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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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Copy and rename a file in SSIS using the File System Task

  • 12 January 2012
  • Author: Keith Hyer
  • Number of views: 166676

"" asked a question about moving files around in SSIS using the File System Task and variables in the SSIS forum.

Based on that question, I decided to put together a "Step-By-Step" walk through demonstrating how to do a portion of the issue. 

From the question, there are 3 folders and to start, 2 files:

  • Folder A\
  • Folder B\
  • Folder C\ 
  • In "Folder A", a file named "a20120111.txt" gets created.
  • In "Folder B", a file named "b20120111.txt" gets created.

 The question ( goal ) is to rename a COPY "a20120111.txt" of the file to "c20120111.txt" which will be placed in the "Folder C". 

I'm going to "stage" some test files as shown below and assume that we've gotten this far successfully. 

Starting point

Ok, with those in place, let's look at that final step:

First, I define some variables.  They're not dynamic ( expression-based ) yet - just regular fixed string variables.

Variable declarations

Next, we will add the expression to the FileNameDate variable to make it "build" today's date at runtime.  To do this, highlight the FileNameDate variable as shown above and then go over to the properties window.  It should look similar to the ( edge of ) the window pictured below:


Date variable setup 

For the property for "EvaluateAsExpression" - set this to True.  Then click into the "Expression" property just below it.  An "..." ellipse button should appear.  Click on it, which opens the Expression builder.  Put in the expression as shown here:

(DT_STR, 4 , 1252)DATEPART( "year" , GETDATE() ) + "" + RIGHT( "00" + (DT_STR, 2 , 1252)DATEPART( "month" , GETDATE() ) , 2 ) + "" + RIGHT( "00" + (DT_STR, 2 , 1252)DATEPART( "day" , GETDATE() ) , 2 )

Click "Evaluate Expression" to see the value and ensure that the formula is correct.

If everything is working, click "OK" to save the variable's expression.


Now repeat those steps selecting the "DestName" variable - in this example, I have given it  the following expression code:

@[User::DestPath] + "c" +  @[User::FileNameDate] + ".txt"

Note that I assumed a few thing there - I assumed the file would always have the "c" portion and the ".txt" portions on the filename.  If that is not the case, create variables for them - or adjust them accordingly.


Finally, repeat the steps again selecting the "SourceName" variable.  I gave that one the following expression code:

@[User::SourcePath] + "a" +  @[User::FileNameDate] + ".txt"

Again, I have assumed what the filename will look like for the source file - you may need to adjust it to your needs.


** Make sure you click "Evaluate Expression" after each one as a test.  Also of note:  SSIS doesn't automatically update a variables value until this is clicked - so if you come back and something is blank - go back in and evaluate the expression to see if it shows up the way you expect it to.

Once you're done, your variable window should now look like the following ( with today's date ):

 Final variable setup


Now we just configure the File System Task for copying.

File System Task properties

From the top down, we set the "IsDestinatinationPathVariable" to True and set the "DestinationVariable" to our "DestName" variable.

Verify that the Operation is set to "Copy file" - this is the default.

Finally set the "IsSourcePathVariable" to True and set the "SourceVariable" to our "SourceName" variable.


Save the package and then it's test time:

Let 'er rip

The package runs successfully and...

New file as expected

When we check "Folder C" - there is our new file as expected.


Hope that helps!

Keith Hyer

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