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What’s new in Analysis Services 2012 Multidimensional?

with 33 comments

Now that SQL Server 2012 has been released, I’ve just realised I’ve not seen a definitive list of what’s new in SSAS 2012 Multidimensional. In fact I’m surprised I haven’t got round to writing a blog post about this… after all, despite the fuss over Tabular, Power View and all the other cool new stuff I guess most existing SSAS users are going to be more interested in staying with the Multidimensional model when they upgrade.

So what is new? Here’s a list of everything I know about plus some relevant links:

Have I forgotten anything? Have you found anything changed that isn’t documented? If so, please leave a comment. I’ll update this post as and when I find/remember new stuff.

Written by Chris Webb

March 26, 2012 at 8:12 am

33 Responses

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  1. Great post, thanks for compiling this list Chris!

    For the development, I think you mean Visual Studio 2010, not 2012… is that right?


    March 26, 2012 at 9:25 am

  2. Great to see those changes in the new release and thanks a lot for summarizing it Chris. It is a pity that you have to catch your flight and could not stay with us after the SQL PASS event on Sat. in Dublin.


    March 26, 2012 at 11:03 am

  3. That browser change really sucks!!!



    March 26, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    • True, it does not have expand/collapse functions for user defined hierarchies as well.


      June 26, 2012 at 7:58 am

  4. I agree that browser change sucks. Instead of upgrading to maybe a PivotTable like browser they are making it mostly unusable by making it SSRS like.

    Sanjay Khadilkar

    March 26, 2012 at 4:53 pm

  5. Regarding the OWC deprecation. The OWC component was used in a few separate areas of the product, all of which were impacted.

    Other SSDT components affected are the calculation debugging and exploring data in a DSV. For calculation debugging, a replacement control was provided, same as for cube browsing. Exploring data in the DSV is the worst, as Microsoft simply removed the functionality for creating pivot tables and charts from DSV. Now you can only show data from DSV in a tabular format within SSDT.

    The OWC components were also removed from SSMS and replaced with the MDX query designer.

    I will note here that Microsoft did extensive side-by-side testing with SQL Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2012 tools. If the OWC deprecation makes you very sad, you can just use the old tools side-by-side with the new tools. You can manage a SQL Server 2012 multidimensional model very well from SQL Server 2008 R2 SSMS, and you can simply browse your cubes in OWC from there after deployment.


    March 26, 2012 at 6:03 pm

  6. […] What’s new in Analysis Services 2012 Multidimensional? […]

  7. […] Az Analysis Services 2012 OLAP motor több mint 300 apró továbbfejlesztést tartalmaz, de új szívet melengető funkció nem jelent meg:·         Eltűnt a 4 gigás attribútum fájl méretkorlát, de sosem ütköztem még bele·         Új Xevents eseményeket tudunk monitorozni a memórián belüli zárolások monitorozására, de sosem volt rá még szükségem·         PowerShell támogatás az OLAP adatbázis bejárására szintén nem az a szolgáltatás, amit a kipróbáláson túl valaha is használtam.Akit érdekelnek a további újdonságok is, az látogassa meg az alábbi oldalakat:  ·         What's New (Analysis Services)·         What’s new in Analysis Services 2012 Multidimensional? […]

  8. Thanks for detailing the changes, Chris — always appreciated. You are indeed correct that this new cube browser is undeniably terrible. I’d like to use stronger words, but this is a family blog after all.

    In case anyone else finds it useful, I’ll point out that SSDT will only work once you install the SQL2012 client tools. Before that, I had tried downloading SSDT and installing it on my existing VS2010. Imagine my frustration when I was able to use the database tools, but unable to connect to SSRS, SSAS, etc. In short, keep in mind that two different sets of tools are flying under the SSDT banner.

    Shawn A

    April 12, 2012 at 7:04 pm

  9. Hi Chris

    Great info, I’m trying AS2012 Distinct Count enhancement for ROLAP, but don’t see the AS2012 property parameter: OLAP\ProcessPlan\EnableRolapDistinctCountOnDataSource
    Am I missing something??


    May 21, 2012 at 7:50 pm

  10. has there been any enhancements to the formula engine, is it multi threaded now?


