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Sherry Li's BI Corner

Always wanting to publish novels, but having the fortune to work in the data warehouse corner of technology, Sherry Li started to write the mysteries of the Microsoft Business Intelligence. She writes everything from T-SQL to MDX, ETL to Expressions to Scripting, Reporting to Cubes. You can find her writings at

DAX #1 – Learning DAX

I recently attended a virtual training of Tabular and Power Pivot for Developers taught by Kathy Vick at Pragmatic Works. Kathy had a comment (also an inside joke for developers I think) that for those who already have multidimensional cube and MDX skills, learning about the tabular (and PowerPivot,… Read more

3 comments, 655 reads

Posted in Sherry Li's BI Corner on 25 April 2014

MDX # 40 – CROSS JOIN does not return Cartesian product of two hierarchies from the same dimension



Thanks to Chris Webb’s comment (see the comment section). I am making a correction on this blog.

The title of this blog contains a few important words, “from the same dimension”. You might have guessed the opposite side of it is hierarchies “from different dimensions”.

But my correction… Read more

2 comments, 565 reads

Posted in Sherry Li's BI Corner on 15 April 2014

MDX # 39 – Find Default Measure using MDX Query

In Chapter 1 of our book, MDX with SSAS 2012, we’ve devoted a section “Setting a default member of a hierarchy in the MDX script” to show three places where you can set up Default members for hierarchies.

For more information about how to define a default member for… Read more

0 comments, 1,139 reads

Posted in Sherry Li's BI Corner on 15 April 2014

MDX+SSAS #38–CALL ASSP.DMV() to document cubes in SSAS 2005

While you are writing and testing MDX queries in Microsoft SQL Server management Studio (SSMS), how many times you find yourself need to open the Visual Studio project in SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) just to find out the dimensionality of a measure group, or the calculation formula for a… Read more

0 comments, 411 reads

Posted in Sherry Li's BI Corner on 12 February 2014

MDX+SSAS #37–Ignore unrelated dimension or not

In Adventure Works cube 2008 or 2012, in the Dimension Usage tab, you will see that many intercepts of measure groups and dimensions are blank. To a specific measure group, the dimensions that have blank intercepts are un-related to the measure group. As a matter of fact you will see… Read more

1 comments, 678 reads

Posted in Sherry Li's BI Corner on 7 February 2014

SSIS #116–What is the variable value at runtime?

Using variables in SSIS packages can make your ETL process more dynamic and respond to different scenarios during runtime.

Not only we can use variables, we also have many different ways to set values for our variables. This is all good news for developers. But like many things in real… Read more

1 comments, 1,595 reads

Posted in Sherry Li's BI Corner on 29 January 2014

SSRS #73 – Marlon Ribunal and Mickey Stuewe’s New Book: Reporting Services 2012 Blueprints

The book’s link is here, SQL Server 2012 Reporting Services Blueprints.

This book is a step-by-step, task-driven tutorial that goes straight to the practical development of reporting skills, explaining actions as they are taken. If you perform the role of report development using SSRS in your job and you… Read more

0 comments, 355 reads

Posted in Sherry Li's BI Corner on 24 January 2014

2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 120,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 5 days for…

Read more

0 comments, 220 reads

Posted in Sherry Li's BI Corner on 1 January 2014

MDX #36 – Many thanks to the reviewers

In this blog, I’d like to give special thanks to the people below who have taken time to write reviews for my book MDX with SSAS 2012 Cookbook.

“It helped me a lot in my projects and helped me advanced my MDX skill in a very short time.”

hxy0135… Read more

0 comments, 229 reads

Posted in Sherry Li's BI Corner on 1 January 2014

MDX #35 – Properties() function with TYPED flag


Reader Query

My publisher recently forwarded me a question from a reader about the “Using the PROPERTIES() function to retrieve data from attribute relationships” section in Chapter 1 of the book “MDX with SSAS 2012 Cookbook”.

