Category Archives: T-SQL

Query Azure SQL Data Warehouse in SSMS and SSDT

Azure SQL Data Warehouse in SSMS and SSTD

A while ago I wrote a blog post about Azure SQL Data Warehouse and Power BI which I explained how to install a new instance of Azure SQL Data Warehouse and how to visualise your Azure SQL DW data in Power BI. In this post I explain how to query an Azure SQL DW in SSMS and Visual Studio.


Querying Azure SQL Data Warehouse from Visual Studio

Prior the latest release of SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) 2016, the only available tool for querying an Azure SQL Data Warehouse was SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) for Visual Studio 2013 or 2015. Here is how you can use SSDT 2015 to query an Azure SQL Data Warehouse:

  • Open SQL Server Data Tools 2015
  • Click “SQL Object Explorer” from View menu

SQL Server Object Explorer Visual Studio

  • Click “Add SQL Server”

Add Server to SQL Server Object Explorer Visual Studio

Connect to Azure SQL Data Warehouse in SQL Server Object Explorer Visual Studio

  • Enter “Server Name”
  • If you don’t recall server name then open a web browser and log into Azure portal
  • Click “SQL databases”
  • Click any desired Azure SQL Data Warehouse you created before. Make sure the database is “Online”

Azure SQL Data Warehouse in Azure Portal

Continue reading Query Azure SQL Data Warehouse in SSMS and SSDT

How to Overcome Map Related Issues in Power BI, Power View and Power Map

One of the most powerful features in Power BI and Excel is supporting geospatial visualisations. In Excel we can use Map visualisation in Power View, or use Power Map directly. In Power BI, as you know, there are two built-in visualisations supporting geographic coordinate data, Map and Filled map. They work beautifully if you have enough data supported by Bing Maps. But, there are some issues with Map visualisations in both Power BI and Excel. In this post I address some of the issues I faced myself and I’ll provide the solutions for the issues. As “Filled Map” and “Map” visualisations in Power BI are very similar my focus in this post would be on “Map” visualisation. My intention is not explaining Power View and Power Map that much so my focus in this article would be on Power BI more than the other two.


To experiment everything I explain in this post you need to have:

  • The new SQL Server sample, WideWorldImportersDW (WWI). You can download it here
  • The latest version on Power BI Desktop (current version is 2.35.4399.381 64-bit (May 2016))
  • Excel 2016 or Excel 2013

If you use Excel 2016, then you need to turn on Power View on.

Check this out if you want to learn more about BI features in Excel 2016.

Get Data in Power BI

  • Open Power BI Desktop
  • Get Data from SQL Server Database
  • Select Fact.Sales and Dimension.City then load data

Power BI Desktop

Map Issues In Power BI

Wrong Cities in Power BI

  • Expand the “Dimension City” table
  • Select “City” column then change its Data Category to City (Data Category is on “Modeling” tab from the ribbon)

Power BI Desktop Data Category

  • Put a Map visual into the page
  • Put “City” on Location
  • Put “Total Excluding Tax” on Size

Power BI Desktop Map

As you see sales distributed across different countries, but, this is not quiet right.

  • Put a slicer on the page then put “Country” on the slicer
  • Click “United States” to filter the Map

Power BI Desktop Slicer

Oops! This is not quiet right. What happened is that Bing Map Engine gets confused with the city names so that it shows a city with the same name outside of the US, just like New Plymouth which a city in New Zealand, but, the New Plymouth we have in our data source is the New Plymouth from Idaho in the US.

Continue reading How to Overcome Map Related Issues in Power BI, Power View and Power Map

Power BI Desktop Query Parameters, Part2 – Dynamic Data Masking and Query Parameters

Power BI Desktop and SQL Server Dynamic Data Masking

As I promised in my earlier post, in this article I show you how to leverage your Power BI Desktop model using Query Parameters on top of SQL Server 2016 Dynamic Data Masking (DDM). I also explain very briefly how to enable DDM on DimCustomer table from AdventureWorksDW2016CTP3 database. We will then create a Power BI Desktop model with Query Parameters on top of DimCustomer table. You will also learn how to create a Power BI Template so that you can use it in the future for deployment.