    December 11, 2012 at 5:06 am

  11. Hi Chris, has your request for role playing measure groups been added? I noticed your workaround in the link below which I’m going to try out on a large data set however it would be more elegant to incorporate this in BIDS

    John Shiangoli

    December 18, 2012 at 11:53 am

  12. […] a nice list of the “minor” changes in SSAS 2012, see this blog post by Chris Webb (b | […]

  13. I know it’s a bit off topic, but can we expect improvement with regards to SSRS and SSAS integration.
    F.e. built in support for drilldown and drillup?

    By the way, whatever happend to the great work IT-Workplace did with regards to the custom SSRS data source for SSAS, it doesn’t seem to be around anymore (?)

    Antoon Vansina

    June 4, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    • I think it’s safe to say that, after all this time, there won’t be any changes or improvements to SSAS/SSRS integration now!

      No idea what happened to IT Workplace…

      Chris Webb

      June 4, 2013 at 9:50 pm

  14. Hi Chris

    Nice list of the new or edited features of SQL Server…

    As we do the design of cubes mostly on servers where no excel is installed is there a plugin or something similiar to browse the cube than with the horrible new cube browser integrated in SSMS / SSDT?

    We would really appreciate something to browse trough the hierarchies and all the stuff as we can do in SSMS 2008R2… Perhaps you have an idea?

    Thx in advance and best wishes from switzerland


    September 24, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    • The only thing you can do is install SSMS 2008 R2. You can still use it to manage SSAS 2012 and the old cube browser still works OK.

      Chris Webb

      September 25, 2013 at 9:24 am

      • Hey Chris

        Thank you for your fast answer… I think the old SSMS is not really an option due to licence-problems.

        I hoped that there is another solution for that newly created dilemma such as a add-in or something equivalent…



        September 26, 2013 at 12:04 pm

  15. Chris,

    I’m using Analysis Services 2012 Multi-Dimensional mode. I have a 64 logical processors box. When I run large # of queries, I only see AS using 16 Logical Processors. I’ve played around with some of the ini settings, but I can’t get it to use more than 16 logical processors. Have you seen this behavior?

    Peter Tran

    October 1, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    • It’s hard to say what’s going on here – which ini file settings have you changed, and are you running queries that are Storage Engine intensive (have you partitioned your measure groups and do your queries hit lots of partitions)?

      Chris Webb

      October 2, 2013 at 9:49 pm

  16. Hello,

    I’m testing SSAS 2012-SP1 on a very powerful server (4 sockets / 10 cores / 80 logical processors) with 512 Go RAM / this server is numa mode hardware / WS2012 standard edition and two disk partitions (1 Raid 5 1To) and the other SSD 512go dedicated to OLAP.
    We have realized several tests between Tabular mode and Olap mode .. OLAP works perfectly on numa mode ! the 80 proc are all used during the compilations and the SE perfectly use all procs !. (very impressive !). our main fact table as more that 2 billions rows. and the respond time is less that 2 seconds on 80% or our Mdx querys (even when the SE has to aggregate from scrach).
    as I said to Marco we have lot of problems with tabular engine (not compatible with numa mode, dont use the 80 procs ! ) and in conclusion OLAP with SSD disks is faster that Tabular ! and really more stable.


    December 21, 2013 at 9:21 am

  17. […] this blog post by Chris Webb (b | […]

  18. removing the OWC component is a huge step backward. why on earth would I need to install Excel on the Production server just so that I can verify the data on SSAS. I believe this is an ambush from Microsoft so that they can push for Excel as a BI client. very disappointed indeed.

    Omar Ali

    November 18, 2014 at 12:50 am

    • I agree it was a step back, but it’s not a conspiracy. OWC had been deprecated for a long time before it was removed from Visual Studio – the SSAS team just didn’t have the resources to build a new control.

      Chris Webb

      November 18, 2014 at 10:32 am

  19. Thanks Chris for this post. Can you please inform is there anything else new in SSAS 2012? Or everything is already covered in above blog and comments?


    December 23, 2014 at 11:04 am

    • No, there’s nothing else substantial in SSAS 2012 beyond what’s in this post.

      Chris Webb

      December 29, 2014 at 12:07 am

  20. […] you might think there has been some investment in SSAS Multidimensional over the last few years. This post lists what was new in SSAS 2012 Multidimensional; since then support for DAX queries has been added […]

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