Power BI Neuigkeiten 2017-May: Power BI Desktop

Alles neu macht der Mai – und die erste Maiwoche hat es in sich in Sachen Power BI!

Power BI Desktop (2017-May)

Die neue Version der Power BI Desktop Version ist wieder voll mit Erweiterungen und bringt Erleichterung für die Arbeit mit Power BI mit. Hervorzuheben sind hier:

  • Report Level Measures für Live-Connections auf SSAS Tabular und Power BI service Datasets. Endlich gibt es nun die Möglichkeit, auch innerhalb von Live-Connections das Datenmodell zu erweitern und somit flexibler in der Entwicklung zu sein! ABER: die erstellten Measures werden nicht in das Dataset übernommen, sondern bleiben Teil des Reports, d.h. die Wiederverwendung dieser Measures ist nur innerhalb der Reportgrenzen möglich (wobei durch eine Kopie des Reports auch die Measure mitkopiert werden sollten).
  • Die vor kurzem eingeführten Quick Measures (blog)bekommen Erweiterung: Total for Category & Rolling Average. Ein wirklich geniales Konzept – einfacher Einsatz von “best-practices” Measurekonstrukten (ohne DAX Kenntnissen). Wer selbst Quick Measures mit der Community teilen möchte ist eingeladen dies zu tun (Introduction post, Quick Measures Gallery)
  • Visual im Preview Status – Relative Date Slicer: Mit diesem Filtervisual ist es möglich, dynamische Zeitbereiche zu filtern. So ist es z.B. möglich Daten der letzten 3 Monate zu filtern. Die aktuell unterstützten Zeitbereiche sind: Tage, Wochen, Monate, Jahre wobei auch Kalenderbasierte Zeitbereiche möglich sind.
  • Visual im Preview Status – Table Visual: Eine neue Version des Tabellen-Visuals unterstützt nun Textumbruch und die Möglichkeit des Cross-Highlightings (ein Klick in eine Zelle filtert andere Visuals im Bericht).
  • URL Icons im Tabellen und Matrix-Visual: Bisher wurden Links (mit WebURL als Typ gekennzeichnete Spalten) als “normale” URLs angezeigt – mit dem aktuellen Update bekommen Files, FTP, Http(s), mailto, news und telnet Icons verpasst.
  • Die Sektion der Connectoren hat ebenfalls Erweiterungen bekommen – Dynamics 365 for Customer Insights sowie bessere Unterstützung bei der “Combine Files” Aktion.
  • ….

Hinweis: Die Preview-Funktionalitäten sind vor Gebrauch zu aktivieren! (File –> Options and settings –> Options)

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Der Ankündigungspost inklusive Erklärungsvideos, Beispielen und dem aktuellen Downloadlink findest du hier: >> Power BI Desktop May 2017 Announcement <<

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SQLNexus 2017–I will talk about SSIS vNext

I am very happy to announce that I will (again) be part of the #SQLNexus conference in Copenhagen. From May 1 – 3 the conference takes place at the CinemaxX Fisketorvet – a cinema.. yes.. no kidding – a cinema. It’s really, really nice to attend a session in those cosy cinema seats – maybe with a coke and some snacks on your side.. That’s for sure great from an attendees point-of-view but for us speakers this means – we have to entertain you! 

The organizers (Regis & Kenneth) have already announced some sessions and I am sure the session and topic line-up will definitely measure with last years’!

With the upcoming release of SQL Server vNext and all that new stuff coming I will talk about the enhancements that Microsoft is planning for SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) in #SQLServer vNext.

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Looking forward seeing you in Copenhagen at #SQLNexus 2017!

The venue (outside)

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The venue (session rooms)

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Hmm… Who recognizes the face of that instance of a SQL-hero? Winking smile 

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And not to forget.. Copenhagen is quite a nice city! Smile 

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Das Global Azure Bootcamp kommt wieder nach Linz

Am Samstag, 22. April 2017 ist es wieder soweit – da Global Azure Bootcamp findet wieder statt. Das Global im Namen der Veranstaltung steht wirklich für global. An diesem Tag finden weltweit regionale Veranstaltungen unter dieser Dachmarke statt. Mit Stand heute (2017-02-24) sind es laut der Global Azure Bootcamp Homepage 102 bestätigte und 58 vorgemerkte Veranstaltungen!

