Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence

Who’s Who in SSAS

Teo Lachev

My first encounter with Teo Lachev was his SSAS 2005 book. I admired his structured & concise writing style, and how he can explain complex concepts in an easy-to-understand way. And few months ago, the same colleague who lent me his Teo Lachev’s SSAS book, asked me if I knew a good SSRS book as he’s moving into SSRS development. Luckily, just a few days before he asked, I read that Teo had just finished his SSRS 2008 book, so that was the SSRS book I recommended to him and he bought it. Again I found his structured mind flowing through the pages of that SSRS book.

Teo Lachev is an expert in Microsoft BI (not only SSAS and RS). With Erik Veerman and Dejan Sarka, he wrote the Microsoft Press’ book on 70-448, the 2008 BI exam, as well as on 70-445, the 2005 BI exam. Having written a book myself, I can fully understand him when he said that he’s not considering writing 2008 SSAS book at the moment, as he has spent a lot of time writing his last 2 books. Writing a book is tiring you know, and the question everybody always ask when we finish a book is “When are you going to write another book?”

Teo Lachev lives in Atlanta, Georgia. He is an MVP, MCSD, MCT. He maintains an MS BI blog. His company is Prologika, a consulting and training company specialises in MS BI.

Chris Webb

I first came across Chris’ name when I was browsing the web for an SSAS issue and found his famous blog. Chris is probably one of the very few people who specialises mainly at SSAS. Many of SSAS experts are also doing SSRS, SSIS and become a generalist at MS BI. Some SSAS experts even does non MS BI stuff, such as SQL Server development, SQL DBA or even .NET development. I have a great respect for Chris, not only because of his SSAS skills, which I considered to be one of the highest in the world, but also because of his personalities.

Chris wrote two books, one on MDX (with George Spofford, Sivakumar Harinath, Dylan Hai Huang and Francesco Civardi) and the other on SSAS 2008 (with Alberto Ferrari and Marco Russo). I haven’t read his MDX book, but his SSAS 2008 book was superb. For me it is, by far, the most useful book on SSAS (the second being Irina, Edward & Alexander’s SSAS 2008, and the third is Teo Lachev’s). I learned a lot from it. The book is invaluable to me because in the past 2 years I have been doing a lot of cube development and in doing so I have discovered and developed some techniques or methods. And that was exactly what he wrote: his experience in developing cubes, including the tips and tricks. He wrote the book with Alberto Ferrari and Marco Russo, so this book also contains their experiences. A book which content is derived from books online, i.e. the ‘how to do stuff’ are not too useful for me, as I can read it in the BOL myself. But a book that contains somebody’s experience and thoughts, that’s invaluable. And that’s what this book is. I wanted to put my comment about this book on Amazon’s for quite a while but til this present day I haven’t done it, so after writing this post I’ll put it there.

Chris is a Microsoft MVP, one of the organisers of SQLBits SQL Server conference. He lives in the UK. His company is Crossjoin Consulting, which offers consultancy and training on SSAS and MDX. Chris is one of the moderators of the SSAS forum. In PASS 2009 he presented Creating an SSIS, SSAS, SSRS Monitoring Solution with SSIS, SSAS and SSRS. He wrote SSAS Stored Procedures (with Greg Galloway, Darren Gosbell and others).

Mosha Pasumansky

I consider Mosha as the most influential person in MDX. Not necessarily in SSAS but definitely in MDX. Many SSAS experts and forum posts refer to his articles and blog posts. It is almost impossible to be involved in SSAS and MDX without coming across his name. Mosha was the creator of MDX Studio, an SSAS tool that help us understand, analyse and improve MDX queries. I use MDX Studio to understand the performance of my queries. Mosha worked as an architect at Microsoft. He’s not in SSAS team anymore, but still with Microsoft. He was one of the inventors of MDX language and architects of SSAS. His famous SSAS blog is here. He wrote 1 SSAS book: Fast Track to MDX, with Mark Whitehorn and Robert Zare. At 2008 PASS, Mosha gave a full day seminar titled Deep Dive into MDX.

Update July 2010: From Feb 2010 Mosha works on the Bing search engine. His famous “farewell to BI” is here. There were abundant response from SSAS community to his good bye. I was amazed to see how many people were so grateful to Mosha’s contribution to MDX. Perhaps out of the 5 original people from Panorama, Mosha is the most widely known by public, because of his blog. But still, the big reaction from public in a way shows that a) people in SSAS community knows each other, b) Mosha’s contribution is recognised, and c) Mosha is greatly missed by the community. If there was an award for people with greatest contribution in MDX it should probably be given to Mosha (and also Chris Webb).

