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Build an OLAP Cube in SSAS from Airtable Data

Connect to Airtable data in an Analysis Services project using the Airtable Data Provider and build OLAP cubes for use in analytics, reporting, and more.

SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) is an analytical data engine used in decision support and business analytics. It provides enterprise-grade semantic data models for business reports and client applications, such as Power BI, Excel, Reporting Services reports, and other data visualization tools. When paired with the CData ADO.NET Provider for Airtable, you can create cubes from Airtable data for deeper and faster data analysis.

This article walks through creating an Analysis Services project in Visual Studio to build and deploy a multi-dimensional model of Airtable data. You will need to have an accessible SSAS instance and the ADO.NET Provider installed.

Creating a Data Source for Airtable

Start by creating a new Analysis Service Multidimensional and Data Mining Project in Visual Studio. Next, create a Data Source for Airtable data in the project.

  1. In the Solution Explorer, right-click Data Source and select New Data Source.
  2. Opt to create a data source based on an existing or new connection and click New.
  3. In the Connection Manager, select CData ADO.NET Provider for Airtable, enter the necessary connection properties, and click Next.

    APIKey, BaseId and TableNames parameters are required to connect to Airtable. ViewNames is an optional parameter where views of the tables may be specified.

    • APIKey : API Key of your account. To obtain this value, after logging in go to Account. In API section click Generate API key.
    • BaseId : Id of your base. To obtain this value, it is in the same section as the APIKey. Click on Airtable API, or navigate to https://airtable.com/api and select a base. In the introduction section you can find "The ID of this base is appxxN2ftedc0nEG7."
    • TableNames : A comma separated list of table names for the selected base. These are the same names of tables as found in the UI.
    • ViewNames : A comma separated list of views in the format of (table.view) names. These are the same names of the views as found in the UI.

    When you configure the connection, you may also want to set the Max Rows connection property. This will limit the number of rows returned, which is especially helpful for improving performance when designing reports and visualizations.

  4. Set the impersonation method to Inherit and click Next.
  5. Name the data source (CData Airtable Source) and click Finish.

Creating a Data Source View

After you create the data source, create the data source view.

  1. In the Solution Explorer, right-click Data Source Views and select New Data Source View.
  2. Select the data source you just created (CData Airtable Source) and click Next.
  3. Choose a foreign key match pattern that matches your underlying data source and click Next.
  4. Select Airtable tables to add to the view and click Next.
  5. Name the view and click Finish

Based on the foreign key match scheme, relationships in the underlying data will be automatically detected. You can view (and edit) these relationships by double clicking Data Source View.

Note that adding a secondary data source to the Data Source View is not supported. When working with multiple data sources, SSAS requires both sources to support remote queries via OpenRowset which is unavailable in the ADO.NET Provider.

Creating a Cube for Airtable

The last step before you can process the project and deploy Airtable data to SSAS is creating the cubes.

  1. In the Solution Explorer, right-click Cubes and select New Cube
  2. Select "Use existing tables" and click Next.
  3. Select the tables that will be used for measure group tables and click Next.
  4. Select the measures you want to include in the cube and click Next.
  5. Select the dimensions to be created, based on the available tables, and click Next.
  6. Review all of your selections and click Finish.

Process the Project

With the data source, data source view, and cube created, you are ready to deploy the cube to SSAS. To configure the target server and database, right-click the project and select properties. Navigate to deployment and configure the Server and Database properties in the Target section.

After configuring the target server and database, right-click the project and select Process. You may need to build and deploy the project as a part of this step. Once the project is built and deployed, click Run in the Process Database wizard.

Now you have an OLAP cube for Airtable data in your SSAS instance, ready to be analyzed, reported, and viewed. Get started with a free, 30-day trial of the CData ADO.NET Provider for Airtable.