The official PASS Blog is where you’ll find the latest blog posts from PASS community members and the PASS Board. Contributors share their thoughts and discuss a wide variety of topics spanning PASS and the data community.

Analytical Databases in the Microsoft Data Platform: A Single Source of Truth

Microsoft’s documentation calls Analysis Services an analytical data engine. This documentation references the Tabular Model relying on Vertipaq technology. The marketing involves Azure analytical databases and the growing presence of the refined Big Data tools. No matter what the message, analytical reporting relies on data. The source, structure, and retrieval are important yesterday and today.

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Supporting the PASS Community

It has been a busy few weeks at PASS as PASS HQ and the Board have been working on all the ways that we can support our community as everyone adjusts to the current global situation. We are all challenged by sweeping changes to the way we work, connect, and collaborate, and I am truly proud of everything PASS is doing for our community.

Perhaps the most obvious change for PASS in recent weeks are the 30+ SQLSaturdays that have made the decision to cancel or postpone their upcoming events. The team at PASS HQ has been working diligently to support these many events, field a multitude of questions, and to provide alternative options. We are making special considerations when re-scheduling event dates, as we aim to provide our dedicated event organizers with as much flexibility as we can. We are also offering a temporary virtual option starting with SQLSaturday events originally scheduled to take place in late March and throughout April, to pilot the initiative. We know that connecting, sharing, and learning in-person is important, and right now we have a unique opportunity to support our members in new ways, bringing people together and sharing the magic of the PASS community from the comfort of your home when you need it the most.

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The Optimizer, Statistics, and Correlated Predicates

Sometimes, a query with two predicates (filters) executes slowly, but if you remove one of the predicates it executes faster. Let’s look at why that may be, and one possible solution for it.

When you submit a query to SQL Server, the optimizer’s role is to come up with a good plan that will give accurate results quickly. One of the most important things the optimizer considers when coming up with a plan is the number of rows it expects from an operator, referred to as cardinality.

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What About PASS Summit?

Over the last few weeks, it’s been amazing to see our community come together to lend a helping hand; whether that’s by giving advice on home office set ups, sharing your favorite online learning resources, or simply setting up a virtual social hour to stay connected with friends around the world. It’s moments like these that make me so proud to be a part of this community.

We know that these are challenging times for everyone. The disruptions caused by COVID-19 have meant that you’ve had to rapidly change and adapt to your new realities, and re-evaluate your plans for the future. We also know that this causes a great deal of uncertainty.

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SQLSaturday Founders Celebrate SQLSaturday #1000

In celebration of publishing SQLSaturday #1000, we asked the three original SQLSaturday founders: Andy Warren, Brian Knight, and Steve Jones to share their thoughts and reflections on this incredible milestone.

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M and DAX in Power BI, When to Use Which Language?

If you are planning on working with Power BI, then there are at least two data manipulation languages you will need to learn: M and DAX. The problem is that it isn’t always clear which one you should be using. At times, these can seem a bit redundant – why do we have two languages?

Historically, M and DAX came from two different Excel add-ins: Power Query and Power Pivot. Originally, they served two different purposes and were only loosely connected. Later on, they were combined together with HTML5-based visual rendering to create what we know as Power BI. This means that these tools are going to have some overlap in functionality.

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Leverage Power BI Automation Using Power Automate and API


For a Power BI tenant’s administrator, it's a challenging task to admin and maintain the environment. Many changes are taking place every day. New users are added, workspaces are created/deleted, datasets are refreshed, etc. How can we keep everything under control? What’s needed is automation. Through the joint use of APIs and Power Automate, it’s possible to leverage some common tasks automatically.

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WorkFlows – What Are They? “The Book Definition”

WorkFlows – What Are They? – “The Book Definition”

Windows PowerShell Workflows are designed for scenarios where these attributes are required:

  • Long-running activities.
  • Repeatable activities.
  • Frequently executed activities.
  • Running activities in parallel across one or more machines.
  • Interruptible activities that can be stopped and re-started, which includes surviving a reboot of the system against which the workflow is executing.

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Power BI Dataflows – Enabling BI Professionals and Data Scientists

Recently, I was reading an excellent article titled “Agile Digital Transformation for Data-Driven CEOs with Power BI” by Jen Stirrup (t|b) on why Power BI is a valuable tool for data driven CEOs to change the culture of their organizations. One of my favorite features to come to Power BI is Power BI dataflows and I believe it will improve the data management and usage in organizations.

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Parameter Sniffing and Performance

If you were using SQL Server in 2008, you would have heard about parameter sniffing at that time. If you are using SQL Server now, I am very confident that you may have encountered this topic as it is quite common in the SQL Server environment. Parameter Sniffing has been an evergreen topic for discussion for SQL Server Performance Tuning experts.

Before we continue talking more about parameter sniffing, let us understand what parameter sniffing is and how it affects SQL Server performance.

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