The amount of information on SSAS available on the web and in book stores can be overwhelming at times. Quite often we get asked for the “best” information sources for the Analysis Services product. Obviously “the best” information source will depend on your level of experience with SSAS and whether you are looking from an admin, developer or troubleshooting angle.
Here I will list a few information sources that have been proven to be very useful for troubleshooting work in the past.
Microsoft product documentation
A good starting point is the MS documentation provided in Books online, MSDN and Technet. The MS pages are typically very well indexed and it is sufficient to directly search the information you are looking for in a search engine of your choice. Key words such as “Analysis Services” , “MDX” or “MSDN” help to limit the scope of the search.
Operations guide, performance guide, best practices
If you seek the latest best practices on operational and performance aspects, then our operations and performance guides are made for you. It is a joined effort of SSAS developers, SQL CAT (customer advisory team), MVPs and CSS engineers. We have a set of guides for every SSAS release. The latest ones for SSAS 2008 R2 can be found here:
The SQL CAT site http://sqlcat.com/ is always worth a look if you search for best practices or common usage scenarios.
A great aggregator site for “all” SSAS information available on the web is found at http://www.ssas-info.com. Very useful as a starting point for your search. It contains a large collection of white papers, blogs, books, best practices etc.
The MSDN Forum for Analysis Services http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/sqlanalysisservices can be quite helpful if you need quick answers for questions that your own research efforts could not answer. Many MVPs and MS staff will try to help you with your issue.
There are a few SSAS 2005 white papers that are coming a bit of age, but still give good value for basic troubleshooting scenarios. Here’s a selection covering most frequent issues:
SQL Connect site
Via “sql connect” https://connect.microsoft.com/SQLServer you also have the option to make direct contact with our product group. You can use this site to report software problems or to request design changes in the product. It also has a built-in voting functionality that allows you to support the issues that you think deserve further consideration by the product group. But please be aware that a qualified response from the product group may take several weeks. If you have urgent issues, then please open a ticket with Customer Support Services (CSS).
There’s two reference books that have proven to be very useful and are definitely on my recommendation list:
a) “Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services 2008 unleashed” (ISBN 0-672-33001-6) for SSAS internals and
b) “MDX Solutions: With Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services 2005 and Hyperion Essbase” (ISBN: 0471748080) as a reference book for MDX.
The information in this blog was intentionally focused on the “classical” multi-dimensional SSAS Product. Information on the new Powerpivot and tabular instance products will be the subject of a forthcoming blog.