Data Warehousing and Data Science

16 November 2009

Cube Developer

Filed under: Uncategorized — Vincent Rainardi @ 8:15 am

Please correct me if I’m wrong but I think two years ago when I wrote “The Unpopular Select Statement“, article there was not a role advertised as “Cube developer”. At that time, we did have “Cognos Architect”, “Cognos ReportNET Developer”, and “Cognos PowerPlay developer”, but in the SQL Server world that role was always combined with SSRS and SSIS in the form of “Microsoft BI developer”, or “Microsoft BI Architect” role. Looking back, I think this was because in most companies they only have 1 or 2 cubes, so there was no need for somebody to be full time at it. Occassionally there was “OLAP developer” job advert came up, but at that time (2 years ago) it was more often meant to be Hyperion and PowerPlay than SSAS. If 2 years ago the number of Analysis Services job advertised in the last 3 months was 738 (see my article I mentioned earlier, source ITJobsWatch), today it is 1118, a 50% growth.

Now, we see “cube developer” roles advertised in IT job web sites and that (nearly) always means SSAS. At least in London’s insurance and investment banking market, there is a requirement for a full time cube developer. The idea of reporting has changed from “Contact IT department to order a report” to “Ask IT to create a cube containing all the data, so we can browse the cube and create the reports ourselves, thank you very much”.

So the role of a cube developer is to develop the cube in the first place, and when the cube is in production his job is to satisfy the change requests, e.g. add new attributes, new measures, etc. He is also responsible for administering the cubes, i.e. add/remove users into/from roles (or use AD group and move this task to helpdesk), make sure that they are refreshed (processed) every day, investigate if users reported any descrepancies in the numbers, help new users to use the client tool to analyse the cube, troubleshoot slow queries, maintain the aggregations.

The role of cube developer also involved maintaining the SSAS server. Installation, configurations, patching, upgrade to 2008 (R2), setting the memory limits, maintaining OLAP Query Log (and perhaps creating some stats out of it), query the DMV to understand some stats/usage, XMLA scripting to automated processing the cube (e.g. not full process but ‘process update’ the dimensions separately then process the latest partitions), do AMO scripting (e.g. to identify when a new dim or partition is added, and regenerate the XMLA script in SQL agent/SSIS), do ADOMD scripting, AD group scripting (using .NET, to maintain a list of who can access what – probably stored in a table).

The role of cube developer could also be responsible for the creation of SSRS reports which access the cubes. And the maintenance of SSIS packages that refresh/process the cube. And the installation, configuration and maintenance of the related BI tools such as PowerPoint Server 2007. and the deployment of the client tools/cube browsers such as Excel 2007, CubePlayer or ProClarity.


  1. But is it feasible to think about a job only developing cubes, he need to do Sql scripting and management task also ..,as Cube takes data from sql data source, so needed farm knowledge on ETL process and tools

    Comment by msuworld — 18 April 2012 @ 9:37 am | Reply

    • In large companies it is possible, i.e. they have somebody else doing SQL DBA and ETL. But you are right in small companies cube developer also need to do SSIS & SSRS and probably SQL DBA too.

      Comment by Vincent Rainardi — 18 April 2012 @ 7:04 pm | Reply

      • Yep..but i don’t see that very large companies only looking for a Cube Developer…I guess if you could write up a list or something of Companies have this kind of divisions that’ll be great ..anyways thanks for the reply though…

        Comment by msuworld — 19 April 2012 @ 4:50 am

      • thanks for the reply

        Comment by msuworld — 11 September 2012 @ 10:30 am

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