Row-Level Security In Power BI

Paul Turley has a video showing how to use row-level security with Power BI:

The best method to implement row-level security in a published Power BI model or SSAS Tabular model consumed from the Power BI service will depend on will depend on your data and requirements.  The method I demonstrate here is one of the most flexible approaches and one that I commonly use in my projects.

Click through to watch the video.

Convert SSAS Tabular Processing Scripts Into Tables

Chris Koester shows how to take an Analysis Services Tabular processing script in TMSL format and turn it into a table using OPENJSON:

The previous post looked at how to process SSAS Tabular models with TMSL. Since SQL Server adds new JSON capabilities in 2016, let’s look at how to convert TMSL JSON to a Table with OPENJSON. OPENJSON is a new function in SQL Server 2016 that, per Microsoft:

OPENJSON is a table-valued function that parses JSON text and returns objects and properties from the JSON input as rows and columns.

In short, OPENJSON converts JSON text to a table. Since TMSL is JSON, this function can convert a SSAS Tabular processing script into a table. This could be useful if you wanted to document a SSAS processing schedule.

That’s an interesting use of OPENJSON.

Web Editor For Azure Analysis Services

James Serra shows off a preview of the Azure Analysis Services web designer for tabular models:

Microsoft has released a preview of the Azure Analysis Services web designer.  This is a browser-based experience that will allow developers to start creating and managing Azure Analysis Services (AAS) semantic models quickly and easily.  SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) and SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) will still be the primary tools for development, but this new designer gives you another option for creating a new model or to do things such as adding a new measure to a development or production AAS model.

A highly requested feature is that you can import a Power BI Desktop file (.pbix) into an Analysis Services database.  And once imported you can reverse engineer to Visual Studio.  Note for PBIX import only Azure SQL Database, Azure SQL Data warehouse, Oracle, and Teradata are supported at this time and Direct Query models are not yet supported for import (Microsoft will be adding new connection types for import every month).

Read on for more details.

Automatic Processing Of Azure Analysis Services Models

Dustin Ryan shows how to use Azure Functions to refresh Azure Analysis Services models:

Download the latest client libraries for Analysis Services. This needs to be done on your local machine so you can then copy these files to your Azure Function App.

After you’ve downloaded the client libraries, the DLLs can be found in C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\140\SDK\Assemblies. The two files you need are:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\140\SDK\Assemblies\Microsoft.AnalysisServices.Core.DLL
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\140\SDK\Assemblies\Microsoft.AnalysisServices.Tabular.DLL

This step is important because the documentation in Azure references the 130 assemblies, which will not work. You need the assemblies in 140 otherwise you’ll get errors.

Dustin walks through the whole process of setting up an Azure Function step by step.

Dimensional Design Tips

Koen Verbeeck provides some helpful hints when designing dimensions in SQL Server Analysis Services Multidimensional models:

Although traditional dimension modeling – as explained by Ralph Kimball – tries to avoid snowflaking, it might help the processing of larger dimensions. For example, suppose you have a large customer dimension with over 10 million members. One attribute is the customer country. Realistically, there should only be a bit over 200 countries, maximum. When SSAS processes the dimension, it sends SELECT DISTINCT commands to SQL Server. Such a query on top of a large dimension might take some time. However, if you would snowflake (aka normalize) the country attribute into another dimension, the SELECT DISTINCT will run much faster. Here, you need to trade-off performance against the simplicity of your design.

There are several good tips here.

Kerberos Constrained Delegation On Power BI Report Server

Regis Baccaro shows how to set up constrained delegation when connecting Power BI Report Server to a SQL Server instance or Analysis Services cube:

In many demo cases, you will have an all-in-one server where you have installed Power BI Report Server, SSAS (tabular or multidimensional) and SQL Server. In those cases you don’t need any form for credentials delegation since the Report Server is on the same box than the data source.

But there are scenarios where you have a distributed environment like the one I have on my VMs demo domain and for jumping around servers and passing credentials around, you need to setup Kerberos Constrained Delegation. Furthermore you will need protocol transition for it to work in Power BI Report Server.

Read on for step-by-step instructions showing how to do this.

SSAS HA

James Serra enumerates high availability options for SQL Server Analysis Services:

If you are looking at providing high availability (HA) for SSAS, here are 3 options:

  1. Install SSAS on a Windows Server Failover Cluster (WSFC)Here’s a good article. The main issue with this option is that SSAS isn’t cluster-aware, so if windows is “OK” but SSAS (the service) is hung, it won’t failover

Read on for the other options.

Power BI: Calculated Measures + SSAS Tabular

Shabnam Watson notes that the May updates to Power BI Desktop allow you to create new calculated measures on a report which connects live to a tabular model:

Ideally the SSAS database has all the measures you need but now you have the capability to add new ones if you need to.

You can control the folder (table/measure group) under which the new measure shows up by using the “Home Table” option from the Modeling tab. I really like this feature as you can create copies of the same calculation and send them to different folders for ease of use.

If you’re interested in getting this added to Multidimensional as well, there is a request you can vote on.

Dynamic Filtering With Power BI + SSAS

Patrick LeBlanc shows in a video how to implement dynamic filtering with SSAS Tabular & Multidimensional in Power BI:

In this video, Patrick answers your question about how to do this in Analysis Services Tabular and Multidimensional. Also, he adds a little bit of SQL to the mix.

Make sure to watch the previous dynamic filtering videos to understand the basics of how to do this.

To begin, you need to make sure to get the URL for your published report.

I completely agree with Patrick about doing as much as you can in the source, especially if there will be more than one potential consumer aside from Analysis Services.

Ignoring SSAS Dynamic Formatting

Chris Webb shows that tools like Power BI ignore formatting in SCOPE statements:

What’s more (and this is a bit strange) if you look at the DAX queries that are generated by Power BI to get data from the cube, they now request a new column to get the format string for the measure even though that format string isn’t used. Since it increases the amount of data returned by the query much larger, this extra column can have a negative impact on query performance if you’re bringing back large amounts of data.

There is no way of avoiding this problem at the moment, unfortunately. If you need to display formatted values in Power BI you will have to create a calculated measure that returns the value of your original measure, set the format string property on that calculated measure appropriately, and use that calculated measure in your Power BI reports instead:

Click through for more details and a workaround.

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