Author and Share Power BI Reports on Real-Time Azure Synapse Data

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Azure Synapse ODBC Driver

The Azure Synapse ODBC Driver is a powerful tool that allows you to connect with live data from Azure Synapse, directly from any applications that support ODBC connectivity.

Access Azure Synapse data like you would a database - read, write, and update Azure Synapse. through a standard ODBC Driver interface.



Use the CData ODBC Driver for Azure Synapse to visualize Azure Synapse data in Power BI Desktop and then upload to the Power BI service.

With built-in support for ODBC on Microsoft Windows, CData ODBC Drivers provide self-service integration with self-service analytics tools such as Microsoft Power BI. The CData ODBC Driver for Azure Synapse links your Power BI reports to operational Azure Synapse data. You can monitor Azure Synapse data through dashboards and ensure that your analysis reflects Azure Synapse data in real time by scheduling refreshes or refreshing on demand. This article details how to use the ODBC driver to create real-time visualizations of Azure Synapse data in Microsoft Power BI Desktop and then upload to Power BI.

The CData ODBC Drivers offer unmatched performance for interacting with live Azure Synapse data in Power BI due to optimized data processing built into the driver. When you issue complex SQL queries from Power BI to Azure Synapse, the driver pushes supported SQL operations, like filters and aggregations, directly to Azure Synapse and utilizes the embedded SQL Engine to process unsupported operations (often SQL functions and JOIN operations) client-side. With built-in dynamic metadata querying, you can visualize and analyze Azure Synapse data using native Power BI data types.

Connect to Azure Synapse as an ODBC Data Source

If you have not already, first specify connection properties in an ODBC DSN (data source name). This is the last step of the driver installation. You can use the Microsoft ODBC Data Source Administrator to create and configure ODBC DSNs.

Connecting to Azure Synapse

In addition to providing authentication (see below), set the following properties to connect to a Azure Synapse database:

  • Server: The server running Azure. You can find this by logging into the Azure portal and navigating to Azure Synapse Analytics -> Select your database -> Overview -> Server name.
  • Database: The name of the database, as seen in the Azure portal on the Azure Synapse Analytics page.

Authenticating to Azure Synapse

Connect to Azure Synapse using the following properties:

  • User: The username provided for authentication with Azure.
  • Password: The password associated with the authenticating user.

After creating a DSN, follow the steps below to connect to the Azure Synapse DSN from Power BI Desktop:

  1. Open Power BI Desktop and click Get Data -> ODBC. To start Power BI Desktop from PowerBI.com, click the download button and then click Power BI Desktop.
  2. Select the DSN in the menu. If you know the SQL query you want to use to import, expand the Advanced Options node and enter the query in the SQL Statement box.
  3. Select tables in the Navigator dialog.
  4. Click Edit to edit the query. The table you imported is displayed in the Query Editor. In the Query Editor, you can enrich your local copy of Azure Synapse data with other data sources, pivot Azure Synapse columns, and more. Power BI detects each column's data type from the Azure Synapse metadata retrieved by the driver.

    Power BI records your modifications to the query in the Applied Steps section, adjusting the underlying data retrieval query that is executed to the remote Azure Synapse data. When you click Close and Apply, Power BI executes the data retrieval query.

    Otherwise, click Load to pull the data into Power BI.

Create Data Visualizations

After pulling the data into Power BI, you can create data visualizations in the Report view by dragging fields from the Fields pane onto the canvas. Follow the steps below to create a pie chart:

  1. Select the pie chart icon in the Visualizations pane.
  2. Select a dimension in the Fields pane: for example, Id.
  3. Select a measure in the ProductName in the Fields pane: for example, ProductName.

You can change sort options by clicking the ellipsis (...) button for the chart. Options to select the sort column and change the sort order are displayed.

You can use both highlighting and filtering to focus on data. Filtering removes unfocused data from visualizations; highlighting dims unfocused data. You can highlight fields by clicking them:

You can apply filters at the page level, at the report level, or to a single visualization by dragging fields onto the Filters pane. To filter on the field's value, select one of the values that are displayed in the Filters pane.

Click Refresh to synchronize your report with any changes to the data.

Upload Azure Synapse Data Reports to Power BI

You can share reports based on ODBC data sources with other Power BI users in your organization. To upload a dashboard or report, log into PowerBI.com, click Get Data -> Files, and navigate to a Power BI Desktop file or Excel workbook. You can then select the report in the Reports section.

Refresh on Schedule and on Demand

You can use the Power BI Personal Gateway to automatically refresh the dataset associated with your report. You can also refresh the dataset on demand in Power BI. After installing the Personal Gateway, follow the steps below to schedule refreshes for an ODBC DSN:

  1. Log into Power BI.
  2. In the Dataset section, right-click the Azure Synapse Dataset.
  3. Click Schedule Refresh.
  4. In the settings for your dataset, expand the Data Source Credentials node and click Edit Credentials in the ODBC section.
  5. Expand the Schedule Refresh section, select Yes in the Keep Your Data Up to Date menu, and specify the refresh interval.

You can now share real-time Azure Synapse reports through Power BI.