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«November 2015»

DirectQuery in Power BI Desktop

In the latest Power BI Desktop a new Preview features was released that now allows you to connect using DirectQuery to either SQL Server or Azure SQL Databases.  DirectQuery is a really neat feature that allows you to point to the live version of the data source rather than importing the data into a data model in Power BI Desktop. 

Normally when you want to get an updated dataset in the Power BI Desktop you would have to manually click the refresh button (this can be automated in the Power BI Service), which would initiate a full reimport of your data.  This refresh could take a variable amount of time depending on how much data your have.  For instance, if you’re refreshing a very large table you may be waiting quite a while to see the newly added data. 

With DirectQuery data imports are not required because you’re always looking at a live version of the data.  Let me show you how it works!

Turning on the DirectQuery Preview

Now, because DirectQuery is still in Preview you must first activate the feature by navigating to File->Options and settings->Options->Preview Features then check DirectQuery for SQL Server and Azure SQL Database


Once you click OK you may be prompted to restart the Power BI Desktop to utilize the feature.

Using DirectQuery in Power BI Desktop

Next make a connection either to an On-Premises SQL Server or Azure SQL database.

Go to the Home ribbon and select Get Data then SQL Server.


Provide your Server and Database names then click OK. ***Do not use a SQL statement.  It is not currently supported with DirectQuery***


From the Navigator pane choose the table(s) you would like to use.  I’m just going to pick the DimProduct table for this example and then click Load.  You could select Edit and that would launch the Query Editor where you could manipulate the extract.  This would allow you to add any business rules needed to the data before visualizing it.


Next you will be prompted to select what you want to connect to the data. Again, Import means the data

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The Big Data Blog Series

Over the last few years I’ve been speaking a lot on the subject of Big Data. I started by giving an intermediate session called “Show Me Whatcha’ Workin’ With”. This session was designed for people who had attended a one hour introductory session that showed you how to load data, to look at possible applications … Continue reading The Big Data Blog Series
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Control Flow vs Data Flow

  • 18 December 2009
  • Author: BradSchacht
  • Number of views: 64770

After my first day of SSIS training my boss walked into the office and said to me, "how was the first day of class".  To which I responded, "great!"  Then asked me, "so what is the difference between the control flow and data flow?"  This posed a simple, but foundational concept, of SSIS.  There are a few key things to remember when talking about the differences between control flow and data flow, and not just the completely obvious statement: data flow deals with data.  Hopefully if you are beginning in SSIS there will be something in the information below that will help you understand the differences just a little bit better.

Control Flow:


  • Process is the key:  precedence constraints control the project flow based on task completion, success or failure
  • Task 1 needs to complete before task 2 begins
  • Smallest unit of the control flow is a task
  • Control flow does not move data from task to task
  • Tasks are run in series if connected with precedence or in parallel
  • Package control flow is made up of containers and tasks connected with precedence constraints to control package flow
Data Flow:
  • Streaming
  • Unlink control flow, multiple components can process data at the same time
  • Smallest unit of the data flow is a component
  • Data flows move data, but are also tasks in the control flow, as such, their success or failure effects how your control flow operates
  • Data is moved and manipulated through transformations
  • Data is passed between each component in the data flow
  • Data flow is made up of source(s), transformations, and destinations.
Hopefully this will help you understand the differences between the control and data flows.


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