Showing posts from 2017

Power BI Desktop May Update

Microsoft released the May update for Power BI Desktop today.  See  for details. The date slicer has been enhanced to support relative dates, such as Last 3 years, in addition to absolute dates.  It is very flexible allowing you the choice of days, weeks, months and years.  Weeks, months, and years also have the Calendar options which indicates to exclude the current period and only included completed periods.  This feature is in preview so you will need to enable it using File > Options and settings > Options > Preview Features > Relative date slicer.  See this video to learn more. Another nice feature now in preview is the new table visual.  This lets you setup word wrapping for a table's header and data, letting you make better use of screen real estate.  For example, see the screenshot below or go to Power BI Gurus College Finder to see it live.     The new table also suppo

Getting Started with SQL Server 2017 - Installation

Introduction SQL Server 2017 has not been officially released yet, but you can start evaluating it with the Community Technical Preview (CTP).  This post will describe how to download and install it. Download Before starting the SQL Server installation process it is a good idea to close any other programs, so the install is not competing with other programs.  Also, you will likely need to reboot at the end of the installation anyway. To get started, head over to .  You will then need sign in with your Windows Live account.  Once you are signed in, you will also need to register and set your communications preferences. Once you've registered, you will be given a choice of ISO or CAB file type.  I'll go with ISO. The next choice is Product Language, and I will choose English.  Your browser will then let you download a 1.68 GB file, SQLServerVnextCTP2.0-x64-ENU.iso.  I will save that to my C:\Instal

The Road to SQL Server 2017

Microsoft announced SQL Server 2017 yesterday (4/19/2017).  No release date was provided but CTP 2.0 is currently available so my guess is that the production release will be within the next three months. This is the first time that there have been SQL Server releases in consecutive years.  Since 2000, the releases have been 2000, 2005, 2008, 2012, 2014, 2016 and now 2017.  (There was also 2008 R2 releases in 2010, which some at the time suggested should have been SQL Server 2010). SQL Server 2012 focused on data warehousing and business intelligence with the addition of the column store index and substantial improvements in SQL Server Integration Services deployment in management.  SQL Server 2014 shifted the focus back to OLTP with in-memory tables and compiled stored procedures providing an order of magnitude performance improvements for applications that could take advantage of it.  The data warehouse capabilities also improved in SQL 2014 with the clustered column store inde

Jumping into Azure Data Lake

Introduction You may have heard of Data Lakes and are wondering if it is the next big thing.   This post will provide an overview of Azure Data Lake, how to use it and some of its pros and cons. History of Data Lakes and Azure Data Lake The Data Lake term was coined by Pentaho in October 2010 to address limitations of a data mart, which typically has a subset of attributes and is aggregated.   Per Jamie Dixon’b Blog, the lake terminology was chosen since “the contents of the data lake stream in from a source to fill a lake, and various users of the lake can come to examine, dive in, or take samples.” Microsoft’s Azure Data Lake became generally available in November 2016, as described in this post: .   There are really three services that make up the data lake as shown in the diagram below.   The underlying technology for the data lake is based on Hadoop, but as an end user that is transparent.   You

Power BI College Finder - Enhanced with filtering on ACT scores

An updated version of the Power BI College Finder is now available.  It has been enhanced to allow filtering based on the 25th percentile and 75th percentile ACT scores.  I also added a new page to allow you see the percentage of students that submit SAT scores and ACT scores by state. Let me know what you think in the comments. Link is Power BI College Finder Screenshots are below.

Power BI College Finder

This an example of using Power BI to search for colleges.  It uses the 2014-2015 college survey Access database from the National Center for Education Statistics  (NCES).  Download link is  for reference. It is still a work in progress, but let me know in the comments what else you would like to see. Power BI College Finder

Power BI Report Theming

  Microsoft Power BI recently added support for custom color schemes.  While the standard color palette that Power BI provides is not bad, many organizations have a strong sense of branding and want that to carry over into their visualizations.  This is even more critical for organizations that choose to publish their visualizations publicly, for example embedding them in their website.  Report theming is currently a preview feature available as part of the March 2017 Desktop Update.     If you don't have a specific theme that you need to follow for your organization, but just want something more attractive than the standard colors, you can leverage the theme gallery.  This lets you choose from a growing number of themes, including ones optimized for color-blind users.   Links:   Report theming announcement: Theme gallery announcement: