Power BI Desktop Now Supports Live Query to Azure SQL and SQL Server

Power BI Desktop now supports Live Query to two new data sources – Azure SQL and SQL Server on premise.  Previously, the only supported Live Query data source was SSAS on premise.

This is an important improvement for a key reason I noted in a previous post – there is 250 MB on Power BI Desktop files when you publish them to the Power BI service.  If the data source isn’t “live”, Power BI Desktop fetches the data and saves it within its file format.  If you run a query that requires more than 250 MB to be cached then you cannot publish the Power BI Desktop file.

In order to leverage this new features, you will need the latest Power BI Desktop application installed.   In addition, you have to turn on the feature under Options –> Preview Features.

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Now when you query these data sources, you’ll see the following dialogue box:

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If you select DirectQuery, the query executes against the live database instead of caching the data locally. 

The key impact is that you have a direct connection to the database so you can do queries against large datasets and still publish the Power BI Desktop file to the Power BI Service because data is no longer cached locally.