SSAS, SSRS, SSIS or SQL - making sense of the SQL Server acronyms

Wise Owl run courses in SQL, SSAS, SSIS and SSAS.  Since that's a serious acronym list (SAL?), let's look at each of these in more detail.

We haven't included Report Builder in this list because it's basically the same as Reporting Services.

SQL training

SQL is the language most commonly used to extract information from relational databases like SQL Server.  Here's some SQL:

-- use correct database

USE History

-- link the continent and country tables together


ev.EventName AS Event,

CONVERT(varchar(10),ev.EventDate,103) AS 'Formatted date',

cy.CountryName AS Country


tblEvent AS ev

INNER JOIN tblCountry AS cy ON ev.CountryId=cy.CountryId

INNER JOIN tblContinent AS cn ON cn.ContinentId=cy.ContinentId




EventDate ASC

Beautiful, isn't it?  On our two-day introduction to SQL course, you'll learn how to write commands like the one above, including:

  • Using WHERE clauses to pick out the rows you want;
  • Using INNER and OUTER JOIN to link tables together; and
  • Using GROUP BY to aggregate data.

We also run an advanced two-day SQL course, which will teach you how to use SQL as a programming language, rather than just how to extract data.

You should already be comfortable with SELECT statements in SQL before attending the advanced course.

Here's a stored procedure (the sort of thing you'll learn on the advanced course):

USE Training


-- create a table variable to hold course idsd

DECLARE @TechieCourse TABLE (

ScheduleId int


-- insert into this table ids of all C# courses

INSERT INTO @TechieCourse (






tblSchedule AS s

INNER JOIN tblCourse AS c

ON s.CourseId=c.CourseId


c.CourseName LIKE '%C#%'

-- now add in ids of all course given by trainer 2936 (Gabriella Montez)

INSERT INTO @TechieCourse (






tblSchedule AS s


',' + s.TrainerIds + ',' LIKE '%,2936,%'

-- check this has worked (need to avoid duplicates)







@TechieCourse AS t

INNER JOIN tblSchedule AS s

ON s.ScheduleId=t.ScheduleId

INNER JOIN tblCourse AS c

ON s.CourseId=c.CourseId



As you see, programming in SQL is a bit scarier.

SSRS training (SQL Server Reporting Services)

Reporting Services allows you to create pretty reports like this one:

Example SSRS report

The sort of report you'll create on our introductory two-day SSRS course.

Reports can include lots of fancy features - gauges, anyone?

Two gauges

A report including radial gauges, the ultimate gimmick in SSRS.


In addition to the introductory course mentioned above, we also run an advanced course (again two days) for those who are already completely comfortable with creating reports in SSRS.

Integration Services training (SSIS)

You can think of SSIS as like a marble run.  You put marbles (ie data) in at the top, and they go down the run, splitting and recombining until they come out at the bottom or get lost in the system:

An SSIS package

A typical SSIS package.

Integration Services packages allow you to extract, transform and load data (it's often called ETL software), and our two-day introduction to SSIS course will show you how to create pretty diagrams like the one above!

Analysis Services (SSAS) training - Multidimensional Models

Analysis Services allows you to build cubes of data:

An SSAS cube

A typical cube, showing data by year and region.

We run a three-day introduction to SSAS course on creating multi-dimensional models, including:

  • Creating dimensions
  • Creating cubes
  • Writing MDX expressions to calculate expressions
  • Creating hierarchies

The course also includes some thoughts on data-mining algorithms towards the end.

Analysis Services (SSAS) training - tabular models

From SQL Server 2012 onwards, you can now create a completely different type of model using Analysis Services, which is remarkably similar to PowerPivot in Excel.  We run a three-day course on tabular models in SSAS:

SSAS tabular model

A tabular model is a model of your database, but with columns and tables renamed and simplified.

If you've used PowerPivot in Excel, you're well on the way to using SSAS tabular models (they even use the same underlying DAX expression language). 

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