SSAS (SQL Server Analysis Service) can be defined as a Microsoft cube-building engine used by SQL Server developers and database administrators when creating multidimensional data structures.
However, even though SSAS builds flexible and powerful cubes, the complexity involved when using it to design hierarchies, dimensions, calculations, and measure groups can bring a lot of issues. These are some of the issues that need SSAS troubleshooting.
That notwithstanding, SSAS comes with tools to help organizations build multidimensional data structures for their business intelligence.
Using BIDS (Business Intelligence Development Studio) in conjunction with SSAS, organizations can avoid some of the issues that require SSAS troubleshooting.
Organizations need to understand the key areas and where to start when performing SSAS troubleshooting. Several things can lead to problems, but the key areas revolve around performance and connectivity. So where do you start when troubleshooting these issues?
1. Querying Performance
SSAS is best known for querying performance. There are different ways through which organizations can twerk the performance of their querying when running it against an SSAS cube.
The first thing they need to do is to ensure that they have invested adequate resources when designing dimensions. They also need to measure groups to ensure that there is optimal performance.
After that, they can create bitmap indexes by setting the right properties and aggregation. They also need to optimize their MDX queries to enforce faster execution. This helps in many ways, one of them in using subspace mode and avoiding cell mode.
2. Processing Performance
When processing tasks, the Cube store is refreshed with the latest data coming from relational databases and other source systems by the SSAS. This generates aggregates if there are any that have already been defined.
SSAS also builds a hierarchy store to save all the natural hierarchies and an attribute store that is used to save all the dimension attributes. This might hurt the processing performance of SSAS.
Organizations need to make sure that they have implemented SSAS troubleshooting to check their processing performance.
Some organizations might argue that processing performance is not as important as query performance since it does not directly affect their users. However, it is important to ensure that they have generated reports with the new data to enhance performance.
3. SSAS Hardware/Instance Resource Optimization
The most important thing when it comes to both querying and processing performance is to make sure that your resources are tuned for optimal throughput.
One way of doing this is by specifying the threads that you need during parallel processing.
You can also optimize hardware and instance resources by specifying the memory amount that you need to be available to SSAS, using better input and output systems or improving them, and ensuring that temp and data files are placed on faster disks.
When troubleshooting connectivity issues with SSAS, organizations also need to know where to start as shown below;
Test TCP/IP Connectivity
You might find yourself in a situation where you are not able to connect to the SSAS remotely, especially when managing a remote workforce that needs access to database services.
When this happens, you need to start by checking the TCP/IP connectivity since it is used for remote connections.
The SSAS uses a port number and IP address for connectivity and identification. The IP address is used to identify the server that runs SSAS instances while the port number is used for identifying logical connections to a certain service.
When testing the TCP/IP connectivity, you can use the TELNET and PING utilities. However, note that you might have to add the TELNET client manually if you are using a modern Windows OS.
Using the PING command, pass the server IP address or name to test connectivity. Use both of them, one after the other for confirmation. If you face any errors, then you need to troubleshoot SSAS.
Check this out:
After ensuring that you do not have any problem with the TCP/IP connectivity, you can proceed with application connectivity. It is, however, important to note that you should not start testing the application connectivity if you failed the TCP/IP connectivity test.
You can start this process by checking whether the SQL browser is started or not. If not, you will get a connection error. You might also get an error on the port number that is being used. Make sure that you are connecting via the right port number.
Finally, configure the connection to IPv4. If you are using modern Windows Servers, you need to note that they support IPv6. This means that the analysis service might configure another port number to support IPv6. You, therefore, need to remove IPv6.
In conclusion, these are some of the common problems and key areas that you need to look at when performing SSAS troubleshooting. It is important to go through this process when facing problems since SSAS troubleshooting might be all that you need.