Greg Galloway

I first read Greg Galloway’s name in the SSAS forum, where he is one of the regular answerers and a moderator, along the lines of Deepak Puri, Darren Gosbell, Thomas Ivarsson, Raymond-Lee, and Edward Melomed. They provide their precious time to help others by answering their questions. I have great respect for these answerers because, having done it myself for a while I know how time consuming it is. It is not difficult to answer a few questions and then stop, but to monitor the forum everyday and answer a question everyday is very time consuming. Some questions takes seconds, but some questions could take an hour to investigate properly. And by doing that investigation we learn. That’s the reward I guess.

Greg was one of the contributors/technical reviewers of SSAS 2008 Performance Guide and Many to Many Query Performance Optimization Techniques. He works for Artis Consulting, a company specializes in Microsoft BI, with headquarters in Richardson, Texas. His BI blog is here. Greg is also the key builder of BIDS Helper, a tool used by many SSAS & SSIS developers. Another thing that Greg is famous for is OLAP Pivot Table Extension, an Excel Add-In which enables users to create calculated measures in Excel, filtering members of an attribute, searching for a member in an attribute, and to see the MDX.

Irina Gorbach

I can’t find much information about Irina, apart from the 2 SSAS books she that wrote . Irina was with Analysis Services develoment team at Microsoft since the beginning. She joined the team in 1997, soon after the team was formed. Irina designed ADOMD.NET and the OLE DB for AS. She was one of the architects that designed XMLA. She worked on SSAS calculation algorithm and last year she was working on SSAS scalability. Since 2006/2007 she was no longer with the SSAS product team, but she is still with Microsoft today (Nov 2009), thanks to Ron Pihlgren for correcting.

Irina wrote SSAS Unleashed (with Edward MelomedAlexander Berger, Py Bateman — all are members of SSAS development team), both the 2005 version and the 2008 version. Being internal to the product team and having been involved in the development since its very beginning, Irina must know the internal workings of SSAS. That provides invaluable insight. I bought Irina et al’s book (the 2008 version) and I also read the 2005 version. An example of the insight that I learn from their book is that for each dim SSAS build a cube, with just 1 dim in it. From these 4 authors I learned a lot about SSAS. I particularly value what they wrote at the end of the (2008) book: the DMV, which has been very useful for me for monitoring SSAS performance (long queries, connections, memory consumptions, etc), especially when there is no satisfactory tool available in the market (Spotlight was very disappointing; SQLSentry was much better but missed lots of information available freely on DMVs). Anyway I digress, I’ll write it on separate post (SSAS monitoring tool).

Edward Melomed

Many of the people who asked questions in the SSAS forum did not know how lucky they were if Edward Melomed answered their questions. People were thrilled when Mosha answered, but not many know who Edward is. Edward Melomed is one of the original members of the Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services team. And he is still in the Analysis Services team today.

Microsoft acquired OLAP technology from Panorama, an Israeli BI company, at the end of 1996. At that time Edward was working for Panorama, in Tel Aviv, along with Mosha Pasumansky, Alexander Berger, Amir Netz and Ariel Netz. On 1st July 1997, the Analysis Services team was created, and Edward moved to US to join that team (along with Mosha, Alexander, Amir and Ariel). I don’t know Edward personally but to those who say that answering questions on SSAS forum is just ‘part of his job’ I would suggest them to think again and read Edward’s posts in the forum as well as his SSAS books. 13 years doing OLAP, continuously developing SSAS, being consistent to only 1 product and 1 company is definitely not just ‘part of the job’. As sure as eggs is eggs, there must be passion involved. Currently SSAS is at the top of the OLAP ladder, but we must not forget that in those early years SSAS was at the bottom of the OLAP lists. To believe in something that is at the bottom, and make all the effort in many years developing it and reshaping it until it becomes shiny at the top, that takes a big courage and patience. I can relate to this because I was building OLAP cubes in 1996 using Comshare Commander PRISM, an OLAP engine which was very popular at that time, but today it nobody knows it.

In 2005 Edward was the Program Manager for SSAS (he still is today, Nov 2009). He helped contribute/review the SSAS 2005 Performance GuideSSAS 2008 Performance Guide, and SSAS 2005 Design Best Practices. Edward’s book (with Irina & Alexander) was a real treat, both the 2005 & 2008 edition. Edward’s name alone would make me buy that book. So with 2 other authors from SSAS team, I bought that book as soon as it came out and read it from cover to cover. For a beginner I would definitely recommend Edward’s 2008 book as number 1. For an experienced developer, Chris, Marco & Alberto’s book. Edward also wrote about configuring SSAS HTTP access.

