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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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Build Configurations in SSIS 2012

  • 8 July 2012
  • Author: cprice1979
  • Number of views: 27907

Although not new in SSIS 2012, Build Configurations have become exponentially more useful with the introduction of parameters and the new project deployment model. Before we dive in to see how useful this feature is, let's take a moment to review parameters and the project deployment model.


Parameters are a new feature intended to replace and simplify configuration of SSIS packages when running under the new project deployment model. They are treated like read-only variables and have options that can make them required or mark them as sensitive. Parameters can be either package or project level and they are visible to both the Execute Package task and to SQL Agent.

Project Deployment Model

The new project deployment model brings together connections, configuration and packages into a single-deployable unit, the *.ispac file. This file is then deployed to the Integration Services Catalog, which is also new in 2012. This new model opens up several new possibilities, some of which are shared project connection managers, project references and of course project parameters.

Build Configurations

If you have worked with SSIS extensively, more than a couple times you will have found yourself debugging a package only to realize that a connection string it pointed to the wrong source or destination. Keeping track of these values across different environments or servers can be tedious, time consuming and error prone. Build Configurations are intended to simplify and help you avoid these types of situations.

First, off you can define multiple solution configurations (i.e. Development, Acceptance, & Production) by using the Configuration Manager in SQL Server Data Tools (formerly BIDS). If you have multiple projects within your solution, each project has its own context and can be mapped to the appropriate configuration.

Solution Build Configuration Control
Configuration Manager

The first part to these design-time configurations is parameter binding. You launch the parameter binding dialog by click the 'Add Parameters to Configurations' icon. From this dialog you can add, remove and sync parameter values to solution configurations. This is handy in the case of our connection string example because we now can configure the proper environment parameter values and easily switch between environments by changing the solution or build configuration.

Add Parameter to Configuration
Parameter Value Management

The second part is binding project configuration properties to the build configuration. Project configuration properties fall into one of three categories: Build, Deployment & Debugging. These properties behave in the same manner as configuration bound parameters. The most useful of these is the deployment target server and server project path. The scenario is easy, your development, staging and production servers should all be different target server names or at a minimum server project paths. By configuring the build configurations you could easily switch from environment to environment without ever worrying about entering the correct server name or path.

Project Property Management

I hope this brief blog has helped you see the value in build configurations in SSIS 2012.

Till next time!!


Categories: Analysis Services
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