MDX Tutorial – a Tutor to Multi Dimensional Language
MDX stands for ‘Multi-Dimensional Expressions’ and is the standard language defined by Microsoft to query multi-dimensional servers.
The Multi Dimensional expressions (MDX) language provides a specialized syntax for querying and manipulating the multidimensional data stored in OLAP cubes.
While it is possible to translate some of these into traditional SQL, it would frequently require the synthesis of clumsy SQL expressions even for very simple Multi-Dimensional Expressions expressions.
Multi-Dimensional Expressions has been embraced by a wide majority of OLAP vendors and has become the standard for OLAP systems.
At first glance, it may appear similar to SQL. However, Multi-Dimensional Expressions is a completely new language. SQL was designed to query dimensional data structures, called tables, where data is organized in rows and columns. In Multi-Dimensional Expressions, data are organized around multiple measures, dimensions, hierarchies, and levels.
Multi-Dimensional Expressions is a language used to perform calculations and analysis around multi-dimensional structures. Multi-Dimensional Expressions includes a rich set of functions for ‘performing’ statistical analysis. Unlike SQL, MDX does not have DDL (Data Definition) or DML (Data Manipulation) capabilities. Multi-Dimensional Expressions is purely for analyzing and reading data.
Similar to the way tables and columns are central to SQL, dimensions, hierarchies, and levels, are the centerpieces of MDX. They are mapping business models into language-specific concepts (e.g. a list of countries will be mapped as an MDX dimension).
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