Dan English's BI Blog

Welcome to my random thoughts in regards to Business Intelligence, databases, and other technologies

SQL Server 2017 CTP2.1 Install Experience

Posted by denglishbi on May 18, 2017

In this post I will walk through the install process highlighting the changes of the SQL Server 2017 install. This will be using the CTP2.1 release (May 2017) of the installer and I will also be using the new Power BI Report Server install which is a new light weight installer that is not part of the core server product installation.

I will just include some of the key screenshots from the installation and highlight some of the differences.

Install SQL Server 2017 CTP2.1

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We can see here that Reporting Services has now been removed from the core installation similar to SQL Server Management Studio and SQL Server Data Tools. This is now a more light weight installation and it needs to be downloaded separately, just like Power BI Report Server.

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So we see that now for Machine Learning there is also Python support and that SSIS has new scale out capabilities. In addition to this Reporting Services – Native installation has been removed (and no more SharePoint integration!).

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New Consent to Install Python, similar to the experience we have seen with Microsoft R Open.

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Everything successfully installed that we selected!

Install SQL Server Management Studio 17.0

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The new SSMS 17.0 splash screen.

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Build Version for SQL 2017 CTP2.1 – 14.0.600.250

Installing Power BI Report Server

This is available for customers that purchase Power BI Premium or have SQL Server Enterprise Edition with Software Assurance.

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Once you have completed the install then you will need to use the Report Service Configuration Manager to connect and complete the setup tasks – creating database, establishing the web service and web portal URL, etc.

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What we see here is that it has created a named instance for the Power BI Report Server called ‘PBIRS’.

In reviewing the new tables that are part of this installation I noticed three new tables: CleanupLock, Comments, and ProductInfoHistory. The first two tables are blank for now, but the ProductInfoHistory did have one record in it stating the build number for the current SKU installed.

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I just noticed one other item, it appears in the configuration table you can control if users have the ability to export Power BI report data and this can also be accessed if you connect with SQL Server Management Studio and review the Advanced settings. The ability to control the Custom Visuals is also an option.

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Successful configuration and you can see we have a similar color scheme like the Power BI Service for the default and using the new Power BI logo, very nice.

So the new Power BI Report Server is a superset of Report Server where it contain mobile reports, KPIs, paginated reports, and now Power BI reports. Plus you can upload Excel workbooks and we expect them to be viewable in the browser in the near future like Power BI reports.

Now to make Power BI reports that are supported in Power BI Report Server you need to use the Power BI Desktop (Report Server) version of the application, which is a separate install as well and can be installed side-by-side with an existing version of the Power BI Desktop applications.

The May 2017 release of Power BI Report Server will now support Power BI Custom Visuals, so that is really cool!

Install Power BI Desktop (Report Server)

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From the start screen here you will see a new option to ‘Open from report server’ and some Reporting Services links to the forums, blog, and tutorials.

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I can open up an existing report and then deploy this to the Power BI Report Server. Just remember that currently only Live SSAS connections are supported as a data source, no other data sources are supported for the time being, hopefully later this year we will see additional support so that we can use embedded models.

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To publish to the Power BI Report Server simply select File—>Save as—>Power BI Report Server

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Enter the Web Portal URL

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Pick the location if you want to place it in an existing folder possibly and then click OK.

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Then you can click on the ‘Take me there’ link and you will be able to view your report.

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From here you can interact with the report, print it, different options for viewing the report (fit to width, fit to page, and actual size), open it back up in Power BI Desktop, explore the data, refresh the report, filter the data, add comments to the report (comments also support ability to add attachments as well).

Now if you are not able to install Power BI Report Server (and remember, if you can use this, you will still need additional Power BI Pro licenses for the report authors and users that want to export the reports to say PowerPoint or CSV, sorry no Excel option yet…) you can install the regular Reporting Services.

Install Reporting Services

Nothing too different from the Power BI Report Server installation.

