Working with the Cube Editor

Experience with MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services brings with it a comfort level that makes it easy to see that the Cube Editor is quite often the best route to rapid cube design and creation. The Cube Wizard, while user-friendly and helpful with its "guided procedure" for cube construction, nevertheless provides only the basics with regard to the many properties and other attributes that often need to be addressed in developing a cube that we can effectively deploy and use in the real world. The Wizard might, as we have mentioned in past articles, provide an excellent means of generating a quick basic cube, but beyond that we're likely to call upon the Cube Editor as the tool of choice to refine and build further. After building cubes over time, we might actually find it more efficient to begin with the Cube Editor and bypass the Wizard entirely, much as we do with other applications' wizards, once we "learn the ropes" through constant practice.

In this lesson, we will use the Cube Editor from the very start, initially to build a basic cube that we will use as the foundation for several new concepts within this lesson. Our objective, as we have stated, will be to consolidate principles and procedures from earlier lessons into a single, integrated cube build. Along the way, we will take advantage of opportunities that arise to introduce new concepts, which we will be able to appreciate more fully with the preceding four lessons behind us.

Building the Basic Cube with The Cube Editor

We will launch the Cube Editor at this stage and begin a new cube. As mentioned earlier, we will initially focus upon the creation of the core cube, basing it upon the fact table of the FoodMart2000 sample database. As we have stated before, the FoodMart 2000.mdb is installed as a sample when we perform the Typical installation of MSSQL Server 2000/Analysis Services. We will begin again from square one, assuming no setup whatsoever and only the presence of the installed applications we cited in our initial article, Creating Our First Cube.

Preparation for Creating the New Cube

To begin the steps of the lesson, we will create a new database/data source in Analysis Manager for the FoodMart 2000 database. While many of us may already have the database set up from the previous lesson(s) in our series, we will perform setup again quickly, in keeping with our objective of making each lesson stand on its own, independent of the other lessons of the series. We will name the database the same as in previous lessons; if we already have a database with that name, and we perhaps want to recreate it for review purposes, we'll need to either delete the existing database or simply call the new database something else.

As we learned in Lesson One, we first create an OLAP database to organize cubes, roles, data sources, shared dimensions, and other objects. We will call our OLAP database MyCube2 (be careful here -- as we have stated before, you cannot rename a database in the Analysis Services console once it is created), setting it up initially by right clicking on the Server we see at the left of the console. In addition to setting up our database, we will link a data source to our database before we start to construct our cube.

  1. Start Analysis Manager.
  2. Expand the Analysis Servers folder by clicking the "+" sign to its immediate left.
  3. Right-click on the Analysis Server name, to see the context menu shown below:

Illustration 1: Right-Click on the Analysis Server

  1. Click New Database.

The Database dialog box appears.

  1. Fill in the Database Name, MyCube2, and a description that might be of value to a user or developer down the road.

Let's simply add "Tutorials Database," here -- the description is optional, of course.

The dialog appears as below.

Illustration 2: The Database Dialog Box

  1. Click OK.

MyCube2 appears just below the existing FoodMart 2000 Database.

  1. Expand MyCube2's database/cube icon by clicking in the plus (+) sign to the left of the icon.

Note that MyCube2 appears in the left-side tree, complete with predefined, empty folders for object storage later, as shown in Illustration 3 below.

Illustration 3: The New Database with Directory Structure

Page 3: Working with the Cube Editor (Continued)

See All Articles by Columnist William E. Pearson, III