First thing I have done is to open an existing 2008 SSAS solution on the new Denali BIDS, the conversion process is almost immediate, just to run a simple wizard but when you open the solution you’ll see that everything remains as before, even the SSAS environment, there is just a change on the look and feel of the menus and and background colours to accommodate to the Visual Studio 2010 IDE.

Once I have the solution open I have deployed it to the Denali instance and process it, again, no changes at all from previous version.

The first change I have found is a visual but important one: the pane where the cube is browse now looks and works as the SSRS one used for creating a SSAS dataset.Which is the impact on this change? From my point of view is big, because I don’t really like that SSRS pane.

  1. It just allows you to explore the data as table, I mean with just dimensions on the rows axys, so no more dimensions available on the column area.
  2. No more drillthrough actions available. The predefined actions you have defined on the cube item cannot be explore anymore from the browse tab, so you have to test them in a separate tool.
  3. You have the option to convert the browse on a MDX query directly. That would be a good thing if the MDX query would be the best one, but so we are limited just to dimensions on the rows I do not really like it at all, (I will continue writing my own MDX I think)
  4. There is one additional item that is not on the SSRS pane, a new icon so you can lauch Excel directly from the browse tab. So obviously they are directing you to run most of the test within Excel. That would have sense on a development environment, but the fact is that the same changes have been apply on the SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) so is Microsoft trying to push everybody working with SSAS to have Excel setup even if you are working directly on a server?

Actually there are not many more changes on the OLAP BIDS side, the rest is related with the new features explained at the MSDN site. I’ll continue describing the new features on future posts.