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Category: Power BI

Tracking Power BI Desktop Activity in SQL Server

Chris Webb looks in on things:

Something I do all the time when performance tuning Power BI is use SQL Server Profiler to monitor query and refresh activity. There’s a handy external tool that lets you open up Profiler with a connection to Power BI Desktop; if you’re using Power BI Premium you can also connect Profiler up to a published dataset using the XMLA Endpoint. Profiler is a bit old-school though and likely to lead to snarky comments from SQL Server DBAs (it’s not deprecated for Analysis Services though!) who’ll say you should be using Extended Events (aka xEvents) instead. And guess what – did you know you can use Analysis Services xEvents to monitor activity in Power BI Desktop?

It’s the power of Extended Events.

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Incremental Refresh in Power BI

Reza Rad doesn’t have time to wait for a full dataset reload:

The default configuration for the Power BI dataset is to wipe out the entire data and reload it again. This can be a long process if you have a big dataset. Hybrid tables in Power BI keep part of the data in DirectQuery, and the rest is imported for data freshness and performance. In this article, I explain how you can set up an incremental refresh in Power BI and its requirements. You will also learn about Hybrid tables in Power BI. Incremental Refresh is not just in Power BI datasets but also in Dataflows and Datamarts. In this article, you learn to load only part of the changed data instead of loading the entire data each time. To learn more about Power BI, read the Power BI book from Rookie to Rock Star.

Click through for the article.

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Streaming Datasets in Power BI

Reza Rad needs data in real time:

Datasets in Power BI can have connection types such as Import, DirectQuery or Live Connection. However, there is also one specific type of dataset which is different. This type of dataset is called Streaming Dataset. A streaming dataset is for a real-time dashboard and comes with various setups and configurations. In this video and article, we’ll talk about this type of dataset.

Reza includes a video as well as a very helpful walkthrough.

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Calculating Compound Interest in Power BI

Koen Verbeeck does the math:

Recently I had an interesting use case where I had to a compound calculation in Power BI. You can compound an interest rate for example, where you get a certain rate on your savings. Let’s say 1% (which is at the time of writing ridiculously high, but bear with me). After 1 year, you get 1% interest on your money. If you leave that (small) amount of money on your savings account, you’ll get 1% after another year on the original amount + the interest amount of the previous year. This means you’re money grows exponentially (sounds more exciting than it is in reality).

Read on for an example of creating what-if parameters around compound interest rates.

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Using DaxDebugOutput when testing EvaluateAndLog()

Gilbert Quevauvilliers hooks us up:

I have seen a few great blog posts with regards to the new DAX function EvaluateAndLog which can be used to show/debug what happens with DAX Measures.

When I tried this out myself one of the challenges I had was where to download DaxDebugOutput, and then how to use it with Power BI Desktop.

In this blog post I will show you how I downloaded, installed, and used DaxDebugOutput application with Power BI Desktop.

Read on to see how the tool works, as well as where you can get it.

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The Power of Bookmarks in Power BI

Mara Pereira likes bookmarks:

Yes, I know some of you are not a fan of this incredible feature, but hopefully I can change your mind with this blog post.

I feel that for you to like bookmarks, you really need to know all the ins and outs of it, otherwise it can be quite overwhelming, specially if you have to create loads of bookmarks in the same report.

Read on for more information about how you can take best advantage of bookmarks in Power BI. My main issue with them is that it’s difficult to keep bookmarks up to date, especially as you get more complicated combinations of actions (like hiding and displaying certain sets of visuals). But that is for the next post, apparently.

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Marco Russo and Alberto Ferrari do some ranking:

Ranking is one of the most frequent calculations in Power BI reports. Needing to determine the top products, countries, customers and such is extremely common. RANKX offers a powerful and very fast way to produce ranking. Nonetheless, its use takes some understanding.

In this article we introduce the RANKX function and provide a few interesting examples of how it can be used. RANKX is not a complex function to learn. Nonetheless, most newbies find it intimidating because they do not fully grasp its internals. Once they learn exactly how RANKX works, its use becomes really simple.

Click through to learn how it works.

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Tooltips on Power BI Pages

Teo Lachev offers some help:

Want to display visual-left hint to perplexed users that explains what your visual is supposed to reveal? Like me, you have missed the handy Power BI help tooltips feature that allows you to pop up some helpful text for each visual.

This works best for blocks of information a person needs to see once. Rather than it showing up every time you visit the page, make it available via a tooltip. You’ll want to make sure the tooltip is readily visible for people new to the report but not so overwhelming that it annoys people who already know how this thing works. That, however, is a completely different challenge.

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Corporate Networks and Power BI Performance

Chris Webb notes a problem:

Over the years I’ve seen a few examples of how issues with an organisation’s corporate network can affect Power BI report performance. I’ve never blogged about them because, to be honest, I know next to nothing about networks and I’m not sure I could describe them properly. However, recently, I have seen a few instances of what I think could be a widespread but little-diagnosed problem – so I would like you to check if it’s happening to you and tell me what the cause is, if you can find out.

Some time ago I wrote a post about how Power BI report performance could be worse in Internet Explorer 11 and older Windows operating systems because some report performance optimisations we do are only available with HTTP/2

Read on for one potential issue which could add several seconds to report calls. There’s also a good comment which adds more helpful information.

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