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The Best of Both Worlds: Using Excel and Power BI Together

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Excel and Power BI work well together. This allows you to use the two tools together to provide for many types of business workflow and BI practices. You can publish an Excel file to Power BI to share with others, analyse a Power BI dataset in Excel or import either an Excel workbook or Excel data to Power BI. You can gain the workgroup power and business-orientation of Power BI without losing the ease and versatility of Excel.. Saurabh shows how.… Read more

SQL Server R Services: Digging into the R Language

It is not just the analytic power of R that you get from using SQL Server R Services, but also the great range of packages that can be run in R that provide a daunting range of graphing and plotting facilities. Robert Sheldon shows how you can take data held in SQL Server and, via SQL Server R Services, use an R package called ggPlot that offers a powerful graphics language for creating elegant and complex plots.… Read more

SQL Server R Services: The Basics

It is possible to do a great deal with R within SQL Server, but it is best to start by doing analysis in R on numeric data from SQL Server and returning the results to SQL Server. There is great value to be gained even with this basic foundation. Robert Sheldon is on hand to give you a kick start with the first in his series on beginning with R in SQL Server.… Read more

Filtering Errors in PowerBI

I just faced this problem when trying to analyze some information from google analytics in PowerBI. In my specific situation, I was trying to extract a number from some URL querystrings and filter the rows without the number. When I set the data type of the column to decimal, the rows without a number receive … Read more

Deploying, Securing, and Updating Power BI Reports

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Before Excel and other data-linked spreadsheets, business reports needed to be hand-crafted by IT experts, and changes were arbitrated slowly via change control. Power BI was designed to take the liberation that Excel pioneered to the max, by allowing 'power' users to not only to create Power BI desktop reports, graphics and visualisations in Power BI App, but then link and publish these to the Power BI app. These in turn can be given row level security and have their underlying data kept up-to-date so that users can log in and see the relevant and appropriate data in a browser. Saurabh Desai shows how.… Read more

Statistics in SQL: Kendall’s Tau Rank Correlation

Statistical calculations in SQL are often perfectly easy to do. SQL was designed to be a natural fit for calculating correlation, regression and variance on large quantities of data. It just isn't always immediately obvious how. In the second of a series of articles, Phil factor shows how calculating a non-parametric correlation via Kendall's Tau or Spearman's Rho can be stress-free.… Read more

Scala and Apache Spark in Tandem as a Next-Generation ETL Framework

Scala and Apache Spark might seem an unlikely medium for implementing an ETL process, but there are reasons for considering it as an alternative. After all, many Big Data solutions are ideally suited to the preparation of data for input into a relational database, and Scala is a well thought-out and expressive language. Krzysztof Stanaszek describes some of the advantages and disadvantages of a scala-based approach to implementing and testing an ETL solution. … Read more

Comparing SSIS Catalog Contents Using DBFit Framework

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When you are doing the rapid deployment of an updated SSIS project, there are a number of things you have to check to make sure that the deployment will be successful. These will include such settings as the values in environment variables, Package parameters and project parameters. The DbFit test framework turns out to be ideal for the purpose of doing final checks as part of a deployment process, as Nat Sundar demonstrates.… Read more

Generating Plots Automatically From PowerShell and SQL Server Using Gnuplot

When you are automating a number of tasks, or performing a batch of tests, you want a way of automating the production of your plots and graphs. Nothing beats a good graphical plot for giving the indications of how the process went. If you are using PowerShell and maybe also SQL Server, it pays to use a command-line plotting tool such as Gnuplot to do all the hard work. It turns out to be handy for a range of data jobs, turning PowerShell into a handy data science tool.… Read more

Using an R Package within SQL Server with Real time analysis in Power BI

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We all know how easy it is to run R, together with dependent packages, from SQL Server on order to do statistical analysis, and then turn the result into a real-time graph using Power BI; but can you actually do it? Saurabh Desai gives a step-by-step hand-holding guide to turn even the most timid into a BI guru. There is nothing difficult in using R in SQL Server 2016 once you know the steps.… Read more

Using SQL SERVER and Cloud Hosted Databases with OBIEE 11g

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If your organisation is committed to using Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) 10g/11g /12c as their BI solution, you aren't thereby committed to using Oracle throughout your organisation. You can use a range of data sources including SQL Server, and save a great deal of money by doing so. Sadly, Oracle will only support the use of the venerable SQL Server 2008 R2. Zafar Ali demonstrates how to connect OBIEE to the world beyond Orac… Read more

Reconciling Data Across Systems Using a Reconciliation Hub

In many enterprises, where there are a number of separate systems engaged in processing data, there arises the daunting task of checking and reconciling data as it flows between systems. Discrepancies in data must be detected, tracked and corrected as quickly as possible: there is no room for error in doing this. A Reconciliation Hub can provide the answer, as Rahul Gupta explains.… Read more

Using Power BI Desktop to Visualize SQL Server Metadata

You can easily use PowerBI Desktop to show graphically how your database is growing, which tables are taking the most space, how various parts of SQL Server is consuming memory, its use of indexes and so on. Sure, you can create graphs in SSMS, but with PowerBI, you can create reports that you can then publish to others, and which allow drill-down. It is a great way to get familiar with PowerBI Desktop as well. Rob Sheldon shows how simple it is to do.… Read more

Importing Excel Data into Power BI Desktop

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In any commercial setting, Excel Spreadsheets remain the preferred way of collecting and analysing data, and it makes sense that it should be easy to get the data into PowerBI so it can be made more generally available for sharing and further analysis. As well as the data, we'd probably need the other analysis components such as the Power Pivot tables, Power View visualizations, Power Query queries. It is all possible, and Robert Sheldon demonstrates how.… Read more

More Power BI to your Elbow

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Power BI Desktop continues to evolve. There have been many improvements to the reporting side that together make it easier to get from the data to the visualisation as quickly as possible. You can now create line charts that let users drill down into hierarchical data. There are now ways of adding dynamic reference lines to a visualization that provide users with relevant reference points. Robert Sheldon demonstrates how to combine these features to great effect.… Read more

Power BI for Data Modelling

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Power BI has a lot of uses, but one of the most interesting of them is to model and shape data to make it easier for self-service BI. Power BI is a full-stack solution that includes data loading, data modelling, metrics, reporting and distribution. It can take the source data, and perform in-process data modelling relatively easily as well a providing an easy to use and powerful user interface for analytics and reporting.… Read more

Azure SQL Data Warehouse: Explaining the Architecture Through System Views

The architecture of Azure SQL Data Warehouse isn't easy to explain briefly, but if you have some useful queries that access the management and catalog views, and diagrams that show how they relate together, you can very quickly get a feel for what is going on under the hood. By using and extending these queries that use these views, you can check on a variety waits, blocking, status, table distribution and data movement in ASDW.… Read more

Direct Query with Power BI

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Power BI allows you to connect directly to the data just as if it were a “standard” connection, and modify and extend the data to support analytics. By using DirectQuery, you can build reports based on extremely large datasets where re-importing data not a practical solution. It also allows you to do data aggregations on the server. There are, of course, restrictions as well but it is nevertheless a worthwhile technique to use where appropriate. Adam Aspin explains all. … Read more

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