Quick Tips: Time Dimension with Time Bands at Seconds Granularity in Power BI and SSAS Tabular

I wrote some other posts on this topic in the past, you can find them here and here. In the first post I explain how to create “Time” dimension with time bands at minutes granularity. Then one of my customers required the “Time” dimension at seconds granularity which encouraged me to write the second blogpost. In the second blogpost though I didn’t do time bands, so here I am, writing the third post which is a variation of the second post supporting time bands of 5 min, 15 min, 30 min, 45 min and 60 min while the grain of the “Time” dimension is down to second. in this quick post I jump directly to the point and show you how to generate the “Time” dimension in three different ways, using T-SQL in SQL Server, using Power Query (M) and DAX. Here it is then:

Time Dimension at Second Grain with Power Query (M) Supporting Time Bands:

Copy/paste the code below in Query Editor’s Advanced Editor to generate Time dimension in Power Query:

``````let
Source = Table.FromList({1..86400}, Splitter.SplitByNothing()),
#"Renamed Columns" = Table.RenameColumns(Source,{{"Column1", "ID"}}),
#"Time Column Added" = Table.AddColumn(#"Renamed Columns", "Time", each Time.From(#datetime(1970,1,1,0,0,0) + #duration(0,0,0,[ID])), Time.Type),
#"5 Min Band Added" = Table.AddColumn(#"Minute Added", "5 Min Band", each Time.From(#datetime(1970,1,1,Time.Hour([Time]),0,0) + #duration(0, 0, (Number.RoundDown(Time.Minute([Time])/5) * 5) + 5, 0)), Time.Type),
#"15 Min Band Added" = Table.AddColumn(#"5 Min Band Added", "15 Min Band", each Time.From(#datetime(1970,1,1,Time.Hour([Time]),0,0) + #duration(0, 0, (Number.RoundDown(Time.Minute([Time])/15) * 15) + 15, 0)), Time.Type),
#"30 Min Band Added" = Table.AddColumn(#"15 Min Band Added", "30 Min Band", each Time.From(#datetime(1970,1,1,Time.Hour([Time]),0,0) + #duration(0, 0, (Number.RoundDown(Time.Minute([Time])/30) * 30) + 30, 0)), Time.Type),
#"45 Min Band Added" = Table.AddColumn(#"30 Min Band Added", "45 Min Band", each Time.From(#datetime(1970,1,1,Time.Hour([Time]),0,0) + #duration(0, 0, (Number.RoundDown(Time.Minute([Time])/45) * 45) + 45, 0)), Time.Type),
#"60 Min Band Added" = Table.AddColumn(#"45 Min Band Added", "60 Min Band", each Time.From(#datetime(1970,1,1,Time.Hour([Time]),0,0) + #duration(0, 0, (Number.RoundDown(Time.Minute([Time])/60) * 60) + 60, 0)), Time.Type),
#"Removed Other Columns" = Table.SelectColumns(#"60 Min Band Added",{"Time", "Hour", "Minute", "5 Min Band", "15 Min Band", "30 Min Band", "45 Min Band", "60 Min Band"})
in
#"Removed Other Columns"``````
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Automate Testing SSAS Tabular Models

In real world SSAS Tabular projects, you need to run many different testing scenarios to prove your customer that the data in Tabular model is correct. If you are running a Tabular Model on top of a proper data warehouse then your life would be a bit easier than when you build your semantic model on top of an operational database. However it would be still a fairly time-consuming process to run many test cases on Tabular Model, then run similar tests on the data warehouse and compare the results. So your test cases always have two sides, one side is your source database that can be a data warehouse and the other side is the Tabular Model. There are many ways to test the system, you can browse your Tabular Model in Excel, connecting to your Data Warehouse in Excel and create pivot tables then compare the data coming from Tabular Model and the data coming from the Data Warehouse. But, for how many measures and dimensions you can do the above test in Excel?

The other way is to run DAX queries on Tabular Model side. If your source database is a SQL Server database, then you need to run T-SQL queries on the database side then match the results of both sides to prove the data in Tabular Model is correct.

In this post I’d like to share with you a way to automate the DAX queries to be run on a Tabular model.

Straight away, this is going to be a long post, so you can make or take a cup of coffee while enjoying your reading.

While I will not cover the other side, the source or the data warehouse side, it is worth to automate that part too as you can save heaps of times. I’m sure a similar process can be developed in SQL Server side, but, I leave that part for now. What I’m going to explain in this post is just one of many possible ways to generate and run DAX queries and store the results in SQL Server. Perhaps it is not perfect, but, it is a good starting point. If you have a better idea it would be great to share it with us in the comments section below this post.

Requirements

• SQL Server Analysis Services Tabular 2016 and later (Compatibility Level 1200 and higher)
• An instance of SQL Server
• SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS)

How does it work

What I’m going to explain is very simple. I want to generate and run DAX queries and capture the results. The first step is to get all measures and their relevant dimensions, then I slice all the measures by all relevant dimensions and get the results. At the end I capture and store the results in a SQL Server temp table. Let’s think about a simple scenario:

• you have just one measure, [Internet Sales], from ‘Internet Sales’ table
• The measure is related to just one dimension, “Date” dimension
• The “Date” dimension has only four columns, Year, Month, Year-Month and Date
• you want to slice [Internet Sales] by Year, Month, Year-Month and Date

So you need to write four DAX queries as below:

```EVALUATE
SUMMARIZE(
'Internet Sales'
, Date'[Calendar Year]
, "Internet Sales", [Internet Total Sales]
)```
```EVALUATE
SUMMARIZE(
'Internet Sales'
, 'Date'[Month Name]
, "Internet Sales", [Internet Total Sales]
)```
```EVALUATE
SUMMARIZE(
'Internet Sales'
, 'Date'[Year-Month]
, "Internet Sales", [Internet Total Sales]
)```
```EVALUATE
SUMMARIZE(
'Internet Sales'
, 'Date'[Date]
, "Internet Sales", [Internet Total Sales]
)```

It is easy isn’t it? But, wait. What if you have 10 measures related to 4 dimension and each dimension has 10 columns? That sounds laborious doesn’t it? Well, in real world scenarios you won’t slice all measures by all relevant dimensions, but, you still need to do a lot. What we are going to do is to generate and run the DAX queries and store the results in a table in SQL Server. How cool is that?

OK, this is how it works…

• Creating a Linked Server for SSAS Tabular instance from SQL Server
• Generating DAX queries using Tabular DMVs
• Running the queries through Tabular model and getting/storing the results in a SQL Server temp table

Creating a Simple Date Dimension Using Recursive Common Table Expressions (CTE)

In this post I’ll explain how to create a simple date dimension to use it in your data warehouses and your BI solutions. So, this article is for you if you need a fast and easy way to make a simple date dimension that supports the most commonly used date elements like

·         Integer date key

·         Different date formats

·         Quarter

·         Month names

·         Week numbers

·         Day of the week

·         Day of the year

·         Is day end of month

·         Not available (N/A) row

Due to the fact that there are lots of fellows that are still using SQL Server 2008 and earlier, I put the codes that support SQL Server 2008  as well as SQL Server 2012. But, I’ve commented the 2008 lines.