SSAS Top Commands: See the Total Impact of Your MDX, DAX, or XMLA Commands

What are SentryOne Top Commands?

The SentryOne BI Sentry Top Commands tab shows SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) query-level collection and any MDX, DAX, or XMLA commands that have run longer than one second. All the like queries have been rolled up and grouped together so you can see their total impact. Top Commands is one of many features in BI Sentry that helps you identify and address performance problems with SSAS.

You'll find this feature in:

BI Sentry

Are you frustrated by slow performance of SQL Server Analysis Services?


If your database performance is slow, the culprit could be SSAS. But troubleshooting SSAS is notoriously challenging.

As a DBA, you can use SQL Server Profiler to capture and analyze trace events that are generated by their SSAS instance.  You can also use Perfmon to track server and process performance and activity.

But can you continuously monitor all these events and store them for historical investigation?

To get to the root of SSAS performance problems, you need the ability to go back to any point in time to see how specific events performance. 

  • Did MDX queries or XMLA commands execute?
  • Do your queries need optimized?
  • Do you have a performance bottleneck in the Storage Engine?

To accelerate your SSAS Multidimensional or Tabular environment performance, look no further than SentryOne BI Sentry.  

BI Sentry Performance Dashboard


The BI Sentry Performance Analysis dashboard helps you drill down into performance details, including Top Commands, to resolve performance problems with SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS).


BI Sentry Top Commands for Analyzing Analysis Services Trace Events


The Top Command tab in BI Sentry Performance Analysis provides granular insight into what's going on in your SSAS instance. BI Sentry captures MDX, DAX, DMX and XMLA commands that are running in your environment.

You can set the thresholds for collecting these commands, which by default are set to a minimum duration of one second.

You can view the runtime statistics for any command and look at:

  • Queries currently running on the SSAS server
  • Queries that were collected if they exceeded a minimum threshold
  • Completed queries that were collected according to a date and time range

By looking at these commands and their associated resource utilization, including CPU, Formula Engine, Storage Engine, Processing, SQL Query times, you can determine which statements are having the most impact on the performance of your monitored SSAS server.

Because of the way the data is stored in SSAS in Multidimensional and Tabular modes, the Top Command tab in BI Sentry shows mode-specific performance counter information.

The Top Commands tab also displays the command text associated with each query in a separate window.


This two-minute video walks through the Top Commands tab of BI Sentry, which displays relevant metrics you need to find and fix SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) performance problems.

What You Can Do with Top Commands

  • Top Commands tab supports SSAS Multidimensional and Tabular modes
  • Analyzes the performance of MDX, DAX, and XMLA commands
  • Collects and groups SQL Server Profiler trace events by event class, e.g., Command Begin/End and Query Begin/End
  • Filters events by minimum query duration time and others
  • Allows you to view both running and completed queries
  • Enables you to drill down to individual queries and analyze relevant performance counters
  • And more

“It's not just a good choice. It's the only complete SQL Performance Analysis tool out there.”

—Timothy Ford, Team Lead: Database Administration, SurveyMonkey


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