Sasha (Alexander) Berger

Like Edward Melomed, Alexander Berger worked for Panorama, before it was acquired by Microsoft in 1996. Alexander led the development of SSAS version 7, 2000 and 2005, but not 2008. In 2008 Alexander was  the BI lead for Microsoft adCentre (pay-per-click advertising service). Alexander is one of the architects of OLEDB for the OLAP standard and MDX language, and holds more than 30 patents in the area of multidimensional databases.

Alexander wrote the SSAS Unleashed books, both 2005 and 2008 (with Edward Melomed and Irina Gorbach). He helped contribute/review SSAS 2005 Performance Guide and SSAS 2005 Processing Best Practices.

Marco Russo

I first came across Marco’s name from his famous work Many-to-Many Revolution. Marco is an expert in not only SSAS, but also SSIS, .NET and data warehousing. Via his company, SQLBI, Marco Russo and Alberto Ferrari provide consulting services in MS BI. Marco is a speaker in conferences such as European PASS and PASS Summit. He is an MCT, MCPD, MCIP, MCTS, MSAD and MCDBA. His blog is here. Another thing that Marco is famous for is the macro for displaying MDX in Excel.

Marco wrote 2 books in Italian: Microsoft C# and CLR .NET, and 4 books in English: Many-To-Many RevolutionIntroducing LINQProgramming LINQ (both with Paolo Pialorsi), and SSAS 2008 (with Chris Webb and Alberto Ferrari). Marco wrote DateTool Dimension, which is a special dimension containing regular members acting as calculated members. This dimension can be changed and reprocessed independent of the cube because it has no relationship. He explained how it can be used here, for example to provide Year-to-Date and Difference-Over-Previous-Year.

Vidas Matelis

I first noticed Vidas’ name from SSAS-Info web site, which has provided me with very valuable information over the years. From news, tips, to articles and tools. It is in my opinion the most comprehensive portal for SSAS. Every SSAS developer will sure to come across this site sooner or later. The site also sends out monthly emails, which I usually kept for a few days during which I tried to read all the links in it.

Vidas is a SQL DBA, developer and data warehouse consultant. He lives in Canada, in the Greater Toronto Area. He is an MVP, MCITP, MCTS, MCDBA, MCSE and MCP. His blog is here.

Vidas just launch a PowerPivot portal: PowerPivot-info.com, which I consider as the most comprehensive web site on PowerPivot (the 2nd being is Rob Collie’s site, PowerPivotPro.com). Just noticed that SSAS-Info also links to this Who’s Who page.

Carl Rabeler

I first notice Carl’s name from 2005 Performance Guide where he was one of the subject matter experts, and again on the 2008 Performance Guide. Carl Rabeler was with Solid Quality Learning (now SQ Mentor) and in 2006 joined Microsoft. Carl works in SQL CAT as a senior program manager. He also works in SSRS and SSIS product group. In PASS 2008 he presented “Collecting SSAS Performance Data using Mgt DW, SQL Profiler and SSAS 2008 DMV“, with Brian Knight and Maciek Sarnowicz.

Carl has more than 10 years of SQL Server experience, and more than 7 years of DW/BI experience. He worked closely with SQL Server development team. Carl also wrote SQL 2000 DTS Step by StepSSAS 2005 Processing Best Pratices, Many-to-Many Dimensions: Query Performance Optimization TechniquesSSAS 2000 Operations Guide, and presented XMLA Server Side Trace for SSAS. Carl also wrote about connectivity issues in SSAS, Comparison of SSAS in Windows 2003 vs 2008 in terms of memory preallocation, Including Child Members Multiple Places in Parent Child Hierarchy,

Sivakumar Harinath

I first came across Siva’s name on the Wiley’s MDX Solutions book. Then I noticed he also wrote the Wrox SSAS 2005 MDX book. Then the SSAS 2008 MDX. If there is an expert who specializes in MDX (not SSAS but MDX), apart from Mosha and Chris Webb, surely it is Siva. He wrote more MDX books more than anyone else. Or is it Robert Zare?

Siva works for Microsoft, as SDET (Software Development Engineer/Test) Lead in SSAS (not sure if he still is). He’s was in SSAS team since 2002. Born in Chennai, Siva has PhD in Distributed Data Mining from Univ of Illinois. In Virtual Techdays 2008 he presented Analysis Services Redefined with 2008. In 2008 Siva presented the Testing of SSAS on SIGMOD’s International Workshop on Testing Database System, with Gonzalo Isaza, Akshai Mirchandani and Marius Dumitru (all from Microsoft)

William E. Pearson III

I first came across William’s name some years ago when I started learning MDX. (I’m still learning today!) I was trying to find the syntax of some MDX and found his famous Essential MDX series on the Database Journal. I consider William as one of the most experienced persons in implementing SSAS in companies/projects. He has been implementing SSAS since SSAS 2000. He has a lot of experience in converting Cognos and BO into SSAS/SSRS. He was a Cognos architect (probably still is). He has a very strong finance background including accounting, audit and controller.

