Category Archives: Business Intelligence – BI

Four Different Ways to Find Your Power BI Desktop Local Port Number

Power BI Desktop Local Port

About two years ago I wrote a blog post on how to connect to a Power BI Desktop model from different tools like SSMS, Excel and SQL Server Profiler. A big chunk of that blog post was about different ways of finding Power BI Desktop local port. Having the port number is crucial if you want to connect to a Power BI Desktop model from any sort of tools for different purposes like monitoring in SQL Server Profiler or analysing the model in Excel. I’m asked several times here and there about different scen people need to find Power BI Desktop local port number, so I decided to dedicate a post to Power BI Desktop local port number.

When you run Power BI Desktop, it runs a local instance of SSAS Tabular model in the background and it assigns a random port number to that local instance. Therefore, if you want to connect to the model to analyse it in Excel you need to know that port number. There are several ways to achieve that port number which this post will cover most of them.

As you may know, Power BI Desktop is now available as a Windows App that can be installed from Windows Store. In general, the main difference between the App and the downloaded edition from Micrsosoft website is that you will get notification whenever a newer version is available to download. Then you have to manually download and install the newer version on your machine, but, the App will be updated automatically. But there are some other differences that are out of scope of this article. There is just one difference which is relevant to this article which is that Power BI Desktop creates its temporary folders in a different location than the Power BI Desktop App does.

The methods described in this post works for both downloaded edition and the Store edition.

Different Methods to Find Power BI Desktop Local Port

· Using DAX Studio

· Tabular Editor

· Power BI Desktop Temporary Location

· Command Line (CMD)

The reason that I explain different methods is that not all methods are doable in all environments. You may work at a customer site that doesn’t allow you to install new software like DAX Studio on their machines. But you always have access on Power BI Desktop temporary files.

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Demystifying “DirctQuery” and “Connect Live”

The terms “DirectQuery” and “Connect Live” are somehow confusing. I saw lots of people are using both terminologies as alternatives. But, the context of “DirectQuery” and “Connect Live” are very different indeed. Therefore, if use a a terminology when we’re talking about a different context then the whole situation might get quite confusing. in this post I try to explain the differences and make it more clear to prevent using a wrong terminology and make sure everyone is on the same page when we’re referring to “DirectQuery” or “Connect Live”.

When we use the “DirectQuery” terminology we are actually talking about connecting from Power BI Desktop instance to an RDBMS type of data source like SQL Server DB or Oracle DB.

There are two types of data connections when we’re connecting to RDBMS like SQL Server or Oracle DB from Power BI Desktop:

  • Import Data: which literally loads data into the underlying model to make it available in memory
  • DirectQuery: which doesn’t load data into model. Instead, it runs multiple concurrent queries on the RDBMS side (data source side) and gets the results. This is good to support real-time data processing.

Note: The same principal applies to SSAS Tabular.

DirectQuery/Data Import Mode in Power BI Desktop

On the other hand, when talk about “Connect Live”, we are referring to the data connection type from a reporting tool like Power BI Desktop OR Excel to an instance of SSAS, either SSAS Multidimensional or SSAS Tabular.

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On-premises Data Gateway for Azure Analysis Services

On-prem Data Gateway for Azure AS, How it works DemoFrom April 2017 onward we can use On-premises Data Gateway for Azure Analysis Services. This means  you can connect your Tabular Models hosted in Azure Analysis Services to your on-premises data sources through On-premises Data Gateway. In this post you learn how to setup and configure the On-premises Data Gateway as well as how to configure Azure Analysis Services to connect to the on-premises database(s) via the gateway.


  • You have an Azure subscription
  • You already have an up and running instance of Azure Analysis Services (AAS)
  • You already installed and configured the latest version of On-premises Data Gateway
  • Your instance of Azure Analysis Services, your instance of Power BI Service and your On-premises Data Gateway are all in the same “Region” (Check Prerequisites section below for more details)
  • This post covers the most common scenario which doesn’t involve Kerberos, Proxy Server, OKTA etc…

Reading: If you are not that familiar with On-premises Data Gateway then I encourage you to read this and for more in-depth read this article. You may also watch this video from Adam Saxton discussing On-premises Data Gateway.


As stated in the “Requirements” section, it is important to check if your instances of Azure Analysis Services, Power BI Service and On-premises Data Gateway located in the same “Region”.

The reasons behind that are:

  • Your On-premises Data Gateway MUST be installed in the same Region as your Power BI Service sits in. Otherwise your Power BI cannot see the gateway, therefore, you’re unable to schedule automatic data refresh in Power BI Service
  • To get the best performance and more reliability, you have to create On-premises Data Gateway Resource in Azure side in the same region as your Azure Analysis Services lives in

But, in some cases people created their Power BI account a long time ago and perhaps they didn’t set the right region for their Power BI Service to sit in. Now, they need to create an instance of Azure Analysis Services, but, due to their organisation privacy and security, they don’t want to (or perhaps not allowed to) create the instance of Azure Analysis Services in the region that their Power BI tenant sits in. So they would prefer to create the Azure Analysis Services in another region. In that case, it is recommended to install a new instance of On-premises Data Gateway in a separate server and change the “Gateway Region” during the installation.

