tim laqua dot com Thoughts and Code from Tim Laqua


Excel 2007 Hangs When Trying to Edit an OLAP Cube Filter

Ok, it doesn't hang every time you try to edit an OLAP cube filter, but sometimes - it appears to. In reality, I've never seen it permanently hang - just kind of go away for a while. Here's the basic symptom that the business will report to you:

"Excel freezes (or hangs) when I try to change this filter"

Most of us have seen this at one point or another and shrugged it off as a busy time or processing is going on or there are cats clogging up the tubes, etc. Tonight, I finally decided to figure out what's causing it.


SQL Server Analysis Services Command (XMLA) Agent Job Step Reports Success On Command Failure

I ran in to this the other day, did some googling, and really did not like what I saw for workarounds. In SQL Server 2005, when an XMLA job step fails (returns an Exception node in the XML response), the job step still reports success (because it's defining success as "did I get a response") - this has been fixed in SQL Server 2008. Common workarounds are using ascmd.exe or SSIS to handle the XMLA commands (ish - both of those solutions add a lot of complexity for a simple problem). So, I came up with a workaround that checks the text of the previous job step for the substring "<Exception ". It's been working thus far, with no issues.

After each XMLA command step, insert a T-SQL step to verify that the XMLA command step succeeded:

SET @JobName = ‘Name Of Job This Step Belongs to’
DECLARE @Message VARCHAR(1024)
SELECT TOP 1 @Message = CAST([message] AS VARCHAR(1024))
FROM msdb.dbo.sysjobhistory a
INNER JOIN msdb.dbo.sysjobs b
ON a.job_id = b.job_id AND b.[NAME] = @JobName
ORDER BY run_date DESC, run_time DESC, step_id DESC
IF @Message LIKE%<Exception %RAISERROR (@Message, 17, 1)

UPDATE (2009-04-03): Added , step_id DESC to ORDER BY clause - when the XMLA job fails instantly (say you tried to process a nonexistant partition), run_time doesn't have enough granularity to sort properly.

Once your done, your job steps will look something like this: