Anyone who has read my editorial column over the years knows that I’m big fan of best-practices documents and that I have a soft spot for anything related to performance tuning. After all, that’s what I’ve spent much of my professional life doing. Alas, some best-practices documents are “best” in name only. Many of my favorite documents are the ones that the SQL Server product team produces; they offer the benefit of insider knowledge of the product, but they also often draw on the knowledge of key industry experts outside of Microsoft. So, if you have even a passing interest in SQL Server-based business intelligence (BI), I recommend that you check out the brand-new “Analysis Services 2005 Performance Guide,” which you can download at http://download.microsoft.com/download/8/5/e/85eea4fa-b3bb-4426-97d0-7f7151b2011c/SSAS2005PerfGuide.doc.

Oddly enough, although the white paper had been out for close to a week when I wrote this column, I still can’t find any major advertising of the guide’s availability on any of the top-level pages for SQL Server or Analysis Services. Perhaps it was hidden away somewhere, but Microsoft should do a better job of making sure that gems like this one get plenty of air time to ensure the widest possible audience can benefit. (Of course, the consultant in me doesn’t mind all that much when I get to look really smart by having content that my customers couldn’t find on their own, so maybe I should be saying thanks to Microsoft.)

It would be pretty boring if I devoted an entire editorial to every white paper that Microsoft pumped out, but I like to make exceptions for the special few that truly offer great, hard-to-find advice, especially if they explore complex performance-tuning topics. The “Analysis Services 2005 Performance Guide” is written by Elizabeth Vitt, who has been in the Microsoft BI game since the earliest days and has a wealth of knowledge to share. I could ramble on and try to describe the best parts of the document. But, it’s sort of hard to summarize 120 pages of hard-core technical knowledge in the space of a few sentences. So do yourself a favor and digest every nugget of info this valuable paper provides.