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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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SSRS Data Driven Subscriptions Cryptic Job Names

When you create and schedule a Data Driven Subscription for a SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) report a job is created with a very meaningless name.  The name is actually a uniqueidentifier and is stored as such in the dbo.Schedule table in the ReportServer database.  I was recently asked if it was possible to use the Job Name to identify the Report associated with the job.  After a little digging I was able to produce the following query, which associates the Job Name with the Report Name:


            s.ScheduleID Job_Name,

            su.Description Subscription_Description,

            c.Name Report_Name

FROM dbo.Schedule s

INNER JOIN dbo.ReportSchedule rs

            ON s.ScheduleID = rs.ScheduleID

INNER JOIN dbo.Catalog c

            ON rs.ReportID = c.ItemID

INNER JOIN dbo.Subscriptions su

            ON rs.SubscriptionID = su.SubscriptionID

The ReportServer database is a wealth of knowledge.  If you support Report Server deployments I recommend that you spend some time becoming familiar with the database schema.  If you have any questions or concerns regarading this topic please feel free to email me at

Talk to you soon,

Patrick LeBlanc, founder and

Visit, Bringing Business Intelligence to your company

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