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James Serra's Blog

James is currently a Senior Business Intelligence Architect/Developer and has over 20 years of IT experience. James started his career as a software developer, then became a DBA 12 years ago, and for the last five years he has been working extensively with Business Intelligence using the SQL Server BI stack (SSAS, SSRS, and SSIS). James has been at times a permanent employee, consultant, contractor, and owner of his own business. All these experiences along with continuous learning has helped James to develop many successful data warehouse and BI projects. James has earned the MCITP Business Developer 2008, MCITP Database Administrator 2008, and MCITP Database Developer 2008, and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering. His blog is at .

Benefits of using views in a BI solution

Using SQL Server views throughout a Business Intelligence (BI) solution can provide a tremendous amount of benefits.  Here is a list of such benefits, taken in large part from the excellent video SQLBI Methodology by Marco Russo and Alberto Ferrari:

Benefit of views

  • Can be modified by anyone, even outside of BIDS/SSDT
  • Can provide default values when needed
  • Simple computation can be carried out by views
  • Renaming fields leads to better understanding of the flow
  • Can present a star schema, even if the underlying structure is much more complex
  • Can be analyzed by third-party tools to get dependency tracking
  • Can be optimized without ever opening BIDS/SSDT
  • For security reasons, to limit the rows retrieved by joining with a security table

Benefit of views in SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS):

  • Simpler code inside SSIS packages
  • No need to open the package to understand what it is reading
  • Easily query the database for debugging purposes
  • Query optimizations can be carried out separately

Benefit of views in SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS):

  • Renaming database columns to SSAS attributes
  • Clearly exposing all the transformations to DBA
  • Simplifying handling of fast variations
  • Full control on JOINs sent to SQL Server
  • Exposing a start schema, even if the underlying structure is not a simple star schema

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