An Analysis Services database is a collection of data sources, data source views, cubes, dimensions, and roles. Optionally, an Analysis Services database can include structures for data mining, and custom assemblies that provide a way for you to add user-defined functions to the database.
Cubes are the fundamental query objects in Analysis Services. When you connect to an Analysis Services database via a client application, you connect to a cube within that database. A database might contain multiple cubes if you are reusing dimensions, assemblies, roles, or mining structures across multiple contexts.
You can create and modify a Analysis Services database programmatically or by using one of these interactive methods:
Deploy an Analysis Services project from SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) to a designated instance of Analysis Services. This process creates an Analysis Services database, if a database with that name does not already exist within that instance, and instantiates the designed objects within the newly created database. When working with an Analysis Services database in SQL Server Data Tools, changes made to objects in the Analysis Services project take effect only when the project is deployed to an Analysis Services instance.
Create an empty Analysis Services database within an instance of Analysis Services, by using either SQL Server Management Studio or SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT), and then connect directly to that database using SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) and create objects within it (rather than within a project). When working with an Analysis Services database in this manner, changes made to objects take effect in the database to which you are connecting when the changed object is saved.
SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) uses integration with source control software to support multiple developers working with different objects within an Analysis Services project at the same time. A developer can also interact with an Analysis Services database directly, rather than through an Analysis Services project, but the risk of this is that the objects in an Analysis Services database can become out of sync with the Analysis Services project that was used for its deployment. After deployment, you administer an Analysis Services database by using SQL Server Management Studio. Certain changes can also be made to an Analysis Services database by using SQL Server Management Studio, such as to partitions and roles, which can also cause the objects in an Analysis Services database to become out of sync with the Analysis Services project that was used for its deployment.