Overview (Analysis Services - Data Mining)

Data mining helps you make intelligent decisions about difficult business problems. Using the data mining tools in Analysis Services helps you identify patterns in your data, so that you can determine why things happen, and enables you to create rules and recommendations, so that you can predict what will happen in the future. You do not have to create a data warehouse to do data mining; you can use tabular data from external providers, spreadsheets, and even text files. You can also easily mine OLAP cubes created in Analysis Services.

Analysis Services provides a broad range of tools that you can use to build data mining solutions on both relational and cube data. In addition, SQL Server provides the following business intelligence tools: Integration Services, which helps you build ETL processes for cleaning data and processing or updating models, and Reporting Services, which helps you present predictions and enable users to explore the data.

When the model is complete, you can deploy it to another server so that users can perform analysis and ad hoc prediction using stored models. You can access the data mining models via custom clients, including Web services, or by using Microsoft Office applications, such as the Data Mining Add-ins for Excel. In SQL Server 2008, data mining is powerful, accessible, and integrated with the tools that many people prefer to use for analysis and reporting.

This section provides the broad background about data mining that you need to get started.