I had the extreme pleasure of attending the SSAS Workshop by PragmaticWorks this week, which was a two-day session with a bonus third day entirely focused on Denali (Expedition Denali). Brian Knight (blog | @brianknight), Dustin Ryan (blog | @SQLDusty) and Lonnie Mejia (LinkedIn) were on site at the Microsoft Southwest District office in Tempe, AZ which has a beautiful view of Tempe Town Lake.
I have only had a little exposure to SQL Server Analysis Services before this and from what I have learned I do know that our own data warehouse group could significantly benefit from this workshop. I am not mocking them whatsoever, but I am saying some processes could be handled differently. For example cube updates. Instead of providing me the entire visual studio solution they can easily provide me a XMLA script which I can use in SSMS to deploy the dimension update. Things like this I never knew, so this was a real eye opener for me and gives me the needed ammo to fight with our developers. Kidding! It does however allow me to extend my freshly acquired knowledge to that group in a non-confrontational way of course (fingers crossed behind back).
Business intelligence has a warm place in my heart and the time I did spend developing reports was exciting. To be honest I would love nothing more than to be able to go from zero to data warehouse to SSAS slice and dice to full publish on reporting services, sharepoint, etc… in a week or so. I believe as a DBA that would be a valuable skill-set to have under my belt. This course is my step towards that direction.
There is no doubt that this workshop packs in a lot of information. The two days are literally bursting at the seams with information but this is definitely a MUST for those looking to get into the SSAS world. The PragmaticWorks staff really demystified SSAS. Their lectures and labs are delivered in such a manner that it is really easy to keep up with the pace. Throughout the course you are walked through the process of setting up an SSAS project all the way through creating cubes, dimensions, mining structures, roles and everything in between. The price of the course is a bargain given everything you walk away with.
I think the most action came towards the ending of day two. The room was divided down the middle and the groups were paired against each other to build an SSAS project from start to finish following a set of requirements. Then you needed to create a report in either reporting services or excel based on the cube we published. Everyone participated either by being the designated drivers (at the computer), yelling out the requirements, providing assistance and so on. It was intense! I must mention that “Team Dustin” my group WON the challenge against “Team Brian”. Better luck next time Brian! We literally beat them by 1-2 seconds at best. Nonetheless a fantastic method to illustrate not only what we had learned but more importantly what we had retained. If you get the opportunity to attend this workshop I would highly recommend it. You will not be sorry!
Expedition Denali (Day 3) was very exceptional. I have not touched Denali at all but from what Roger Doherty (blog | @Doherty100) and Brian Knight were covering and demoing I cannot wait till RTM. I would totally spill the beans because there are so many very cool and sexy things coming… but their “body-guard/new sales guy” Lonnie is a pretty big guy so I will refrain. Here he is working through the demo.