SQL SERVER – Learning SSAS (SQL Server Analysis Services) Online in 6 Hours – Top Down Designing and Bottom Up Designing

Those who are following me on Twitter and Facebook know that recently I am reenforcing 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.

My Learning

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 monitor computer. 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.

Course Details

You can read the official details of the course here yourself. Here is my view on 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.

Course Content

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 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
  • Security

Future Expectations

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 stays the same.

One Last Thing

Well, when I watched this course – I only had an annual subscription. Since then I have upgraded to the Pluralsight Annual Plus subscription, which gives me complete access to all the files, exercises and downloadable videos. I just wish I had changed before I started this course as it changes the experience.

Win A 30 Day Subscription

I have one 30 day Pluralsight OnDemand learning subscription to give away. To win you just need to leave a comment to this blog post suggesting which course you want to take and why. One person will be randomly picked as a winner for this 30 day subscription.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.SQLAuthority.com

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129 thoughts on “SQL SERVER – Learning SSAS (SQL Server Analysis Services) Online in 6 Hours – Top Down Designing and Bottom Up Designing

  1. I have been a SQL “Infrastructure” DBA for over 5 years, but with release of R2 I find myself doing more and more BI trouble shooting and at times even development. Though, I necessarily don’t want to become a Developer, do we DBA’s have a choice ?

  2. I have been a BI developer from past 4 years I want to know more in the SSAS front as I didnt got much chance to work on that…So I need to brush up my skills with this course.

  3. Hello Pinal,
    I follow all your blog posts regularly, they are concise and easy to understand. As a crystal reports developer, I have an infactuation towards reporting tools. I would love to learn SSRS and SSIS.
    Thanks for your time and effort.

  4. Hi Pinal, I would love to learn SQL analysis concepts. I recently moved to SQL server technology, and I am just loving it. I rolled out an Ssrs solution at my workplace, and so feel pretty confident about it, I dont have much idea about anything apart from t-SQL, ssis and Ssrs. So I am happy to learn.

  5. I am Uma, From Sri Lanka. I am very recently try to become an expert in Microsoft Buisness inteligent. Realy your blog is realy very much helpful, main reason is simple explanation even it complex things. while I search in Google i am adding your blog as well, ex: whan i need information about while loop :
    “While loop in SQL Server + SQLauthority.com”. Your doing great help. Tks a lot. wish your all the best.

  6. @Pinal: I’m lost in d mist of MSBI. I’ve less time n I’m trying hard to learn SSAS. Everyone says it’s tough and wanted to earn their bread with SSRS/SSIS only. Some suggested me to jump to Oracle/BO/Informatica too cause easy of easy money. But I want to prove them wrong and wanted to learn SSAS properly. So this course might help me.

  7. Hi Pinal,

    I go through your each blog posts regularly, they are very easy to understand. I am Sr. DBA and want to learn SSAS to upgarde myself.
    I have good knowledge in SSRS and SSIS only this part of SQL Server is un-touched by me.

    Thanks & Regards,

  8. i am afraid the market share what we are talking about is far less then the available tools like BO/Congnos/Oracle/Data Stage etc etc … and also not to mention the NOSQL hadoop etc implementations!

    Can we forcast that sooner or later we should be turning into Graph based anlaysis or atleast using these new concepts at the backend.

  9. I would like to go for SSAS advanced, Bcoz Currenlt I am in ssis and ssrs soon will be back ssas and i want to learn depth. If it is not ready now i will go ssas foundamentals again.

  10. Hi Pinal Sir,

    I am interested in learning SSIS Fundamental. I think I will learning this part which is new and completely untouched from myside.

    Best Regards,

    Ranjoyt Singh

  11. Hi,

    I have 1.6 yrs of exposure to IT industry, ,when i joined IT industry , then i always thought that i will go for dot net or java, but when i got the exposure to sql server (exactly database) then i found ,that i am made for database, i find it very interesting .

