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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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SSIS Denali Resolve References

  • 15 November 2010
  • Author: DevinKnight
  • Number of views: 7440

One of the new features in SSIS Denali that I’m really excited about (Other than the ability to Undo ctrl-z) is the new resolve reference functionality that was brought into the product from the Parallel Data Warehousing team.  Resolve references is solving the problem that occurred when you created a package with a data flow and you made just about any change above your destination.  You would see red x’s on your transforms and to fix the problem you had to try and figure out what the below image was telling you:

If this has ever given you headaches before you will be please to find out with the release of the SQL Server Denali CTP that the resolve references tool will help.  To walk you through this first I’ll demonstrate the problem in the current version of SSIS and then show you how Denali’s resolve references eases the pain.

I have 3 sources as you can see above.  Each source is essentially the same:

·         Source 1 was used to originally configure the data flow. 

·         Source 2 is an exact duplicate of Source 1. 

·         Source 3 is the same but has one of the column names changed.

When you change from one source to another you get the dreaded red x and upon opening the Derived Column the Restore Invalid Column Reference Editor opens as usual.  The same would occur if I connect Source 3.

Resolve reference in Denali makes this easier.  Here’s the same example in Denali:

When I change from Source 1 to Source 2 in SSIS now in Denali it allows this without any problem because the sources are actually exactly the same (as you would hope it would react).


When I change to Source 3 I still have the red x problem I had in previous version of SSIS but instead of it being on the transform itself it is now on the data flow path.  This means you can actually fix the reference simply by right click on the path and select Resolve References as shown below.

Upon select the Resolve Reference button it opens a new dialog box that can be used for remapping your columns that have are currently invalid.  Like I mentioned this editor is very similar to the Parallel Data Warehouse adapters for SSIS.  The interface is very nice too.  It’s completely drag and drop to reapply your references as shown below.  When you finish your mapping you click OK and you can result development as normal!

Some other nice features here are:

·         Automap columns based on matching names

·         Filter under each section to find your columns quicker

·         Copy and paste the columns you have selected to be mapped to the clipboard

·         Delete unmapped input columns

·         Preview Changes before you confirm them

Hope this new features gets you as excited as I am about it.  I will try to continue to post new SSIS Denali features as I learn them myself.

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