Analysis Services provides a range of solutions for building and deploying analytical databases used for decision support in Excel, PerformancePoint, Reporting Services, and other business intelligence applications. The basis of any Analysis Services solution is a business intelligence semantic data model and a server instance that instantiates, processes, queries, and manages objects in that model.
Models are built on historical data that you are already collecting in transactional databases and other data stores, and then annotated with metadata that lets you measure, manipulate, and compare business data in ad hoc queries or custom reports. After a model is designed, it is deployed to an Analysis Services server as a database, where it becomes available to authorized users who connect to it through Excel and other tools.
This release of Analysis Services adds an important new tabular modeling approach that is easier to understand if you are a business analyst who is accustomed to working with relational data. Tabular modeling is different because you build a business intelligence semantic model using tables and relationships rather than cubes and dimensions. To learn more about the modeling approaches and other new features in this release of Analysis Services, click the following links:
An Analysis Services instance is deployed in a mode that supports a memory and storage architecture that is optimized for different types of solutions. You can choose from Multidimensional or Tabular. You can also install PowerPivot for SharePoint, which has its own server mode that is set internally. Each server mode is independent of the other; each one supports a type of analytical database that only runs in that modality.
Foundational documentation for Analysis Services is organized into sections that correspond to the type of project you are building. Choose from the following links to learn more about each mode or feature area.
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Comparing Tabular and Multidimensional Solutions (SSAS)