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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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My 2010 Year in Review

  • 9 March 2011
  • Author: briankmcdonald
  • Number of views: 2347


While in Cincinnati for the first time since September of 2007, I heard on several occasions that I work too much and need to slow down to "smell the roses" or "enjoy the fruits of my labor". In fact, I've even heard that quite a few times from others as well, but I thought what a great way to see how much I do by writing a blog to review my work over the last year. As such, this blog is solely meant as a year in review of my presentations, articles and blogs that I have provided to the SQL Server Community.



Due to my traveling schedule, I have only done a few sessions this year, but I am thankful for each and every opportunity that I have had to pass on some of the knowledge that I have gained over my many years in the IT industry.



As a reminder, I am set to present in Tampa, Florida on 1/15/2011 and will probably speak a handful of times this year. I even submitted a session to SQL Rally and I really hope that they approve my session. If approved, it should be another full house as in all of my other sessions and one that shouldn’t be missed. J


Writings – Articles/Blogs

As many of you know, 2010 has been the year that I chose to add blogging to my already busy lifestyle. Of course it did make it a bit easier since I haven’t been able to exercise due to my shoulder injury. J But now that I am in the groove, it is easy to keep going. You can find my blogs at BIDN of course, SQLServerCentral and SQLServerPedia. Which were named by SQL Server Magazine as the top three sites for SQL Server solutions in their December 2010 edition. At any rate, here is a list of my blogs and articles by month as well as links.





  • December 2010 (1)
  • October 2010 (2)
  • September 2010 (1)
  • July 2010 (4)
  • June 2010 (2)
  • May 2010 (3)

Total Blogs:  79

Total Articles: 13


Forum Posts

Throughout the year, I have also participated in assisting others through responding to their forum questions. Most of my responses are on, but others are the SQL Server Programming group on Google and SQL Server Central. If I had to take a stab at how many posts that I had, it would be between 75 and 100. I hope that I have provided good advice to those who have not marked the solution as accepted and look forward to assisting others with their problems.


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.


Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011 - Brian K McDonald 

Brian K. McDonald, MCDBA, MCSD
Business Intelligence Consultant


Blogs: SQLBIGeek | SQLServerCentral | BIDN Articles | BIDN Blogs | SQLServerPedia

Twitter: @briankmcdonald




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