View Reports on Real-Time SAS xpt Data in Power BI Report Server

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SASxpt ODBC Driver

The SASxpt ODBC Driver is a powerful tool that allows you to connect with live data from SAS xpt (XPORT) file data, directly from any applications that support ODBC connectivity.

Access SAS xpt (XPORT) files like you would a database - read, write, and update through a standard ODBC Driver interface.



Use the CData ODBC Driver for SAS xpt to visualize SAS xpt data in Power BI Desktop and then publish them to Power BI Report Server.

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 SAS xpt links your Power BI reports to operational SAS xpt data. You can monitor SAS xpt data through dashboards and ensure that your analysis reflects SAS xpt 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 SAS xpt data in Microsoft Power BI Desktop and then publish the visualizations to Power BI Report Server.

The CData ODBC Drivers offer unmatched performance for interacting with live SAS xpt data in Power BI due to optimized data processing built into the driver. When you issue complex SQL queries from Power BI to SAS xpt, the driver pushes supported SQL operations, such as filters and aggregations, directly to SAS xpt and uses 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 SAS xpt data using native Power BI data types.

Connect to SAS xpt as an ODBC Data Source

If you have not already, first specify connection properties in an ODBC data source name (DSN). This is the last step of the driver installation. You can use the Microsoft ODBC Data Source Administrator to create and configure ODBC DSNs. To publish Power BI reports from Power BI Desktop to Power BI Report Server, you will need to install the ODBC Driver on both the client (desktop) and server machines, using the same name for the DSN on each machine.

Connecting to Local SASXpt Files

You can connect to local SASXpt file by setting the URI to a folder containing SASXpt files.

Connecting to S3 data source

You can connect to Amazon S3 source to read SASXpt files. Set the following properties to connect:

  • URI: Set this to the folder within your bucket that you would like to connect to.
  • AWSAccessKey: Set this to your AWS account access key.
  • AWSSecretKey: Set this to your AWS account secret key.
  • TemporaryLocalFolder: Set this to the path, or URI, to the folder that is used to temporarily download SASXpt file(s).

Connecting to Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2

You can connect to ADLS Gen2 to read SASXpt files. Set the following properties to connect:

  • URI: Set this to the name of the file system and the name of the folder which contacts your SASXpt files.
  • AzureAccount: Set this to the name of the Azure Data Lake storage account.
  • AzureAccessKey: Set this to our Azure DataLakeStore Gen 2 storage account access key.
  • TemporaryLocalFolder: Set this to the path, or URI, to the folder that is used to temporarily download SASXpt file(s).

When you configure the DSN, you may also want to set the Max Rows connection property. This will limit the number of rows returned, which is especially helpful for improving performance when designing reports and visualizations.

After creating a DSN, follow the steps below to connect to the SAS xpt 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 a System DSN in the menu (necessary to publish to a Power BI Report Server). 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 SAS xpt data with other data sources, pivot SAS xpt columns, and more. Power BI detects each column's data type from the SAS xpt 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 SAS xpt 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 Column1 in the Fields pane, for example, Column1. You can modify the visualization and the data used with the following techniques:
    • Change sort options by clicking the ellipsis (...) button for the chart. Options to select the sort column and change the sort order are displayed.
    • Use both highlighting and filtering to focus on data. Filtering removes unfocused data from visualizations; highlighting dims unfocused data. Highlight fields by clicking them.
    • 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.
  4. Click Refresh to synchronize your report with any changes to the data and save your Power BI report to the client machine.

Upload SAS xpt Data Reports to Power BI Report Server

You can share reports based on ODBC data sources with other Power BI users in your organization using a Power BI Report Server.

  1. Install and configure the ODBC Driver for SAS xpt on the report server (see the instructions above).
  2. Log into the report server (typically found at http://MYSERVER/reports), click to upload a new report and select the report you just saved.
  3. View the SAS xpt report from any machine with access to the Report Server.