How to make your model smaller

One off the biggest mistakes out there is to add columns with unique values to a model. Such as order numbers and orderline numbers. Unless you have a very good reason to do so. This will make your models larger then necessary. And the SSAS engine will not aggregate your data as good as it should.

Lets make a sample. We will use AdventureWorksDW2012 as we always do.

First I will add a couple of columns to my fact

alter table [dbo].[FactInternetSales]
add MostLikelyUniqueVarchar varchar(10),
UniqueIntValue int IDENTITY(1,1)

update [dbo].[FactInternetSales]
set MostLikelyUniqueVarchar = SUBSTRING(CONVERT(varchar(255), NEWID()), 0, 10)

Then I will create a tabular model with the following tables

– DimDate
– FactInternetSales
– DimProduct

And it will look something like this

Tables

I mark DimDate as date table and then deploy my model to the server.

The model is now about 6 MB.

Size 1

Then I replace my FactInternetSales with this query. Still having SalesOrderNumber and SalesOrderLineNumber in it.

select
      ,[OrderDateKey]
      ,[DueDateKey]
      ,[ShipDateKey]
      ,[CustomerKey]
      ,[PromotionKey]
      ,[CurrencyKey]
      ,[SalesTerritoryKey]
      ,[SalesOrderNumber]
      ,[SalesOrderLineNumber]
      ,[RevisionNumber]
      ,[OrderQuantity]
      ,[UnitPrice]
      ,[ExtendedAmount]
      ,[UnitPriceDiscountPct]
      ,[DiscountAmount]
      ,[ProductStandardCost]
      ,[TotalProductCost]
      ,[SalesAmount]
      ,[TaxAmt]
      ,[Freight]
      ,[CarrierTrackingNumber]
      ,[CustomerPONumber]
      ,[OrderDate]
      ,[DueDate]
      ,[ShipDate]
  FROM [dbo].[FactInternetSales]

The model is then down to about 4 MB.

Size 2

But what If I remove all the unique columns? Such as CarrierTrackingNumber, CustomerPONumber, SalesOrderNumber and SalesOrderLineNumber.

SELECT [ProductKey]
      ,[OrderDateKey]
      ,[DueDateKey]
      ,[ShipDateKey]
      ,[CustomerKey]
      ,[PromotionKey]
      ,[CurrencyKey]
      ,[SalesTerritoryKey]
      ,[OrderQuantity]
      ,[UnitPrice]
      ,[ExtendedAmount]
      ,[UnitPriceDiscountPct]
      ,[DiscountAmount]
      ,[ProductStandardCost]
      ,[TotalProductCost]
      ,[SalesAmount]
      ,[TaxAmt]
      ,[Freight]
      ,[OrderDate]
      ,[DueDate]
      ,[ShipDate]
  FROM [dbo].[FactInternetSales]

Now the model is reduced to about 3.5 MB. Half the size we began with 🙂

Size 3

So the conclusion is. Do not add columns with unique values in your model. You should only have columns with foreign keys and measures.

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