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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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PowerShell Training Resources

  • 2 April 2012
  • Author: Robert Cain
  • Number of views: 11117

OK, I admit it. I love PowerShell! It?s the way to go when you want to do automation. Not only that, it has the ability to hook into all aspects of the Microsoft tool stack. Not just SQL Server, but SharePoint, Exchange, Windows Server, and more. So here are some of my favorite resources for learning PowerShell.

A quick disclaimer, some of the links below are by co-workers or other people I have an affiliation with, financial or otherwise. That?s because I?m lucky enough to work with some of the best people in the field. Also, in the case of the books I?ve linked to the Kindle version where possible, mostly because I?m a Kindle junkie. There are paper versions of the books, and you are free to buy from your favorite retailer.


Windows PowerShell in Action, Second Edition ? If you are only going to buy one PowerShell book, this is ?The? book as folks say. It?s one of the two that gets referenced quite often. Note the prior link is to Amazon, where you can only get the paper (aka ?dead tree?) version. You can get electronic versions (Kindle, PDF, and ePub) directly from the publishers website.

PowerShell In Practice -  This is the other book in my collection that gets a good workout. Lots of great examples and easy to understand. Like the previous book, the link is to the Amazon dead tree version, you can also get the electronic version from the publishers website.

Windows PowerShell 2.0 Best Practices ? So you want to know if you are doing PowerShell right? As it?s title implies, this book lays out best practices to help your PowerShell solutions succeed.

Note there are a lot of other really good PowerShell books on the market that focus on using PowerShell with specific technologies such as SharePoint, SQL Server, Exchange, and Windows Server. The books I?ve listed above cover PowerShell in general.


Richard Siddaway ? This guy blogs more about PowerShell than anyone I know. It?s an invaluable resource for PowerShell. In addition he is also the author of PowerShell in Practice, listed above. ? This website is a treasure trove of resources. Indeed, it could have been put into all of the sections in this post as it holds not just blogs but free e-books, forums, and webinars.

Hey Scripting Guy ? Ed Wilson, author of the Best Practices book above, is ?The Scripting Guy?. Ed works on the PowerShell team at Microsoft and is very active in the PowerShell community.


PowerScripting Podcast ? A great show out of Atlanta, has a lot of information about PowerShell especially for beginners. The website also has a lot of useful links. I always learn something new listening to their show.

Get-Scripting ? If you are out of the UK you?ll appreciate this PowerShell Podcast. Has a focus on PowerShell with VMWare?s PowerCLI.


Pluralsight ? I know Pluralsight has a great series on PowerShell, as I?m the one who authored them! In addition Pluralsight has an extensive catalog of other courses you can pick from. It?s subscription bases so there is a modest fee (starts at $29 US per month last I checked) but well worth it for the training you can get. There?s also a free trial.

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