Curves, forks, and dead-ends in the roadmap of MS BI. Avoiding MDX in favor of SQL may no longer be an option when the MS “Universe” data model layer is adopted.
I just hope MS provides some tools that an end-user could use to maintain these BISM schemas, without having to understand DAX and MDX. And Visual Studio, or anything else over 500MB, is not a client tool that can be easily deployed.
Why not put this stuff into Sharepoint or Office? Building BISMs in Excel seems to be a good idea to me.
Thus, we'll have a single unified model, called BI Semantic Model (BISM). BISM will have two technologies to model data: the Multidimensional one (formerly known as UDM) and the Tabular one (that will be an enhancement of the current PowerPivot data model experience). You will have two languages, MDX and DAX, to define business logic and to query the model. And you will have two engines, MOLAP and Vertipaq (with their corresponding counterpart for accessing data in passthrough mode, ROLAP and Direct Query). The great and wonderful big news is that in BISM it will be possible to combine these components as you need: DAX query over a multidimensional model, MDX Script over a Tabular, and any client able to access to any model.