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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 Project Connection Managers

  • 31 May 2012
  • Author: DevinKnight
  • Number of views: 6496

With the new Project Deployment Model in SSIS developers are gaining the benefit of a new design time only feature called Project Connection Managers.  If you’ve developed in SSIS previously Connection Managers require no further detailing, but for those new this is how SSIS connections to data that’s used as a source or destination.  This new feature is visible in the Solution Explorer of SSDT (SQL Server Data Tools). 

Below you will see the traditional method (Package Deployment Model) for developing package on the left, which has a similar option called Data Sources.  Data Sources were purely a design time feature available in SSIS 2005 and 2008 to help manage connections to multiple packages.  Basically you could change a Data Source created in the Solution Explorer and the next time you opened the package that used the connection it would update the metadata.  Sounds nice but the key there is the update doesn’t occur until the next time you open it.  So if you have hundreds of packages you would have to open all of them. 

The real solution to that problem is to use configurations but I’d like to focus on the differences between the old Data Source method of doing things and the new Project Connection Manager method.

Package Deployment Model Project Deployment Model
image image

The image on the right is of the new Project Deployment Model and you quickly notice the Data Sources folder is not available.  Instead you have Connection Managers which are similar in purpose but I think accomplish the job much better than Data Sources did.  They’ve actually been made less complex if that’s possible because all you have to do as a developer is create a Project Connection Manager and then it’s automatically created in every one of your SSIS packages.  As shown below you are able to clearly tell the difference between a Project Connection Manager and a regular Connection Manager that is only scoped to a single package.


If you have a regular Connection Manager that you would like to make a Project Connection Manager then you simply right-click on it and select to Convert it.


Another nice feature of Project Connection Managers is if you make a change to one the update applies to all the packages that use it without you having to open them each.

While this is a small new feature I thought it was pretty nice and worth spending some time discussing.

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