What amazed me about William initially is the number of articles on MDX that he wrote on Database Journal. No less than 77 articles and 19 tutorials, all of them on MDX! I personally treasure these tutorials. They are easy to follow and structured. I would definitely recommend them to anyone who started to learn MDX. Apart from Chris’ MDX courses of course! Later on I found out that he’s also expert in SSAS, writing a total of 85 articles on SSAS, and 69 articles on SSRS! Being an article writer myself (on SQL Server Central), I could certainly appreciate how time consuming it is to write an article. It takes a lot more time writing a blog post. It takes 1-2 hours for me to write a blog post (sometimes 10 minutes), but for an article I usually spend 10-20 hours, spanned across a few days. So those numbers above: 77+19+85+69 is really incredible! I don’t know I he can find the time. And the passion. William also wrote a book on MS Office Accounting.

William is an MVP, CPA, CITP, CMA, MCSE and MCDBA. He is based in Atlanta. His hobbies are literature studies and “exploration of generative music sourced from database architecture“. I don’t understand the later even after 4 times re-reading it slowly. Is it music? Or is it database?

Erik Veerman

Erik is an expert in SSAS (well who in this list is not? :) ) as well as in SSIS. He is an MVP and works for Solid Quality Mentors. He works as MS BI architect and mentor. In SSAS, Erik is probably best known for his contribution on Many-to-Many Relationship, along with Marco Russo and Richard Tkachuk. Erik wrote the Query Performance Optimization Techniques for many-to-many relationship (with Dan Hardan and Carl Rabeler), which I found very useful. His Matrix Relationship and Partitioning techniques speed up M2M query big time. These techniques work on the basic principle of making the intermediate MG as small as possible.

On the book writing front, Erik is very productive. He wrote 5 books: 2 on SSIS 2008 (this and this), 1 on 2008 BI, 1 on 2005 BI and 1 on SSIS 2005. His biography is here and his blog is here. In 2008 PASS Erik presented a seminar about Designing BI Solution. He also worked in Project REAL. His other achievements are Worldwide BI Solution of the Year (from Microsoft) and Innovator Cup (from SQL Server Magazine).

Richard Tkachuk

Richard Tkachuk is a member of SQL Server product team, specialising in SSAS, particularly MDX and SSAS security model. His SSAS blog is here. Richard writes SSAS articles including Many-to-Many Dimension, Dynamic Visual Total and IIF Query Hints in SSAS 2008. He wrote the SSAS 2008 Performance guide, and reviewed the 2005 version.

Richard holds 1 patent on SSAS (with Cristian Petculescu and Amir Netz), about calculation of a measure expression over a selected range of attributes. In PASS 2008 Richard presented Troubleshooting SSAS Performance, with Nicholas Dritsas and Thomas Kejser. Richard lives in Sammamish, Washington. Richard also wrote thin client for SSAS, first in ASP (called AnalysisServicesThinWebClient, included in SQL Server 2000 Resource Kit), then in ASP.NET (called CellSetGrid).

Thomas Ivarsson

Thomas is a regular answerers and moderator in SSAS forum, which is where I first came across his name. He is an MVP and an MS BI consultant based in Malmo, Sweden. His blog is here.

Deepak Puri

I consider Deepak as one the most knowledgable persons both in SSAS and MDX. Deepak is a regular answerer and moderator in SSAS forum. He is an MVP in SQL Server specialising in SSAS. Outside SSAS forum, very little is known about Deepak. Deepak works as a BI consultant. Deepak helped reviewed Chris, Marco & Alberto’s SSAS book, Teo Lachev’s SSAS book and MDX Solutions. I learned a lot from Deepak’s answers on the SSAS forum. Particularly his MDX examples. Some of Deepak’s MDX sample scripts on SSAS forum became the MDX cheat sheet on ssas-info. I learned from those cheat sheets, particularly the Time MDX one, which I mentioned when writing the Date Dimension article on SQL Server Central.

