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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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Documenting Your SSRS Reports and Data Sources

  • 10 November 2011
  • Author: DustinRyan
  • Number of views: 13473

If the organizations you've worked with are anything like the ones I've had the pleasure of working with, then they probably had or have thousands of SSRS reports spread out all over the place. And back around the time a majority of companies were gearing up to migrate to SQL 2008 from 2005, getting a grasp on the number and complexity of these reports was quite a challenge.

This is just the scenario where BI Documenter really shines. Besides being able to document your SQL databases, SSIS packages, and SSAS cube, BI Documenter can also document your SSRS reports and shared data sources, all the way down to the XML behind the scenes in case your reports are lost.

Let's walk through creating the documentation we need to understand how many and how complex the reports are that are being considered for migration. For the sake of this example, just pretend my SSRS 2008 reports are actually 2005 ;).

Open BI Documenter, click Add a New Solution. Give the solution a name and description and then click Create Solution.


After clicking Next, click Add Reporting Services Server on the next screen.


The reports you wish to document can exist either on the SSRS server or on a SharePoint Server. In my case, my reports are on my local SSRS instance so I'll select Native for my Server Mode. Key in the server and any credentials. Click the hyperlink at the bottom of the screen to verify BI Documenter can reach the SSRS server. Click Next.


Give a name and description of the Report Server and click Finish.


Now that we've add the Report Server to our documentation solution, we need to create a snapshot. On the Filter tab, check the boxes next to Reports and RS Data Sources.


Click Next a couple times. All we need to do now is finalize the documentation. You can output the documentation in HTML format or in a .CHM file. Select the output destination.


On the last tab, Reporting Objects, make sure the box is checked to document the Report Definition. This is a great tool if you reports are lost. With a little work, the documentation of the Report Definition can be used to recreate the reports. Click Next. Once the process to create the documentation is finished, click Finish.


Now we have a precise and detailed document outlining all the reports living on our SSRS server. I can view the .rdl's for my reports, the parameters, data sources, and data sets. I can even view the data set queries.


The great thing about this feature of BI Documenter is that I can easily document all my SSRS reports as long as I know the Report Server. Head here to download the free trial.

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