This chapter discussed extensively the OLAP approach, OLAP terms, and the tools from Microsoft to enable OLAP cubes. It presented a mini-methodology to follow that should help you get an OLAP project off the ground and running smoothly. These efforts are typically not simple, and a well-trained data warehouse analyst or data architect is usually worth his weight in gold because of the end results (and value) that can be achieved with a good OLAP cube design.

Sometimes it is difficult to engage the end users and get them to use the OLAP cube successfully. Easy-to-use third-party tools can greatly help with this problem.

From an Analysis Services point of view, the ease of control of storage methods, dimension creation, degrees of aggregation, cube partitioning, and usage-based optimization are features that make this product a serious data warehousing tool. Through the Pivot Table Service, easy publication of this data can be achieved via Web sites or other means. AS is truly the "land of the wizards," but having a wizard lead you down through a good OLAP cube design is critical. The expense and complexity of a data warehouse or data mart OLAP solution will be significantly reduced, enabling you to build many more, much needed, solutions for your end users.

The next chapter, "Microsoft Transaction Server," will venture into the realm of the Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS). This powerful feature enables cross-site and cross-dbms transactions to be defined and managed by MTS that are guaranteed to have 100 percent transactional integrity.

    Part III: SQL Server Administration
    Part IV: Transact-SQL
    Part V: SQL Server Internals and Performance Tuning
    Part VI: Additional SQL Server Features