Note: If you want to learn about using a List output in Power BI Desktop Query Parameters have a look at the next post of these series “Power BI Desktop Query Parameters, Part 3, List Output“.

Use Cases

In the previous post I explained how to create dynamic data sources using Query Parameters. You also learnt how to use Query Parameters in Filter Rows. In this post you learn :

  1. Using Query Parameters on top of SQL Server Dynamic Data Masking (DDM)
  2. Query Parameters in Power BI Template


Just like the Part1 of Power BI Query Parameters, you require to meet the following requirements to be able to follow this post:

  1. The latest version of Power BI Desktop (Version: 2.34.4372.322 64-bit (April 2016) or later)
  2. SQL Server 2016 (You can download SQL Server 2016 Developer Edition for free)
  3. Adventure Works 2016 CTP3


I’m not going to provide much details about DDM as you can find lots of information here. But, to make you a bit familiar with Dynamic Data Masking I explain it very briefly.

Dynamic Data Masking (DDM)

Dynamic Data Masking (DDM) is a new feature available in SQL Server 2016 and also Azure SQL Database. DDM is basically a way to prevent sensitive data to be exposed to non-privileged users. It is a data protection feature which hides sensitive data in the result set of a query. You can easily enable DDM on an existing table or enable it on a new table you’re creating. Suppose you have two groups of users in your retail database. Sales Persons and Sales Managers. You have a table of customers which in this post it is DimCustomer from AdventureWorksDW2016CTP3. This table contains sensitive data like customers’ email addresses, phone numbers and their residential adders. Based on your company policy, the members of Sales Persons group should NOT be able to see sensitive data, but, they should be able to all other data. On the other hand the members of Sales Managers group can see all customers’ data. To prevent Sales Persons to see sensitive data you can enable Dynamic Data Masking on the sensitive columns on DimCustomer table. In that case when a sales person queries the table he/she will see masked data. For instance he see rather than

Create a table with DDM on some columns

It’s easy, just put “MASKED WITH (FUNCTION = ‘Mask_Function’)” in column definition. So it should look like this:

CREATE TABLE Table_Name   (ID int IDENTITY PRIMARY KEY,    Masked_Column1 varchar(100) MASKED WITH (FUNCTION = ‘Mask_Function’),    Masked_Column2 varchar(100) MASKED WITH (FUNCTION = ‘Mask_Function’),




Alter an existing table and enable DDM on desired columns

As you guessed you have to use “ALTER TABLE” then “ALTER COLUMN”. Your T-SQL should look like:






For more information please refer to MSDN.

Power BI Template

A template is basically a Power BI file that represents an instance of a predefined Power BI Desktop which includes all definitions of the Data Model, Reports, Queries and parameters, but, not includes any data. Creating Power BI Templates is a great way to ease the deployment of existing models. Creating templates is very easy, you just click File –> Export –> Power BI Template. We will look at this more in details through this article.


You are asked to implement a new level of security on customers’ data (DimCustomer on AdventureWorksDW2016CTP3 database) so that just privileged users can see the customers’ email, phone numbers and residential address. Privileged users are all members of “SalesManager” database role. You are also asked to prevent “SalesPerson” database role to see sensitive data. But, all members of both “SalesManager” and “SalesPerson” database roles can query DimCustomer table. The users should NOT have SQL Server logins.

Continue reading Power BI Desktop Query Parameters, Part2 – Dynamic Data Masking and Query Parameters

Querying SSRS Report Definition Using T-SQL

Do you want to have all reports that used a table in their report definition?

Are you looking for a report that has a desired parameter name?

Have you written a new version of a SQL view or stored procedure and you need to modify all the reports working on top of the version of the object, but, you don’t know what those reports are?

Have you modified an SSAS object and you need to know which reports might be affected?

If you have any of the above questions or in general you need to retrieve all SSRS reports which have a specific string in their report definition, just connect to the SQL Server instance which holds your   REPORTSERVER database through SSMS and simply execute the SQL scripts below:





            AND  C.TYPE = 2




Batch Index Rebuild without Using Cursor

Today I came across a cube processing performance issue with one of our clients. So I started a step-by-step troubleshooting including optimising named queries. In some cases the named queries were actually querying some SQL views from the source data warehouse.