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This time the named instance that tool creates is called ‘SSRS’.

After the install you can go into the Reporting Services Configuration Manager and complete the configuration, just like in versions past.

So that is it for now, hope you enjoyed the quick walkthrough experience of the new SQL Server 2017 installation!

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Posted in Power BI, Reporting Services, SQL Server | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

On-Premises Power BI VOL. 2

Posted by denglishbi on May 5, 2017

Here we go again, round 2 (or should I say Vol. 2). I am back to discuss how I feel (and I am sure quite a few others do as well) about the new information we received this week on Microsoft Power BI on-premises. You can check out my first blog post regarding this here – On-Premises Power BI–A Microsoft Story.

All of the opinions and information that I state in this post here is simply my personal experiences as well as a few thoughts that I just wanted to post. Oh and by the way, I am not a graphic artist by any means, so please don’t slam me for my mocked up image below. I love movies, so just wanted to put this quick little graphic together, I hope you like it.

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What we have learned this week is that Microsoft will provide customers two options to get the on-premises Power BI functionality that will be part of what has now been called Power BI Report Server (this is actually a superset of Report Server – so includes all Report Server functionality plus Power BI). Option 1 is for organizations to go with the new Power BI Premium option. So basically along with the Power BI Service cloud functionality, Microsoft is providing customers the on-premises Power BI Report Server which will include a SQL Server Technology License that you can use to install Power BI Report Server, database engine, and Analysis Services (SSAS) on a single server. The SSAS will provide users the ability to create the data models for the live SSAS connections that Power BI on-premises will initially support. Basically this option will cost an organization roughly $5k/month at minimum based on the calculator (so we are talking at least $60k/year).

Option 2 then is for customers that purchase SQL Server Enterprise Edition (EE) along with Software Assurance (SA). If you have this then you will be entitled to Power BI Report Server, but there is a catch, read all of the fine print in the post (particularly the bold text).

Power BI Report Server is an on-premises server that enables Power BI Pro users to publish Power BI reports and distribute them broadly across the enterprise, without requiring report consumers to be licensed individually per user.

So what this means is that even though you just invested $XXX,XXX six figures or possibly more for your SQL Server EE + SA you will also need to pay a $10/month subscription fee for each Power BI Desktop report author that wants to publish reports to the Power BI Report Server. But wait, there is more! If consumers of the report want to export reports to say PowerPoint or Excel (and come on, how many users don’t want to export reports…), they will also need Power BI Pro licenses.  Granted the text might not call that out specifically, but that is what is also meant by “distribute”.  What most users will see is just the following in the post:

without requiring report consumers to be licensed individually per user

So that statement is not necessarily true from what I have been told, if a user wants to export a report, that will cost each user $10/month subscription because they will require a Power BI Pro license.

Now I don’t believe technically Microsoft will be able to enforce and track the Power BI Pro license for on-premises to enable / disable features such as publishing and export, but if you were ever audited then that could come back to bite you if you didn’t purchase them and are using this functionality.

How do I feel about this…. I am not happy by any means. I don’t understand this at all to try and nickel and dime customers of SQL EE + SA that want to leverage the Power BI on-premises. First Power BI wasn’t made available to SQL 2016 customers and has been pushed (or at least we thought) into SQL 2017 (formerly known as vNext). Now we are finding out that the Technical Previews of Reporting Services we have been using with Power BI functionality is not going to be made available to SQL 2017 customers unless you purchase EE + SA. But even if you do purchase that you also have to buy Power BI Pro subscriptions!!!

Hmmm…. I am trying to draw a comparison here of how I see this being played out.

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Do you see where I am going with this? Can you draw any similarities here? T-Mobile vs Sprint?

