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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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SSIS and Oracle connections

  • 2 May 2012
  • Author: Mike Milligan
  • Number of views: 67585


The new SSIS connectors for Oracle and Teradata are available now.

FYI the 2.0 version is for 2012 only… You want the 1.2 version for 2008

---Thanks to Mike Davis & Devin Knight for the info!

more help...

Using the Microsoft Connector for Oracle by Attunity with SQL Server 2008 Integration Services



I was recently tasked with creating a test package to check the performance of SSIS loading data from MS SQL Server 2008 to an Oracle database and loading data from Oracle to MS SQL Server.

My tests have only been performed on a 32bit laptop running Windows XP (Yeah, I know...)

Here are the steps I took:

  1. Install Oracle Developer Suite 10g ( (including Forms and Designer)  (for 64 bit test, you would just need to install the 64 bit version.)
  2. Edit C:\DevSuiteHome_1\NETWORK\ADMIN\TNSNAMES.ORA by appending the TNS information provided by your Oracle DBA.
  3. Edit C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\hosts using notepad.  Add the host entries provided by your Oracle DBA to the file.
  4. Create a new SSIS package, add a connection manager of type Native OLE DB\Microsoft OLE DB Provider for Oracle.  Enter SOMETEXT (see example TNS Entry below) in Server name, and the user name and password provided.  Click Test Connection.
  5. Create an Execute SQL Task to truncate the Oracle table you will be loading.  Must be coded like this:  truncate table "SOME_TEST"."Movies"    **NOTE: SOME_TEST is the schema name.
  6. Create another Execute SQL Task to truncate a SQL Server table called Movies2.
  7. Create a data flow to pull data from SQL Server to Oracle.
  8. Create a data flow to pull that data from Oracle into another new table in SQL Server (Movies2).
  9. Data Types are tricky.  You may have to cast as nvarchar or numeric(38,0) when pulling from SQL Server and use derived column transformations when pulling from Oracle.
  10. For the Oracle Source & Destination components, right click and select Show Advanced Editor.  Under component properties, set AlwaysUseDefaultCodePage to True.


Now comes the fun part...
Using the Oracle Connection managers that come w/ SQL Server, it took approximately 10 minutes 45 seconds to pull about 45,000 rows of 2 columns full circle.   (That is slow!)
My good buddy, Stephen Bowley, told me about the Attunity drivers that you can download from Microsoft's website.

These drivers only took 45 seconds to complete the same task.  It creates new data flow components specifically for Oracle source and Oracle destination (similar to the OLE DB Source / Destination components; but, specifically for Oracle.)


ExSample TNS Entry: 






    (LOAD_BALANCE = yes)







Example Hosts entry:     SOMESERVERA   SOMESERVERB


The following are the instructions my buddy Stephen sent me.  I didn't have to follow these b/c my test was only done on a 32 bit laptop.  I think he was developing on a 64bit environment.  I will post them here in the event they might help someone else.


If server is 64bit, Then we have to install both the 

32bit and 64bit drivers for the attunity connector utility. 

Can be found at:

Once installed, you'll have to installed the correct Oracle Client tools. 

This also requires you install the 32bit and 64bit versions. 

next you have to setup the Service Names on the DB box through oracle

using the Oracle Net Manager application. This has to be done for both 

32bit and 64bit installations. Name the service names the same. Remember

these are where you use the connection information of the oracle server.

Make sure you can connect to the Oracle instance on server

through the SQL-Plus untility.

You'll probably have to create a new folder called "ProgramFilesx86" on the root of installation path of SQL Server.

Then COPY everything from the "Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0" folder in that. THEN ALL BIDS shortcuts needs to ref

that direcory otherwise the connector wont allow BIDS to manually run the package since BIDS is a 32 BIT application.


Helpful Links:

Funny quote:

"I do not expect that Microsoft will write an Oracle fast loader - currently it comes in around number 999 in my list of 1000 features for next version, just slightly ahead of recompiling for Linux." - Donald Farmer



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