Sql Web Server Business Intelligence Advancement Workshop 2008 Tutorial Pdf – For several years, Visual Studio has been my go-to tool for designing semantic data models used for business intelligence reporting. In 2005, I used the Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) Visual Studio add-in for SSIS, SSRS, and SSAS projects to develop BI solutions with multidimensional cubes. When Microsoft began transitioning from on-disk cubes to in-memory SSAS tabular models in 2012, I used SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) to create the tabular models. It was a stone road before. Tabular Designer was underpowered to put it mildly.
Enter Power BI… Initially intended for self-service data modeling and report design, Power BI Desktop has quickly grown into a robust and full-featured BI design tool. Not only does Power BI Desktop include a lot of great features, it’s also stable and streamlined. Compared to my initial experiences using SSDT for tabular model design, it was a pleasure to use. I want to use desktop to manage model design. It is faster, more convenient and easier than SSDT. However, at some point in the life of a project it makes more sense to transform the data model into an enterprise-scale effort.
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“Paul, what the #$@! Thinking? Visual Studio is an essential tool and there are few things you can’t do without it!
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, I agree and will continue to use SSDT for some important features. So, yes, I’m not completely done using Visual Studio to manage projects other than SSAS, and maybe for code check-in… I’ll finish this part of the story in a bit.
I want to be clear – I love Visual Studio. It is a great product for developing software and various business and data solutions. However, history has demonstrated that the idea of stitching together many disparate products and expecting them all to work together seamlessly is simply untenable. Contrast that effort with the evolution of the Power BI product, without getting at all the reasons why it was difficult for Microsoft to develop and maintain a rock-solid tabular model design add-in for Visual Studio. The Power BI product team is fully focused on developing a single product from a development team under unified leadership with focused objectives. Negotiating the co-development of any product by several different teams is difficult within any organization, especially one as large as Microsoft. The reason new features are added weekly to Power BI Service and monthly to Power BI Desktop is because one product team manages all those features.
Business Intelligence Messaging from Microsoft Some of you may remember the time when we had to build solutions depending on the integrated components of multiple products like SQL Server (Related, SSIS, SSAS and SSRS), Windows Server, SharePoint and Office. To work together seamlessly. This was good – and still modest – but this approach produced a delicate and complex animal that was difficult to maintain and had many potential points of failure.
One of the reasons why Power BI Desktop is such a wonderfully streamlined product is that the feature set is optimized for data analysts and not IT developers. To maintain a streamlined product, we do not see adding enterprise capabilities (such as version control, multi-developer code merging, and scriptable objects) to this product. However, these capabilities exist for Analysis Services projects and community-supported tools such as Tabular Editor and DAX Studio. But now (drum-roll, please) a Power BI dataset can be developed and deployed to a workspace using enterprise tools through the magic of an XMLA endpoint.
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Call it a learning disability, but I’ve repeatedly tried using Visual Studio Tabular Designer to manage SSAS projects with the same result. Small demo and POC projects go well but not so much when tackling the complexities of product-scale design. I guess it’s my natural optimism to think that something will work better than last time, but the laws of the universe dictate that if you do the same thing, history will repeat itself.
Here’s how it goes… I start developing the data model in SSDT by importing some tables and queries and adding relationships and measures. All good, right?
At this point in the timeline, I often convince myself that the development environment is stable and everything will work out so I move forward, trusting that all will be well.
Then I add a few more tables and a whole bunch of new DAX calculations – and pretty soon everything goes to hell. Model Designer stops responding or behaves sporadically, Visual Studio crashes, the model definition file becomes corrupted, and I remember being down this dark road before.
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Explaining the painful past, it’s frustrating to open a support ticket and explain to the engineer “Sometimes when I do that, this happens but not always” and “In all the confusion, I can’t remember how I got to this state.”
I sincerely appreciate the efforts of Kasper DeJonge from the SSAS product team in 2012 as we spent hours in remote meetings trying to reproduce various odd behaviors in Tableau Designer with a large data model. The basic problem was that the Model.bim file, which described all the objects in the data model, was an enormous XML document (ours was approaching 100,000 lines.) Every change in the designer required re-writing the entire file. Loaded to disk and back into memory. Things improved significantly in 2016 and 2017 when model definition was streamlined using JSON rather than XML, and the file structure was simplified to reduce file size. Similar meetings with several other product leaders proved that the product team was seriously dedicated to optimizing the experience of the enterprise tableau model.
I am all about solutions and not just problems. So what is the answer? Now how should we manage the Enterprise BI data model and Power BI solutions? Using Tabular Editor with Visual Studio is truly the best of both worlds. You can open the Model.bim file stored in the Visual Studio SSAS project folder.
Tabular Editor is an excellent tool for developing and maintaining tabular data models for SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS), Azure Analysis Services (AAS) and Power BI. It is a community supported tool created by Daniel Otikier, Microsoft MVP and Senior Business Intelligence Architect with Kapacity.dk in Denmark. The most comprehensive resource for finding this and other community-supported BI tools for the Microsoft platform is at SqlBi.com/Tools on Italian’s site.
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If the project is under source code control, changes made with the Tabular Editor can be tracked and synchronized with the remote source repository from Team Explorer in Visual Studio.
Do not try to do this – it will turn out badly. Starting model design in Power BI Desktop will save you time but once you convert to the Model.bim file format, use the Tabular Editor.
A monolithic PBIX file created with Power BI Desktop that contains reports, data models, and queries is simple and easy to maintain as long as you move beyond the many limitations it imposes.
Power BI reports and datasets (data models) should be managed separately in all serious projects. duration …whether you want to change the data model to Model.bim or not.
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Separating Power BI reports from the data model/dataset has many advantages, allowing report and data model development to be performed in parallel and by different team members. It is absolutely necessary to create a standardized dataset that users can access and do their own reporting and analysis.
This is good. Keep doing this but use the tabular editor as your primary model design tool.
A data model stored as a Model.bim file can contain comparison, split, and merge changes between data model version files, deployed AS databases, or Power BI datasets. Manage integrated source control with Azure DevOps or GitHub. Check-in changes, branch, merge, push and pull changes made by other developers but not using Visual Studio
Tabular Editor is a better design experience than Visual Studio. It’s streamlined, easy to use, and doesn’t blow up when writing scale calculations. You can switch back and forth between tools as each tool has features that the others lack. Remember to save and close the sample file before opening it on another device…and make backups! The more I do this, the more I like using a tabular editor.
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The tabular editor doesn’t have a graphical model designer so I prefer to use Visual Studio to model tables and relationships. Set table and column properties, create calculated columns and measures, manage partitions and other table model features in the Table Editor.
From the Power BI desktop, save the file as a .PBIT (template) and then open it in the Tabular Editor. Once you save the file to the .BIM format, it is a one-way trip as the enterprise model cannot be saved back to a PBIT or PBIX file. Of course, if you start designing the data model in Visual Studio, there is
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