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One Year at Microsoft

Hard to believe its been one year, but it was June, 2018 when I joined the unstoppable company known as Microsoft.

The Late Spring Speaking Gauntlet

There are busy times for everyone and if you speak at conferences, the busy times are March,May and November. I am recovering from the early spring rush, and now it’s time to prepare for the late spring one.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be accepted to speak at the following regional SQL Saturdays and look forward to speaking and meeting new folks, along with catching up with conference friends:

Upcoming Events- #SQLSatCle and @RMOUG_ORG #TD19

As I live in an RV and travel as part of my work and to attend events, travel has started to figure out that I often fly out of one location and fly back into another. This week will be no different.

Since we travel between cities on the weekend, its bound to happen that I leave for a SQL Saturday on a Friday in one city and arrive back in a different city on a Sunday.

This Friday I will fly out of New Orleans, LA airport, only to fly in on Sunday to a small airport outside of Pensacola, FL so I can speak on Power BI to the SQL Saturday Cleveland event in Ohio.

Speeding up Power BI Interface for sp_Blitz/First Responder Kit

So Tracy Boggiano told me about the great First Responder kit that Brent Ozar had available to use with sp_Blitz using Power BI desktop for a UI, but that it was really slow to non-responsive as data grew. As this was focused on performance data and also included my new love of Power BI, I asked to take a look at it. Tracy was kind enough to send me a copy of her database and the support files for the responder kit and I finally had time to look into it this week. We won’t discuss how I managed to find time for this with so much expected after the holidays are now over.

Clean Data = Happy Analytics

I just finished cleaning up the example data that I was offered for my own demos and solutions. Working in Education requires you use education data to ensure what you’re presenting resonates with the users you’re working with. Otherwise you just look silly presenting something that makes utterly no sense to the individual you’re hoping to impress.

Having been given the gift a large data set from demos and solutions, I quickly took the data in its original form and attempted to use it, “as is” in Power BI. After a less than stellar demonstration, set off by bizarre results in my visuals, I chalked it up to my lack of experience with Power BI. Upon research, a different culprit appeared- incomplete, inaacurate and After all my years as a DBA, I should have known that it always goes back to the data. If you don’t have clean data and a clean data model, forget it. You’re just wasting your time.

Power BI- Loading PBI Log Files

There’s a reason that log analytics programs, like Splunk, Data Dog and Sumo Logic are so popular.  Even Microsoft has a Log Analytics product, but the important message here is log data is massive and parsing through it to find important information can be a bit of a pain.  The second word in Log Analytics IS “analytics”.  Due to this, the first thought when faced with the number of logs from many complex Power BI environments that people are building, (multiple data sources, multiple data centers, SSRS, Power BI, etc) was to load the logs into Power BI.

I’ve been working with trace files, but the log files should have been the first files I should have discussed, (my bad!)  Let’s correct that oversight right now.

Power BI 101- Logging and Tracing, Part III

Power BI, like many Microsoft products, is multi-threaded.  This can be seen from the logs and even the Task Manager.  I know, I know…you’ve probably heard this part all before…

The importance of this information, is that the logs will display Process IDs, (PID) that are separate from the main Power BI Desktop executable, including the secondary processes..  Moving from the Power BI logs that reside in the Performance folder, (see Part I here) we can view and connect the PIDs and TID, (Transaction IDs) to information from the Task Manager and the data displayed:

Power BI 101- Logging and Tracing, Part II

So we went over locations and the basics of logging and tracing in Power BI.  I now want to know how to make more sense from the data.  In Oracle, we use a utility called TKProf, (along with others and a number of third party tools) to make sense of what comes from the logs.  SQL Server has Log Analytics and the profiler, but what can I do with Power BI?

First, let’s discuss what happens when we have actual activity.  In my first post, the system was pretty static.  This time I chose to open up a file with larger data refreshes from multiple sources, added tables, calculated columns and measures.  The one Access DB has over 10 million rows that is refreshed when I first open the PBIX file:

Power BI 101 – Log Files and Tracing

Knowing where log files are and how to turn on debugging is an essential part of any technical job and this goes for Power BI, too.  Remember, as I learn, so does everyone else….Come on, pretty please?

Power BI Desktop

Log files and traces can be accessed one of two ways-

  • Via the Power BI Application
  • Via File Explorer

In the Power BI application, go to File –> Options and Settings –> Options –> Diagnostics.

Crash and dump files are automatically stored with an option to disable them from this screen, but unsure why you’d ever want to do this.  If Power BI does crash, you would lose any valuable data on what the cause was.

Month Over Month and Newer Schtuff- Power BI

Today’s Post is brought to you by Patrick LeBlanc of Guy in a Cube.  I learn best by doing, so I was working with different features while watching along on Quick Measures:

As a newbie, yes, I had problems with my quick measures just as Patrick said I would, but with a twist-  It wasn’t that I didn’t want to learn DAX, quite the opposite, I could get the expression to work just fine  with DAX, but couldn’t seem to get the hang of the quick measure.  Leave it to me to have challenges with the *simpler* method… </p />
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