Friday, May 31, 2024

My DataGrillen Adventure: Speaking, Connecting, and New Friendships

I just got back from an incredible trip to DataGrillen, and I can’t wait to share my experiences with you. If you haven’t heard of it, DataGrillen is this amazing community-driven conference in Germany, where data professionals from around the world gather to share knowledge, ideas, and, of course, some good BBQ and beers. This year was special for me because I had the honor of speaking again at the event.

A special thanks goes out to Ben (@bweissman) & William (@sql_williamd) for organizing the event! But let's start from the beginning.

The Journey Begins

The anticipation was building as I packed up the car, later picked up Eduard Koekkoek (@heartforarts) and set off on our road trip to Germany. Eduard, a great friend and fellow data enthusiast, was the perfect companion for the journey. We spent some time on the road discussing everything from the latest in data technologies to our expectations for the conference. The drive was quite long, but the conversation made it fly by.

Stepping onto the Stage

The highlight of my trip was undoubtedly my speaking session. I had the first session at the first day, just after the opening "ceremony". The preparation that goes into a talk is always intense, but the passion I have for the subject kept me going. The topic was close to my heart, Administration and Governance in Fabric, and I was thrilled to see a room of fellow data enthusiasts ready to dive into the discussion. 

The audience was incredibly receptive, and the interaction was great. There’s something deeply fulfilling about sharing knowledge and seeing that spark of understanding and curiosity in others. The Q&A session that followed was lively, with thoughtful questions. It’s moments like these that remind me why I really like what I do.

Reconnecting with Old Friends

One of the best parts of conferences is the chance to reconnect with friends and colleagues from the industry. DataGrillen was no exception. With the change of forgetting someone, I won't call out names here πŸ˜€
It was like a reunion of sorts, seeing familiar faces, catching up on the latest in our professional and personal lives, and talking about past conferences and projects. There’s a special bond that forms when you share experiences and challenges over the years, and DataGrillen provided the perfect backdrop for these reunions.

A smaller group of people, specifically people into running, like to get together for an early run on days of a conference. We created a very special, long-running thread on Twitter (a.k.a. X), that actually started 2 years ago at DataGrillen!

Furthermore, we exchanged ideas over beers and BBQ, debated the future of data technologies, and shared a lot of laughs. These moments are invaluable, and they remind me of the strength and warmth of the data community. It's not just about the work we do, but the friendships we forge along the way.

Making New Connections

While reconnecting with old friends was wonderful, making new ones was equally exhilarating. DataGrillen attracted a diverse crowd of professionals, each bringing unique perspectives and experiences. I met so many passionate individuals, each conversation was a learning opportunity, and a chance to see the data world through a different lens.

The DataGrillen Vibe

What sets DataGrillen apart is its atmosphere. The organizers have created an environment that fosters learning and networking in the most enjoyable way possible. The BBQ element adds a fun twist, making the conference feel more like a community gathering than a formal event. It’s the perfect balance of professional development and relaxation.

Looking Ahead

As Eduard and I drove back home, I felt a great sense of satisfaction and inspiration. DataGrillen was more than just a conference: it was a reminder of the incredible community we’re all part of. I left with new knowledge, strengthened friendships, and a bunch of new connections that I’m excited to nurture.

If you ever get the chance to attend DataGrillen, don’t hesitate. It’s an experience that goes beyond the sessions and keynotes – it’s about the people, the conversations, and the community. I’m already looking forward to next year’s event!

Session materials

My slides were already shared with the conference, but in case you haven't found them, you can find them at my GitHub.
I've also uploaded the template file I used in my demo for Admin Monitoring to the above page.

First page of my demo file

You can also find slides of previous conferences there. I generally follow this pattern: [Conference name]

Until next time, keep learning, keep sharing, and keep grilling!

Friday, April 26, 2024

Deprecation of Legacy Power BI Apps!

In case you missed the official blog post 2 months ago, I suggest you read my blog post :)
Or if you want you can refer to the official blog here: Announcing the retirement of legacy Power BI Apps (pre-audiences).

Already on March 6, 2023(!), Power BI apps with multiple audiences went Generally Available.


If you still have a pre-audience app, that is: an app that was created before app audiences where a thing, you can should upgrade your app now. Support from Microsoft will stop after April 30.

One other way you could also do the upgrade, is to unpublish your app and create the app again.
N.B. Be aware that:
  • You will get a different URL (AppID) 
  • Any custom changes that users did are gone, so e.g. personal bookmarks and comments
πŸ’‘ Pro Tip: Only unpublish an app if you need to remove it! 