So for my company we already have on-premises Power BI and we have been using this now for almost a year. This is because we own BI Office (Pyramid Analytics). For BI Office on-premises Power BI is provided and supported and there are no hidden fees, taxes, charges, costs, etc. associated with the product to get this functionality. All we need to do is pay our yearly maintenance agreement (and that is like 60% less than what we would need to pay for Power BI Premium). And in addition to Power BI on-premises we also get all of the BI Office features like dashboards, R integration, and much more! I can actually incorporate BI Office reports, SSRS reports, Power BI reports, and more all on a single dashboard page and they can all interact with each other!!! How cool is that? Kind of reminds me of PerformancePoint, but this actually works and is much easier to configure!

I am truly disappointed in the decision that has been made here for Microsoft customers. We have been working on our new BI roadmap for the Power BI the past two years, had a delay in the Power BI on-premises release, and now we need to possibly payout even more money. That is confusing and frustrating for customers (and champions / advocates of Microsoft BI like myself) and is definitely going to bite Microsoft. Enough with the games Microsoft, have we not been patient enough? I am sorry to say that now we are most likely not going down this path and I am extremely upset about this because I have been wanting and pushing for this capability. So for us we are going back to the BI roadmap and looking at Plan B and focusing our attention on the un-carrier.

Posted in Power BI, Reporting Services | Tagged: , , | 21 Comments »

PASS Summit 2017 Discount Code–VC15BKR3 (Save $150)

Posted by denglishbi on April 17, 2017

If you are planning on attending the PASS Summit conference this year use the following code and save $150 off registration!PASS Summit 2017

Discount Code: VC15BKR3

The sooner you register the cheaper the price will be too, next week the price will go up, so register now!

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Hope to see you there!

Posted in Training | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

PASS Business Analytics Day–June 21 Atlanta, GA

Posted by denglishbi on March 30, 2017

The 2nd PASS Business Analytics Day event is coming up and this time the location will be in Atlanta, GA on Friday, June 21.image

Once again there will be two tracks you can pick from, either Data Visualization focusing on Power BI and the other on Data Science.

There are two outstanding trainers setup featuring Patrick LeBlanc and Jen Underwood.

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Get practical hands-on experience and guidance from the industry experts to increase your skillset and boost performance!

Register here –> http://bit.ly/passbadayjune21

Seating is limited, so sign up today!

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Minneapolis Microsoft Data Amp Event–Listening Party Apr 19

Posted by denglishbi on March 30, 2017

Please join me and Paul Timmerman next month Wednesday, April 19 in Edina, MN for the Microsoft Data Amp Live Streaming Event.

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I have reserved a room from 9:30AM to 12PM. The event will start at 10AM.

Seating is limited, so register soon before it fills up.

Register now –> http://bit.ly/mplsdataamp

There should hopefully be some swag available as well to those that attend!

Posted in SQL Server | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Power BI Wide World Importers Demo Walk-Through

Posted by denglishbi on March 28, 2017

Last August at the MN Microsoft Power BI User Group I presented a walk-through of Power BI based on the new SQL Server 2016 sample database Wide World Importers.  I thought I had done a follow up post to share the content, but I believe I just posted this on the LinkedIn Group and possibly on Twitter and it might have been posted on the old user group site.

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I apologize for not posting this on my blog as well for reference.  All of the files for the walk-through are available out on my OneDrive and this includes the presentation slides, Power BI sample files, instructions, logo, and DAX calculations. You can download the files individually or simply download the single zip file.

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In this example I walk through the process of getting the data, building out the data model, and then performing the report development with the visualizations.

Here is a screenshot of what the final output looked like:

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Sorry for the delay on posting this content and I hope you find it useful. If you like the example let me know and I can include some additional updates to this material and build it out a bit more.

Thanks and enjoy!

Posted in Power BI, Training | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Analyzing Healthcare Open Data with Power BI

Posted by denglishbi on March 24, 2017

Back in December I presented the topic Analyzing Healthcare Open Data with Power BI at the PASS BA Marathon. I want to apologize for not posting this follow up post sooner, December was just a busy month with the holidays, vacations, and after that I just kept putting this off. Well no more, here is the follow up finally. In addition to this post I have also posted the Power BI example I prepared into the Data Stories Gallery.

