What’s New for BI in SQL Server 2016 CTP2?

The first public preview of SQL Server 2016 (CTP2) got announced yesterday. The natural question for BI pros is what’s new for BI. The “What’s New in …” topics in the SQL Server 2016 Books Online provides the detailed description of the BI features that made the CTP2 cut. To summarize the major features:


  1. Process partitions within a Tabular table in parallel. Previously, partitions within a table were processed sequentially.
  2. New DAX functions. The join-related ones, such as NATURALINNERJOIN, NATURALLEFTOUTERJOIN, UNION, will be useful.


  1. Subscription enhancements, such as Enable/disable subscriptions (New user interface options to quickly disable and enable subscriptions), change subscription owner, shared credential for file share subscriptions.
  2. Report Builder for SQL Server 2016 supports High DPI


  1. Incremental Package Deployment – ability to deploy individual packages to the SSIS catalog.
  2. AlwaysOn support – ability to host the SSIS catalog on a database configured for AlwaysOn for high-availability


  1. Improved Manageability – reuse entities across models!
  2. Improved performance – overall performance enhancements for larger models, as well as performance improvement for the Excel MDS add-in.
  3. Improved security
  4. Improved troubleshooting

More exciting features to come later on so stay tuned.



Power BI 2.0 User Provisioning

As a continuation to my “Power BI vNext (let’s now call it Power BI 2.0 to align terminology with Microsoft) SSAS Connector and Security” blog, you might wonder how Power BI provisions users. For example, if a user signs with his business e-mail and a coworker shares BI artifacts with him, what happens when the user leaves the company? Can he still gain access?

As it turns out, when the user signs to Power BI, Microsoft adds the user transparently to the Azure AD (AAD). Syncing AD with AAD is not a requirement. This is why you don’t need to extend your AD to Azure or synchronize it when you want Power BI reports to connect to on-prem Tabular models. If you do not sync your AD with Azure AD and remove user from AD, they continue to exist in Azure AD. If the tenant is a managed tenant (i.e. there is a tenant admin), tenant admin can disable the user in O365 when the user leaves the company. However, if this is an unmanaged tenant (i.e. no admin yet), the company administrator needs to “Take Over” the tenant, as described here. To make this easier, you can do DirSync which will do this automatically or extend your AD to Azure.

SQLSaturday Atlanta

SQL Saturday Atlanta is around the corner. I’m presenting “Increase your BI productivity with community tools” scheduled in the first time slot at 8:15 AM.

“Microsoft has always provided a comprehensive toolset for BI developers but functionality gaps remain. In attempt to fill in some of these gaps, MVPs and community have implemented outstanding tools. Join this session to learn how to increase your developer productivity and improve your BI solutions by using some of the most prominent community tools, including BIDS Helper, DAX Studio, DAX Editor, Query Capture, and OLAP Extensions. This session assumes developer experience in designing and implementing BI solutions with SSAS, SSRS, and SSIS.”

If this sounds interesting but you can’t attend, don’t worry as a repeat is in order for the Atlanta BI Group on Monday, May 18th.