What does this actually mean?

Legacy apps will continue to work, also after May 1st. But technical support from Microsoft will stop after this date. So I do think it is a wise step to upgrade old apps.

Why do I want to upgrade?

  • Content Management: In the new Power BI apps with audiences, you can have to add content via the Update app feature by navigating to the Content tab and clicking Add content. In the legacy app you used to include content by using the app toggle in the workspace. This toggle will not be supported anymore, although it is still shown in the workspace.

  • Audiences: You can use different audiences for separate authorizations to a subsection of reports from the workspace. If you are using the default access request method, you also need to provide an audience group in the drop-down button with a pending access request before you can approve it.
  • Content visibility: By default, all newly added content to an already published app is marked as invisible. App authors must manually unhide content for each audience group. 

More information on publishing apps, using audiences or current limitations can be found here: Publish an app in Power BI.

Upgrade process

In case you still have the legacy app, or if you haven't created an app in a workspace, the workspace might still show the old toggle button:

After you upgarde or create an (new) app, it will show either Yes, No or blank depending on the eligibility of the item to be in an app. That's because only Power BI items can be included in an app.

After you click upgrade, you'll get a notice the app was updated.

Be aware that after the upgrade your app is created withouth any audiences. So be sure to check the authorizations and shared content in the upgraded app.

Other updates to apps

Other recent updates to apps where announced here:

Friday, April 19, 2024

Governance & Administration - Tenant Settings: Searching

With all the Fabric announcements in the last months, some of the Admin announcements might have slipped through. As you might know, the Admin part of Fabric is dear to my heart. I've posted about it earlier here, here, here, and here, to name a few πŸ˜€.

So in the next weeks I am going to highlight a few things with short, informative posts.
You can find other posts in the series here:

Monday, March 4, 2024

Governance & Administration - Tenant Settings: Visual Cues

With all the Fabric announcements in the last months, some of the Admin announcements might have slipped through. As you might know, the Admin part of Fabric is dear to my heart. I've posted about it earlier hereherehere, and here, to name a few πŸ˜€.

So in the next weeks I am going to highlight a few things with short, informative posts.

You can find other posts in the series here:

Monday, February 26, 2024

Governance & Administration - Fabric (Tenant Settings) API's

With all the Fabric announcements in the last months, some of the Admin announcements might have slipped through. As you might know, the Admin part of Fabric is dear to my heart. I've posted about it earlier here, here, here, and here, to name a few πŸ˜€.

So in the next weeks I am going to highlight a few things with short, informative posts.

This first post in the series is focused on the Tenant settings API and other Fabric API's available at the time of writing.

You can find other posts in the series here:

Get Tenant Settings API

Obviously, to use the Get Tenant Settings API you need to have at least Tenant.Read.All permissions, or have the Fabric Administrator role (or higher) in Azure.
There are a few use cases I see for getting these settings exported with this API:
  • Documentation purposes when you have multiple Fabric Administrators
  • Distributing tenant settings to users, and explaining why we (as a team of Administrators/within the Center of Excellence) made certain choices
  • Get notified of the changes in the tenant settings, without having to use Microsoft Defender or M365 Security & Compliance center like mentioned here

Get Capacities Tenant Settings Overrides

With the introduction of Fabric, there has also been the ability to have capacity admins override certain tenant settings. 

Example of a tenant setting that can be delegated

Some settings in the Admin portal are automatically delegated to capacity admins, like shown above. 

Other Fabric API's

Next to the API's on the tenant settings, there are already a lot more API's in the Admin section for you to check out, for example to handle workspaces, users, domains, and items as a Fabric Admin.

Next to that, so not as a Fabric Admin, you can also interact with Lakehouse tables, and there's a bunch of Core API's, for example to use Git or OneLake Shortcuts.

Preview note

Please note that at the time of writing this post, most of the API's are still in preview and subject to change.
Except for the Get Tenant Settings API, all the API's are currently in preview:

Thursday, January 25, 2024

The Conference Season Has Begun!

The conference season is kicking off again! I have quite some events and sessions already lined up for the next months, so I though I'll update you here.

First up is Data Community Day Austria, in Vienna. I'm actually at Schiphol Airport now, waiting to board my plane πŸ˜€ I'm presenting a new session on Direct Lake in Microsoft Fabric.

In March, 7-9, the Dutch Power BI Gebruikersdagen are in Utrecht and I'm presenting a session on Saturday: How to use Power BI External Tools.

