Replacing DAX PathContains With OR

Chris Koester shows the performance benefits of replacing the PathContains function in DAX with a simple OR operator:

This post shows how you can generate optimized multi-value DAX parameters in SSRS and achieve greater performance compared to the DAX PathContains function. This will be a short post that provides the SSRS expression to convert multiple SSRS parameters into a double-pipe delimited string for use in a DAX query. In other words, the goal is to use the DAX OR operator (||) instead of the PathContains function. I’m assuming the reader has experience with SSRS, so not all steps will be shown.

Read on for the example, which ended up being a 16X performance improvement.

Spelunking In The SSRS REST API

Chris Webb uses Power BI to look at the new SQL Server Reporting Services 2017 REST-based API:

And the online documentation for the API is here:

https://app.swaggerhub.com/apis/microsoft-rs/SSRS/2.0

Interestingly, the new API seems to be OData compliant – which means you can browse it in Power BI/Get&Transform/Power Query and build your own reports from it. For example in Power BI Desktop I can browse the API of the SSRS instance installed on my local machine by entering the following URL:

This is something that SSRS has been missing for a long time.  I’m glad they’re introducing a real API.

An Analysis Of The Utility Of Power BI Report Server

Meagan Longoria has an after-action report of a proof of concept using Power BI Report Server:

In addition to managing to versions of Power BI Desktop, I also found myself mentally managing two sets of features. I was constantly asking myself “Can I do that in Power BI Report Server?”. Some of that is because PBI Desktop for Report Server is on a quarterly release cycle rather than monthly, so I had to remember if a feature I wanted to use was new (or in preview) and therefore not available in this version. The other part is trying to remember what you can and cannot do with a Live Connection. For example, you can make report measures, but you can’t use ad hoc grouping and binning.

We had several scenarios where users wanted to be able to group fields in multiple ways that changed somewhat frequently. Since we couldn’t use grouping and binning in Power BI Desktop to accomplish this, we set up an Excel data source in the SSAS Tabular model, and allowed users to change the groups there and refresh the Tabular model when finished. This could get rather unwieldy if you had lots of users who needed this kind of flexibility.

Ultimately, the customer considered it a success.  Read on for more details.

Reporting Services Versus Power BI Report Server

John White compares and contrasts SQL Server Reporting Services versus Power BI Report Server:

Power BI Report Server (PBIRS) was first introduced in May 2017. Based on SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), it brings the ability to work with Power BI reports completely on premises in addition to all the other capabilities of SSRS. Given this, it would be reasonable to conclude that PBIRS was the next version of, or a replacement for SSRS, but that is not the case. I have heard people state that SSRS is “going away”, but this is simply not the case. SSRS is still a core part of the Microsoft BI stack. So, what are the differences between the two platforms? The differences boil down to features, licensing, and update cadence.

If you’re in the BI/report writing space, you will want to read the whole thing.

Two Mobile Reporting Stories On The Microsoft Stack

Paul Turley talks about the two competing mobile stories on the Microsoft stack, namely SSRS with DataZen and Power BI:

This is the story of two products – or rather one product that is now a service and another product that is now a component of another product.  A few years ago, Microsoft began to formulate a mobile usability story among many fragmented tools.  They had a really good reporting product: SSRS, and they had a pretty good self-service BI capability offered as a bunch of Excel add-ins; namely: Power Pivot, Power Query and Power View – but it didn’t do mobile.  They bought Datazen which was a decent mobile reporting and dashboard tool, designed primarily for IT developers and semi-tech-savvy business pros to quickly create mobile dashboards using traditional data sources.  Datazen wasn’t really a self-service BI tool and wasn’t really designed to work with BI data in the true sense.  It was a good power user report tool but was young and needed to be refined and matured as a product.  Datazen became “Reporting Services Mobile Reports” and was integrated into the SSRS platform as a separate reporting experience with a separate design tool, optimized exclusively for use on mobile devices using platform-specific mobile phone and tablet apps.  Since initial roll-out, product development stalled and has not changed at all since it was released with SQL Server 2016 Enterprise Edition.

Paul gives us his current advice, as well as a hint at where things could be going.

Power BI Report Server August Preview

Aaron Nelson gives us a happy report:

Power BI Report Server August 2017 Preview is now available. Think of this a “v.Next” of Power BI Report Server [On-Premises], for all Data Sources.

Here’s an excerpt from the Power BI blog post from this weekend:

With this August 2017 preview, users can create Power BI reports in Power BI Desktop that connect to any data source, and publish their reports to Power BI Report Server. There’s no special configuration required to enable this functionality

Read on for more information and a link to download the latest preview.  It had me as soon as I read “all data sources.”

Powershell To Copy Reporting Services Subscriptions

Claudio Silva has a new contribution to the Reporting Services Powershell module:

If we take a look to the “New Subscription” form, we will discover about a dozen of fields that need to be configured. Doing this by hand can make you want to pull your hairs, also the probability of error is huge, even with copy & paste.
Who wants to do copy & paste of dozens of fields between reports? I know who doesn’t – me 🙂

Click through to learn more about Claudio’s cmdlets for getting, setting, and removing Reporting Services subscriptions.

Top Jobs Report

Kenneth Fisher only looks at the best SQL Agent jobs:

But sometimes what you want is an overall history. Maybe you want to see your longest running jobs? Or the most frequent jobs? Or jobs that are failing? There is a great pre-built report just for that.

Now, be warned. The report and the history view both pull from the system views and they only hold so much history. You need to make s

With that warning stated, this is a good report if you just want to get some idea of what’s happening on your server.

Deploying Reporting Services Reports With Powershell

Claudio Silva has a post covering Reporting Services Powershell cmdlets:

In this post I will share with you the request and how I have automated it saving a lot of time. Just to keep you interested, I went from 23 and a half minutes to 3 (your mileage may vary depending on the number of objects/actions that you need to do).

The request

  1. Create new folder “FolderB”

  2. We need to deploy a copy of the reports and data source to a new folder (“FolderB”). You should get the existing ones from the folder “FolderA” on the same server.

  3. Then you have to change the datasource to point to the database “dbRS” with the login “ReportingUser”

  4. Finally we need to change the data source for each report to match the new datasource pointing to database “dbRS” created on last step.

Click through for the code.  Claudio even has a one-minute video showing his work in action.

Power BI Report Server Released

Ginger Grant notes that Power BI Report Server is now generally available:

The most glaring change from what was announced earlier, is Power BI Report Server can only connect to analysis services data sources, both tabular and multidimensional.  If you want to connect to SQL Server, Oracle or Excel or all three, use the Power BI Web Service.  Only going to the cloud version will users be able to create a data mashup or connect to anything but SQL Server.

Connecting to one data source is not what was promised when the Power BI Report Server was announced in May.  Various Power BI Product members held a session at the Microsoft Data Summit where attendees were able to ask questions.  I asked “When are we going to be able to use Power BI Report Server with data sources other than analysis services?”  In a room full of people, I was assured that it was a top priority of the team to release the same data connectivity functionality for Power BI Report Server that currently exists for Power BI Services and the current plan was to release this functionality the next release.

This is the most glaring flaw with Power BI Report Server at the moment.  Unfortunately, that probably makes it DOA for my purposes, at least until they introduce SQL Server relational as a valid data source.

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