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Understanding Metadata

Microsoft SQL Server 2000 comes equipped with a tool called the Query Analyzer, which allows you to input a SQL statement, execute it, and see the results from a couple of different views. Analysis Services provides a similar capability via the MDX sample application included in the Typical installation. This sample application's metadata pane provides a means of interacting with cube objects visually, making it easy to work with MDX expressions and build MDX queries.

Metadata is concerned with data and its properties, such as data type (text, numeric, and so on) or column sizes. Metadata also comprises information about data structures or information surrounding the design or makeup of objects, such as cubes, dimensions, levels, and so forth. Analysis Services provides the MDX sample application to help new users issue MDX queries against an analysis server, as well as to illustrate with the underlying source code a working example from which developers can understand how to create custom applications for querying with MDX.

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