balance between level of detail and keeping things moving, so I was able to productively work through it in a reasonable amount of time. For a fairly dry topic the authors managed to keep it interesting, although it helps as a reader if you have some cube exposure (as I did) prior to attempting this book.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most useful reference on MDX available 17 May 2014
By René Berends - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Most useful reference on MDX available. Most samples are applicable to your SSAS projects directly. Clear explanation on theory behind and when and why to use a specific MDX pattern.
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