About the Series ...
This article is a member of the series, MDX Essentials.
The series is designed to provide hands-on application of the fundamentals of
the Multidimensional Expressions (MDX) language, with each tutorial
progressively adding features designed to meet specific real-world needs.
For more information about the series in general, as well as
the software and systems requirements for getting the most out of the lessons
included, please see my first article, MDX at First Glance: Introduction to MDX Essentials.
Note: Current updates are assumed for MSSQL
Server, MSSQL Server Analysis Services, and the related Books
Online and Samples.
this lesson, we will expose another useful function in the MDX toolset, the MeasureGroupMeasures()
function. The general purpose of the MeasureGroupMeasures() function
is to return a list of all measures within a specified measure group.
The MeasureGroupMeasures() function is useful in limiting scope to the
member measures from a specified measure group within our
queries, MDX scripts, and elsewhere.
can be leveraged
in activities that range from generating simple lists to supporting
sophisticated conditional and other calculations and presentations. We will
introduce the function, commenting upon its operation and touching upon creative
effects that we can employ it to deliver. As a part of our discussion, we
Examine the syntax surrounding the function;
Undertake illustrative examples of the uses of the function in
Briefly discuss the results datasets we obtain in the practice
The MeasureGroupMeasures() Function
According to the Analysis Services
Books Online, the MeasureGroupMeasures()
function returns a set of measures that belongs to the
specified measure group. MeasureGroupMeasures()
has numerous applications. For
example, the function can be leveraged within queries of various types, used to
define scopes within MDX scripts, or employed to specify the Target
property within Analysis Services Actions. As is the case with most MDX
functions, combining it with other
functions allows us to further extend its power.
We will examine the syntax for the MeasureGroupMeasures()
function after a brief discussion in the next section. We will then explore,
from the straightforward context of MDX queries, and within practice examples
constructed to support hypothetical business needs, some of the uses it offers
the knowledgeable user. This will allow us to activate what we explore in the Discussion
and Syntax sections, where we will get some hands-on exposure in
creating expressions that employ the MeasureGroupMeasures() function.
To restate our initial explanation of its operation, the MeasureGroupMeasures()
function, returns the set of measures belonging to the measure
group specified by a string expression we supply. MeasureGroupMeasures()
can be used for a great deal more than simple list retrieval, as we have
intimated. When coupled with other functions or used within MDX scripts, among
other applications, we can leverage MeasureGroupMeasures() to support a
wide range of analysis and reporting utility.
Lets look at some syntax illustrations to further clarify
the operation of MeasureGroupMeasures().
Syntactically, in using the MeasureGroupMeasures()
function to return a set of measures, the measure group upon
which we seek to apply the function is specified within the parentheses to the right
of the MeasureGroupMeasures keyword. The function takes the string
expression we supply as its argument, and returns a list of the measures
contained within the specified measures group. The general syntax is
shown in the following string:
Putting MeasureGroupMeasures() to
work is straightforward. When using the function to return the list of measures
belonging to the measure group with which it works, we simply specify,
via a string expression within the parentheses of the function, the measure
group for which we seek to retrieve the measures list. As an
example, within a query executed against the sample Adventure Works
cube, for a measure group named Sales Summary, the following
returns the measures,
together with their values, contained within the Sales Summary measure group
of the cube. Based upon the very nature of the set of measures that
MeasureGroupMeasures() returns, the function lends itself to the role of
limiting data returned via the MDX Filter() function (as we shall see
within our practice section), among others. It is also easy, for the same
reason, to see why it is useful as a scoping mechanism within MDX scripts.
NOTE: For detailed information about the Filter()
function, see my article Basic
Set Functions: The Filter() Function,
within the Database Journal MDX Essentials series.
We will practice some uses of the MeasureGroupMeasures() function
in the section that follows.
Preparation: Access SQL Server Management Studio
To reinforce our understanding of the basics we have
covered, we will use the MeasureGroupMeasures() function within queries that
illustrate its operation. The intent is to demonstrate the use of MeasureGroupMeasures()
in a straightforward, memorable manner that efficiently illustrates its
We will turn to the SQL Server Management Studio as a
platform from which to construct and execute the MDX we examine, and to view
the results datasets we obtain. If you do not know how to access the SQL
Server Management Studio in preparation for using it to query an Analysis
Services cube (we will be using the sample Adventure Works cube in
the Adventure Works DW Analysis Services database), please
perform the steps of the following procedure, located in the References
section of my articles index:
MSSQL Server Management Studio to Query Analysis Services
This procedure will take us through opening a new Query
pane, upon which we will create our first query within the section that
Procedure: Satisfy Business Requirements with MDX
For purposes of our practice example, we will assume that we
have received a request for assistance from representatives of our client, the Adventure
Works organization. As we have noted in other articles of the series, the
Reporting department, a group of client-facing authors and developers, often
requests assistance with designing queries to support organizational analysis
and reporting efforts. As a part of our relationship with Adventure Works,
as well as with other clients, we provide on-site staff augmentation for
business requirements gathering and training, as well as combined development
workshops / train the trainer events.