Darren Gosbell

Like Greg Galloway, Raymond-Lee and Deepak Puri, we often see Darren Gosbell on the SSAS forum answering people’s questions. Darren is one of the moderator there. Darren is an MVP, expert in SSAS and MDX. Darren built BIDS helper (with Greg Galloway and John Welch). His blog is here. Darren is a BI consultant based in in Melbourne, specialising in MS BI.

Tomislav Piasevoli

I came across Tomislav’s name in SSAS forum, where he skilfully (just found out it’s not double L) addressed MDX questions. Later on I found out that he created CubePlayer, a very decent SSAS client/cube browser. Better than Excel 2007 & 2010 in my opinion. Then I met him in Manchester in SQLBits 4, where he expertly (yes that’s a word!) presented kind of dynamic MDX (axis 0, axis 1, etc). I was looking forward to his session in SQLBits 5, about kind of quiz+learn in MDX, but he wasn’t presenting. I consider his MDX skills to one of the best in the world.

Tomislav is a MS BI specialist based in Zagreb, Croatia. He works for SoftPro Tetral. He is an MVP in SQL Server, specialising in SSAS. In PASS 2009 he hosted an interactive lunch session titled ‘Thinking in MDX’. His blog is here. Ah, just came across a few names of SSAS expert on his blog that I haven’t put into this list (on that very eye-catching Pivot Chart from SSAS-info data about authors/bloggers): Christian Wade, Richard Lees, Dan English, Hilmar Buchta, etc. Thank you Tomislav & Vidas.

Alberto Ferrari

Alberto wrote the SSAS 2008 book Expert Cube Development with Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services, with Chris Webb and Marco Russo. In European PASS Conference 2009 Alberto presented three sessions with Marco Russo: Slowly Changing Dimension Handling, OLAP Partitioning with SSIS Scripts and SQLBI Methodology. Alberto specialises in methodology in building MS BI solutions. His paper on this is here (with Marco Russo), which amazingly details out data warehouse design in comparison with Kimball and Inmon methodology. Alberto founded a Microsoft BI consulting services company in 2006 called SQLBI (also with Marco Russo).

Ashwani Roy

Ashwani is a SQL Server MVP based in London. He is a regular answerer at SSAS  forum. I met him for the first time at SQLBits 4 in Manchester where he presented Graphical Execution Plans. In June 2009 at SQL Server User Group he presented Attribute Relationship, Aggregation and MDX Studio (slides here). In September 2009 he presented What’s New in SQL Server 2008 for BI at SSUG (slides here).

Ashwani has worked with Microsoft BI since 2003. At the moment he works for IM Group, one of the top Microsoft BI consultancy in London. He previously worked for Microsoft and Satyam. He is an expert in SSAS and MDX, as well as SQL Server, SSIS, SSRS and C#. Recently he did a lot of work with F# and presented F# at SQLBits 5. He has 3 blogs: sqlkits, live spaces and CS Entities.

Raymond-Lee

Raymond Lee is a moderator and frequent answerer in the SSAS forum. He works for Microsoft and has been very active in SSAS forum recently (especially 2009). Unfortunately outside the forum there is not much information about him.

Ella Maschiach

I came across Ella’s BI blog when I was searching something in SSAS (her SSAS posts are here). Ella Maschiach is an expert in SSAS and MS BI in general. She works as a BI Project Manager at the Tel Aviv Municipality. I share her passion about the data we can use for demo that she mentioned when she wrote about the Dallas Project. In June 2009 she presented Parent Child dimension on Israeli BI User Group (slides here).

Jesse Orosz

Jesse Orosz is one of the few MS BI experts who kept his focus mainly in SSAS. He describes himself as a ‘cubist’. His SSAS blog is here. Jesse is based in Seattle. I must thank him for pointing the Dave Rodabaugh‘s SSAS interview questions (and for Vidas for hosting it) as it was a brilliant post. Having conducting many interviews for SSAS candidates I’m thinking about writing similar post myself.

T.K. Anand

I noticed T.K. Anand’s name for the first time from his work on SSAS Processing Architecture. T.K. Anand works as Principal Group Program Manager for SQL Server Analysis Services at Microsoft (since May 2004), based in Seattle. He has an MSc in Computer Science from Univ of Toronto and a Bachelor of Technology also in Computer Science. He hold a patent for Unified Dimensional Model in SSAS (together with 10 others including Richard Tkachuk, Cristian Petculescu and Marius Dumitru). He also wrote about data integrity in SSAS. In June 2007 TK Anand presented SSAS Deep Dive on TechNet (with Cristian Petculescu). He contributed/reviewed the SSAS 2008 Performance Guide (and the 2005 version).