    I would like to go for SSIS/SSRS course, as i want to learn and apply it in my project.

  12. I’m preparing to take a certification in BI through the 70-448 Exam. I’m studing SSIS + SSAS + SSRS and I’ll do the exam in 7th/Oct (last friday before PASS Summit).
    You can see my schedule to study here: http://www.diegonogare.net/blog/post/Meu-calendario-para-certificacao-em-BI-no-SQL-Server.aspx and my way to study here: http://www.diegonogare.net/blog/post/Preparatorio-para-certificacao-de-BI-em-SQL-2008.aspx

    If I win this subscription, I’ll used totally to improve my knowledge to take this certification :)

    Thanks Pinal

  13. Hello Pinal,
    I have mainly worked in OLTP environment and developed some SSIS packages and SSRS reports. I would like to learn about dimensional modeling and SSAS.

  14. Hello Pinal….SSAS is one of the interesting and challenging topic…as it deals with large data mainatanence and reporting. I would like to know optimized way of loading data ( ETL ) to cube, best practice of slicing and dicing the data and tuning MDX query. Thanks for providing some oppurtunity all the time to learn new things.


  15. I’d definitely start with the SQL Server Business Intelligence Overview. The overviews of SSIS and SSAS would be a great starting point.

  16. I Started my career with SQL Server and worked mainly into OLTP systems. I got chance to work on SSIS and SSRS in a datawarehouse project but now i am very much interested to work in SSAS . I need some training/tutorial for self-learning.

    I would be very lucky to have this subscription .

  17. I am a fresh entrant into the data warehousing world and I’m working toward my BI certification w/ Microsoft. It would be nice to get access to this course.

    Bonne chance!

  18. SSAS is a very powerful tool in corporate decision making especially when it comes the concepts of measures or facts I m realirvely new to SSRS n trying my level best to learn it so might excel in my field n help my organization in taking efficient intelligent decision in field of business intelligence … I would really like to go for the mentioned course it is a fantastic learning opportunity …

  19. Hi Pinal,

    I wanted to learn the SSAS and Windows phone 7 application related topics.

    I am a BI developer for last five years and eager to see what SSAS can help me in terms of DataWarehouse.

    I am very curious about Windows phone 7 application working and found this topic in Pluralsight. I hope this will give me a good knowledge in this area.


  20. I’d like to take the SSAS course for the same reason as you – I worked with it a few years ago, but haven’t kept up, and want to dive back in.

  21. It is good to see lots of technical topics and technical languages in pluralsight, but i would be happy to see few architecture level topics here,because ultimately we develop our code according to architecture design.so i will be happy to see “3 tier architecture”,”N Tier architecture” or else and their implementation.

  22. I’d defilnitely go for the SQL Server – TSQL course.

    SQL is one of those things that people tend to dismiss as being easy although some parts of it are incresibly complicated.

    I previewed some of the videos of this course while it was free (for a day, when it first appeared) and I think it does a great job explaining a lot of concepts that are otherwise very hard to understand in depth (e.g. various concurrency scenarios)

  23. Like most DBAs, I started just administering a few servers. When the number of servers was high, I became the “automation guru” in my company. After that, some people, well positioning in the company, decided to dev a tool for reporting just to save some dollars so, I started with SSRS…
    As all we know, learning is an endless climbing. That’s why I’d like to win the subscription. What topics? T-SQL, SSAS, SSRS.


  24. Hi Pinal,

    I really want to learn SSAS as I am stuck doing only SSRS work for the last 3 years. Learning SSAS will open up new opportunities for me in life.

    Thanks for this great website.


  25. I really do love learning this stuff, and I am keen on stepping up into the world of SQL server database work, having worked with other databases for around 13 years now.

  26. Im interested in taking the intro class for data warehousing and business intelligence. It’s becoming more and more important to be able to produce meaningful metrics and KPIs from our client data. I think this class would really help.

