Reporting Services SP2 and MDX Summary Rows

If you have built any Reporting Services reports which use an Analysis Services datasource, SQL Server 2005 SP2 contains a fairly major change to be aware of. I’m going to describe the way it worked before SP2, then I’ll describe the change.

Prior to SQL Server 2005 SP2

There’s been a good deal of frustration about how not all rows from an MDX query are shown as detail rows when used in an SSRS report. For instance, the following query returns two rows.

select [Measures].[Internet Sales Amount] on 0,
{[Product].[Category].[Bikes], [Product].[Category].[All]} on 1
from [Adventure Works]

But if used in an SSRS report, you only get one detail row because SSRS ignores any rows which contain an All member in the tuple defining that row. To explain that differently, the leftmost columns in the dataset originate from the “on rows” or “on 1” axis of your MDX query. If any of those contain an All member, that row will not be shown as a detail row. Notice how the All member is rendered as a null when previewing the dataset:


Of course, you can still use the summary rows from the MDX query by putting the following expression in a table/matrix group or in the header/footer:


This behavior is sometimes helpful and sometimes annoying, especially for experienced MDX writers who expected the report to match their MDX query. It turns out that you now have an option with SP2.

With SQL Server 2005 SP2

If you reference any field from that dataset as the parameter for the Aggregate function in an expression, then the old behavior continues. But if you don’t, then all rows from the MDX query become detail rows in the report. This is on a per dataset basis, not a per table/matrix basis.

If your reports were built with correct usage of the Aggregate expression, they will work fine in SP2. The only way SP2 could break your report is if your MDX dataset contains summary rows which you never intended to be used. Obviously, that should never be the case, but it is easy to see how a developer who didn’t understand how it worked before SP2 could build a report that might break with SP2. For instance, let’s say you built a report off the query mentioned above and setup the Layout tab as follows:


When this report is run prior to SP2 it looks like:


When this same report is run with SP2 you get totally bogus numbers:

It’s worth carefully testing before you apply SP2 to your production servers.