Here is a screenshot of the demo that I presented which was based on the World Health Organization world wide expenditure data

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The presentation material and a recording of the presentation is available on the PASS web site here – Analyzing Healthcare Open Data.

Just a heads up that during the presentation I lost my Internet wifi signal but it was only for a couple of minutes and I was able to get reconnected and resume the content from where I left off.

Here is a list of some of the Healthcare Open Data sites that I shared:

I would have liked to have spent more time on reviewing some of the sites listed above to showcase some of the data that is freely available, but with the technical difficulty I had to skip over that to allow time for the Power BI demo that I had planned and to allow time for Q&A. In the demo I showed some of the new capabilities in Power BI that were released such as the dropdown slicer option, forecasting, clustering, R visuals, Top N filtering, and a few more.

I will plan on revising the content and doing an updated version that hopefully I can present for the PASS Business Analytics Virtual Group later this year. There were a bunch of great questions asked and I am appreciative for the feedback that was provided from all of the attendees. I am glad people were able to walk away with a few nuggets of information regarding Healthcare Open Data and Power BI capabilities.

Posted in Power BI | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

PASS Business Analytics Virtual Group March 21 – Excel to Power BI

Posted by denglishbi on March 14, 2017

The next PASS Business Analytics Virtual Group meeting will be next week on Tuesday, March 21.  We welcome Avi Singh who is a Microsoft Data Platform MVP, trainer, and author and he will be presenting on taking the leap from Excel to Power BI.PASSBA_Logo

–> REGISTER NOW <–

March 21– Excel to Power BI: 5 lessons you need to Unlearn to unlock Analytical Superpowers

Session Abstract

Are you struggling to make the transition from Excel to Power BI? As Avi Singh found out, through his own experience and that of hundreds of his students, there are key habits you need to UNLEARN before you can embrace the awesomeness of Power BI. Join us to learn what’s been holding you back.

Speaker Bio –

Avi Singh is a Power BI trainer and consultant based out of Seattle. He is a Microsoft MVP, co-author of the top-selling book “Power Pivot and Power BI: An Excel User’s Guide” and a regular speaker at conferences and user events. Avi has personally experienced the transformation and empowerment that Power BI can bring, going from an Excel user to building large-scale Power BI solutions. His mission now is to spread the word and share his knowledge about Power BI. You can follow him on his blog at www.avising.com or video blog at https://www.youtube.com/ModernExcel

–> REGISTER NOW <–

Also, we will be doing a random drawing after the webinar and giving away one $25 Amazon gift card to anyone that attends and fills out the survey!

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PASS Business Analytics Marathon–March 29

Posted by denglishbi on March 6, 2017

The next PASS Business Analytics (BA) Marathon is coming up this month on March 29 and there is a great list of topics and speakers lined up. Register now and get the sessions on your calendars in preparation for the big event.image

Register here – http://bit.ly/passbaspring2017

Here is the schedule:

  • Compelling Visuals in Power BI

    • 29 Mar 2017 17:00 GMT – Prathy Kamasani
    • In this demo-focused session, Prathy Kamasani will be using Airbnb dataset to walk through most of built-in and custom visualisations available in Power BI Desktop.Prathy will walk through how to use and format these visualisations to create compelling visualisations.We will also look at how we can use R visualisations in Power BI with minimal knowledge of R.