  27. I would like to take the Dimensional Model Development because it’s very important to me understand why this is relevant to design a data-warehouse correctly.


  28. I would like to take the Dimensional Model Development course because it’s very important to me understand why this is relevant to design a data-warehouse correctly.


  29. I have recently been given the opportunity to work as BI Technical Lead, currently focused on ETL. My next step is to make way into Analytical world. Learning SSAS would be a great step into reaching my goals.

    Thanks for your dedication in helping others.

  30. Hai,

    I am interested learn SSAS. currently i am woring in .net platform, in my project mostly DB related so that i try to learn more in SQL. Recently i won (Joes2Pros vol-4) from blog. so, that i want this subscription to learn more..

    Chennai, India

  31. Hi Pinal,
    I am a Dev Lead managing the design and build of big project 3-4 million pounds , leading team of 20 – 25 including 10-12 dev. I always enjoy SQL and consider fairly sttong in SQL concepts. Not writing much code but design and troubleshoot.
    Though I want to progress in every area but wants design principals on BI. This will help me to put right foundation stones in the application. This is one area where you make mistake and pay the price heavily.
    BTW SSAS is an area where I am in level 0.

  32. After successfully implementing several cubes, I’m more interested in fleshing them out at this point. Therefore I believe I would benefit more from the Calculations section of the course. Right now I have only used them to create averages and other straight-forward calculations.

    Thanks Pinal!

  33. I would like to learn SSIS and SSAS as I have an urgent interview next week, and I am sure I would not be able to find a better resource than Pluralsight for my preparations.

  34. Hi All,

    Here is the result of this question. I used following function to select the winner.

    SELECT LEFT(RAND()*100,2) – this query will result different result when ran it multiple times. I selected the very first result.

    This is random function and it selected the winner: Diego Nogare (comment – http://blog.sqlauthority.com/2011/09/22/sql-server-learning-ssas-sql-server-analysis-services-online-in-6-hours-top-down-designing-and-bottom-up-designing/#comment-170650 )

    Many thanks again for participating.

  35. Hello Pinal
    I confess that read your history about SSAS was as if I’m reading myself, but the difference is what I am looking yet the time for seat front my laptop and do it! As you,the way for differents projects and jobs were drive me to work as DBA and DB developer, but one day I was nominated for work in a project about BI and that was a excellent opportunity that I was waiting, As all, the road was very hard, the first thing was break all concepts about relational world and then understand as it is in multidimensional concepts. At the end, was a project that let me many hair falls but give me much satisfaction!! Now, my wish is that I want will continue with that practice and your suggestion is too value for me. I’m sorry dont see your post much before but I am happy that DiegoNogare is the winner. Also it is a excellent idea for teach BI to the people! th

  36. Hello Pinal,

    I am your regular blog reader. Your blogs are very helpful for me. I want to learn SSAS. I also intrested in learn SSRS.

  37. I leared Reporting services, and Integration services myself and heard that Analysis services is the hardest one. I am working on data warehousing routines these days and the company is in need to a developer that knows Analysis services and I would love to learn and apply this technology towards my data warehousing projects.

  38. Pingback: SQL SERVER – Puzzle to Win Print Book and Free 30 Days Online Training Material « Journey to SQLAuthority

  39. Hi Pinal. I need your honest opinion. I don’t have any programming or database background but would like to switch my career to IT. Do you honestly think doing this course (or any other courses) or self-learning would enable me to work in an organization? I am not sure if this is something that can be learnt in a resonable time (say 1-2 months) and I should consider the offer. Kvai

  40. Hi Pinal,

    I’ve been following your blog for some time now and respect your opinion when it comes to SQL server! I need to learn SSAS so have signed up to Pluralsight’s free trial and if it proves to be beneficial, I’ll carry it on.

