When I first thought of including book reviews on this site I made a vow not to review any book until I’d read it all the way through. The end result has been that I’ve got several books on my shelf which I’ve had for a while and which I’ve used extensively but which I haven’t reviewed, because strictly speaking I’ve not read them from cover to cover. Teo Lachev’s "Applied Analysis Services 2005" is one such book, but since I’ve now read so much of it (albeit a few pages at a time, when I’ve needed to look something up) I feel like I can bend my own rule and write a review at last.
In terms of content the book aims to be a general reference for anyone who is building BI solutions using Analysis Services 2005 and other, related Microsoft tools like Reporting Services, Integration Services and Office. While it’s suitable for the beginner – and I think Teo writes very clearly indeed, explaining the basic concepts very well – it’s much more than that, and goes into enough detail to make it useful for seasoned BI professionals. I’ve struggled to find a topic that it doesn’t cover in some shape or form (the book is 700 pages long so you get a lot of content for your money) and in almost all cases it goes well beyond the basics to offer sensible, practical advice. I can only think of one topic which I didn’t think was covered in enough depth and that was local cubes, but that was the exception rather than the rule and to be honest in that particular case I’m not sure anyone outside the development team knows much about AS2005’s capabilities. Teo also manages to cover advanced functionality such as measure expressions which isn’t officially documented anywhere else to my knowledge, not even in Books Online, which makes the book invaluable to anyone who wasn’t on the TAP program or doesn’t have a direct line to Mosha.
Although Teo’s quite open about the sources he’s used while writing the book, and helpfully includes a list of them with urls at the end of the chapter, I never got the impression that he was simply regurgitating information he’d found elsewhere but instead that he’d tested everything out himself and was offering the fruits of his own experience. He’s honest enough to disagree with Microsoft when he feels like he should, for example when he calls pro-active caching the "most oversold" feature of SQL 2005 after CLR stored procedures, and that to me is the sign of an author who knows his subject. And while I disagreed with him in one or two places on similar matters of opinion or style, I’ve not found any errors in the text either which is impressive for a book of this size and scope.
"Applied Analysis Services" isn’t going to be a replacement for more in-depth books like "Data Mining with SQL Server 2005" or (excuse the plug) "MDX Solutions", but if you’re only going to buy one book on AS2005 then you won’t go wrong here. There will be other similar books on the market soon but they’re going to have to be very good indeed to beat this one!
You can find out more about the book here:
You can see my list of SQL2005 BI-related books here: