SQL Server Analysis Services Server Modes


SQL Server Analysis Services can be installed in one of three server modes: Multidimensional and Data Mining (default), Power Pivot for SharePoint, and Tabular. It is necessary for a SSAS Administrator to identify which server mode would be suitable to install, depending upon the feature requirements. In this section, we are going to look at some of the key considerations that can help a SSAS Administrator easily identify the best server mode depending on the requirements.


Key considerations for selecting the correct SSAS Server modes are mentioned below:

SSAS Multidimensional and Data Mining Model

  • The expected source data size can be significantly large i.e. 100's of gigabytes or even terabytes.
  • The source system is typically a relational database which would be queried using OLEDB native and managed .NET providers.
  • Advanced features like aggregation design, many-to-many relationships, custom assemblies, write back, etc. are required.
  • Model needs to support MDX as the query language.
  • Elaborate dimension and cell level data security is required.

SSAS Tabular Model

  • Large volume of memory is available to the system for faster in-memory processing of gigabytes of data.
  • Data sources are very varied in nature ranging from data feeds, flat files, relational databases, etc.
  • Many advanced features for performance optimization are not required, but want to have the partitioning feature still available.
  • Model needs to support MDX as well as DAX as the query language.
  • Moderate level security is needed up to row-level security.

SSAS Power Pivot for SharePoint Model

  • SharePoint is already available / planned to be used in the solution, and the data size within any given model would be 2 GB or less.
  • No advanced features for performance optimization are required.
  • Model needs to support DAX as the query language.
  • Minimum level security is needed up to file-level security.
Additional Information
  • For an exhaustive comparison of all the three server modes, consider reading this article on MSDN.

Last Update: 4/7/2016

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