Azure Analysis Services vs. SSAS

Analysis Services has been shipping as part of SQL Server for close to two decades. When we decided to bring it to Azure, we wanted to take the same things people liked about SSAS and make it a fully managed platform as a service. It was import to us that users could take the same solutions that they had running in their own datacenters and make them easily work in Azure. However, we didn’t want just the same exact SSAS product running in Azure. We wanted to take advantage of the cloud and do things that were not easy to do on premise.

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How do they compare

Azure Analysis Services has almost the APIs and modeling features as SSAS 2016/2017 for 1200 and 1400 level tabular models. Multidimensional models are not yet supported. Azure AS offers three different pricing tiers. The basic tier maps to SQL Server Standard edition while the developer and standard tier maps to SQL Server Enterprise.

Azure AS supports the same tooling: SSMS, SSDT, SQL Profiler as well as third party tools.

Azure AS also supports the following client libraries and drivers: AMO, ADOMD and MSOLAP.

What doesn’t Azure AS support

As I mentioned earlier, SSAS and Azure AS support almost the same features for tabular models. Below are some of the exceptions:

  • Database sync
  • Attach/detach
  • MSMDPUMP
  • OS performance counters. (Note that similar metrics can be found in the Azure metrics for the server.)
  • 1103 Tabular models

What is new

Being part of Azure, allowed us to build AS as a fully managed platform as a service. This doesn’t just mean that there is no operating system to manage or upgrades to install (there aren’t and there isn’t) but we are able to add features that would be hard or impossible to have with an on premise Analysis Services. Below are just some of those features:

Learn more about Azure Analysis Services.

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