If you’ve been following my recent series on MDX, which began with Location, Location, Location, you have learned some important concepts, but this series was merely an introduction and there is so much more to learn. To help you continue building your skills, here are a variety of resources that I recommend that you peruse.


  • SQL Server 2008 MDX Step by Step, Bryan C. Smith, C. Ryan Clay, Hitachi Consulting (Microsoft Press, 2009). This book is useful for beginners, and leads you through the key concepts of MDX as the name implies…step by step. Although it’s written for SQL Server 2008, you will find it useful for SQL Server 2008 R2 as well and, although I haven’t tested it, it should work for SQL Server 2012.
  • MDX with SQL Server 2008 R2 Analysis Services Cookbook, Tomislave Piasevoli (Packt Publishing, 2011). I really like this book, as you might surmise from my review, and picked up a few tips myself. However, you’re not going to start learning MDX with this book. I recommend that you first read the Step by Step or some of the online resources first to get the most value from it.
  • MDX Solutions, 2nd edition. George Spofford, Sivakumar Harinath, Christopher Webb, and Dylan Hai Huang (Wiley, 2006). Although this book is focused on SQL Server 2005, much of it still applies to 2008 and later versions as the language remains largely intact. However, I must say this is not a book for beginners. There is lots of useful information here, but you will find it more useful if you already have a good grasp of the basics.
  • Practical MDX Queries for Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services 2008, Art Tennick (McGraw-Hill, 2010). I haven’t read this book yet, but it’s in my queue to read this year. If you’ve read it, I invite you to add a comment to this post with your impression.

 Online Resources

  • Stairway to MDX Series, I have long recommended Bill Pearson’s (@Bill_Pearson) online writings, such as MDX Essentials at Database Journal, and of course must heartily recommend his latest endeavor at SQL Server Central.
  • MDX Studio. This resource is not one designed to teach you MDX, but I include it as a tool that you can use to improve your MDX as it is a tool that you can use to identify problems  in your query and to capture statistics for your query if you’re attempting to improve performance. Mosha, the developer of this tool, also developed an online version for formatting and analysis.


  • Mosha Pasumansky is one of the architects responsible for the MDX language, so what better resource could you ask for? He’s no longer at Microsoft, but fortunately his legacy persists at SQLBlog.com with many posts dedicated to providing insights into MDX.
  • Chris Webb (@Technitrain) is a coauthor of the second edition of the MDX Solutions mentioned above and writes frequently about  MDX. He has some very creative ideas that I have found useful in some of the more bleeding edge projects I have worked on.
  • Another terrific MDX online resource is Marco Russo (@MarcoRus). Marco and Chris Webb (along with Alberto Ferrari) co-authored Expert Cube Development with Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services which I recommend if you want to learn more about developing the cubes that we use as a source for MDX queries.
  • Boyan Penev (@BoyanPenev) also writes on SSAS topics that you might find helpful for improving your MDX skills
  • Greg Galloway has some interesting studies on MDX at his blog.
  • SSAS-info, run by Vidas Matelis (@VidasM) is a great aggregation site that includes MDX topics.
  • And of course, I have my own series which will expand over time, so keep checking back here for everything I write on MDX.

Whitepapers/Best Practices

  • Identifying and Resolving MDX Query Performance Bottlenecks. MDX performance is partly dependent on the choices you make when constructing the query and partly dependent on the cube structure. This whitepaper explains how to determine where to focus your attention for resolving query performance issues.
  • Analysis Services 2008 Performance Guide. Here you’ll find some good information about avoiding MDX functions that cause performance problems. You can use this whitepaper in conjunction with the performance bottleneck whitepaper to ferret out the problems you might be experiencing with slow queries.
  • Analysis Services Query Performance Top 10 Best Practices. As you build your MDX skills, it’s a very good idea to keep best practices in mind. This is  a nice quick reference to have handy.