Listing Enterprise-Only Features

Patrick LeBlanc has an embedded report which shows Enterprise Edition-only features:

Someone recently asked me if there was a list of all the SQL Server “Enterprise Only” features available on the web.  I pointed them to the Features Supported by the Editions of SQL Server web page and thought I was done.  He stated that this site was good, but did not provide a simple list of enterprise only features.  I thought for a second, and my thoughts went straight to Power BI.  Why?  Simple, there are tables on the web page, and Power BI can easily extract that data into a data model.  I am not going to go into all those details in this blog post.  Maybe one day, but for now take a look at this interactive Power BI report and let me know what you think.

I think this layout is a bit easier to read and follow than the features website, although I’d love to be able to click on an item and get more information on the feature.

Dot Plots

Devin Knight continues his custom visualization series:

In this module you will learn how to use the Dot Plot Power BI Custom Visual.  The Dot Plot is often used when visualizing a distribution of values or a count of an occurrence across different categorical data you may have.  Watch this module to learn more!

This particular visualization seems a bit distracting for my tastes, but check out Devin’s video.

Single Slices And Chart Slicers

Matt Allington has a post up on improving your Power BI user experience:

The example on the right adds more value over the one on the left.  The example on the right uses a column chart instead of a slicer.  The benefit of this is you can communicate more information to the user than you can with the static slicer.  In this case I am displaying the total value of each of the scenarios which means it is easy to see the relative difference between them.  And this all happens while still providing slicer capabilities thanks to the powerful cross filter feature in Power BI.  This is what I mean by adding value by thinking outside your old paradigms.

Definitely read the comments on this one; they are full of great questions and suggestions.

Power BI Costs

Adam Saxton looks at pricing in Power BI:

You can get a quick look at the differences between free and Pro by looking at the Power BI Pricing page. You can also look at the official documentation for what is Pro content.

So, that’s it! Right?

No so fast! There are other factors that may come into play, or you may be wondering about. You may think they are part of Power BI, but they may be separate.

What I like about this post is that Adam goes into detail on some of the other potential costs involved aside from product licensing.

Enhanced Scatter Visualization

Devin Knight continues his Power BI custom visuals class:

The Enhanced Scatter functions very similarly to the standard Power BI scatter chart but with a few new properties added to it including:

  • Shapes as markers

  • Background image support

  • Crosshair interaction

I’ve enjoyed going through this series and getting a chance to dig into custom visuals others have created.

Comments As Documentation

Chris Webb shows that comments in the Advanced Editor become step property tooltips:

The June release of Power BI Desktop has what seems to be a fairly unremarkable new feature in that it allows you to add descriptions to each step in a query in the Query Editor window. However the implementation turns out to be a lot more interesting than you might expect: the step descriptions become comments in the M code, and even better if you write M code in the Advanced Editor window your comments appear as descriptions in the Applied Steps pane.

I think this is a smart move, although it does mean that you have to keep those comments up to date…

Power BI KPIs

Patrick LeBlanc explains a confusing part of KPIs in Power BI:

Now, take a look at the KPI visual.  What happened?  First, you should notice a trend line on the KPI that depicts Sales Amount for each month.  This is cool and a great feature of the visual, but wait.  Why doesn’t the Indicator value and the goal match the values in the Card?  Now I see the confusion.

I appreciate that Patrick put in several embedded reports to show us exactly what’s going on.


Devin Knight continues his Power BI visualization course:

In this module you will learn how to use the Histogram, a Power BI Custom Visual.  A Histogram is a column chart which shows the distribution of occurrences divided into categories, called bins.  This type of chart is useful for estimating density and discovering outliers.

Another fine entry in a great series.  Check it out.

Query Folding

Devin Knight discusses query folding and the View Native Query feature inside Power Query:

The idea behind Query Folding is to push the logic that you built into a Power BI query back to the data source server and execute it there in it’s native language instead of doing a client side transform of the data.  Why is this important?  Let me give you an example.  Say you have a 2 billion row SQL Server table you need to connect to in Power BI, but you want to filter to only return the last year of data.  With Query Folding the filter of that data is done on the SQL Server side instead of on the client side. If Query folding did not take place than that would mean all 2 billion rows would be brought across the network only to then filtered out on the client workstation.  So clearly the ideal situation is that all your queries get folded for the best possible performance, but Query Folding only works in certain scenarios.

I hadn’t heard the term “query folding” before, but the concept makes sense; in the PolyBase world, it’s “predicate pushdown.”  Check out Devin’s post, as he shows how easy it is to see to what extent your query is running client-side versus server-side.

Power BI June Update

Dustin Ryan talks about this month’s batch of Power BI updates:

Searchable slicers are also a new feature in the latest release of Power BI Desktop. A couple days ago I wrote about some of my favorite custom visuals, which included the Smart Filter by SQLBI. I think I still prefer the Smart Filter in many situations, but the search-ability of the native Slicer is definitely a nice feature to have right out of the box.

The headline is row-level security, but there are several interesting features here.


June 2019
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