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James Serra's Blog

Formula engine and storage engine in SSAS

Oct 14 2011 12:00AM by James Serra   

In SSAS, to improve query performance, it’s important to understand what happens inside analysis services when a query is run.  Analysis Services is made up of two engines:

Formula Engine (FE) – It is single-threaded.  It processes the MDX queries, determines what data is needed to answer them, then requests that data from the Storage Engine, and then performs all calculations needed for the query.  It does most of the analysis work and tries to keep cells in memory.  Fast clock speeds are the best way to improve a Formula Engine performance.

Storage Engine (SE) – It is multi-threaded.  It handles all reading and writing of data: it fetches the data requested by the Formula Engine when a query is run and aggregates it to the required granularity.  If cells are not in memory, it is the Storage Engine which gets the data from disk.  A performance goal is to minimize Storage Engine use and keep data in memory for the Formula Engine.  Try to use faster storage (SSD) or more disk drives for quicker responses to Storage Engine requests.

So in summary, when you run an MDX query, that query goes first to the Formula Engine where it is parsed; the Formula Engine then requests all of the raw data needed to answer the query from the Storage Engine, performs any calculations on that data that are necessary, and then returns the results in a cellset back to the user.

There are numerous opportunities for performance tuning at all stages of this process, as I will discuss in my next blog post.


Republished from James Serra's Blog [70 clicks].  Read the original version here [32134 clicks].

James Serra
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3  Comments  

  • Thanks for sharing James..

    So, Is Formula Engine is exactly like Query Processor in TSQL? Is there any specific reason behind the name, "Formula Engine"? Its looking like "Formula one Engine" :)

    commented on Oct 19 2011 11:42AM
    Ramireddy
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  • Yea, it's kinda like the query processor in TSQL. But the query processor also fetches data from disk, so I would say the query processor is the combination of the forumula engine and storage engine. I would guess the reason it's called "formula engine" is because MDX queries and calculations are similiar to forumula's.

    commented on Oct 19 2011 6:37PM
    James Serra
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  • Thanks James..

    In TSQL also, I believe "storage engine" exists. Query Processor asks storage engine only to get any row..

    commented on Oct 20 2011 3:18AM
    Ramireddy
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