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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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Processing a Measure Groups Index Using SSMS

  • 1 December 2010
  • Author: briankmcdonald
  • Number of views: 5292


As I had mentioned in a previous blog (Creating and processing an Analysis Services partition), instead of processing an entire partition, you can process just the indexes. Processing measure group indexes will improve performance of your cubes! In this blog, I am going to walk you through processing the index of a sample cube built using the AdventureWorksDW2008R2 database.


Step 1: Connect up to your Analysis Services using SSMS

So, let’s fire up SQL Server Management Studio and bet started. When the Connect to Server dialog box comes up, be sure to choose Analysis Services as the Server type and enter the name of the analysis services server, as shown below.

Connect To SSAS Brian K McDonald 


Step 2: Drill down into your Measure Group

Using the Object Explorer, drill down into a measure group as shown below. Again, in my example, I am using a sample cube that I built. Notice that I have an Internet Sales measure group and a Reseller Sales measure group.

Navigate to Measure Group - Brian K McDonald


Step 3: Process Measure Group Submenu Option

 Right Click on the Measure Group and choose Process as shown in the sub menu below. In this example, I have chosen to reprocess my Internet Sales measure group.

Process the Measure Group Option - Brian K McDonald 


Step 4: Change Processing Options to “Process Index”

The default processing option is “Process Full”. Update the Process Options by selecting the down arrow and then choosing “Process Index” as depicted in my screenshot with a red square and yellow highlight.

Change Processing Option - Brian K McDonald

Now all that you need to do is just click OK and analyis services will begin processing the index. If all goes well, you should see something similar to below. Note that this could take a while if the index is large, so please do not test this out for the first time on your production server. J

Process Succeeded - Brian K McDonald 


I hope that you have enjoyed this post. If you did, please take just a moment to rate it below! Also, if you don’t already, please be sure to follow me on twitter at @briankmcdonald. Also note that you can subscribe to an RSS feed of my blogs or find me at any of the below methods.



Brian K. McDonald, MCDBA, MCSD
Business Intelligence Consultant – Pragmatic Works


Blogs: SQLBIGeek | SQLServerCentral | BIDN | SQLServerPedia

Twitter: @briankmcdonald



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