SQL Server 2005 : Basic OLAP - Building Your First Cube (part 3) - Creating a Cube with the Cube Wizard, Using the Cube Designer

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Creating a Cube with the Cube Wizard

Once you’re done perfecting your data source view, close it and save your changes. You’re now ready to build your cube! To do this, select the Project/New Cube... main menu option, or right-click the Cubes folder in Solution Explorer and select the New Cube... option from the shortcut menu to bring up the Cube Wizard.

On the Welcome page, click Next to advance to the Select Build Method page. For our purposes, you’ll want to select the Build The Cube Using A Data Source option button. You can leave the Auto Build check box in a checked state if you’d like. If you do, make sure that the Create Attributes And Hierarchies option is selected in the combo box right below it. By examining your data source view’s schema, Analysis Services can detect which tables in it are fact tables and dimension tables and can sometimes determine which dimensional hierarchies should be created. Click Next to move to the Select Data Source View page. Confirm that the data source you created before is selected, and click Next again.

If you selected the Auto Build option, the Detecting Fact And Dimension Tables page will display a progress bar as the wizard analyzes your data source view and will display a message when it’s complete, at which point you should click the Next button. In the Identify Fact And Dimension Tables page, you will be asked to identify your fact tables and dimension tables. You should leave both check boxes deselected for tblTime, select the Fact check box for tblFact, and select the Dimension check boxes for all of the other tables (views). If you selected the Auto Build option, default selections might already be made for you, but make sure that both check boxes are cleared for tblTime. You can configure each table from your data source view to be a fact table or dimension table through the Tables tab or the Diagram tab. (Actually, a table can be both a fact and a dimension table, though this would be the exception rather than the rule.)

When you have a time dimension and are building it using a dimension table , you can indicate which table you’ll be using in the Time Dimension Table combo box. For now, leave this setting as . If you receive error messages on a yellow background at the bottom of the dialog box, you might want to click on the Diagram tab to determine why one or more tables are incorrectly configured. (These tables will appear in red.) Figure 6 shows the selections that should be made for this page. When you’re done, click Next.

Figure 6. The Identify Fact And Dimension Tables page of the Cube Wizard, where you indicate which tables are fact tables and which are dimension tables

On the Select Measures page, you are asked to create your measures and measure groups. By default, one measure for each numeric field in your fact table(s) that is not a foreign key to a dimension table is listed here, and a default measure (called Tbl Fact Count, in our case), based on the record count, will be listed as well. The field-based measures will have the same name as the field names on which they are based, with spaces inserted where “intercap” characters exist. (For example, a field called UnitPrice will create a measure with a default name of Unit Price.)

You can browse the first 1000 rows of any of your fact tables by right-clicking any measure based on it (you can right-click anywhere on the measure’s entire row) and choosing View Sample Data.... You can edit measure names by setting the focus on the cell containing the name (by using the mouse or the keyboard). Individual measures can also be deselected, preventing them from being added to the cube. For our example, deselect Tbl Fact Count because we will not need it.

One measure group is created for each fact table you specified in the Identify Fact And Dimension Tables page. Measure group names are editable—don’t be fooled by the grey background that stays gray even when you click within the cell. For our example, change the name of the single measure group detected from tblFact to Main. When you’re done configuring your measures and measure groups, click Next.

If you selected the Auto Build option, the wizard’s Detecting Hierarchies page will display a progress bar as the wizard analyzes your data source view, and it will display a message when it’s complete, at which point you should click Next. On the Review New Dimensions page, all default dimensions are listed (one per dimension table). Drill down on any dimension to reveal the Attributes node in the tree view, and then drill down on the attributes node to display all the suggested attributes (which can become levels in a hierarchy). The attributes are formulated based on the columns in the dimension table, and the wizard names them following a scheme identical to the one it uses to name measures.

As with measures, you can deselect any attribute to prevent it from being created. You can change the default dimension and attribute names by right-clicking them and selecting Rename Dimension or Rename Attribute or by left-clicking them and then pressing the F2 key on your keyboard. You can also enter edit mode on a dimension or attribute by clicking one, pausing, and clicking again. Use one of these techniques to remove the “Vw” prefix from the dimension names, for example, rename the Vw Products dimension as “Products”, and make sure that you do this for each dimension. Each dimension contains a like-named attribute, which also features the undesired “Vw” prefix. We will rename these attributes later; you may accept the default attribute names for now.

When you’re done configuring your dimensions and attributes, click Next. On the Completing The Wizard page, you can accept the default name for the cube or type a new name more to your liking (for this example, name the cube Sales) and then click Finish.

