We did some testing of CALUMO with the new version of SQL Server code named Denali and the results are in. Denali and CALUMO work beautifully. There was nothing to do other than install Denali! CALUMO can view cubes and report data using the new tabular SSAS cubes and the traditional UDM cubes (introduced in SQL 2005).
Remember, the UDM is a true OLAP cube and tabular models are tables that look like cubes, sort of. Below is an image CALUMO displaying the hierarchies from the Customer dimension from the Adventure Words cube Internet Sales. On the left is the tabular view and the right is the UDM view.
So, what are the differences between the old school UDM and the new Tabular cubes?
The BIG issue I have is the tabular cube is read only. This is only a problem if you want Write back for budgeting, forecasting and planning, what if analysis etc. The UDM cube type still supports write back. Is write back important ? I would say it is if you want to plan for the future and be rid of the cursed Excel Hell that typically sucks at least 3 months of the finance teams life. Writing back to SSAS will save you about 2 months and deliver more value from your process.
There are limited hierarchies in the tabular view. You can see from the example above that there are no drillable hierarchies, just flat lists of attributes. That means you need to use Excel’s and Crescent’s slicers so if you don’t have PowerPivot (Excel) or Crescent, navigation is tough. with a little help from CALUMO, tabular cubes can be converted to UM cubes.
You can however easily build cubes using PowerPivot and deploy them to SSAS via SharePoint (yes, you need SharePoint). Once your PowerPivot model is in SharePoint, writing reports in Crescent accessing this data is very easy and there are some really cool visualisations available like moving time series charts.
Upgrading to Denali (when it’s released) means you get the same UDM cube functionality as before AND you are able to use Tabular models AND Crescent. CALUMO continues to function beautifully too!
If you would like more information, check out this blog (SQL Server “Denali”: Details on the next version of SSAS) or contact me firstname.lastname@example.org.