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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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What Indexes are on My Table!

  • 29 July 2010
  • Author: briankmcdonald
  • Number of views: 3270

In this quick blog, I want to show you one way of how to find out what indexes you have on a table using SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). When you have SSMS running and are connected to the database engine, navigate down the database hierarchy to the Tables folder. You should see the tables that you have access to within that particular database. If you expand on a table you should see a subfolder called Indexes. Expand Indexes and there you will find your indexes for that table. For this blog, I am looking at a local instance of the ReportServer database. As you can see by the below screenshot the ExecutionLogStorage table has two indexes. One primary key CLUSTERED index and another NON-CLUSTERED - Non Unique index.




If you double click the index, you may see something like shown below.


Index Properties 



In order to keep this a quick blog, I’m not going to go into all the details about indexing. That could take up an entire chapter (actually probably many chapters) in a book. Come to think about it, there are books that were solely written about indexing and performance tuning. At any rate, I hope you learned something in this quick blog post.


Until next time, “keep your ear to the grindstone” – Good Will Hunting



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

Email: | Blog: BI Developer Network

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