Marius Dumitru

Marius Dumitru is a Principal Software Engineer at Microsoft. In 2008 he presented a paper on techniques used for testing SSAS in the International Conference of Management of Data (with Sivakumar Harinath, Gonzalo Isaza and Akschai Michandani). He holds a patent for SSAS UDM extensibility (with 10 others including Richard TkachukCristian Petculescu and TK Anand). Marius wrote several articles on Kerberos delegation in SSAS, all hosted on Mosha’s blog: here, here and here. He contributed/reviewed the SSAS 2008 Performance Guide (and the 2005 version).

Cristian Petculescu

Cristian Petculescu is a Principal Software Architect at Microsoft. In June 2007 he presented SSAS Deep Dive on TechNet (with TK Anand). Cristian holds a patent for SSAS UDM extensibility (with 10 others including Richard TkachukCristian Petculescu and TK Anand). He contributed/reviewed the SSAS 2005 Performance Guide, Reintroducing Usage-Based Optimisation in SSAS 2008, and How to warm up SSAS data cache using Create Cache statement (with Eric Jacobsen).

Christian Wade

Christian Wade is a Microsoft BI consultant at Conchango (now EMC), one of the top MS BI consultancy firm in London. (not sure if he still is). His blog is here. His suggestions for SSAS is here. He contributed to the SSAS/MDX StoredProc project. His article/posts on it is here and here. In 2005 he presented at PASS Europe and at PASS USA. In June 2009 he presented Currency Conversion at San Francisco SSUG.

Dave Wickert

Dave Wickert currently works for Microsoft, in PowerPivot team. Before that he was in SQL Server BI team, as Program Manager in SSAS product unit. Before that he worked for Computer Sciences Corp and Digital Equipment Corp. His PowerPivot blog is here. He’s also on PowerPivotTwins with Denny Lee. Dave wrote Analysis Services Parallel Processing Utility. His top ten tips on operating and maintaining SSAS databases is here.

Dan English

As well as widely known in SSAS, Dan English is also an expert all other aspects of MS BI. His Analysis Services blog is here, and his BI blog is here. Dan is a regular answerer in MSDN forum (including but not limited to SSAS) as well as Technet. He also appears in other forum/site such as SQL Server Central, SSAS-Info and PowerPivotGeek. I first heard Dan’s name from a Microsoft forum many years ago. I don’t remember which forum, but I remember his Matrix icon. Dan is an MS BI Architect, currently works for Magenic in Minneapolis, MN, US. He is active in Minnesota SSUG (PASSMN). His latest articles on SSAS are Processing and Aggregations and Slicing Partitions. He will be speaking at TechFuse 2010 about MS BI Toolset. He was a finalist in PowerPivot Beta Alpha Geek Challenge.

Amir Netz

Amir was one of the 5 people from Panorama who in 1997 formed the initial Analysis Services team at Microsoft (the other 4 were his brother Ariel, Edward, Alex and Mosha). We should all be grateful to Amir (and to many people on this page) for his dedication to Analysis Services for such a long time, from 1997  until today. A colleague who sits next to me in the office, still remember having a barbeque in 2000, at Microsoft campus, with the Netz brothers, Alex and Mosha. I think it was such as privilege, being able to sit down with all these great guys. Amir is currently a Distinguished Engineer and lead Architect of the Microsoft Business Intelligence offerings. His tweet is here. His LinkedIn is here. Amir was the Development Manager and Product Unit Manager for Analysis ServicesHis latest work was PowerPivot and in-memory column store. He was (probably still is) a senior architect for He holds 40 patents, including those for joining, sorting and filtering for querying column based data encoded structure and these other four. Amir wrote a lot of paper and research, including those for International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining. Amir’s comments on Chris’ blog (also mentioned at Ella’s interview with Donald Farmer) about PowerPivot centralizes PowerPivot and DAX’s position in MS BI/OLAP.

Ariel Netz

As mentioned above, Ariel is one of the 5 people from Panorama who in 1997 formed the initial Analysis Services team. He still works for Microsoft. He is currently a Product Unit Manager for SSRS (he has openings for Dev, PM and Test – quick!). That was on 2/7/10. Ariel was mentioned to demo PowerPivot with 100m rows in PASS 2009. His LinkedIn is here. His interview with Douglas McDowell is here. In January 2006 Ariel was the Group Program Manager for SSAS. Ariel lives in Redmond, Washington with his wife and 2 children. Everything about passion that I wrote on Edward Melomed is also true for the Netz brothers: spending 14 years on Analysis Services shows their dedication and passion. We might take it for granted that Analysis Services is the best OLAP database engine today, but 14 years ago it was very different. In those early years no body knows about SSAS. I know this because in 1996 I was in the OLAP market, developing OLAP cubes for Toyota using Comshare Commander PRISM and EIS, one of the best tools at that time. To believe in something that is at the bottom, and make all the effort in many years developing it and reshaping it until it becomes shiny at the top, that takes a big courage and patience. We are all indebted to the Netz brothers, as to Edward, Alex and Mosha. If there was a reward for people who made the greatest contribution to Analysis Services, without a doubt it should be given to these 5 people. 14 years of dedication to Analysis Services is a privilege that only a few people can have.