In a brief discussion with members of the Reporting
department, we learn that a need has arisen to craft MDX queries for some new
analysis and reporting requirements. First, several requirements have been
identified to generate datasets, from the Adventure Works cube, to
support OLAP reports that management has requested. The client has implemented
the integrated Microsoft BI solution, and, in addition to using Analysis
Services as an OLAP data source, they use Reporting Services as an
enterprise reporting solution. The MDX we explore together, we are told, will
thus be adapted for ultimate use within Reporting Services, in multiple
The requests relayed by the client representatives evidence
a need to filter multidimensional data in a manner that we think might best be
served with the MeasureGroupMeasures() function. Once our colleagues
provide an overview of the business requirements, and we conclude that MeasureGroupMeasures()
is likely to be a key component of the option we offer, we provide the
details about the function and its use just as we have done in the earlier
sections of this article. We convince the authors that they might best become
familiar with the MeasureGroupMeasures() function by examining an
introductory example, where we employ the function to generate a
straightforward list of measures that are contained within one of the
cubes measure groups. Once the
basics are understood, we then propose, we will explore the use of MeasureGroupMeasures()
to accommodate a more challenging requirement that the client has proposed.
Procedure: Use the MeasureGroupMeasures()
Function to Generate a Simple Set of Measures in a Results Dataset
Lets construct a simple query to provide a conceptual
starting point for illustrating the use of the MeasureGroupMeasures() function.
The idea is to generate a very basic dataset that displays each of the measures
contained within the one of the larger measure groups, named Sales
Summary, which exists within the Adventure Works cube. This initial
display, we reason, will show the concepts behind using the MeasureGroupMeasures()
function and, we hope, introduce some of the ways we can employ it
effectively. Once we have accomplished our immediate goal in this section, we
will further evolve these concepts in meeting a more elaborate business
requirement in the procedure that follows it.
Type (or cut
and paste) the following single axis query into the Query pane:
--MDX060-001 "Starter Query" to Demonstrate
-- Simple Use of MEASUREGROUPMEASURES()
MEASUREGROUPMEASURES('Sales Summary')ON AXIS(0)
The Query pane appears,
with our input, as shown in Illustration 1.
Illustration 1: Our Initial Query in the Query Pane ...
The above query sets the stage for our demonstrations of
some of the uses of MeasureGroupMeasures(), and certainly accomplishes
the basic objective of illustrating, in the simplest manner, how it works. The
idea is to generate a dataset to activate the concepts in the minds of our
query by clicking the Execute button in the toolbar, as depicted in Illustration
Illustration 2: Click Execute to Run the Query...
The Results pane is populated by Analysis
Services, and the dataset, shown in Illustration 3,
Illustration 3: Results Dataset Simple Measures List
In the returned dataset, we see that the member measures of
the Sales Summary measure group, together with their respective total
values, appear as expected. This simple dataset provides a great beginner illustration
of the output of the MeasureGroupMeasures() function when used within a
simple SELECT context.
-> Save MDXQuery1.mdx As ..., name the file MDX060-001,
and place it in a meaningful location.
developer / author colleagues express satisfaction with the contextual backdrop
we have established for introducing the MeasureGroupMeasures() function.
We will employ the function again in our next steps, to a large degree to
expand upon its use in the first example.
Procedure: Use the MeasureGroupMeasures()
Function to Filter a Dataset to Meet a Business Need
demonstrated the basic operation of MeasureGroupMeasures(), we are ready
to address a somewhat more sophisticated requirement to which the client
representatives have referred in earlier conversations. To detail the
requirement, our colleagues have asked us to address a specific, immediate
need, although they hope to be able to extrapolate the concepts we introduce to
other, similar needs that continually arise within the organization. The
authors / developers have asked that we construct a query that delivers total Reseller
Sales-related measures for which Fiscal Year 2002 measure values
exceeded $ 100,000 for more than four months. Our colleagues
explain that management is attempting to perform analysis upon a handful of
Resellers with whom the organization did business in an earlier year, when
far fewer Reseller relationships existed. Management is interested only in
a scope of sales-related values above the stated threshold for their immediate
information needs, but, as always, the client representatives assure us that,
once they understand the concepts, they will seek to parameterize various parts
of the query, such as the threshold value, the number of months at that value,
and so forth, within reports they will later create using Reporting Services.
the business requirement entails working with only measures whose totals exceed
the $ 100,000 threshold for more than four months, we explain
that the MeasureGroupMeasures() function promises to be useful in
support of the necessary filter to isolate the targeted values. We confirm our understanding of the foregoing
needs, as well as our conclusion that we have happened upon a great opportunity
to both assist the client in meeting its immediate needs and to provide
examples that leverage the MDX MeasureGroupMeasures() function. We set
out to craft a query that relies upon MeasureGroupMeasures(), in
conjunction with the MDX Filter() function, that meets the business
Select File -->
New from the main menu, once
Select Query with Current
Connection from the cascading menu that appears next, as depicted in Illustration
Illustration 4: Create a New
Query with the Current Connection ...
