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Basic MDX Syntax: Creating Simple Expressions

We've briefly explored the terrain that we can expect to find in a multidimensional cube, and discussed the role of the MDX language in obtaining information from the cube. Now we're ready to begin using MDX to retrieve data from a data source.

We'll start Analysis Services, navigating to the Warehouse cube, which is supplied as a sample when installing Analysis Services. Follow these steps:

  1. Start Analysis Manager by choosing Start, Programs, Microsoft SQL Server, Analysis Services, Analysis Manager.

  2. Expand the Analysis Servers folder by clicking the plus (+) sign to the left of the folder.

  3. Expand your server. (The server typically is named the same as the PC, but this is determined by the installation and setup.)

Expand the FoodMart 2000 database.

As explained earlier, MDX acts as a tool for extracting information from OLAP cubes. In addition to its data query role, MDX can generate calculated single values. In its capacity as an expression language, MDX allows you to create complex expressions that can be used to serve a wide range of functions within a cube. Among these functions is the creation of calculated members, custom actions, and custom formulas (and variations on each of these), as well as other functions.

We'll begin our exploration of MDX with the creation of a simple calculated member.

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