Business Intelligence Blogs

View blogs by industry experts on topics such as SSAS, SSIS, SSRS, Power BI, Performance Tuning, Azure, Big Data and much more! You can also sign up to post your own business intelligence blog.

«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

Read more

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
Read more

Choosing the Right Analysis Services: MOLAP vs. Tabular Recording and Q&A

  • 17 February 2014
  • Author: DevinKnight
  • Number of views: 7269

I hope you were able to attend my free webinar on Choosing the Right Analysis Services: MOLAP vs. Tabular on February 11, 2014 that I delivered with Dustin Ryan.  If you weren’t you can now watch the recording here.

Traditionally following a webinar I try to post a quick Q&A session for everything I was not able to answer in the allotted time. 

Q: Since Tabular solutions are many ways better than Multidimensional..then my question is when to go for Multidimensional solution

You would likely still choose Multidimensional for things that Tabular does not have full feature parity.  For example, Tabular does not have the ability do writeback. 

Some still choose Multidimensional because their data model is very complex and Multidimensional is more forgiving in this regard.  Last, Multidimensional is a more scalable for larger datasets because it is less (still uses memory, CPU, etc.. excessively) reliant on pure memory to get the performance you need, unlike Tabular.  As we mentioned in the webinar, Yahoo chose Multidimensional because it would better scale their 26 terabyte cube.

Q: When deciding whether to use Tabular or Multidimensional, do you have to have SSAS installed / set up specifically for one or the other?

Yes, when setting up SSAS Multidimensional or Tabular they are separate installs.  Meaning they can’t be installed at the same time with the SQL Server installer.  Because of their resource demands you traditionally want to install these instances on separate servers if possible.

Q: How do i link if column have more than one column is key column in tabular?

Great question.  Usually, if you have tables that need to be joined together on multiple columns you have create a key column that combine the values into a single column either through DAX or through the source query extract.

Rate this article:
No rating


Other posts by DevinKnight

Please login or register to post comments.