Visualize data using the Azure Data Explorer connector for Power BI
Azure Data Explorer is a fast and highly scalable data exploration service for log and telemetry data. Power BI is a business analytics solution that lets you visualize your data and share the results across your organization. Azure Data Explorer provides three options for connecting to data in Power BI: use the built-in connector, import a query from Azure Data Explorer, or use a SQL query. This article shows you how to use the built-in connector to get data and visualize it in a Power BI report. Using the Azure Data Explorer native connector for creating Power BI dashboards is straightforward. The Power BI connector supports Import and Direct Query connectivity modes. You can build dashboards using Import or DirectQuery mode depending on the scenario, scale, and performance requirements.
You need the following to complete this article:
- If you don't have an Azure subscription, create a free Azure account before you begin.
- An organizational email account that is a member of Azure Active directory, so you can connect to the Azure Data Explorer help cluster.
- Power BI Desktop (select DOWNLOAD FREE)
Get data from Azure Data Explorer
First, you connect to the Azure Data Explorer help cluster, then you bring in a subset of the data from the StormEvents table. The StormEvents sample data set contains weather-related data from the National Centers for Environmental Information.
In Power BI Desktop, on the Home tab, select Get Data then More.
Search for Azure Data Explorer, select Azure Data Explorer then Connect.
On the Azure Data Explorer (Kusto) screen, fill out the form with the following information.
Setting Value Field description Cluster https://help.kusto.windows.net The URL for the help cluster. For other clusters, the URL is in the form https://<ClusterName>.<Region>.kusto.windows.net. Database Leave blank A database that is hosted on the cluster you're connecting to. We'll select this in a later step. Table name Leave blank One of the tables in the database, or a query like
StormEvents | take 1000. We'll select this in a later step.
Advanced options Leave blank Options for your queries, such as result set size. Data connectivity mode DirectQuery Determines whether Power BI imports the data or connects directly to the data source. You can use either option with this connector.
In Import mode, data is moved to Power BI. In DirectQuery mode, data is queried directly from your Azure Data Explorer cluster.
Use Import mode when:
- Your data set is small.
- You don't need near real-time data.
- Your data is already aggregated or you perform aggregation in Kusto
Use DirectQuery mode when:
- Your data set is very large.
- You need near real-time data.
If you don't already have a connection to the help cluster, sign in. Sign in with an organizational account, then select Connect.
On the Navigator screen, expand the Samples database, select StormEvents then Edit.
The table opens in Power Query Editor, where you can edit rows and columns before importing the data.
In the Power Query Editor, select the arrow next to the DamageCrops column then Sort descending.
On the Home tab, select Keep Rows then Keep Top Rows. Enter a value of 1000 to bring in the top 1000 rows of the sorted table.
On the Home tab, select Close & Apply.
Visualize data in a report
Now that you have data in Power BI Desktop, you can create reports based on that data. You'll create a simple report with a column chart that shows crop damage by state.
On the left side of the main Power BI window, select the report view.
In the VISUALIZATIONS pane, select the clustered column chart.
A blank chart is added to the canvas.
In the FIELDS list, select DamageCrops and State.
You now have a chart that shows the damage to crops for the top 1000 rows in the table.
Save the report.
Clean up resources
If you no longer need the report you created for this article, delete the Power BI Desktop (.pbix) file.