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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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Configure SSRS to Use a Dynamic Connection String

  • 21 August 2012
  • Author: Kathi Kellenberger
  • Number of views: 19769

Most properties in SQL Server Reporting Services can be controlled by expressions with the built-in expression language. For example, you can change the font color of a field based on the value. You’ll notice the “fx” symbol or the choice of “” as a property choice wherever you can use an expression in place of a hard-coded value.

I’m currently working on some reports where the user needs the ability to change the database or databases dynamically.  Surprisingly, the Connection String property of the Data Source is one of those properties that can be configured with an expression (Figure 1).

Figure 1: You can use an expression to configure the connection string.

By using parameters with a list of databases for the user to choose from, the initial catalog property of the database can be set to the value of the parameter  (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Configure the connection string with the parameter

The challenge with this solution is that while you are developing the report with a dynamically configured connection string you’ll get an error when you update the data source (Figure 3).

Figure 3: The error message

This problem prevents updates to the data set field list. To work around this, set up a Shared Data Source at the project level.  Set up a second data source in the report that references the Shared Data Source.  When modifying the data set, use the hard-coded data source. Once development is complete, switch to the dynamic data source and delete the hard-coded one (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Create a connection you will delete when the report is complete

SSRS is a flexible and powerful reporting solution, and once again, it was easy to use the built-in functionality to solve the problem at hand.






Categories: SQL Server
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