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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 Tips: Watch Your Variables!

  • 14 December 2011
  • Author: ShawnHarrison
  • Number of views: 43645

In today?s post, I will give you some tips on monitoring the values of your variables when working with SSIS packages in BIDS. We can look at two different situations.


First, I will show how to view variable values when using loop containers. Once you have a loop container configured, right click on it and select ?Edit Breakpoints?. This will open the breakpoints menu.



Select the the last option. This will stop the package at the beginning of each loop. Now, execute the package. The package will prepare to execute, but it will stop, waiting for you to click the continue button.



In the tool bar, click Debug > Windows > Watch > Watch 1. This will open a watch window at the bottom of the screen.




Type the name of the variable you want to watch. It must be typed exactly the way it was typed when you created it. You will see the starting value of the variable.



Each time you click continue, you will see the value of the variable at the beginning of each loop.



The next scenario uses a fun little troubleshooting technique. Let?s say you have a SQL task that sets the value of a variable and you want to see what the value is at a certain point in the package. Put a script task in the package at the point where you want to see the value.



Open the script and set the language to VB. Select the variable in question as a ?ReadWriteVariable?.




Click the ?Edit Script? button and insert the following code.


All I am doing here is taking the value of the variable and putting it into a message box. Execute the package and you will see a message box with the value at that point in time.



Both of these techniques will only work when executing packages in BIDS. For more information on watching variables in packages that have been deployed and scheduled, check out BI xPress.

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