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Analyze SQL Analysis Services Data in R

Use standard R functions and the development environment of your choice to analyze SQL Analysis Services data with the CData JDBC Driver for SQL Analysis Services.

Access SQL Analysis Services data with pure R script and standard SQL on any machine where R and Java can be installed. You can use the CData JDBC Driver for SQL Analysis Services and the RJDBC package to work with remote SQL Analysis Services data in R. By using the CData Driver, you are leveraging a driver written for industry-proven standards to access your data in the popular, open-source R language. This article shows how to use the driver to execute SQL queries to SQL Analysis Services and visualize SQL Analysis Services data by calling standard R functions.

Install R

You can match the driver's performance gains from multi-threading and managed code by running the multithreaded Microsoft R Open or by running open R linked with the BLAS/LAPACK libraries. This article uses Microsoft R Open 3.2.3, which is preconfigured to install packages from the Jan. 1, 2016 snapshot of the CRAN repository. This snapshot ensures reproducibility.

Load the RJDBC Package

To use the driver, download the RJDBC package. After installing the RJDBC package, the following line loads the package:

library(RJDBC)

Connect to SQL Analysis Services as a JDBC Data Source

You will need the following information to connect to SQL Analysis Services as a JDBC data source:

  • Driver Class: Set this to cdata.jdbc.ssas.SSASDriver
  • Classpath: Set this to the location of the driver JAR. By default this is the lib subfolder of the installation folder.

The DBI functions, such as dbConnect and dbSendQuery, provide a unified interface for writing data access code in R. Use the following line to initialize a DBI driver that can make JDBC requests to the CData JDBC Driver for SQL Analysis Services:

driver <- JDBC(driverClass = "cdata.jdbc.ssas.SSASDriver", classPath = "MyInstallationDir\lib\cdata.jdbc.ssas.jar", identifier.quote = "'")

You can now use DBI functions to connect to SQL Analysis Services and execute SQL queries. Initialize the JDBC connection with the dbConnect function.

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.

Built-in Connection String Designer

For assistance in constructing the JDBC URL, use the connection string designer built into the SQL Analysis Services JDBC Driver. Either double-click the JAR file or execute the jar file from the command-line.

java -jar cdata.jdbc.ssas.jar

Fill in the connection properties and copy the connection string to the clipboard.

Below is a sample dbConnect call, including a typical JDBC connection string:

conn <- dbConnect(driver,"jdbc:ssas:User=myuseraccount;Password=mypassword;URL=http://localhost/OLAP/msmdpump.dll;")

Schema Discovery

The driver models SQL Analysis Services APIs as relational tables, views, and stored procedures. Use the following line to retrieve the list of tables:

dbListTables(conn)

Execute SQL Queries

You can use the dbGetQuery function to execute any SQL query supported by the SQL Analysis Services API:

adventure_works <- dbGetQuery(conn,"SELECT Fiscal_Year, Sales_Amount FROM Adventure_Works")

You can view the results in a data viewer window with the following command:

View(adventure_works)

Plot SQL Analysis Services Data

You can now analyze SQL Analysis Services data with any of the data visualization packages available in the CRAN repository. You can create simple bar plots with the built-in bar plot function:

par(las=2,ps=10,mar=c(5,15,4,2)) barplot(adventure_works$Sales_Amount, main="SQL Analysis Services Adventure_Works", names.arg = adventure_works$Fiscal_Year, horiz=TRUE)