Book Review: SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services The BISM Tabular Model
Monday, November 12, 2012
I will start off by saying, whenever I see the names Marco Russo, Alberto Ferrari and Chris Webb on a SQL Server Analysis Services book….I know it will good. This book is no exception! I can say with 100% honesty that this is one of the best technical books I’ve read.
I work with SQL Server 2012 and am eager to learn more about the tabular model. When I saw this book on Amazon, I bought it immediately and am so grateful that I did. I have many technical books that sit on shelves collecting dust; this book is definitely not one of them. After only a few weeks the book is already showing wear from use and I haven’t put it on the shelf yet. I have read it cover-to-cover and plan to do so again – it is truly that good.
There are so many great aspects to this book I don’t know where to begin. I can say that it does an excellent job not only covering the basics but also many advanced topics as well.
A few of my favorite topics/chapters are listed below:
- The chapters on DAX are especially helpful, they provide an excellent overview of the language including advanced topics that I haven’t found in other sources. The book also contains a chapter on DAX time intelligence functions which I found quite useful.
- The ‘Building Hierarchies’ chapter is excellent as well. It goes beyond the basics, covering more complex scenarios such as parent/child hierarchies and unary operators.
- The chapter ‘Data Modeling in Tabular’ provides a very thorough overview of common dimensional modeling topics (Type 1 and Type 2 SCDs, degenerate dimensions, junk dimensions and snapshot fact tables) and implementation best practices in the tabular model.
- ‘Using Advanced Tabular Relationships’ is my favorite chapter. This chapter provides examples using the DAX language to implement more complex scenarios/relationships. A few topics covered are Multicolumn Relationships (in a tabular cube a relationship can be set with one column only, but the authors provide examples that work around this limitation), Banding (grouping attribute values), Many-to-Many relationships, Basket Analysis and Currency Conversion.
- The chapters on Security and Deployment/Processing are also well-written and very thorough. They cover many scenarios in detail.
The authors do a great job comparing the Multidimensional and Tabular technologies; They discuss the pros and cons of both models as well as reasons you may choose one over the other. In addition, the authors often demonstrate multiple ways to solve a given problem and discuss the advantages/disadvantages of each implementation. They provide excellent overviews of performance analysis and troubleshooting and warn the readers of things to avoid.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to expand their knowledge of the SQL Server Analysis Services 2012 tabular model. This book will not disappoint. It is a worthwhile addition to any Business Intelligence practitioners library.
Some additional resources by the authors:
- ‘Expert Cube Development with Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services’ is an excellent book covering the multidimensional model.
- ‘The Many-to-Many Revolution 2.0’ is a free whitepaper that covers many-to-many relationships in both the multidimensional and tabular BISM.
- More content can be found at: www.sqlbi.com and Chris Webb’s BI Blog