George Spofford

I first noticed George’s name on the 2 MDX Solutions books. George Spofford works for DSS Lab as the Chief Architect (as well as the owner). He founded DSS Lab in 1999 (with Erik Thomsen). From 2003 to 2007 George worked for Hyperion (now part of Oracle) as a Distinguished Engineer in Engineering Science and Technology Group. He has been working with OLAP since 1988. He wrote 3 MDX/SSAS books: MDX Solutions: With Microsoft SQL ServerAnalysis Services (by himself), MDX Solutions: With Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services 2005 and Hyperion Essbase (with Sivakumar Harinath, Chris Webb, Dyland Hai Huang), and Microsoft OLAP Solutions (with Erik Thomsen and Dick Chase). He wrote several articles, for example “Access to Intelligence, The New OLAP API“. In 1996 George founded another company in OLAP / BI arena: Dimensional System, which he owns until today. George was an MVP in 2002. He was a Product Architect at Computer Corporation of America and at Praxis International. His LinkedIn is here. George is also the Vice President Engineering at GIAI Metrics.

Hilmar Buchta

Hilmar Buchta is BI consultant, architect and project manager. He works for ORAYLIS (since 2005), a leading BI consultancy company in Germany specializing in Microsoft BI. Before then he was a consultant with The Schmücker & Partner. Since 2007 Hilmar is the head of management team. His SSAS blog is here. He has been bloging about SSAS since June 2008. His article about self-service BI is spot on: self-service BI can never replace traditional BI, and traditional centralized BI systems benefit from self-service BI functionality. I agree.

Boyan Penev

Boyan Penev is a Microsft BI consultant working for Avanade since May 2010 in Melbourne (he was from Canberra). He blog a lot about SSAS here, and about other aspects of MS BI too (SSIS, SSRS, T-SQL, PPS, etc). His BI blog is here. He will be presenting at TechEd Australia 2010 (24-27 August) about Budgeting, Forecasting and Performance Management with the Microsoft BI Stack with IM Director for Avanade AustraliaLionel Gomes Da Rosa. He also wrote several articles about MDX, SSRS and PPS for SQL Server Central. He is an active answerer at Microsoft forums, particularly SSAS, SSRS and SSIS forum. Boyan is an MCTS and MCTIP in SQL Server 2008 BI. His SSAS-Info catalog of articles is here.

Richard Lees

Richard Lees is a MS BI developer and OLAP/data mining technical specialist. His bio is here. He has passed an impressive 15 MCP exams! He got a BA from Victoria University in 1982 and MBA from London Business School in 1990. He is a lecturer at Macquarie University on BI and Data Mining, since 2005. He works for EasternMining as Director and BI Consultant (since 2004). Previously he works for Microsoft (10 years), Generale de Banque (5 years), Barclays Bank (3 years), IBM (3 years) and DataBank (2 years). His BI blog is here, containing a lot of SSAS articles such as this, this and this. His web site is here. His real time BI demo is here.

Kasper De Jonge

Kasper De Jonge is a MS BI Consultant at ADA ICT. Previously worked for Elkerliek ziekenhuis as Cognos BI developer. His PowerPivot and MS BI blog is here or here. His LinkIn is here. Kasper lives in the Netherland. He spoke at SQL Saturday in Veenendaal, Holland, in March 2010 about Dashboard with PowerPivot, SSRS, PPS in SharePoint. Kasper spoke at SQL Pass EU conference in Neuss, Germany, in April 2010. He spoke at SDN event, in Zeist, Holland, in May 2010 about the PowerPivot. In June 2010 he spoke at Community Day, Mechelen, Belgium, about PowerPivot. His tweeter is here.

Colin McGowan

Colin McGowan is a business intelligent consultant based in Sydney.  His web site is cmbi.com.au. I have not met Colin personally, but I have met three people who spoke very highly of Colin. Two of them were SSAS experts, and 1 was a BI PM. Their all agreed that Colin had a very high skill on Microsoft BI, particularly SSAS and MDX. I agree with these 3 people, as I have the privilege to see Colin’s work, which reflects his high skills. His SSAS-info entry is here. Through his company (CMBI) Colin is offering various services, including SSAS cube design, optimisation & tuning, dashboard & guided navigation using SSAS with SSRS, MDX query tuning, and SSAS training. Colin has an MSc in Computing, with research thesis in data warehouse conceptual data modelling. He also has a Postgraduate Diploma in Software Development, and a Law Degree.

