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Month: March 2021

Power BI Connector for Databricks

Stefania Leone, et al, announce general availability of the Power BI connector for Databricks:

We are excited to announce General Availability (GA) of the Microsoft Power BI connector for Databricks for Power BI Service and Power BI Desktop 2.85.681.0. Following the public preview, we have already seen strong customer adoption, so we are pleased to extend these capabilities to our entire customer base. The native Power BI connector for Databricks in combination with the recently launched SQL Analytics service provides Databricks customers with a first-class experience for performing BI workloads directly on their Delta Lake. SQL Analytics allows customers to operate a multi-cloud lakehouse architecture that provides data warehousing performance at data lake economics for up to 4x better price/performance than traditional cloud data warehouses.

This is easier to work with than the Apache Spark connector and it looks like it should be faster than that connector as well.

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Eight Fallacies of Distributed Computing

Kevin Sookocheff dives into things people tend to forget when building distributed computing solutions:

If we continue to develop microservices using the same set of assumptions we used for a monolith, we are operating with a now false set of assumptions that can prevent us from being successful. Even in a small distributed system with just two microservices we need to deal with networked communication that can turn our usual mental model of application development on its head. A common set of rules that can help us update our mental model to be more accurate in a distributed environment is the Eight Fallacies of Distributed Computing commonly attributed to Peter Deutsch, an engineer at Sun microsystems who worked on early versions of Ghostscript, as well as interpreters for Smalltalk and Lisp.

Click through for more information on each of the eight fallacies and what you can do to avoid their resulting pitfalls.

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Executing sp_help on Temp Tables

William Assaf shows how you can use sp_help to learn about temp tables:

For example, I was trying to convert a query from using a #temp table to a CTE instead, and wanted to see the column list and resulting data types of the #temp table. 

Sp_help is a helpful SQL Server system sproc to return schema of objects. It’s that magic that happens when you press Alt+F1 in SSMS. (Side note: showing someone the Alt+F1 shortcut in SSMS for the first time and seeing their life change for the better is really rewarding.

But Alt+F1 doesn’t work on #temp tables[…]

Read on for an alternative which does work.

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TLS 1.2 Support in MDAC and SQLOLEDB

Ron the Polymath notes a change slipped into Windows:

The October 2020 Preview releases of Windows builds 1809 (KB4580390), 1903/1909 (KB4580386), and 2004/20H2 (KB4580364) include the following change:

– Adds support for the Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.1 and 1.2 protocols when connecting to SQL Server using the data providers in Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC).

Click through for Ron’s experience and another update of potential interest.

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Common Admin Scripts for Power BI

Brent Powell has a new series for us:

Between the Power BI PowerShell modules and the Power BI REST APIs administrators have a rich set of tools to efficiently administer Power BI environments. Custom administrative and monitoring solutions based on these technologies have been featured on this blog before but today we will start the first of a two-part series highlighting simple script examples that Power BI administrators can use to address common scenarios.

The six PowerShell script files (.ps1) for today’s examples are available in my GitHub repo.

Check out those scripts, as well as Brent’s walkthrough of each.

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Enhancing Tables with Power BI

David Eldersveld gives us ways to go beyond simplistic tables in Power BI:

Conditional formatting for a table or matrix is an easy way to keep the grid and display raw numbers while providing visual cues that our brains process faster than reading numbers. Background color, font color, icons, and data bars help jazz up bland tables. It’s an easy compromise that brings some data visualization to table detail.

Click through for more examples of this.

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