  • Power BI Twitter Brand Awareness Dashboard

    • 29 Mar 2017 18:00 GMT – David Moss
    • Just launched a media campaign, monitoring your brand awareness and you need to understand LIVE social media insights?David Moss Power BI Solutions Architect will show you how to summarise your live social media twitter streams in a single Power BI dashboard.Visualising and monitoring live Twitter trends and comments can assist to control social insights by addressing social interaction when and where it arises, help monitor positive & negative sentiments on your Twitter feed and drill down into specific tweets to reach out to your customers to manage & control your social brand awareness. Even find engagement opportunities and discover influencers and monitor @brand mentions and #hashtags.In this session you will learn about the Azure Power BI & Cortana Intelligence Suite architecture solution required for your Social Media Power BI dashboard.An exciting technical social media marketer’s brand awareness toolset.

  • Hands-On Data Analysis With Power BI Desktop

    • 29 Mar 2017 19:00 GMT – Koen Verbeeck
    • There are lots of flashy Power BI demos everywhere. But most of the time, you don’t see the internal mechanics. In this demo-heavy session, we’re going to build a Power BI demo from scratch. We’ll combine data from various sources, build a simple data model and start creating data visualizations. We’ll also take a quick look at the analytical capabilities of Power BI Desktop. After this session, you’ll have a good overview of the features Power BI Desktop has to offer and you can start your own data analytics journey.

  • Storytelling with Infographics

    • 29 Mar 2017 20:00 GMT – Jen Underwood
    • Visual storytelling and depiction of information has existed for hundreds of years in various forms and formats. In today’s era of unprecedented data volumes, variety and velocities, infographics can help us make sense of the ocean of data. Telling an effective story through infographics requires accurate data, planning, compelling design, and visualization choices. Please join me in this fun, visual eye candy session to learn the art of storytelling with infographics.

  • Three Data Preparation Essentials for Predictive Modeling

    • 29 Mar 2017 21:00 GMT – Dean Abbott
    • Every predictive modeler or analytics professional knows the importance of data preparation; experts place the time expended in this stage from 50% to even 90% of the time one spends building predictive models. It is time-consuming and daunting because there are so many ways data can be wrong. Yet there are many principles that are reused in nearly every data set.This session focuses on three essential steps in data preparation, taking into consideration the data itself and how algorithms sometimes dictate the kinds of data preparation we do. The principles apply not only to predictive models, but also to data visualization and dashboards. Examples from actual modeling projects will illustrate the principles.

 

Register here – http://bit.ly/passbaspring2017

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PASS Business Analytics Virtual Chapter January 26–Take Power BI Visualizations to the Next Level

Posted by denglishbi on January 25, 2017

The next PASS Business Analytics Virtual Chapter meeting will be tomorrow on Thursday, January 26.  We welcome back Reza Rad who is a Microsoft Data Platform MVP and BI Rockstar and he will be presenting on Power BI and data visualizations.PASS_BAVC_Logo_New_201502

–> REGISTER NOW <–

January 26 – Take Power BI Visualizations to the Next Level

Session Abstract

Visualization is the front end of every BI system, and getting it right will affect tremendously on the data analysis solution. In this session you will learn tips and tricks of data visualization with Power BI, examples of effective visualizations, and you will learn when is best to use which type of chart. You will learn about best way of visualizing elements through built-in visualizations or custom visuals.

Speaker Bio –

Reza Rad (http://www.radacad.com/reza) speaks in world’s best and biggest SQL Server and BI conferences such as PASS Summits, PASS Rallys, SQLBits, TechEds, Ignites, and so on. He is author of books on this topic, and he has more than 15 years’ experience in the Microsoft BI technologies. 10 years of his experience focused on training and consulting to the largest BI teams in the world. He is also Microsoft Certified Trainer for years. He is Microsoft SQL Server MVP (Most Valuable Professional) focused on BI and Data Analysis for seven years, He has been awarded MVP from Microsoft because of his dedication and expertise in Microsoft BI technologies. He is author of Power BI book from Rookie to Rock Star (http://radacad.com/online-book-power-bi-from-rookie-to-rockstar).

–> REGISTER NOW <–

Also, we will be doing a random drawing after the webinar and giving away two $25 Amazon gift cards to anyone that attends and fills out the survey!

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