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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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Reporting Services 2008 R2 KPI ready

  • 9 April 2010
  • Author: DevinKnight
  • Number of views: 99682

As I begin to explore more and more of the new feature that will be available in SQL Server 2008 R2 I can’t help but think why was this not available before?  One of these features is the new item in the Reporting Services Toolbox called Indicator.  It finally gives you a little help when it comes to displaying Analysis Services KPIs in a Reporting Services report.

Before now you could display KPIs by importing your own image and writing some conditional expressions in the reporting expression language to get what you want.  Generally when you create a KPI in Analysis Services you are going to return a -1, 0, or 1 to represent if your business is doing poorly (-1), average (0), or performing well (1).  This is interpreted in tools like Excel in a nice format where it actually shows an indicator image automatically to represent each number.  Reporting Services However just gives you the numbers.

In R2 you now have the Indicator tool that can handle KPI statuses nicely.  A variety of choices are available to represent your KPIs status and/or trending.


After some small configuration to map the -1, 0, and 1 to a value you’re good to go!  This is definitely better than writing the conditional expression.


The result is a nice looking report that you can even build an action on to jump to another report or URL.

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