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Analysis Services - Dimension Hierarchies

ssas1 Analysis Services   Dimension Hierarchies SSAS Dimension Hierarchies

Okay folks, we have created our first Dimension, the interesting thing is this is only the start.

What are Dimension Hierarchies ?

The next step is to look at grouping our data together, this comes in the focus of a one to many within the one dimension table. For example let us use Dates as an example of Dimension Hierarchies.

Years, Months & Days are values that are contained within a single dimension table respectively they go from most generic(Years) to most specific(Day). Defining these Dimension Hierarchies creates the areas where summarised data will sit when your Cube is processed.

So to the terminology, there are two things to be aware of which is more theory than physical values within SSAS. These are Balanced & natural:

Natural/Unnatural – An example of natural Dimension Hierarchies is a date, logically they fit together Years > Month > Day. An unnatural hierarchy would be one which shouldnt fit but does in a roundabout way, an example of this would be shoe size > manufacture region. Unnatural hierarchies tend to be defined as business logic requirements which although work don’t tend to be logical in flow. This is pure theory and Microsoft SSAS does not mention it in any of the Dimension Hierarchies Properties.

Balanced/Unbalanced – An example of Balanced Dimension Hierarchies would again be the Date one, Logically and accurately Years go into Months go into Days. Balanced Dimension Hierarchies are accurate data and ALWAYS fits together perfectly. Unbalanced on the other hand are ragged and sometimes don’t connect correctly. Examples of these are regions and cities, sometimes a city can be a region therefore is skipped in the data. Eg. World > UK > Cornwall > Plymouth versus World > UK > London, in these two examples the first one defines World to city accurately but the second has problems as the city IS the region as well. In the Microsoft world these are known as “ragged” and will be discussed throughout the course.

So grab hold of something Dimension Hierarchies is one wild ride!

This video is one of many SSAS tutorials on this site click here for more.

The Dimension Hierarchies files

To obtain the sample files please click here:

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  1. Eric Philleo says
    21 Jul 15 at 12:39pm

    The last 8 minutes of this video were rather confusing. As you were just
    trying to unalphabetize the months. It seems if you had just used Month
    Number Of Year in place of English Month Name, the ordering would have been
    fine all along.

  2. Didier Titan says
    21 May 15 at 5:18am

    table Date + hiérarchie de date

  3. Nick Holt says
    10 Mar 15 at 9:00am

    I don’t understand the ‘Add Business Intelligence’ section. Why do you need
    to do this? What value does it add to the cube?

  4. flurryblizzard says
    11 Nov 14 at 9:23pm

    Would have been billion times better if you just tried to sort the
    Attribute Relationships and check that they’re all in the correct
    hierarchy. Trying to make a Composite Key that turns out bigger than the
    actual Measures that it’s trying to support is nonsense.

  5. thesqlspot says
    03 Jan 14 at 8:44pm

    Fantastic. Easily the best tutorial on SSAS I’ve ever seen.

  6. tomdagoy says
    22 Jun 13 at 3:43am

    19.20 month number above month name

  7. tomdagoy says
    22 Jun 13 at 3:39am

    17.50 name column

  8. tomdagoy says
    22 Jun 13 at 3:37am

    16.15 key columns

  9. Nathi Xulu says
    14 Jun 13 at 2:59am

    Thank u verrrrrrrrry much. very precise and straight to the point.

  10. Bhaskar Rao Jogi says
    02 Apr 13 at 5:34am

    Goood one. Thx a lot

  11. moulaye Hamoni says
    17 Oct 12 at 2:19pm

    thank you for this course. Very clear, help me a lot

  12. 04 Mar 12 at 5:46pm

    Hi thanks for spotting! Actually there were two videos that should have been on the series which for some reason failed to appear. i have made sure they are now online. Enjoy!

  13. mano5 says
    04 Mar 12 at 5:01pm


    Thank you very much for posting the vedios,they are really usefull. I am not being able to view this vedio ‘Analysis Services – Dimension Hierarchies’ because the vedio is private’.
    Appreciate , if you can make it pubic.

    Thank you very much once again.

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