Hi All –
Just a quick note that my session for SQL Saturday #575 in Providence, RI on 12/10/2016 has been accepted. A tentative schedule should be released in 2-3 days. If you’re around the area, SQL Saturday’s are always a great place to learn and network (and it’s free). I’ll post supporting deck and materials as the event approaches.
Per the session description the main point of my presentation is that enhancements to SSAS Tabular 2016 makes it a much more viable option for large scale, enterprise solutions. Provided ample hardware you can use Tabular 2012-2014 for large, complex projects but this inevitably requires significant DAX customizations, model design optimization and performance tuning, and 3rd party add-ins (and DirectQuery is essentially not an option). Tabular 2016 addresses these limitations and much more.
Does that mean all multidimensional cubes should be migrated to Tabular or that all new SSAS projects should be Tabular even if you have existing MDX/Multidimensional skill on staff? No, client tools including Power BI support multidimensional and there are a few remaining gaps or advantages that may make multidimensional the right choice in certain circumstances. However, the improved DirectQuery mode and many performance, functionality, and manageability features available at SSAS Tabular 2016 (1200 compatibility level) make Tabular the primary SSAS model going forward.
Note: Recent presentations at MS Ignite and past guidance from the SSAS product teams suggest deeper integration between Tabular and Power BI (e.g. import PBI Desktop model to SSAS Tabular) and further improvements to Tabular (e.g. more direct query sources supported, richer support for hierarchies). Additionally, future releases of Tabular should continue to benefit from certain improvements in Power BI and Power Pivot.
Have a great weekend.