Nisal's Business Intelligence Blog

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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Jump Start to Azure Analysis Services

Azure analysis services is a cloud-based enterprise-grade analytics engine solution which has the same server instance whereas SQL Server Analysis services Enterprise Edition does. But you can only develop and deploy Tabular models into Azure Analysis Services and which is not support for Multi-dimensional or Cube databases (this is on their roadmap, but not any dates mentioned yet).

Where to Start to develop

You can start your development in your own machine or on-premises development environment using familiar tools to Business intelligence engineers (SQL Server Management Studio and Data tools) 
If you are already familiar with SSAS Tabular, you already know you can connect to multiple sources in order to build your model. Refer the link to find the list of Cloud and on-premises data sources which can connect. 

Why Azure Analysis Services

It is not just because the size of the data set, which you have to consider about Azure Analysis Services. You can still build a server on-prem and run SQL Server Analysis Services even for large data volume. But it is not the same case where access billions of rows of data one users vs 10,000 users concurrently. So especially when it comes to more complex queries there will be a threshold somewhere it will be hard to manage the scaling out. Never like in before, in Azure Analysis Services now it is really easy to do performance tuning tasks even though you are not an expert in that area. Azure Diagnostics logs will help you to analyze and see if there need of scale out. 

Security and Other Features

Azure analysis service uses Azure blob storage to store the data and metadata in your database. At there it uses SSE (Azure blog server side encryption) to encrypt your data. You can get benefit from Azure AD to implement security. Similar to on-premises Analysis services you will be able to implement row-level security.  

You can manage the Azure Analysis server by using Azure portal. There are bunch of features you can find once you spinned an Azure Analysis Server instance. Manage access control, Server administration and you can either pause/start at any time you want. Actually, if you are not expecting up-to-date data from your model, once you deployed you can pause the service in order to avoid the billing. 

Let's see how to create an Azure Analysis Services Instance within few steps in the second part of this blog post below.


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