To check the “Region” of your instances follow the steps below:

Power BI Service Region:

  • Login to your Power BI Service
  • Click the question mark on top right side of the page
  • Click “About Power BI”

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Azure Data Lake, Azure Analyses Services, Power BI and How They Relate

Loading Data From On-prem SQL Server to Azure Data Lake Store and Data Visualisation in Power BI

I recently spoke in Tampa Dev Azure Meeting in a webinar form on 31st Jan 2018. We received interesting questions during the presentation. My aim was to introduce basic concepts of Big Data, Azure Data Lake, Azure Data Lake Store (ADLS), Azure Data Factory (ADF)  and Power BI.

I would like to thank Tampa Dev organisers and all attendees for giving the opportunity to speak in this session.

In this session you learn basic concepts of:

  • Big Data
  • Azure Data Lake
  • Azure Data Lake Store (ADLS)
  • Azure Data Factory (ADF)
  • Azure Analysis Services (AAS)
  • Power BI
  • And how they relate

Session recording:

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Import Power BI Desktop Model to SSAS Tabular 2017 Using Azure Analysis Services


A while ago I wrote a blog post on how to import you currently existing Power BI Desktop models to SSAS Tabular 2016. However, the method I explained is NOT supported by official Microsoft BI tools like SSDT, so you may consider it as a WORKAROUND only until Microsoft supports imploring Power BI models in SSDT. In this post, I show you how to import Power BI Desktop Model to SSAS Tabular 2017 using Azure Analysis Services. It is easy and hassle free.



  • In this post I do NOT explain how to install Azure Analysis Services
  • This method works only for SQL Server Analysis Services 2017 Tabular

How it works

As mentioned earlier it is really easy in compare with other methods I explained in my previous post. Azure Analysis Services is capable of importing Power BI Desktop files creating a Tabular model version of your Power BI model in the cloud. Then you can simply download Visual Studio project file and redeploy it in your on-premises instance of SSAS Tabular 2017. Let’s go through the steps…

  • Open Power BI Desktop
  • Import data from WorldWideImportersDW from any desired combination of fact tables and dimensions. I imported
  • Create some simple Measures like:

Total Sales = SUMX(‘Fact Sale’, ‘Fact Sale'[Unit Price] * ‘Fact Sale'[Quantity])

  • Save your Power BI Model and close the file
  • Login to your Azure PortalBrowse to your instance of Azure Analysis Services
  • Click on “Open” under “Web designer—preview”


  • This opens a new page for fabulous “Azure Analysis Services Web Designer”. You’re right, a web designer for tabular models. How cool is that? Smile
  • Click “Add” button under “Models” section
  • Yes, you got it, enter a name for your model and click “Power BI Desktop” button
  • Click “Browse” and select the Power BI file you saved earlier then click “Import”


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Exporting Power BI Data to SQL Server


Exporting Power BI Data to SQL Server

In the previous blog posts I explained how to export Power BI data to Excel and CSV here and here. As promised in this post I explain how to export data from Power BI Desktop to SQL Server.

Hans Peter Pfister has already explained how to export data from Power BI Desktop to SQL Server using R scripts. Although Hans has done a brilliant job, it might be a bit hard to make it work if you don’t have any R experience and you don’t even know how to install and call R libraries. That’s so true about myself, I’m NOT an R guy, but, who knows, maybe I will be. Smile 

But, what if you don’t want to go with R? If you are more involved with BI than analytics, then using R might not really be your cup of tea. Luckily, there is another way to export your Power BI data to SQL Server which is more BI friendly. You can export Power BI data to SQL Server using SSIS (SQL Server Integration Services). So if you are familiar with SSIS, then it might be your your preferred choice.

With respect to Hans, in this post, I explain his method of exporting data from Power BI Desktop to SQL Server more in details so that anyone who is not that familiar with R can make it work. I also explain how to export data from Power BI Desktop to SQL Server using SSIS. If there is any other methods you’re aware of please let me know in the comment section below.

Exporting Data from Power BI Desktop to SQL Server with R

As stated before, Hans has already explained this method here. So I don’t explain exactly what he did, but, I use his method to export data from existing Power BI Desktop model to SQL Server and I explain it step-by-step.


To make this method work you need to:

  • Latest version of Power BI Desktop, you can download it from here
  • Have access to an instance of SQL Server, either on your own machine or on a server in your local network to export the data to
  • Either install R for Windows, you can download it from here OR using an existing R-Server OR install SQL Server 2016 R Services
  • Install RODBC library for R, you can download the library from here

Note: I haven’t installed R Studio and nothing went wrong.

Installing RODBC Library for R and SQL Server R Services

As mentioned earlier, you can install R OR SQL Server R Services OR R-Server, but, as I haven’t tried R-Server myself I just explain how to install RODBC in R and SQL Server R Services.

You have to download the library from the link provided above, then extract the contents of the zip file which contains a “RODBC” folder. Then all you really need to do is to copy the “RODBC” to the “library” folder exists in either R or SQL Server 2016 folders in your “Program Files” folder.

Library folder in R

Library folder in SQL Server 2016

How Does It Work?

Open an existing Power BI Desktop model that you’re willing to export its data to a SQL Server table and follow the steps below: (I use “Internet Sales” model created on top of AdventureWorksDW2016CTP3. You can download my Power BI Desktop model at the end of this post.)

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