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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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Getting Started With PerformancePoint 2010

  • 3 August 2010
  • Author: DevinKnight
  • Number of views: 46568

PerformancePoint is a great tool for monitoring and analyzing the performance of your business at a high level but also has the ability to dig into the details.  It makes it simple to create quick dashboards using KPIs, scorecards, charts and graphs.  PerformancePoint 2010 has also added a very impressive feature called a Decomposition Tree (shown below), which makes it possible to see what is driving your company’s numbers.  PerformancePoint has come a long way since its origin.  You can learn a little about those origins from  Mark Stacey  who has a great post on the timeline of how PerformancePoint came to its current existence. 

When talking with BI specialists I find that more often than not they think PerformancePoint is a very intimidating tool to pick up.  Fortunately, it is not a difficult tool to understand but I think the reason it is so daunting to many people is because of the integration with SharePoint.  SharePoint seems to be the Achilles heel of BI developers but has become more necessary than ever to understand with the release of SharePoint 2010.

The easiest way to get started with PerformancePoint is to create a new SharePoint site using the Business Intelligence Center template.  This site template already has a PerformancePoint content list built in so all you have to do is select PerformancePoint content from the navigation pane and then hit Add new item. 


When you hit Add new item it will take a few moments but will automatically download and open the PerformancePoint Dashboard Designer.  You’ll notice that PerformancePoint has the same looks and feel of other Office tools.  The Office ribbon is utilized here just like it would be in Excel or Word.

In this post on getting started with PerformancePoint I just wanted to introduce you to tool.  Look for my next post that will walk you through creating your first objects in PerformancePoint.  For more information on PerformancePoint make sure to pre order my latest book that focuses on the whole BI stack including SharePoint BI.

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