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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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Upgrading Packages to SSIS 2012

  • 31 May 2012
  • Author: DevinKnight
  • Number of views: 7580

Many of you may now or in the future have the need to upgrade your SSIS packages to the new SQL Server 2012 SSIS.  Luckily, upgrading from SSIS 2005 or 2008 isn’t nearly as painful as you may have experienced upgrading old DTS (SQL Server 2000) packages.  If you’re considering the upgrade to 2012 here are some of the new features you have to look forward to:

  • Usability fixes in the development environment (Resolve References, Undo, Zoom, etc…)
  • New/Changed Tasks and Transforms (CDC Control Task, Execute Package Tasks, DQS Cleansing, etc..)
  • Project Deployment Model and Integration Catalog
  • New native Logging and Execution Reports

There is far more than I could list here but you can do a search for “What’s new in SSIS 2012” just as easily as I can Smile.

The upgrade process from 2005 or 2008 to SSIS 2012 is actually very straight forward.  There are a few things to note that are not upgraded automatically through the native upgrade steps.  The following are not upgraded and may need extra attention:

  • Deployment model stays as a Package Deployment unless you do another conversion tool.
  • Configurations are not upgrades.  For example, a configuration file may reference an old driver that is not longer used in 2012 so you would have to manually upgrade these.
  • Execute Package changes are not upgraded

To get started open your old SSIS solution in SQL Server Data Tools (new name for BIDS), which will automatically launch a conversion wizard.  This conversion wizard actually does two conversions.  The first conversion is more of a Visual Studio upgrade and the second specific to SSIS.  The screenshot below shows the start of the VS upgrade, click Next past the welcome screen.


The Visual Studio conversion will ask if you would like to back up the original files.  I generally go ahead and create a backup just incase, then click Next.


Prior to starting the SSIS Conversion tool you’ll get a warning to ensure the SSIS project is coming from a trusted source so you don’t risk a security threat.  Keep in mind the Visual Studio wizard stays open in the background.


Click Next past the welcome screen of the SSIS upgrade wizard.


Select the packages you wish to upgrade and ensure to provide any package passwords then click Next.  These passwords came from the ProtectionLevel setting of the original packages.


There are few settings you can manipulate prior the the upgrade that are pretty straight forward.  Shown below are the default settings and I will mention that even though connection string provider names are upgraded it will not upgrade them in configurations.  So if a configuration overrides a connection it will still have the old provider.  Click Next.


Review the actions that will be taken by the wizard then click Finish.


A successful conversion should look similar to the below image.  Hit Close, which will end the SSIS upgrade wizard and return you back to the final step of the Visual Studio upgrade.


You are returned to the Visual Studio upgrade where you simply need to hit Close to complete the upgrade.


Your packages will now be upgrade and should run without problem.  As mentioned before you may still want to upgrade things like the package deployment model, configurations, and execute package tasks.

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