Analysis Services · Multidimensional · Power View

Power View on SSAS Multidimensional

Earlier this week I mentioned that the announcement about Power View working on SSAS Multidimensional had leaked out. There was a full session on it yesterday giving all the details and I thought I’d summarise them here for your enjoyment. Here are the main points:

  • This has not shipped yet – it is not in SSAS 2012 SP1. No release date had been announced but it sounds like it is coming very soon.
  • It will come as a new build of SSAS 2012, so to use Power View you will need to upgrade to that build and no earlier version of SSAS will work.
  • It will also require an update to Power View. This means:
    • Power View in Sharepoint (ie SSRS) will need to be updated too
    • Power View in Excel will still not work initially, even when the new build of SSAS has been released. We’ll have to wait for another update for Office (perhaps a service pack?) before Power View in Excel works on SSAS Multidimensional too.
  • In technical terms, what has happened is that SSAS Multidimensional now
    • Exposes Tabular metadata
    • Can be queried in DAX
  • There is no translation going on from DAX to MDX, SSAS Multidimensional supports DAX natively.
  • The consensus in the session room was that the SSAS team had done a really good job thinking through all the details of how this will work. In general your existing cube will not need to be redesigned, it will just work and all your queries and calculations will return the results you expect. In the session a lot of time was spent showing how things like default members will work.
  • But some things are not supported: if you have named sets or actions they will not be exposed; in some scenarios calculated members on non-measures dimensions will not be exposed either, but time utility dimensions should work; and cell security is not supported either – if a user is a member of a role that has cell security applied, they will not be able to run DAX queries.
  • There’s a minor new feature in SSAS that allows you to mark an attribute as containing a URL for an image, so that Power View can display the images automatically.

UPDATE: the public CTP is now available

6 thoughts on “Power View on SSAS Multidimensional

  1. Hi Chris, it was great to meet you at the Summit. Regarding DAX on Multidimensional cubes, I understand there will be no translation from DAX to MDX as the engine will understand DAX natively. My understanding is that Tabular does not translate MDX to DAX either, but still uses DAX query plans on MDX queries. Do you believe that structures like MDX logical plan trees will still be used when executing DAX queries over Multidimensional?

    1. Chris Webb – My name is Chris Webb, and I work on the Fabric CAT team at Microsoft. I blog about Power BI, Power Query, SQL Server Analysis Services, Azure Analysis Services and Excel.
      Chris Webb says:

      Hi Javier,

      It was a pleasure meeting you too at last. I have no idea what the answer to you question is though… I’ll try to find out.



  2. Hi Chris,

    Thanks very much for this post and your blog. It is always useful to me.

    I am posting this in hope that it is a channel into Microsoft to encourage them to get Power View for multidimensional out quickly, and also understand how they left some of us in an uncomfortable spot.

    My large customers are confused – they are seeing demos of Power View and Power Pivot and thinking their investment in multi-dimensional is a dead end – because they cannot use Power View. But, Power Pivot and or Analysis Server 2012 Tablular do not provide a good or complete solution. Maybe in 2015?

    And the standard Microsoft line out in the field about Multidimensional and MDX is that it is too complex, meanwhile they are on the Hadoop Azure map reduce bandwagon (complex?). Not a good look – bashing their own products – encourages customers and practitioners to look at SAP Hana or other solutions.

    Bob Doss

  3. Thanks Chris,
    For sharing these specific details. Helped a lot and gave confidence as well on SSAS.

    I still feel limitations of Power view are big enough to make it more popular. Or may be I am aware of work-around for those.
    Two major problem i see are No KPIs and No Hierarchies use available in Power View, though Tabular Model allows you to have these (KPI and Hierarchies) features.
    Please clarify.


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