Fun times at SSAS Workshop

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.

Random pics


SQLSaturday #47 Postmortem



  1. extreme tiredness; fatigue
  2. the condition of being used up; consumption: exhaustion of the earth’s resources
  3. the act of exhausting or the state of being exhausted


Exhaustion is the first thing that comes to mind. Wow is a close second! To put it into perspective: imagine you have been tasked with instructing Amy Winehouse about sobriety… Yeah it’s gonna require a lot of time and energy! This was my first event so without any shadow of a doubt I was on pins and needles up until the end of the after party. Like anyone else you want your event to be successful from start to finish. Essentially you want things to go according to plan, in short… perfect. We all know Murphy’s law so there is no denying that things will not always go according to plan, so don’t let it bother you.

However I do feel that being experienced does help you roll with the punches much like an agile process. You are able to adjust as things come your way. That is exactly what Chris Coneybeer (blog | @coneybeer) brought to the table… experience among several other things! So I commend Chris on doing an exceptional job on adjusting to everything that presented itself.


I want to say thank you for helping SQLSaturday #47 come together. It’s not easy and our time is valuable so thank you for taking time out of your schedule to help with the preparations of the community event. There is nothing like supporting our community.

So thank you: (in no particular order)

  • Anthony Williams (blog | twitter)
  • Qui Ly (blog | @QLy27)
  • Steve Cable (LinkedIn | twitter)


Because of your willingness to share the wealth of knowledge SQLSaturday #47 was able to offer five tracks of information packed sessions. The fact that our presenters actually participated in the event on their own dime speaks volumes about the their commitment to the community. That’s right! The flight, hotel, car rental and other incurred expenses were out of their own pocket. So thank you for your generosity and thank you for being you!

So thank you: (in no particular order)

Presenter Topic
Dale Cunningham
(blog | @fly_scuba)
Using Confio Ignite 8 for Production
Jonathan Atkins
(blog | @JonAtkins57)
TSQL Fun – Avoiding cursors
Amy Lewis
(blog | @amy_lewisAZ)
First Flight: Taking off with Analysis Services
First Flight: Earn your ETL wings with SSIS
Janis Griffin
(blog | @DoBoutAnything)
Performance Management – 2008 MDW – How & Why
Tuna Helper – Proven Process for Tuning SQL
William E. Pearson III
(blog | @Bill_Pearson)
Entity Strategies: Structuring Your Consultancy
Getting Started with MDX
Robert Miller
(blog | @RobertMiller)
Mirroring 101
Manage and Monitor Your Mirror
Colin Smith
(blog | @smithco32)
Powershell for the DBA
Michael Collins
(blog | @mfcollins3)
Database Development using Visual Studio
Introduction to Microsoft SQL Azure
Ira Whiteside
(blog | @irawhiteside)
Creating a Metadata Mart w/ SSIS – Data Governance
(SSIS, TSQL and MDS) – Record Linkage(Fuzzy Matchi
Bill Ramos
(blog | @billramo)
SQL Server Data Collection Strategies
The Making of the SQL Server Denali Always On Dash
Meredith Ryan-Smith
(blog | @coffegrl)
Work/Life Balance? Just A Myth?
Backup Basics – Knowing your Options and When to
Denny Cherry
(blog | @mrdenny)
SQL Server Clustering 101
Back To Basics; Getting Back To The Basics of SQL
Where should I be encrypting my data?
Orion Gebremedhin
(blog | @OrionGM)
SSRS-Subscriptions & Render Device Settings
SSAS Partitioning and Usage Based Optimization
John Racer
(blog | @speedracer)
Where Are My Reports? Managing Reporting Services
Empowering End Users with Report Models
Zach Mattson
(blog | @WIDBA)
Powershell Eye for the Monitoring Guy
Denise McInerney
(blog | @denisemc06)
DBA as Protector of the Data: Notes from the Field
Tara Kizer
(blog | @TaraKizer)
Performance Tuning with Traces


Without your support SQLSaturday #47 would have never happened. Your contributions help more than you know. You provided valuable information about the many services and tools available to help us do our job better, easier and faster. Thank you for your generosity and continued support for the SQL Community!

So thank you: (in no particular order)

Website Logo


Thanks to the generous staff at Chandler-Gilbert Community College for letting us use their awesome campus to host the event. It was a beautiful venue and we look forward to continuing our partnership for events to come!

thank you

So to the volunteers, presenters, sponsors, CGCC and to all that attended… THANK YOU!. We couldn’t have done it without you and I look forward to seeing and meeting you at the next one!!!