About the Series...

This is the fourth article of the series Introduction to MS SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services. As I stated in the first article, Creating Our First Cube, the primary focus of this series will be an introduction to the practical creation and manipulation of multidimensional OLAP cubes. The series is designed to provide hands-on application of the fundamentals of MS SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services ("Analysis Services"), with each installment progressively adding features designed to meet specific real-world needs. For more information on the series, as well as the hardware/software requirements to prepare for the exercises we will undertake, please see my initial article Creating Our First Cube.

A special requirement for this lesson is Microsoft Access 2000, which we will be using to briefly examine source database characteristics of the FoodMart 2000 sample database.


In the first article of the series, we used the Cube Wizard to build an initial cube with the assistance of the Dimension Wizard. We progressed through subsequent articles, creating similar dimensions to those we built with the Wizard, focusing largely in our second article on using the Dimension Editor to illustrate options for building a more customized cube. We continued this examination of dimensions in Article Three, where we recreated the calendar time dimension, this time focusing on the process through which the Dimension Wizard converts existing time/date fields to a time dimension, along with its hierarchy of levels and members.

Our last article also exposed ways to customize the predefined, time-related properties that the wizard establishes in building the time dimension, suggesting options for customization of these properties to enhance the cube, from the dual perspectives of user-friendliness and the reporting needs of the organization. We created an example of an alternate time dimension for fiscal time reporting, and then we discussed some of the considerations surrounding the simultaneous housing of both hierarchies in the same OLAP cube structure.

In this article, we will examine another special type of dimension, the Parent-Child dimension, and explore the attributes that make it different from a regular dimension. We will discuss the considerations that surround the Parent-Child dimension, such as the recursive nature of their data sources, and various actions that must be handled differently in their creation and maintenance.

In this article, we will:

  • Discuss unbalanced hierarchies, and scenarios where we need a parent-child dimension
  • Create a parent-child dimension using the Dimension Wizard
  • Work with levels in a parent-child dimension
  • Work with parent-child dimension properties
  • Enable values at the parent level of a parent-child dimension

Page 2: Introducing Parent-Child Dimensions

See All Articles by Columnist William E. Pearson, III