ActiveViam |
September 28, 2011

If you are looking into MDX, XMLA and the connection between, you arrived at the right place. We have put together this post to provide some basic information about MDX XMLA.

The general information in the expanded pages is taken from major developer sites on the web, with links to the original articles. This content is provided courtesy of Quartet, developer of the ActivePivot solution, an object-based, in memory real time OLAP tool that provides real time analytics capabilities through its transactional engine and multi-threaded processing capabilities.

About MDX

Multidimensional Expressions, or MDX is s a query language for OLAP databases, much like SQL is a query language for relational databases. MDX also serves as a calculation language, with syntax similar to spreadsheet formulas.

MDX query language allows users to describe queries and manipulate multi-dimensional information, such as the data stored in cubes. MDX functions can define calculated members and query cube data.

A basic MDX query uses the SELECT statement to identify a data set that contains a subset of multidimensional data. The SELECT statement is composed of the following clauses:

An MDX query, and specifically the SELECT statement, can have up to 128 axis dimensions. The first five axes have aliases. Furthermore, an axis can be referred to by its ordinal position within an MDX query or by its alias.

About XMLA

XML for Analysis, or XMLA, is the industry standard for data access in analytical systems, such as the ActivePivot OLAP tool. XMLA is based on other industry standards such as XML, SOAP and HTTP. XML stands for Extensible Markup Language, a general-purpose markup language that allows users to define their own tags and its primary purpose is to facilitate the sharing of structured data across different information systems.

XMLA is an XML-based API or communication protocol used in the field of Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) and Business Intelligence (BI). This API was created in order to standardize the communication of a client application and an analytical data provider over an Internet connection. The communication between client and data source takes place using XML messages through the standard Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP). To query databases, XMLA uses MDX, a common multi-dimensional query language.

XMLA allows analytical client applications to move from a traditional client-server architecture to a more flexible, loosely coupled, Internet-oriented environment. XMLA allows client applications to communicate with OLAP servers or multi-dimensional sources, which are Internet-based by nature – solving client-server dependency issues. This way, users can deploy applications from any location, and can share them within organizations or between companies, across the Web.


In the ActivePivot solution, users can access the system from an XMLA driver that provides them with advanced XMLA/MDX formulas and calculated measures. ActivePivot allows the user to perform an MDX query and calculate data using XMLA standard to access the multi-dimensional events and display business metrics and key performance indicators in real time.

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