Everything Microsoft BI (as of late)

Lately Microsoft seems to have stepped even more on the gas, releasing amazing features upon features for both SQL Server 2016 and Power BI as well as their Cloud platform Azure. This blog post will run through some of the features I find most interesting, in the latest couple of releases. With that said, Microsoft is realeasing new features on a weekly basis for the Power BI service, on a monthly basis for the Power BI Designer and have made three Community Tech Previews (CTP) available over summer for SQL Server 2016.
Just back from PASS Summit and I am a happy Camper, full of all the great new stuff already there, in preview or about to hit us with the vNext of SQL Server.
See it all in a foundation presentation by James Philips (t|l), Corporate VP at Microsoft.

Without further ado, here’s my list of points of interest – it may be a mess to you, but reflects my personal interest in the Microsoft tool stack at this moment.

SQL Server 2016

Strecth Database, for individual tables. See blog post by Marco Freccia, CTP2
Quick test, is this feature for me?


Multiple TempDB files. See blog post by Jeff Shurak, CTP2.4
SQL Server now defaults to 8 data files or the number of cores (read: threads), whichever is less, for the TempDB files.

AlwaysEncrypted, See blog post by TechNet, CTP3
Always Encrypted allows clients to encrypt sensitive data inside client applications and never reveal the encryption keys to the Database Engine

Native JSON Support, see blog post by Jovan Popovic, CTP3
Feature set is growing by each release of CTP, currently SQL Server can format and export data as JSON string, load JSON text in tables, extract values from JSON text, index properties in JSON text stored in columns and more to come.

Temporal Tables, see MSDN Article, CTP3
Allows you to keep a full history of data changes and allow easy point in time analysis. Temporal Tables is a new type of user table in SQL Server 2016

Row Level Security (RLS), see MSDN Article, CTP3
RLS enables you to implement restrictions on data row access. For example ensuring that workers can access only those data rows that are pertinent to their department, or restricting a customer’s data access to only the data relevant to their company.

PolyBase, see MSDN Article
PolyBase allows you to use T-SQL statements to access and query in an ad-hoc fashion data stored in Hadoop or Azure Blob Storage.

Parallel Partition Processing in Tabular, see blog post by Haidong Huang CTP2
Allows for faster processing of Tabular cubes. Mind the default settings though, read the blog post.

Single Package Deployment (Project Mode), see blog post by Andy Leonard (b|l|t)
Now you’ll be able to deploy a single package in a project, to fix a bug or similar scenario. Read the blog post, as there is no such thing, as a free lunch!


AlwaysEncrypted for Azure SQL Database, see blog post by MSDN, Preview

Read more about all Azure Preview Features here

Azure Data Lake Store
The Data Lake store provides a single repository where you can capture data of any size type and speed simply without forcing changes to your application as the data scales.

Azure Data Lake Analytics Service
The analytics service can handle jobs of any scale instantly by simply setting the dial for how much power you need. You only pay for your job when it is running making it cost-effective.

Azure IoT Hub
Connect, monitor, and control millions of IoT assets running on a broad set of operating systems and protocols.

Data Catalog
Data Catalog lets users—from analysts to data scientists to developers—register, discover, understand, and consume data sources.

SQL Data Warehouse
Azure SQL Data Warehouse is an elastic data warehouse as a service with enterprise-grade features based on the SQL Server massively parallel processing architecture.

If that’s not enough for you, check out the impressive set of Azure services here.

Power BI

I can’t keep up!! (which is probably a good thing)

Duplicate Report Page, read the Power BI weekly update blog
A common scenario when creating reports is to have multiple pages that are identical except for having different filters applied.

Collapse Navigation Pane though an URL parameter, read the Power BI weekly update blog
Allows you to add an URL parameter to your link that will automatically collapse the left navigation pane for any visitor who clicks the link.

Full Screen Mode, read the Power BI weekly update blog
Enables Full Screen Mode for Power BI dashboards and reports.

If you want to see some of the amazing things you can already do in Power BI, please visit the Power BI Best Visual Contest page

Not to mention all the features updated each month in the Power BI Desktop application, see latest updates here.

If you find something missing, Microsoft is actually listening, so please feel free to register and suggest your fantastic new idea at this site.

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