    Keep up the good work :)

    All the best

  41. Hi Pinal
    I am a .Net Developer with a decent knowledge of database. By decent, I mean I can manage creating procedures, functions, triggers (or for that matter anything required to accomplish functional requirements of the application on which i am working. Occasionally I have even designed databases, although for relatively smaller applications. However, my current work requires me to learn SSAS, design cubes and use them to generate reports in SSRS. I have gone through a numbers of tutorials and articles and gathered bits and pieces of information and somehow can manage generating cubes as well as use them in my reports.

    However, now I am at a point where I am stuck up with redesigning my OLTP database, I need to convert it to an OLAP database which I am confused with so as how to do it. Also I am not able to decide the measures and dimensions for my project which would help me with faster processing of the data. Please help.

  42. i would like to take SSAS training. Please share me the details for processing.
    i am from hyderabad, INDIA, pls mail me the details.

  43. i would like to take SSAS training. Please share me the details for processing.
    i am from Mumbai, INDIA, pls mail me the details.

  44. Hi My name is prasanga I really need a help hope you can help me. My quarry is Need a help in this requirement. He is planning to outsource this project build from the scratch later. This an affiliate marketing network project they need a white label solution. System is highly complex build up over the years.

    SSAS uses for reporting modules in report engine(custom report engine written by them in c#).

    1. Company running SSAS cubes (MSSLQ server 2008) having complex data base structure.
    2. Cubes published long time ago and data filled over the years.

    3. Requirement is to include newly added fields in the tables in the necessary cubes and publish to the SSAS.
    4. Important! will this affect to loose data analyzed old published cubes due to the updates under same cube names?
    5. If so what is the work around of publishing it not affecting data analyzed in the cubes.

    need advice on these please.

  45. how to run these vidoes .? it need to pay for that i can not pay becasue i belong to lower middle class family. plese help me.
    with regards
    [email removed]

  46. basically i want to in BI(ssis+ssas+ssrs)
    please send me the vidoes so that i can gain more knowledge
    with regards
    [email removed]

    • basically i want to make carrier in BI(ssis+ssas+ssrs)
      please send me the vidoes so that i can gain more knowledge
      with regards
      rohitsethi123. waiting for your reply gmail
      [email removed]

  47. Pingback: SQLAuthority News – Download Whitepaper – SQL Server Analysis Services to Hive « SQL Server Journey with SQL Authority

  48. Hi My name is rohit I really need a help hope you can help me. My quarry is Need a help in this requirement. He is planning to outsource this project build from the scratch later. This an affiliate marketing network project they need a white label solution. System is highly complex build up over the years.

    SSAS uses for reporting modules in report engine(custom report engine written by them in c#).

    1. Company running SSAS cubes (MSSLQ server 2008) having complex data base structure.
    2. Cubes published long time ago and data filled over the years.

    so please give the vidoes

  49. rohit
    no reply yet

    basically i want to make carrier in BI(ssis+ssas+ssrs)
    please send me the vidoes so that i can gain more knowledge
    with regards
    rohitsethi123. gmail
    waiting for your reply gmail
    [email removed

  50. I have just subscribed for Pluralsight Monthly Plus,

    Thanks a lot for your advice, I am so excited about the lessons and I will start on them immediately

  51. Hi,

    I want to learn SSAS coz i have already knowledge on SSIS,SSRS, so if u send that link i’ll get a full package i.e MSBI developer ..
    Thank you

  52. Hi Pinal,

    I have 3+ years of experience in SSIS,SSRS,Pentaho Data Integration i am looking better career and i want know which one is better to develop my career (Currently i am learning Datastage) Is datastage will improve my career or shall i continue with SSAS?

    Please provide me suggestins still am confusing..

    Thanks in advacnce

  53. Can you pls tell me how can I subscribe and attend the course.
    I am interested about the price of this course.

    Thank you in advance…

  54. hi

    i read your mail blog here about ssas and coincidently i am also interested in ssas/ssis.kindly let know about the subscription to be used to go thru the lessons as the strucutre of lessons are good…

  55. I like your blog and way of explaing the things in your blog. I am currently working as BI devloper. Interested in the pluralsight tutorials related to SSAS.