“The following code seems to always return true for [Is Numeric],… Read more

0 comments, 337 reads

Posted in Sherry Li's BI Corner on 27 December 2013

MDX+SSRS #34 – Query not returning results: there are good reasons

When we are learning MDX, we unavoidably have to deal with the tools we use. Adding confusions about the behaviors of the different tools to our still fragile understanding of the MDX language itself can create huge frustration for learners.

Here is one of them. In developing SSRS reports, we… Read more

0 comments, 771 reads

Posted in Sherry Li's BI Corner on 10 November 2013

MDX+SSRS #33 – Retrieve manager’s key and fully-qualified member name

A co-worker recently worked on a SSRS report and wanted to use a specific manager’s team for testing. The Manager is a filter for the SSRS report and can take a fully-qualified member name as the default value.

Using the Employee dimension in Adventure Works cube as an example, a… Read more

0 comments, 998 reads

Posted in Sherry Li's BI Corner on 8 November 2013

MDX #32 – Vincent Rainardi’s blog

I came across Vincent Rainardi’s blog, and thought I’d share it with the readers.

Sherry Li and Tomislav’s 2012 MDX Cook Book

I’d also like to thank Vincent for writing up the review so quickly.

I browsed through Vincent’s blog, and found that he authored this book:

Building a Data… Read more

0 comments, 389 reads

Posted in Sherry Li's BI Corner on 24 October 2013

SQL #52 – set statistics xml on

When tuning SQL queries, I find that I use the following three SET options quite often. 

set showplan_xml on

When showplan_xml option is ON for a session, the execution of SQL queries in the same session will only show the estimated execution plan. No query results will be generated.

Here… Read more

0 comments, 461 reads

Posted in Sherry Li's BI Corner on 24 October 2013

SQL #51 – Timeout when updating a big table

A co-worker recently asked me why she would get timeout when updating a column in a big table. This column will be updated to 0 (zero) because a default value of 0 (zero) constrain is now added to the table.

The table has over 40 million records. Although I didn’t… Read more

2 comments, 3,230 reads

Posted in Sherry Li's BI Corner on 24 October 2013

MDX+SSRS #31– Query Designer in SSRS only allows the Measures dimension in the first axis

In Chapter 1 of the book MDX with SSAS 2012 Cookbook, in the first recipe “Putting data on x and y axes”, I have given a simple example to show how easy it is to use the CROSSJOIN function to "combine" more than one hierarchy into the COLUMNS and… Read more

0 comments, 1,963 reads

Posted in Sherry Li's BI Corner on 28 September 2013

MDX #30 – Get The Book: MDX with SSAS 2012 Cookbook

MDX with SSAS 2012 Cookbook

by Sherry Li and Tomislav Piasevoli

Packt Publishing 2013

The book is now available in both paperback and eBook format. You can order copies from Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, Packt Publishing. It is also available on Safari Books Online.

Hope you will find the book… Read more

0 comments, 561 reads

Posted in Sherry Li's BI Corner on 22 September 2013

SQL #50–Deleting or updating data from a table of 20+ GB

I don’t have a definition of what is considered a large SQL table. I am pretty sure, however, that a table with 20+ GB data plus another 20+ GB for a few indices is not a small table anymore.

Although this article The Data Loading Performance Guide was written for… Read more

1 comments, 1,953 reads

Posted in Sherry Li's BI Corner on 22 September 2013

MDX #29–Co-authored MDX with SSAS 2012 Cookbook

I have been absent from this blog for the last few months. For those who have noticed, I’d like to offer my apology and also provide an excuse. I hope that co-authoring a book is a good enough excuse.

For the last few months, I have been working on the… Read more

2 comments, 377 reads

Posted in Sherry Li's BI Corner on 29 August 2013

MDX #28– Time functions will not work with subquery

I had a post last month, MDX #25 – Slicer or Sub-Cube?, verifying that the query context did not change with the subquery.

This can pose problems if you want to use the Time-series functions in MDX. Two functions come into mind, YTD() and PeriodsToDate().

Both functions need to… Read more

0 comments, 647 reads

Posted in Sherry Li's BI Corner on 22 March 2013

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