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Build an OLAP Cube in SSAS from SQL Analysis Services Data

Connect to SQL Analysis Services data in an Analysis Services project using the SQL Analysis Services 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 SQL Analysis Services, you can create cubes from SQL Analysis Services 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 SQL Analysis Services data. You will need to have an accessible SSAS instance and the ADO.NET Provider installed.

Creating a Data Source for SQL Analysis Services

Start by creating a new Analysis Service Multidimensional and Data Mining Project in Visual Studio. Next, create a Data Source for SQL Analysis Services 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 SQL Analysis Services, enter the necessary connection properties, and click Next.

    To connect, provide authentication and set the Url property to a valid SQL Server Analysis Services endpoint. You can connect to SQL Server Analysis Services instances hosted over HTTP with XMLA access. See the Microsoft documentation to configure HTTP access to SQL Server Analysis Services.

    To secure connections and authenticate, set the corresponding connection properties, below. The data provider supports the major authentication schemes, including HTTP and Windows, as well as SSL/TLS.

    • HTTP Authentication

      Set AuthScheme to "Basic" or "Digest" and set User and Password. Specify other authentication values in CustomHeaders.

    • Windows (NTLM)

      Set the Windows User and Password and set AuthScheme to "NTLM".

    • Kerberos and Kerberos Delegation

      To authenticate with Kerberos, set AuthScheme to NEGOTIATE. To use Kerberos delegation, set AuthScheme to KERBEROSDELEGATION. If needed, provide the User, Password, and KerberosSPN. By default, the data provider attempts to communicate with the SPN at the specified Url.

    • SSL/TLS:

      By default, the data provider attempts to negotiate SSL/TLS by checking the server's certificate against the system's trusted certificate store. To specify another certificate, see the SSLServerCert property for the available formats.

    You can then access any cube as a relational table: When you connect the data provider retrieves SSAS metadata and dynamically updates the table schemas. Instead of retrieving metadata every connection, you can set the CacheLocation property to automatically cache to a simple file-based store.

    See the Getting Started section of the CData documentation, under Retrieving Analysis Services Data, to execute SQL-92 queries to the cubes.

    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 SQL Analysis Services 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 SQL Analysis Services Source) and click Next.
  3. Choose a foreign key match pattern that matches your underlying data source and click Next.
  4. Select SQL Analysis Services 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 SQL Analysis Services

The last step before you can process the project and deploy SQL Analysis Services 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 SQL Analysis Services 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 SQL Analysis Services.