After acquiring the OLAP technology in 1996 from Panorama Software, it still took 2 years before their own OLAP Services was delivered as part of SQL Server 7. OLAP Services supports MOLAP, ROLAP and HOLAP as architecture and MDX as a query language. In 2000, with the release of SQL Server 2000, the product was rebranded to Analysis services because of the addition of Data mining. Next to this new component, the OLAP engine also had a lot of improvements:
- parent child dimensions
- virtual dimensions
- enhanced calculation engine with support for unary operators, custom roll-ups, and cell calculations
- dimension security
- distinct count
- connectivity over HTTP
- and many others
With SQL Server 2005 the Analysis servers component architecture was completely changed. The unified dimension model was introduced and the way we create cubes changed completely. We first had to create a model with the tables/view/named queries from the data warehouse. Create dimensions that could consist of attributes and hierarchies, whereas in the 2000 version we always needed a hierarchy. To finally create the cube that could consist of multiple measure groups, and could have multiple source tables.
With the release of Analysis services 2008 and Analysis services 2008 R2 the architecture chosen in the 2005 version was confirmed. The analysis engine was even optimized more, and also developing the cubes according to best practices was encouraged with the introduction of the best practice rules.
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