A new tab, with a
connection to the Adventure Works cube (we can see it listed in the
selector of the Metadata pane, once again) appears in the Query
Type (or cut and paste) the
following query into the Query pane:
--MDX060-002 Use of MEASUREGROUPMEASURES() to
-- Filter a Dataset for Multiple Criteria
[Fiscal Year 2002 Analysis Months]
[Date].[Fiscal].[Fiscal Year].[FY 2002],
[Fiscal Year 2002 Analysis Months] ON AXIS(0),
FILTER([Fiscal Year 2002 Analysis Months],
MEASURES.CURRENTMEMBER > 100000)
)> 4)} ON AXIS(1)
The Query pane appears, with our input, as shown in Illustration 5.
Illustration 5: Our Second Query
in the Query Pane ...
Execute the query by clicking
the Execute button in the toolbar.
The Results pane is, once again, populated by Analysis
Services. This time, the dataset depicted in Illustration 6 appears.
Illustration 6: Results Dataset
Filtering Based Upon Multiple Criteria
In the returned dataset, we see the columns we have defined
via our named set Fiscal Year 2002 Analysis Months. (We leverage the Descendants()
function within our named set definition to specify the desired months - those
of Fiscal Year 2002 - as columns within the dataset.) Of primary focus
within our practice example is our use of the MeasureGroupMeasures() function
in conjunction with the Filter() function to return only measures
whose total values exceed the thresholds, both for the values themselves and
for the number of months (a count of the months) specified by the client. (We
can easily verify operation by observing that all measures within the Reseller
Sales measure group do not appear within the filtered dataset we
can also lower the dollar threshold to bring in more of the measures to
confirm our understanding). As we can see, the Count() and .CurrentMember
functions are also employed in helping us to meet the desired business
For more detail surrounding the Filter() function, see Basic
Set Functions: The Filter() Function. For information
on several of the relative functions, of which .CurrentMember is an
example, see my article MDX
Member Functions: "Relative" Member Functions. For
an introduction to the Count() function, see my article Basic
Numeric Functions: The Count() Function. Finally, examples of usage
of the Descendants() function are presented
throughout my MDX Essentials series, of which all of the foregoing articles
-> Save MDXQuery2.mdx As ..., name the file MDX060-002.mdx,
and place it in the same location used to store the earlier query
client developers and report authors express satisfaction with the results, and
confirm their understanding of the operation of the MeasureGroupMeasures()
function within the context we have presented, as well as within other uses we
have discussed in earlier sections. We suggest to our client colleagues that,
among numerous possibilities, the year might be parameterized, that we
might build in the capability to switch from Calendar to Fiscal Year,
that the tandem thresholds we specify (measure value, and number of
months at that value) might be parameterized, and that we might add myriad
other capabilities within the ultimate reporting dataset query. Suffice it to
say that, assuming a thorough knowledge of the various layers of the Microsoft
integrated BI solution, one can obtain many powerful capabilities and features,
and knowing where to put the intelligence within the sometimes multiple
choices can mean highly tuned performance and effective solutions for consumers
throughout our organizations. For more of my observations on this subject see Multi-Layered
Business Solutions ... Require Multi-Layered Architects.
-> Exit to leave the SQL Server Management Studio, when ready.
client representatives inform us that their immediate goals have been met, and
that the examples we have shared illustrate the principles of operation behind MeasureGroupMeasures(),
as a part of helping them to support the expressed business requirements.
this article, we explored the MDX MeasureGroupMeasures() function, whose
general purpose is to return a list of all measures within a specified measure
group. We noted that the MeasureGroupMeasures() function is also useful
in limiting scope to the member measures from a specified measure
group within an MDX script, and that the function can be leveraged in
activities that range from generating simple datasets to supporting
sophisticated filtering and scoping operations, among other capabilities.
examined the syntax involved with MeasureGroupMeasures(), and then
undertook a couple of illustrative practice examples of uses for the function,
generating queries that capitalized upon its capabilities. Throughout our
practice session, we briefly discussed the results datasets we obtained from
each of the queries we constructed, as well as extending our discussion to
other possible options and uses for the concepts we exposed.
See All Articles by Columnist William E. Pearson, III
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