Business Intelligence Blogs

View blogs by industry experts on topics such as SSAS, SSIS, SSRS, Power BI, Performance Tuning, Azure, Big Data and much more! You can also sign up to post your own business intelligence blog.

«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

Read more

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
Read more

Restarting SQL Server using the GUI

  • 31 August 2010
  • Author: briankmcdonald
  • Number of views: 17953

Sometimes you may need to restart your instance of SQL Server. You should rarely do this on Production boxes, but in development or on your local desktop instance I restart my SQL Server instance fairly often. Here is the easiest way for those who like to use the GUI (graphical user interface).


NOTE: Do not test with this on your PRODUCTION server. J 


What you’ll need to do is RIGHT CLICK on the instance of SQL Server. If you want to do the stop and start all together, you can choose the RESTART option as depicted in figure 1 labeled 1. If you want to STOP it and then START it, you should choose the option to STOP the service shown in 2.


Figure 1: Restarting the SQL Server Service

Restarting, Stopping and Starting SQL 


If you choose option 1 or 2, you will be prompted with something like shown in figure 2 below. The wording will be slightly different depending on which option you chose. Click Yes to restart, stop or start the SQL Server service.


Figure 2: Are you sure?

Are you sure 


What these actions actually do behind the scenes is Restart, Stop or Start the SQL Server Service. If I chose to stop the service you would see something like that shown in figure 3 below when you open up the Services from within the Administrative Tools window or menu.


Figure 3: ServicesServices


The highlighted section is showing that the Status is blank, which means that it is not started. Upon starting the service back up (which could be done right here as well by clicking Start on the left), we will see that the status changes to Started.


And that’s all there is to it for restarting, stopping and starting a SQL Server instance using SQL Server Management Studio. In my next post, I’ll show you how to do this using a batch script that could then be scheduled or executed on demand.


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

Convert with DTS xChange  | Develop with BI xPress  | Process with TaskFactory | Document with BI Documenter


Categories: Blogs
Rate this article:
No rating


Other posts by briankmcdonald

Please login or register to post comments.