Those who are following me on Twitter and Facebook know that recently I am reinforcing my own concept for SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS). Like many of us, I worked with Analysis Services in early years. In an earlier job, I got many projects for relational database performance tuning and over time, I lost touch with SSAS. This does not mean that I forgot all of the concepts, but the ‘real’ hands-on experience was gathering dust. Looking back at the last five years, I realized that I have deep experience with relational performance tuning, but there are a few new things which I have yet to explore and learn.
One weekend I decided to learn SQL Server Analysis Services. I woke up early in the morning at 6 AM and by 7 AM I was sitting with coffee at my dual screen computer monitor. I had a free subscription to Pluralsight so on one screen I turned on their Analysis Services Fundamentals course. This course is well organized and I attended first six modules by 1 PM. After having a quick lunch with my family, I reviewed all the tasks and lessons given in the course. As it was the weekend and I had properly digested all the concepts, I decided to continue the remaining four modules the next day. The next day, the same routine: I followed and finished all the remaining modules along with the exercises. At the end of six hours of video learning and practicing for more than 8 hours, I felt very comfortable with the subject. I re-discovered my knowledge of SSAS which I used to practice a few years ago, before I opted for performance tuning.
You can read the official details of the course here yourself. Here is my view of this course. This course is very well structured. I have found many books and attended SSAS training where the training starts with Bottom Up Designing methodology. I have never had any course where the instructor started from Top Down Designing methodology. This course really got my attention as it covers the all the core concepts in a very reasonable time with crisp and clear instructions. After that it jumps to very easy to understand and follow-along demos where one can practice their skills. I am personally a big fan of the AdventureWorks database as that makes our life much easier and everybody has access to that database for free. Thanks to the instructor, Stacia, for using the same database for every single demonstration and exercise.
I have seen many demonstrations where someone takes an already-built cube and imports that into the system and starts explaining various concepts of the cube. I personally do the same when I have to demonstrate some cool new feature of the SSAS in a one hour presentation. However for in-depth learning, the whole game is different and I prefer to learn from the beginning. I prefer to learn how dimensions are built, how measures are categorized and how cubes are built from nothing. One always learns properly when the lesson is explained in structured manner. In this course Stacia has done the same thing – starting from no elements on screen and very quickly building all the modules from scratch. A perfect experience for beginners and experts.
This course covers various topics and you can read all the documentations on the official course page. However, as an outline, here are the module names. I am also attaching the image which demonstrates that I have attended every single module of the course. If you stop the course any place during the lesson, when you come back to the course content page tracks your progress; this is very convenient.
- Introduction to Analysis Services
- Dimensional Model Development
- Dimension Development I
- Dimension Development 2
- Cube Development I
- Cube Development 2
- Calculations 1
- Calculations 2
- Database Processing
The title of the course says this is an Introduction to Analysis Services. However, I thought this was quite a comprehensive course. I am assuming that there will be another version of this course. Stacia also hinted couple of times during the course, what will be in the advanced course. Well, what I expect in the advanced course is that the quality and presentation stay the same.
Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.SQLAuthority.com)