  56. Hey Pinal.,
    I am really very interested in SSAS. I have followed your blogs for many sql server related queries and all of them are simply awesome. Great work man!

  57. Hi Pinal,

    I want to learn SSAS/SSIS/SSRS. Please suggest me how can i learn this with practical examples. Any material or courses for this.

  58. i need the videos of ssas . as im working in erp from last 5 years now i get to switch to msbi so it need ssas for the same

  59. Hi Pinal,

    I have worked on SSIS and SSRS and I wish to learn SSAS as I need it for my upcomming project.

    Kalyan Sana.

  60. Hey Pinal,
    I want to learn SSAS with some case studies and assignments so that to learn about all the complecated situations we get and a way arround to handle them.
    Can you suggest something.


  61. Hi Pinal,
    I would like to learn SSAS from the scratch (practical oriented learning). Would you pls send me the trail version details

  62. Hi Pinal
    Can you please provide me link from were i can download SQL Queries 2012 Joes 2 Pros Volume 1 – The SQL Queries 2012 Hands-On Tutorial for Beginners

  63. Thank you for letting me know about Pluralsight. I have wroked with SQL Server for more than 10 years including SSIS. I do not have experience with SSRS or SSAS. A few times I have worked tutoriasl on SSAS, though these tutorials do not explanin SSAS from the beginning and are confusing for that reason. I will try Pluralsigh and let you know what I thin.

  64. I checked out the Pluralsight web site and it looks promising but are there alternative resources worth checking out before committing to a subscription.

  65. Hi Pinal,

    I would like to increase my MSBI stack knowledge. I’m well versed with SSRS & SSIS but no knowledge on SSAS. I want to gain knowledge on SSAS also. Will request you to please give access for the course.

  66. Hi Pinal,

    I read all the above blogs and found that your knowledge is really helping people to enhance their skills. I need your suggestion regarding my carrier. I am working with one of the application hosting company and I own approx 3-4 years of exp. still my carrier is no where. I am struggling with the domain to get into. PLEASE HELP.

    Let me give you the background of my work profile. I work in different- different technologies in my company and its just an L1 support. If I talk about market demand for those technologies, its NILL… :(

    I am planning to move into SSAS and have bit knowledge of SQL too. Please suggest.
    Should I start my carrier with this Domain or not? I really want to get into a DOMAIN so that I can secure my future…..

    Thanks for your time.

  67. I am a beginner to deal with SQL, i refferered to join your site by my friend i am sure i will get much more deep knoweledge from you,thanks.

  68. I have read about you couple of times when I do a search about ‘database'; yet again, I search about it again today, and this blog came up. I know it has been a while since you posted this article, but I really appreciated your inside knowledge that you are sharing with us.

    I am new in this field, with very little network, I am trying to grasp on as much as I can. Do you have any suggestions on how to become a PRO in database. I have very little experience with MySQL and MS SQL only – all relational database – I am currently enrolled in an institution technology in BC, Canada for applied database system and design – trying to understand about data warehouse and SSIS. Is there anything you could suggest? I do not have a lot of IT experience, except IT Support in non-related IT field – basically an office manager who happens to have Information System degree, so I do basic troubleshooting everyday at work, but passionate about database and its technology, would love to get into this field and leave all the administration behind.

    Oh, I know you probably get these kind of messages everyday, but I really need someone to guide and since I have no network in this field.. I find myself hitting roadblock. PS. who knows, I could have as much knowledge as you one day.

  69. Hi Pinal,
    I always read your blogs and read your bibliography at net in a video as well how you have done all these things, it’s really great inspiration for us.
    I joined a company as a Sr BI developer I have exp in SSIS,SSRS,Little bit knowledge of SSAS as well I wanted to go deep knowledge on SSAS.


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