Changes in Analysis Services 2008
AS 2005 was and still is a huge product release. With many people still becoming familiar with all the changes, AS2008 is already on its way. There are a number of great chages to the product which ultimately translate into some very nice scalability enhancements. Some of these changes will only be available in later CTP's and these address the way AS2008 handles "sparse" data.
Right now AS2005 evaluates every cell in order to calculate a result set, thus, if your cube is very sparsely populated, will a lot of unnecessary queries. No matter how good your aggregations or MDX is written, query time will suffer. AS2008 will better manage empty cube space and bringing much needed performance "out the box" without having to rebuild anything.
Another area of improvement is the dimensional design. In AS2008 visualizing strong attribute relationships becomes much easier and new AMO warnings are present everywhere. Think of it as an always on BPA. The warnings are non intrusive thus no annoying pop-ups. Aggregation design will now happen through a single interface and will even allow for aggregations to be merged so managing effctive sets becomes much easier. Still the old principles apply, so designing aggregations can still be a loaded gun.
Those of you using Writeback in the cube will find betterperformance in AS2008, the way writeback is handled has been changed. There are many more changes and this release is pretty exciting so keep downloading those CTP's and provide feedback on what you think. For me what matters most is that without having to rebuild any cubes from AS2005, 2008 will bring better performance right out the box.