Press "Enter" to skip to content

Modeling Many-to-Many Relationships in Power BI

Marco Russo and Alberto Ferrari show off two techniques:

Our readers know SQLBI position regarding bidirectional relationships: they are a powerful tool that should be used with great care and avoided in most scenarios. There actually is one scenario where bidirectional relationships are useful: when you need to create a model involving a many-to-many relationship between dimensions. In this scenario, using a bidirectional filter relationship is the suggested solution. Nonetheless, there may be reasons why the bidirectional relationship cannot be created, because of ambiguity. If you face this situation, you can use a different modeling technique based on a limited many-to-many cardinality relationship, which would work even when it is set as a unidirectional relationship. The choice between the two models is not an easy one. Both come with advantages and disadvantages that need to be deeply understood in order to make the right choice.

In this article, we first provide a description of the two techniques, and then we proceed with the performance analysis of both solutions, so to provide information about which technique to use and when.

Read on for the analysis.