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Integrating reporting services with analysis services.

Posted on 2009-07-06
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I am looking for a possible solution. As of now, I am using SQL reporting services to create reports. The data is fetched from SQL server relational database by using stored procedure. Ours is an ASP.NET web app and so far, I have created a proper reporting engine which integrates seamlessly with reporting services. As most you know, as the reports get complex (say when it involves complicated summations etc), performance is getting a hit. To over come that, I was looking at Microsoft Analysis services (cubes). But, right now, I am kind of stuck. These are the points which really stop me from proceeding further.

1)      I couldnt find enough materials in internet which talks about integrating analysis services with reporting services.
2)      Is reporting services is the right front end tool for cubes?
3)      Also, do I need to use SSIS or any ETL for porting the data from SQL relational database to cubes?

I am at the initial stage of my research and it could be helpful if you could give me right pointers to proceed.
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Question by:sterlingrelocation
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by:ValentinoV
ID: 24784438
1. Just like you use SQL in a dataset to query a relational database, you can use MDX in a dataset in Reporting Services to query an OLAP cube: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms156334.aspx

2. Whether or not SSRS is the right front-end depends on your needs.  It all depends on how much flexibility the end-user wants/needs.  Excel 2007 could be an interesting option if you're going to build cubes.  It can connect to a cube and the end-user can build nice pivot tables that way.

3. Theoretically you don't need SSIS but it also depends.  In most cases it is interesting to first build a data warehouse with dimension and fact tables and then build a cube on top of that.  Takes some of the complexity away from building cubes.

BTW: have a look at the AdventureWorks sample databases and cubes, this allows you to try it out without spending days setting one up yourself.  It's available at CodePlex: http://msftdbprodsamples.codeplex.com/Release/ProjectReleases.aspx?ReleaseId=18407
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Auric1983 earned 375 total points
ID: 24784466
sterlingrelocation,

You can use SSRS to query cubes, when you setup a report you need to define the dataset

Depending on what version you are using, I picked up a "delivering bi solutions with sql server 2008" book and it's pretty comprehensive, it might help out.

Question 2 > Cubes generally will be used for analysis more than they will be for a tabular report.  You CAN use reporting services to create reports against an OLAP cube, but these wouldn't really allow users to browse the data.  I use Performance Point Dashboard Designer to design dashboards (basically ASP pages in SharePoint) this allows my users to keep tabs on the KPI's they want to see.  We also use ProClarity Analysis Services (PAS) to allow for custom reports, drilldown and analysis.

Question 3 > Yes, you need to build an ETL process to build the cubes.  
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by:Hadush
ID: 24795838
I like Aurci1983 idea. Performance point and Procalrity are the best options. I also used DUNDAS OLAP addin to ASP.NET(http://www.dundas.com/products/chart/NET/OLAP/index.aspx)   as front end which can easily switch between charts and grid.
 
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by:Auric1983
ID: 24796059
Should note that ProClarity is being integrated into the next version of MOSS Enterprise (or whatever the heck they will call it)

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Expert Comment

by:Hadush
ID: 24796226
I guess it was aquired by  Microsoft in  2006 and it integrates with Performance Point and MOSS.
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Author Closing Comment

by:sterlingrelocation
ID: 31600078
Thanks Auric. Thats a good starting point for me.
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