This month we announced the general availability of Azure Analysis Services, which evolved from the proven analytics engine in Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services. The success of any modern data-driven organization requires that information is available at the fingertips of every business user, not just IT professionals and data scientists, to guide their day-to-day decisions. Self-service BI tools have made huge strides in making data accessible to business users. However, most business users don’t have the expertise or desire to do the heavy lifting that is typically required, including finding the right sources of data, importing the raw data, transforming it into the right shape, and adding business logic and metrics, before they can explore the data to derive insights. With Azure Analysis Services, a BI professional can create a semantic model over the raw data and share it with business users so that all they need to do is connect to the model from any BI tool and immediately explore the data and gain insights. Azure Analysis Services uses a highly optimized in-memory engine to provide responses to user queries at the speed of thought.
One of the features that was added to Azure Analysis Services is the ability to backup your semantic models and all the data within them to a blob storage account. The backups can later be restored to same Azure Analysis Services server or to a different one. This method can also be used to backup models from SQL Server Analysis services and then restore them to Azure Analysis services. Please note that you can only restore models with a 1200 or higher compatibility level and that any active directory users or groups bust be removed from any role membership before restoring. After restoring, you can re-add those users and groups from Azure Active Directory.