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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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WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN, patrick leblanc????

Ok, so what have I been up to?  Well a lot has changed for me over the past couple of months, primarily my job.  Initially I wasn’t going to blog about this, but after a couple of conversations with a few well respected people in the SQL community I decided to write a post.  As many of you know I was a Business Intelligence Architect for Pragmatic Works, which was a great position.  That job catapulted my career into orbit, literally.  However, with the fast-paced I kind of lost myself.  I was given some advice when I started the position and that was, “You have to learn to say no”.  If you have met me in person or talked to me before, you know that I am one of the most laid back guys you will very meet, and saying no to a giving a presentation or helping out with a volunteer activity is not in my nature.  I enjoy speaking and giving back to the community.  Well as a consultant you constantly meet people that read your blog, books, and articles or attend your presentations.   Of course, if they ask me a question or to speak at their local user group, I would quickly say yes.  Because of this I quickly overwhelmed myself with work and community involvement.  Looking back over my calendar last year I gave more presentations (Online and In Person) than there are weeks in a year.

As a result, I decided to take a break from everything including work.  Over the past two-three weeks I have been home learning to cook, playing XBOX, Wii, going to the movies, taking my wife out on dates.  You get the picture.  In addition, I changed jobs.  You may have noticed by now that I have been referring to my job with Pragmatic Works in the past tense.  First I want to say that I did not leave the job because of any ill feelings or anything like that.  Pragmatic Works was one of the best jobs that I have ever had, and the people are awesome.  By the way they are hiring if you are looking for a job.  I left because I needed to learn to balance a job that required travel with my home life.  Travel is ok, but I need to take baby steps with it before I am ready to take on a full-time consulting job while maintaining a healthy family lifestyle.

So, where has all of this ended me?  I recently accepted a position with Microsoft.  I think this is going to be a great opportunity for me and my family.  I will be traveling, but at a level that will allow me to learn how to balance my life, work and community involvement.  I hope to maintain a healthy involvement in the SQL Server community.  I will be ramping up the SQL Lunch soon, so stay tuned for that.  What does the future have in store for me; well to be honest I am not quite sure.  For now, I am going to learn the ropes at Microsoft and learn everything that I can about SQL Server and the accompanying technologies.  If you want to contact me or ask me questions please feel free to email me at

Talk to you soon

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