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Introduction To MDX. Dustin Ryan. A little bit about me…. Business Intelligence Consultant, Pragmatic Works Technical editor for the many authors at Pragmatic Works Blog/Write @ Proficient in magic Part-time belly dancer at I-4 truck stop. About Pragmatic Works….

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a little bit about me
A little bit about me…
  • Business Intelligence Consultant, Pragmatic Works
  • Technical editor for the many authors at Pragmatic Works
  • Blog/Write @
  • Proficient in magic
  • Part-time belly dancer at I-4 truck stop
about pragmatic works
About Pragmatic Works…
  • Located in sunny, stupid hot Green Cove Springs, FL
  • Offer consulting and training services
    • Data Warehousing
    • Data Migrations
    • DTS Conversions
  • Software centering around Microsoft B.I. stack
    • BI xPress
      • BIDS plugin for SSIS development
    • BI Documenter
      • Document reports, packages, cubes, databases
    • Task Factory
      • High performance SSIS tasks
what is mdx
What is MDX?
  • Multi Dimensional eXpression Language
  • Used to query cubes (multidimensional databases)
  • Developed during the late 1990’s
where is mdx used
Where is MDX used?
  • Cube calculations
  • KPI’s
  • Querying the cube
why mdx
Why MDX?
  • Allows complex reporting
  • Cube answers analytical questions
  • Data is pre-aggregated


useful terminology
Useful Terminology
  • Dimension
    • A Dimension organizes data in relation to a particular interest
  • Attribute
    • Within a dimension are attributes. Attributes are properties of the dimension that describe that area of interest.
  • Measures
    • A measure can be summarized as a column that contains some kind of quantifiable data that can be aggregated
more useful terminology
More Useful Terminology
  • Hierarchy
    • A user defined hierarchy is a hierarchical structure of attributes
a couple more terms
A couple more terms…
  • Level
    • Within a hierarchy are levels. An example of a level in the Date Hierarchy would be the Month Level.
  • Member
    • A member is a value of a level. An example of a member of the Month level would be March or April.
yet more useful terms
Yet More Useful Terms
  • Axis
    • Can be thought of as the line on a which a single dimension rests which intersects our measure groups
    • An MDX query can have up to 128 axes (only 5 are aliased)
      • Rows
      • Columns
      • Pages
      • Chapters
      • Sections
    • Most MDX queries contain only 2 axes since most reporting is done in a two dimensional tabular format
basic mdx query syntax
Basic MDX Query Syntax
  • MDX Query example:

Select[Date].[Fiscal Year].members on Rows,

[Measures].[Internet Order Quantity] on Columns

From [Adventure Works]

Where [Product].[Category].&[1]


tuples sets
Tuples & Sets
  • Tuples
    • A collection of dimension attributes not from the same dimension ex. ([Date].[Fiscal Year].members, [Sales Territory].[Sales Territory Country].members)
  • Set
    • A collection of tuplesex. {([Date].[Fiscal Year].&[2006], [Sales Reason].[Sales Reason].&[9]),([Date].[Fiscal Year].&[2006], [Sales Reason].[Sales Reason].&[5])}


mdx books to check out
MDX Books to Check Out
  • MDX Solutions
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 MDX Step by Step
  • Practical MDX Queriesby Art Tennick
contact me
Contact Me

Dustin Ryan

  • Email:
  • Blog: