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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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MDX Puzzle #1

MDX Puzzle #1

Recently, I embarked on a mission to become proficient at writing MDX queries.  This is a challenge, as many of you may already know.  MDX, though a query language, is very different from T-SQL as I quickly found out.  Each week I will share with you a puzzle and then a couple of days later I will share my solution.   Please don’t post your solutions on this blog post.  Only post them on the Solution post, which will contain Solution in the title. Each solution post will contain a section on terminology and concepts if any new ones are introduced and the MDX query that is the solution to the puzzle.  In this first posting there will be a few.  The puzzles will start out very basic, but will move to more advanced MDX techniques as time progresses and my skills improve.  I will be using the Adventure Works 2008 R2 cube, which can be downloaded from codeplex.  So, let’s get started.

My first puzzle was to write what I thought was a very simple query.  Here is the puzzle:

Show:  Product Internet Sales and Order Quantity Measures
Rows:  Product Categories and SubCategories
Columns:  Ship Years
Filter:  Only Show Men from Customer Dimension and Exclude NULL values

Hint:  You will need a tuple for year and measures and for the rows.

Remember, don’t post you solutions here.  Save them for my solution post.  I will post it along with the steps that was taken to solve the puzzle in a couple of days.   Here is a screen shot of what the results should look like:


Don’t forget to check back in a couple days for the solution.

Talk to you soon,

Patrick LeBlanc

Founder and

Visit, Bring Business Intelligence to your company.

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