Eine globale Veranstaltung mit Zwischenstopp in Linz

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Mit auf dem Tourplan steht auch heuer wieder das GAB in Linz welches von von Mr. Azure in Österreich – Rainer Stropek (t) – organisiert wird. Ein Großteil des Programms steht bereits fest und kann auf der GAB Linz Homepage eingesehen werden.

Mit Themen wie Docker, News in und um Azure, DocumentDB, Kafka HDInsight, Microsoft Teams, Azure IoT Hub, Service Fabric, VS Team Services, DevOps, Azure Functions, Angular & Azure, Testumgebungen in der Cloud, PowerApps, Azure API Management, Azure Site Extensions, Lego und Logic (darauf bin ich als alter Lego Fan schon sehr gespannt Smile), Azure Machine Learning, Web APIs und Power BI dürfte wohl für jeden Entwickler etwas dabei sein!

Power BI – Meine Session am GAB 2017 (in Linz)

Ich darf heuer über Power BI sprechen – und die Frage stellen, ob Power BI wirklich DAS Microsoft BI Tool der Zukunft ist!? Mit vielen Demos werde ich Power BI vorstellen und versuchen auf die Ecken und Kanten einzugehen.

Wie kannst du dabei sein?

Die Teilnahme am GAB ist kostenlost – eine Anmeldung ist aber unbedingt notwendig!  Bitte beachte – die Veranstaltung wird von der Community für die Community organisiert. Nur durch Sponsoren ist auch eine Verpflegung in den Pausen und auch in der Mittagspause möglich!

Solltest du nach deiner Anmeldung zum Event nicht mehr Zeit für die Veranstaltung haben – bitte melde dich wieder ab und gib Anderen (möglicherweise Wartelistenplätzen) die Chance am GAB 2017 dabei zu sein!

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SSRS and Power BI – January 2017 Preview – Log files

With the integration of Power BI into SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) the installation process changed (see my previous post for details). With an installation hick-up during the setup (“Failed to load provider” error in the connect dialog for SSRS configuration manager I had to look for and dive into SSRS log files.

The stand-alone installer adds an additional directory for Reporting services in the program files folder. Compared to older versions, that directory structure was found in the MSRSxx.xxx installation folder (and was contained in the Microsoft SQL Server folder).

“pre-vNext” vNext (as of Jan 2017 Preview)
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The log files can be found in the Logfiles directory (it was the same directory also for the older versions). In SSRS vNext there more different log files..

“pre-vNext” vNext
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The logging information seems to be splitted into multiple log files – if you want for example dig into the Power BI on-premises logging I propose to have a look at the RSPower*.log files.

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For future reference (can be changed in future previews and RTMs) the SSRS log files can now be found at:

  • C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services\RSServer\LogFiles (if you install SSRS into the default directory)

or

  • <<YourSSRSInstallationFolder>>\RSServer\LogFiles

 

Hopefully we do not need to dive too deep into SSRS logfiles, but with that post there is a chance that I (and you) find the right directory of the log files.

Posted in PowerBI, SQL Server | 1 Comment

Power BI in SQL Server Reporting Services (On-Premises) – January 2017 Preview

The next step towards the on-premises version of Power BI reports hosted in SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) has been made available by the SSRS team (January 2017 Technical Preview post, Getting started with the Technical Preview post).

Again, the SSRS team provides an Azure virtual machine template for immediate testing, but with the January 2017 Preview there is an installation for SSRS vNext available. Regis (blog) already wrote about his first experiences with the installation. I would only like to add some things.

Standalone Installer for SSRS

In the past, the installation of SQL Server Reporting Services was a part of SQL Server setup. The Jan2017 Preview adds a new, standalone SSRS installer. The download for the required files can be found >> here <<. What I found really interesting is the fact that the SSRS installer is only about 50 MB!

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The other downloads you’ll need to work successfully with the Jan2017 preview is a special version of the Power BI Desktop application.

The installation went real smooth: only one option (to change the installation path) is available. Otherwise it’s just a next-next-done installation.

I really like the separation of the different installers. The first step into that direction was the demerger of SSMS and SSDT setups out of the standard SQL Server installation routine. And now with a stand-alone installer for SSRS the demerging continues. I think that really works well …

  • with the extension of supported platform (Linux) for the database engine and
  • with the different paces of release cycles (SSMS – monthly releases versus DB engine..)

Let’s see if there will be stand-alone installers for SSIS, SSAS and/or other surrounding services in the future.

