Thursday, April 9, 2009

Try out Microsoft's zero footprint cube browser

Many people are not aware that Microsoft has a thin client cube browser. It is part of the current version of PerformancePoint Server, (although that will change in future and become part of SharePoint).

I have PerformancePoint on my demonstration site, so you are able to try out the cube browser. All you need is Internet Explorer (version 6 or above). It doesn't appear to be supported by other cube browsers as yet. To try out the cube browser, simply go to my demonstration site, The home page is a PerformancePoint page with several SharePoint webparts. All the charts on this home page are from a real time database of web activity on Some of these web parts, I have written MDX to get exactly the chart I want. These charts are not interactive. However many of the charts I have created by simply slicing and filtering the data, which means that you can continue to slice and dice. For example, on the demonstrations home page try right clicking on the chart Top Referrers Last Few Months column heading March and select Drill Up. That will take you to the higher level on the Date dimension. Then right click on 2009 and select drill up again, which will take you to the All member of the date dimension. Now right click on one of the row headings (these are referring sites to and select Drill Up. Right click on the row heading again and select Drill Up. Now you will be at the All level of the entire cube, and able to drill to any part of the cube. Note, you will also find a useful button on the right hand side of the webpart, which has an option to Open in new window. This will give you much more real estate to work with. You can right click on any of the row/column heading and select Drill Down to and select any dimension hierarchy such as Client Agent, Client Host, Date, Entry Exit, Hour, Machine, Operation, Port, Status HTTP, Status Win32 etc. Actually, there are more dimensions than the webpart can display. As you hover over each dimension the available hierarchies are displayed.
Some of the useful thin client functions you have are Show only, Remove, Sort (rows and/or columns), Report Type (grid, column, line, stacked, stacke 100%), Pivot, Filter. You really can slice and dice to any part of the cube you desire.
Try it out on If you are good, you should be able to navigate to filter out your own activity on this site and see where you have been. There are other cubes on this site that you can also navigate such as the New Zealand census, Perfmon stats from my demonstration machines and Foodmart. If you are having trouble understanding how to use the functionality and want a simpler cube, use the New Zealand census cube, since it has a much simpler structure and is easy to consume.


Wayne said...

I'm just curious is this is the Performance Point Web Grid part?

Richard Lees said...

Yes. Actually, it is a PerformancePoint report, which can be switched between grid, bar, bar stacked (100) and line type.

Mindy Sam said...

I am relatively new to MDx,Cubes and Performance point and my boss has asked me to setup a performance point report with drill downs. Can you direct me in any way? Is this a special setup in the cube or all done in the MDX code on performance point?

Mindy Sam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard Lees said...

Hi Mindy, Your PerformancePoint report will support drill down (hierarchies and across other dimensions) so long as you don't alter the mdx in the chart designer. I have shown this above.

However, there are much more powerful thin client cube browsers around. I am hoping that PerformancePoint will be enhanced to give the cube browser more functionality in future versions.