After that is SQLBits, which I'm skipping this year. MVP Summit is unfortunately also online for me this year, but that has a very good reason...

Because, in the last week of March the Microsoft Fabric Community Conference is happening in Las Vegas, and I'm delighted and excited to say I am presenting 2 sessions there!
The first session is with Ulrich Christ, Program Manager Azure Data Factory at Microsoft, and we are going to talk about Connecting to SAP Data with Data Factory in Microsoft Fabric.
Because the second session is still in the works I can't share any details yet, so you'll just have to wait a bit longer for that.

After that, there's also DataGrillen in Lingen, Germany on May 16 & 17. I'm presenting a session dear to my heart: Fabric Admin in a Day. Do check the amazing 2-day schedule on their site. It's also happening during the Kievelinge Fest, which happens the weekend right after DataGrillen, how convenient... 😁

I'm very excited for the coming months and hope to see many of you there, meeting up with old friends and making new ones! πŸ’›

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Ignite News: Microsoft Fabric is Now GA (and more)!

Over the (roughly) last 6 months we all had the ability to play with Microsoft Fabric, when it went Public Preview at Microsoft Build.

Now that the keynote of Microsoft Ignite by CEO Satya Nadella has been delivered, and also the amazing in-depth Fabric session by Amir Netz, Arun Alagaratchagan: Make your data AI ready with Microsoft Fabric and Azure Databricks. Back then at Build, Satya called it:

"...the biggest launch of a data product from Microsoft since the launch of SQL Server!"

Generally available

But now, Satya went one step further and announced GENERAL AVAILABITIY of Fabric!

Also, Copilot in Fabric is now in public preview.

More updates

There's a ton of updates inside Fabric on existing features on the latest Fabric blog here.

And there are also some exciting new features:

  • Seamlessly connect your data sources to Fabric
    The ability to create shortcuts was already there, where you virtualize data in OneLake without having to move or duplicate that data.. You can create shortcuts to another Lakehouse and Warehouse, but also to files on ADLS or even Amazon S3 or Google storage.
    The newest feature just announced is called Mirroring, where you can add and manage existing cloud data warehouses (and databases) in Fabric's Data Warehouse experience. The way this works, is like replication in SQL Server. Fabric replicates a snapshot of that database to OneLake in Delta Parquet files and keeps that in sync in near real time, which relies on the Change Data Capture feature of the underlying source. Initially it's supported for Azure Cosmos DB, Azure SQL DB and Snowflake, more sources will follow next year.
  • Copilot in Power BI (public preview)
    Just be aware that Copilot will be rolling out in stages, 
    • Smart Narrative is an existing visual in Power BI Desktop, now rebranded to Narrative with Copilot
    • The November Desktop update let's you generate synonyms for your fields, measures and tables using Copilot.
    • In the future, there's also going to be:
      • a report creation experience
      • a DAX writing experience
  • Direct Lake support on Data Warehouse
    There's also an update on the size limits of your Fabric capacity and when it will fallback to Direct Query.
  • Stored credentials for Direct Lake semantic model
    You can now specify a fixed identity (like a service principal) for a Direct Lake mode semantic model
  • Pricing on Fabric is updated!
    Reserved pricing is now available, with a rough discount of around 41% off of Pay-As-You-Go pricing.
  • OneLake integration for Import-mode semantic models is coming!
    This allows for a seamless (at least that's what Microsoft claims πŸ˜„) integration for your import Power BI Desktop models into OneLake. I wonder if this also implies that you can convert your import report to a Direct Lake mode model afterwards. It's not totally clear to me at this point.
[update on November 16th]


Will I now go all-in on Fabric? "It depends", but probably not πŸ˜€
I think it still depends on a case per case basis. Is it a newish customer with not too many investments in other data platform services like Synapse/Data Factory. Then it makes sense to evaluate the requirements and see if it's worthwhile to start with Fabric, considering a lot of features are still in preview, and others are not there yet.
On the other hand, if it's an existing customer with real estate in Synapse and databricks for example, where they implemented a medaillon structure and have infrastructure running there, I'd seriously reconsider if it's worth moving to Fabric. I'm leaning towards a no for now.

Keep a look out on the official Fabric and Power BI blogs and Microsoft Learn for all new content:

I'm updating this post live while the updates are rolling out, so come back later for more updates!πŸ˜€

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My DataGrillen Adventure: Speaking, Connecting, and New Friendships

I just got back from an incredible trip to DataGrillen, and I can’t wait to share my experiences with you. If you haven’t heard of it,  Data...