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Exploring Azure SQL Data Warehouse with Power BI

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Azure SQL Data Warehouse offers elastic scale and massive parallel processing. With the limited public preview announced today, Power BI allows you to directly connect to the data stored in your Azure SQL Data Warehouse offering simple and dynamic exploration.


After creating a connection to your data warehouse, queries are generated in real time and sent back to the source as you explore the data. This removes the need to create and upload a custom data model and offers interactive exploration of your data.

Creating a connection to your data warehouse is easy, either through Power BI or directly in the Azure Portal using the “Open in Power BI” feature.

The direct connect experience is targeted at users who are familiar with the data and entities stored within their data warehouse. In this post we’ll cover how to get better insights to your SQL Data Warehouse data using Power BI. For additional details on how to connect and get started, jump to the Connecting to SQL Data Warehouse section below.

Exploring your Azure SQL Data Warehouse data

Power BI allows you to explore and monitor data stored in your Azure SQL database directly, without requiring a data model as an intermediate cache.

Creating a connection to your source is easy, either provide the connection details in Power BI or use the “Open in Power BI” feature from the Azure Portal. Once a connection is made to your source, a list of all the tables and columns you have access to are shown in the field list using schema discovery.

Selecting fields or adding them as filters will update the query that is sent back to the source. You may see some loading icons, especially if the query will return a large amount of data.

After saving your report, any of the visuals can be pinned to your customized dashboard. The tiles will be refreshed approximately every 15 minutes, re-evaluating the query that was generated when they were created.

Connecting to Azure SQL Data Warehouse

To get started in Power BI, click “Big Data & More” on the Get Data screen in Power BI.

Select the Azure SQL Data Warehouse tile or use the Search box to find it quickly. Select Connect to move to the connection screen. In order to connect, you need to specify the server and database name, as well as your username and password to connect with.

Another way to create a connection is using the “Open in Power BI” feature directly from the Azure Portal. After signing in, you’ll see the same connection page with the information pre-populated, allowing you to connect after entering your credentials.


After hitting “Connect”, Power BI will create a new dataset with the name of your database. You can select the dataset to begin exploring, or selecting the placeholder tile on your dashboard.


Start exploring your data, by selecting or dragging fields on to the canvas. Every selection generates a query back to the source. You can also drag fields onto the Filter section. Depending on the size of the query and the optimizations in the database, you may seem some loading indicators while the visuals are created. These visuals are the same as any other in Power BI and can be pinned to your dashboard. Drilling into the tiles will bring you back to the report you’ve created.


We’re always interested in hearing your feedback – please reach out at to let the team know how your experience was and if there’s anything we can do better. We look forward to your feedback!