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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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MDX Utility Belt of Calculations Part 3

  • 3 December 2009
  • Author: DevinKnight
  • Number of views: 4625

This is part three in a series of blog posts that will help you build an arsenal of MDX calculations that you can have ready at the drop of a dime.  The first two posts of this blog series use the ParrallelPeriod and PrevMember functions to return data at different levels.

All of these blog posts are formatted to give you the business problem, a general solution and then the calculation needed to finish the job.  The problem this time will use part of the solution we used from the second blog post.


You need to show the difference in sales of a date and that date's previous member.  (Ex.  Show the sales difference between June and July.  Could likely be a negative number if there are fewer sales in July.)


You can return the sales for the CurrentMember and subtract it from the value of previous member using PrevMember.


The sales for a year minus the sales of the previous year

([Date].[Year].CurrentMember,[Measures].[Sales Amount])-
([Date].[Year].PrevMember,[Measures].[Sales Amount])


The sales for a quarter minus the sales of the previous quarter

([Date].[Quarter].CurrentMember,[Measures].[Sales Amount])-
([Date].[Quarter].PrevMember,[Measures].[Sales Amount])


The sales for a month minus the sales of the previous month

([Date].[Month].CurrentMember,[Measures].[Sales Amount])-
([Date].[Month].PrevMember,[Measures].[Sales Amount])

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