Alex Whittles

I came across Alex Whittles’ Purple Frog blog in 2008 when I was working for Catlin. I met him for the first time in SQL Saturday, Sep 2013, in Cambridge. I learned a lot from his blog, for example Semi Additive Measures in Standard Edition and MDX Calculated Member Spanning Multiple Date Dimensions. Alex Whittles is a well-known figure in Analysis Services and DWBI in the UK. He has done about 40-50 presentations on SSAS, MDX, Data Warehousing and SQL Server in the UK.  Based in Telford, he is the owner and lead consultant of Purple Frog Systems, an expert Data Warehousing consultancy specialising on Microsoft BI. He is also a BI Architect at NGAGE Intelligence, a software company specialising in SharePoint-based Enterprise Analytic based in Atlanta, US. Alex has an MSc in BI. His LinkedIn is here, his blog is here, his Twitter is here and his SQLBits page is here.

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If there is someone who has done a lot of work with Analysis Services and you think should be on this list, please let me know (vrainardi@gmail.com or via comments), and I’ll add them in. I have tried my best to provide the information as accurately as possible, but people make mistake and things get out of date quickly. So if there is something on this page that you think should be corrected, added or deleted, I’d be grateful if you could let me know.

Some people asked why I wrote this page. a) to acknowledge the contributions of these great people, b) so that the individuals in SSAS community knows each other better, c) so we can learn from each other. A lot of the people on this page write blogs and books, and we can learn from them.

12 Comments »

  1. Nice post! As a (relative) newcomer to the SSAS team, I appreciate pointers to folks outside Microsoft in the SSAS world.

    Actually, Sasha Berger and Irina Gorbach are not on the Analysis Services product team, although they are still with Microsoft and working on BI projects. I have been on the team for about 2 1/2 years and they were both gone before I came. Edward Melomed is still there and still a program manager

    Comment by Ron Pihlgren — 28 November 2009 @ 7:52 pm | Reply

  2. Hi Vincent,

    Thank you for writing post “Who is who in Analysis Services”. I really enjoyed reading it!

    Comment by Vidas Matelis — 9 December 2009 @ 2:43 am | Reply

  3. Cheers Vincent. Enjoyed reading it.

    Comment by Ashwani Roy — 30 December 2009 @ 5:22 am | Reply

  4. Good one..

    Comment by Karan Gulati — 19 January 2010 @ 10:32 pm | Reply

  5. Very good read :)

    Comment by Jason Thomas — 20 June 2010 @ 6:04 am | Reply

  6. [...] most useful SSAS book Filed under: Analysis Services — Vincent Rainardi @ 1:10 pm I wrote that Chris, Alberto and Marco’s SSAS book is the most useful SSAS book to me. This week I read it [...]

    Pingback by The most useful SSAS book « Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence — 29 June 2010 @ 1:10 pm | Reply

  7. Nice post!!

    Comment by Santosh Joshi — 28 July 2010 @ 3:17 am | Reply

  8. [...] thanks to Richard Lees and Edward Melomed for insight that helped me solve this [...]

    Pingback by Tune Up Your PC » Post Topic » Solution: Can edit, but can’t process, an Analysis Server Cube using ORACLE data — 24 October 2010 @ 9:05 am | Reply

  9. Thats a great post. Thanks a lot for the nice summary !

    Regards
    Jegan

    Comment by easybi — 27 February 2011 @ 9:37 pm | Reply

  10. I wanted to get in contact with someone in Microsoft to give ideas on how SSAS can become a serious tool in the Mining/Statistics/Analytics space. At present, SSAS is an extension of SQL, SSIS, SSRS, but not a proper Mining or Analytics tool like SAS, SPSS, Statistica, or even ODM. Microsoft’s ‘special’ algorithms leave a user bewildered, the output produced by SSAS is so limited, and one cannot do a step-by-step Mining/Statistics/Analytics project in SSAS. It is only used for these tasks because “It came free/cheap with the MSBI or other package.” No one ever recommends SSAS as a serious Mining/Statistics/Analytics tool.

    I have a vision and plan to change that and make SSAS a.leader in its field. This is not a disparagement of the development team. They probably were given a vision that defined their deliverables.

    Comment by Vijay Gupta — 26 June 2013 @ 3:56 am | Reply


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