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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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Analysis Services Webinar Recording and Q&A

  • 3 April 2013
  • Author: DevinKnight
  • Number of views: 2735

I hope you were able to attend my free webinar on Introduction to Analysis Services on April 2, 2013.  If you weren’t you can now download the recording here

Because I covered new material all the way to the end of the webinar i thought I'd also answer some of the top questions I didn’t have time to answer here.

Q: Is it true that not all versions of Excel 2013 support PoverPivot.  From what I read you need Office 2013 "Pro Plus".

Here is a great post by Rob Collie that answers this question

Q: Does Analysis services has write back capability?

The only version that currently supports writeback is Multidimensional Analysis Services.

Q: Could you give a link to the VS 2012 update for theses tools to develop against sql 2012

Here’s the link to the download for Visual Studio 2012 SSDT

Q: Can Analysis Services Tabular be run within SSRS or do we need to use SharePoint?

This ones is kind of a two part answer.  Yes, you can use Analysis Services Tabular as a data source in an SSRS report and you can also use Reporting Services reports as a data source in PowerPivot and Tabular.

Q: We have a number of cubes that users access via Excel. They would like to be able to add simple custom calculations.  Can they add there own calculations when connected to a SSAS cube via power pivot?

Yes, a user can create their own calculations in PowerPivot call Calculated Measures using DAX.  This can be done against any data source including SSAS Multidimensional.

Q: Do relationships have to be defined in the source database?

No but it certainly helps.  If relationships are defined in the source they can usually (depending on the type of data source) be carried over to the model you create.  If there are no relationships then you must define them in your model.

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