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Power BI and the Speed(ier) Desktop

I can be an extremely impatient person about anything I think should be faster.

I’m diving in deep with Power BI and for most of the early on lessons, the data sources used are Excel and…ahem…Microsoft Access.  I don’t know a DBA alive that enjoys working with Access.  Its great for the common user to have a database application, but we can barely use the words “Access” and “Database” in the same sentence.  In my heart, I will always be a performance person and working with Power BI desktop with Microsoft Access is enough to make you want to throw your PC out the window, especially when talking data sets of 10 million rows or more..  I felt there had to be, at least, some way to help speed up the performance on Power BI when using this combination.

Now in a real life scenario, the first recommendation would be to filter the data set down so that it wouldn’t put so much pressure, resulting in poor performance.  I was offered some great links that presented that, along with other best practices and I’ll link them here, as the Power BI community offered up some AWESOME responses to my quest for answers:

Melissa Coates has a great Check List for Finalizing a Power BI Data Model post

Meagan Longoria sent me the Power BI Performance Best Practices link for Microsoft, which is filled with great information that everyone who works with Power BI should know.

Ginger Grant tweeted out the Marco Russo webinar,  My Power BI Report is Slow.

As for me, I had the added challenge of working with the edX lessons, not much of the above is an option, as the labs successful completion relies on entering correct counts for the results post lab work with the required data sets.  If you filtered the data or optimized the data model, the counts would be off and you WOULD FAIL.

What’s a girl to do to get through this without pulling her hair out and feeling the quality of the experience wasn’t impacted?  I can’t be the only one who felt this way and I know how users react when these types of situations happen.  I’m a DBA and in the database world, no matter who the performance impact culprit is, the database is guilty until proven innocent.  In this new world, Power BI credibility is the one impacted for new users who are just starting to learn about his powerful tool, when the goal is to empower the user.

I searched Google for some best practices, but most of them surrounded how to model the data more effectively vs. working with the products.  It demonstrates why performance specialists from all areas are essential to creating solutions and how NOTHING should be off the table.

OK, so if I’m working from scratch, this is the time to test out my own ideas and if I fall flat on my face, so be it. </p />

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