Book Review: Expert Cube Development with Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services

I spent last week on campus in Redmond with the SQL Server Analysis Services Maestro program. It was great to have a chance to focus on SSAS for a week. As part of that, I did quite a bit of reading as I had quite a bit of travelling time. Ironically, I re-read a few books.

The first was Marco Russo, Alberto Ferrari and Chris Webb's book Expert Cube Development with Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services. I've often told BI classes that I've been teaching that this is a really good book and highly recommended. Re-reading it confirmed that. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it again.

I can't say that I agree with every conclusion that Marco, Alberto and Chris came to, but I really appreciated the tone of the book where they make direct recommendations about how to do things, rather than endlessly messing around with "it depends" types of comments. Often, readers just want an opinion on what to do, even if it's not the only opinion.

I'm not sure that the book is at the "Expert" level but it provides a very sound coverage of Analysis Services. There are only two areas where I would love to see some changes. First, while the AS material is great, the more they step into the relational engine aspects, the shakier the material gets. For example, they discuss that disk queue lengths greater than 2 are a problem. While that was an indication to consider back when we mostly worked with DAS based systems, in most SAN-based environments, this simply isn't correct advice.

Second, I hope the guys push the publisher (PackT Publishing) to make their book available in Kindle format. It was the only book that I took with me on this trip where I needed to carry the hard-copy book.

Regardless, it's a great book and should be on the shelf of anyone working with Analysis Services 2008. Highly recommended!

7 thoughts on “Book Review: Expert Cube Development with Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services”

  1. I think you can convert their PDF format to be read on a Kindle. I know I don't have any problems on my Nook, but they also support PDFs differently.

  2. Greg,
    thanks for the feedback, I really appreciate it.
    I agree with you regarding the Disk Queue Length advice. At least in this case, "it depends" on the storage subsystem you have.
    Regarding Kindle, I know that Packt offer ePub and PDF formats – did you try some ePub-Kindle converter? My experience with PDF is not very good (converting to Kindle format, I mean).

  3. Hi Marco,
    Yes, you can send PDF formats to it but reading a PDF is a much poorer reading experience than a Kindle format book. I'll have to try their ePub format and see if I can convert it. Better though if PackT start to offer Kindle format 🙂

  4. Greg, the only reason I would carry mine around is to get the signature from the authors :-). Seriously, you can use Calibre to convert ePub to Mobi and the final result will look great. I've re-read that book on my Kindle while preparing for the SSAS Maestro course in London earlier this year.
    Here's the important link:

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