After all, I created about 35 new indexes and I needed to justify that all of those indexes are really used. As I processed the faulty cube several times during my step-by-step troubleshooting process it seemed all of those indexes were used.

But, I knew that I created some indexes that covered by some of the new ones and those indexes won’t be used.

I needed to rebuild all the indexes, however, rebuilding all of those indexes from SSMS UI would be such a pain. So I needed to do a batch index rebuild.

So I googled and I’ve found some scripts which actually are doing the job, but, all of them were using cursors. Sadly, I hate cursors so they are the last item in my book. Indeed, I’ll never use cursors until it’s absolutely necessary and there is no other better choices.

Therefore, I decided to do it in my way and I wrote the following script. I thought I’d be happy to share it with you guys as it might help some of you as well.

declare @ix varchar(max), @tbl varchar(max), @counter int, @CustomIx Varchar(max)

declare @table table (id int, tbl varchar(max), ix varchar(max))

set @CustomIx = ‘YOUR_INDEX_NAME_STARS_WITH’ –Custom index name will be like MY_IX_***

insert into @table (id, tbl, ix)

SELECT   ROW_NUMBER() over (order by ix.[NAME]) id

           , OBJECT_NAME(ixstat.[OBJECT_ID]) AS [OBJECT NAME]

         , ix.[NAME] AS [INDEX NAME]



           ON ix.[OBJECT_ID] = ixstat.[OBJECT_ID]

              AND ix.INDEX_ID = ixstat.INDEX_ID

WHERE    OBJECTPROPERTY(ixstat.[OBJECT_ID],‘IsUserTable’) = 1

          and  ix.[NAME] like @CustomIx+‘%’


set @counter= (select max(id) from @table)


while @counter >=1


    set @ix = (select ix from @table where id = @counter)

    set @tbl = (select tbl from @table where id = @counter)

    exec(‘ALTER INDEX ‘+@ix+‘ ON [dbo].[‘+@tbl+‘] REBUILD PARTITION = ALL ‘)

    print @tbl + ‘.’ +  @ix + ‘ Rebuild successful’

    set @counter-=1


Continue reading Batch Index Rebuild without Using Cursor

How To Implement a Composite Key In SSAS Tabular Model

As you might know SSAS tabular models do not support composite keys so you always must have just one column to make a unique row through the whole table. This is such a pain especially when you are new to the tabular models and don’t have that much detail information about it. So when you import some tables with existing relationships based on composite keys, the Table Import Wizard will ignore those relationships.

So what should we do to solve the problem?

The solution is to combine the values of the composite keys. 

Here is how you can do the job?

·         Creating a view on top of the source tables:

1.  If you’re using SQL Server 2012 and above you can use the “concat” function to combine the values. The function combines several expressions regardless of their data types. So you can use it like this select CONCAT (1, 1.22100001,‘First’) SQL2012 and the result would be something like this


2.  If you’re using earlier versions of SQL Server then you need to mind the data types. So for the above sample the SQL code would be select cast(1 as char(1)) + cast(1.22100001 as char(10))+‘First’ SQL2008 . As we expect the result is the same.

·         Adding a new computed column to all tables involved in SQL Server before importing the tables to the tabular model

·         Adding a new calculated column to all tables involved after importing the tables to the tabular model

As a quick note, you’ll need to remove the existing relationships imported from SQL Server and create the new relationship based on the combined keys.

Easy peasy!

Creating a Simple Date Dimension Using Recursive Common Table Expressions (CTE)

In this post I’ll explain how to create a simple date dimension to use it in your data warehouses and your BI solutions. So, this article is for you if you need a fast and easy way to make a simple date dimension that supports the most commonly used date elements like

·         Integer date key

·         Different date formats

·         Quarter

·         Month names

·         Week numbers

·         Day of the week

·         Day of the year

·         Is day end of month

·         Not available (N/A) row

Due to the fact that there are lots of fellows that are still using SQL Server 2008 and earlier, I put the codes that support SQL Server 2008  as well as SQL Server 2012. But, I’ve commented the 2008 lines.

Continue reading Creating a Simple Date Dimension Using Recursive Common Table Expressions (CTE)