Configuration

After the installation you’ll need to configure SSRS Jan2017 preview with the well-known Reporting Services configuration manager. In my demo environment I had some issues after the installation. In the initial dialog connecting to my reporting server I got the error message “Provider load failure”. The dropdown for the report server instance was empty and the button Find only returned that error.

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I tried to did into the log files but found no real hint. The solution that worked for me was to un-install and install the Jan2017 Preview again. And after that the connect dialog was working for me:

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The SSRS Configuration Manager for vNext looks like we are used to it. As the SSRS team mentioned no SQL Server database instance is needed for installation – only for configuration. And only for storing the Reportserver databases afterwards. With that information in mind I tried to use SQL Server 2014 to store the ReportServer databases for the Jan2017 Preview – and it worked fine!

For my tests I restored the AdventureWorks SSAS onto the local SSAS server, started up the special Power BI Desktop version, created a test report and saved it to the local SSRS vNext Jan2017. I am not sure if it is related to the fact that I did the Jan2017 testing on a local VM but for me it seems that the opening of a Power BI on-premises reports is faster compared to the “older” preview versions.

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Happy testing and report-creating,

Wolfgang

Posted in Business Intelligence, PowerBI, SQL Server | 7 Comments

A first look at Power BI Email Subscriptions

After some sneak peeks and announcements in the past, the email subscriptions feature for Power BI report pages is finally available. As announced in the Power BI blog, it is really easy to create your first subscription.

Create a new subscription

There is one thing you have to create as a prerequisite for email subscriptions in Power BI: you need a Power BI report published to powerbi.com. When you open that report, the menu bar now contains a new icon “Subscribe”.

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  • The configuration dialog allows a user to create multiple subscriptions (1).
  • Individual subscriptions can be activated / deactivated and deleted (2).
  • Subscriptions are based on report pages (select the page you’ll want to be subscribed to)
  • The overview aboutyour current subscriptions can be reached by the link in the settings dialog (4) OR by using the settings gear in the top Power BI menu.

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Test the subscription mechanism

After you’ve configured a subscriptions all you have to do is to update your dataset to get an email from Power BI. Now the question arises how can I refresh a dataset?

The refresh dataset option is hidden in the Datasets section and can be initiated there.

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After some minutes you should have received an email in your inbox. It contains a screenshot/picture of the subscribed report page and a link to open the report in powerbi.com.

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Manage your subscriptions

There are two ways of managing your subscriptions:

  1. Directly at the Power BI report. If you click the “Subscribe” button, you’ll see the list of defined subscriptions. Disable, delete add or update any of the subscriptions here.
  2. The second option is located in the Power BI settings area.

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First Thoughts

At first sight, the email subscription mechanism looks really promising, BUT: there are some things that will be hopefully improved in future releases:

  • The current subscription mechanism only allows to subscribe to a specific report page. No combined mail for all the pages of a report (Workaround: create subscriptions for every single report page)
  • The recipient of email subscriptions cannot be changed  at the moment, which is clear as subscriptions can only be created for the currently logged-in user.
  • The subscription cycle is currently bound to data refresh and limited to maximum one mail per day. As I’ve read in the Power BI documentation an email is only sent if data have really changed. Which leads to the discussion if a schedule based subscription mechanism would be better in that way (for example: send me the report every Monday at 8am regardless of data changes).
  • Custom visuals in Power BI email subscriptions: According to the documentation, custom visuals are not supported – BUT: in my test scenario they worked well. I used the AttributeSlicer and the visual is displayed correctly in the preview picture in the mail.

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Happy testing and enjoy more emails in your inbox! Smile 

Wolfgang

Further Links

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Power BI in SSRS On-Premises Integration – January Preview is available

After the first technical preview of Power BI report publishing into SSRS report platform (Azure VM) the next step is available:

The SSRS team announced an installable version in their post on the SSRS blog. With the January 2017 Technical Preview you can try the Power BI integration in your own VM. Currently only live connections to Analysis Services (either multidimensional or tabular) can be used as sources.

Besides the setup for Power BI integration, Microsoft mentions a Technical Preview version of Power BI Desktop that is required for successful publishing of Power BI reports to the on-premises SSRS server.

In addition to the installation package, you can also try the January Preview in an pre-configured Azure VM.

The Power BI into SSRS integration itself is planned for the next version of SQL Server – not as an update for SQL Server 2016!

Links:

Happy Power BI publishing,

Wolfgang

 

 

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