We are pleased to announce the public preview of Microsoft Azure Analysis Services, the latest addition to our data platform in the cloud. Based on the proven analytics engine in SQL Server Analysis Services, Azure Analysis Services is an enterprise grade OLAP engine and BI modeling platform, offered as a fully managed platform-as-a-service (PaaS). Azure Analysis Services enables developers and BI professionals to create BI Semantic Models that can power highly interactive and rich analytical experiences in BI tools (such as Power BI and Excel) and custom applications.
The success of any modern data-driven organization requires that information is available at the fingertips of every business user (not just IT professionals and data scientists) to guide their day-to-day decisions. Self-service BI tools have made huge strides in making data accessible to business users. However, most business users don’t have the expertise or desire to do the heavy lifting that is typically required to find the right sources of data, consume the raw data and transform it into the right shape, add business logic and metrics, and finally explore the data to derive insights. With Azure Analysis Services, a BI professional can create a semantic model over the raw data and share it with business users so that all they need to do is connect to the model and immediately explore the data and gain insights. Azure Analysis Services uses a highly optimized in-memory engine to provide responses to user queries at the "speed of thought".
Get started with the Azure Analysis Services preview by simply provisioning a resource in the Azure Portal or using Azure Resource Manager templates, and using that server name in your Visual Studio project. Use Azure Active Directory user names (UPNs) or groups in the role memberships for securing access to your models. Give it a try and let us know what you think.