Using the Cube Designer

When the Cube Wizard finishes processing, your cube design will be generated and opened, placing you in the Cube Structure tab of the cube designer, as shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7. The Cube Structure tab of the cube designer

The cube designer has an array of tabs across the top, and the Cube Structure tab is divided into three panes: Measures on the upper left, Dimensions on the lower left, and Data Source View on the right. This Data Source View pane depicts a subset of the tables in the data source view upon which the cube is based; it contains only the tables and views selected in the Cube Wizard when we identified our fact and dimension tables.


You can add any other table to the Data Source View pane that may be present in the base data source view simply by selecting the Data Source View/Show Tables... main menu option, choosing the Show Tables... option from the Data Source View pane’s shortcut menu, or clicking the Show Table toolbar button (fifth from right).

You can also add tables related to a specific table in the Data Source View pane by left-clicking the table and selecting the Data Source View/Show Related Tables main menu option or right clicking the table and selecting the Show Related Tables shortcut menu option. You can hide a table from the Data Source View pane by selecting the table, then clicking the Data Source View/Hide Table main menu option, choosing the Hide Table shortcut menu option or clicking the Hide Table toolbar button (fourth from right).

These actions have no effect on the base data source view itself because the Data Source View pane is simply a convenient filtered diagram based on the cube’s underlying data source view.

By default, the Measures pane contains a tree view with the cube name at the root, measure groups appearing as the root’s children, and individual measures listed as children of their measure groups. You can change the tree view to a grid view via the Show Measures option in the Cube menu, the Show Measures In option in the Measures pane’s shortcut menus, or the Show Measures Grid/Show Measures Tree toolbar drop-down button (fifth from the left). Measure groups and individual measures can be added, deleted, renamed, or moved up and down through options on the shortcut menus. Even the cube itself can be renamed in this way. In grid view, only measures are listed; measure groups can be manipulated only in the tree view. The measure’s data type and aggregate function can be modified in the grid view. These and other properties can also be edited through the Properties window.


The Cube/New Linked Object... main menu option, the New Linked Object... shortcut menu option (available in the Measures and Dimensions panes), and the New Linked Object toolbar button (seventh from left) allow you to link or import measures, dimensions, and other objects from other cubes into the one you’re editing.

The cube designer is the primary tool for designing and building cubes; the Cube Wizard simply provides a front end to the designer to help get you started. If you want to add new measures to the cube after running the wizard, you can easily do so within the designer. Simply select the New Measure... option from the Cube menu, the New Measure... option from the Measures pane’s shortcut menus, or click the New Measure toolbar button (third from left) to bring up the New Measure dialog box, shown in Figure 8.

Figure 8. The New Measure dialog box allows you to add measures to your cube even after the Cube Wizard has completed its work.

From the Source column tree view that occupies most of the dialog box, you can select the fact table field from which you want to derive your measure and then click OK to create the measure. Only non–foreign key, numeric fields are displayed by default; the Show All Columns check box at the bottom left of the dialog box allows you to display (and select) other fields.

You can also add measure groups if fact tables exist that have not yet been assigned to an existing measure group.

The Dimensions pane allows you to inspect and maintain dimensions, attributes, and hierarchies. It offers two tabs: Hierarchies and Attributes. Both feature tree views of the dimensional structure of your cube, with the cube as the root node and dimensions listed as the cube’s children. Sensibly, attributes of a dimension appear as its children on the Attributes tab; hierarchies of a dimension appear as its children on the Hierarchies tab. On either tab, you can edit a dimension’s name, delete the dimension, or move it up or down. You can also create a new dimension through the Dimension Wizard or edit an existing dimension in the Dimension designer.

  •  SQL Server 2005 : Basic OLAP - OLAP 101
  •  SQL Server 2005 : Report Server Architecture
  •  SQL Server 2005 : Report Management - Publishing, SQL Server Management Studio
  •  SQL Server 2005 : Report Access and Delivery (part 2) - Presentation Formats, Programming: Rendering
  •  SQL Server 2005 : Report Access and Delivery (part 1) - Delivery on Demand, Subscriptions
  •  Transact-SQL in SQL Server 2008 : Change Tracking (part 2) - Identifying Tracked Changes, Identifying Changed Columns, Change Tracking Overhead
  •  Transact-SQL in SQL Server 2008 : Change Tracking (part 1) - Implementing Change Tracking
  •  SQL Server 2005 : Report Definition and Design (part 3) - Report Builder
  •  SQL Server 2005 : Report Definition and Design (part 2) - Report Designer
  •  SQL Server 2005 : Report Definition and Design (part 1) - Data Sources, Report Layouts
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