Business Intelligence Blogs

View blogs by industry experts on topics such as SSAS, SSIS, SSRS, Power BI, Performance Tuning, Azure, Big Data and much more! You can also sign up to post your own business intelligence blog.

«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

Read more

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
Read more

SSIS: Assign a value to Variable using Dataflow Script task

  • 19 September 2010
  • Author: PatrickLeBlanc
  • Number of views: 75612

I am not quite sure how many of you have tried to set or change the value of a variable using an SSIS script task, but if you have tried I am sure that you may have ran into a few road blocks.  Recently I tried to do this and I quickly realized that it is not as straightforward as I thought.  To do this configure your package so that you have a source of some type on the data flow design surface.  Drag a script task onto the data flow and connect it to the source.  Typically, you would set the variable you want to read from or write to as a ReadOnly or ReadWrite value on the Custom Properties of the script task.


This is only the case on the Control Flow.  In the case of the data flow this is not required.  I don't claim to be a developer, but I do know how to use the Internet to find a solution to a problem.  After searching for about 10 minutes I found three posts that assisted me in solving the problem.  Each post provided a little snippet of code that added to my solution.  Here is the code:

   1:      public override void Input0_ProcessInputRow(Input0Buffer Row)
   2:      {
   4:          IDTSVariables100 vars = null;
   5:          VariableDispenser.LockOneForWrite("intMaxSalesDetailsID", ref vars);
   6:          if(!Row.SalesDetailID_IsNull)
   7:              vars[0].Value = Row.SalesDetailID;
   8:          vars.Unlock();
   9:      }


On line 4 declare an interface that is going to allow us to access the variable.  In the next line we lock the variable for writing.  In line six ensure that the value that is being assigned to the variable from the Input Row is not null.  Then on the next line set the value of the variable to the desired column from the buffer.  Lastly, unlock the variable.  That's all to it.  If you have other method, preferably a simpler approach, send me an email at or post it here.

Talk to you soon,

Patrick LeBlanc, SQL Server MVP, MCTS

Founder and

Rate this article:
No rating

PatrickLeBlanc PatrickLeBlanc

Other posts by PatrickLeBlanc

Please login or register to post comments.