Optimizing DAX Video Course

This video course teaches you how to optimize queries and measures in DAX.

DAX is the native language of Power Pivot for Excel, Power BI Desktop and SSAS Tabular models in Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services. This video course is aimed at users of Power BI and Analysis Services developers who already know the DAX language and want to learn how to optimize DAX formulas and models for improving performance.

The goal of the video course is to enable you to find bottlenecks in DAX calculations using Performance Analyzer and DAX Studio, providing the knowledge to improve the performance by using different DAX formulas or by changing the data model, when required. The video course is made up of over 35 hours of lectures covering the formula engine, the VertiPaq storage engine, and DirectQuery over SQL – other hours of lectures will be added by early 2024 with the additional section for composite models. You can watch the videos at any time, and the system will keep track of your progress.

The companion content available to the students includes:

  • The PDF version of Optimizing DAX The book includes a detailed description of all the modules of the video course. You have access to draft versions before the book is published by the end of 2023.
  • PBIX files for all the demos
  • DAX code for all the demos
  • Backup of SQL Server databases to refresh the PBIX files
  • BIM file to create Analysis Services databases used for demos with large models

Students have access to a private discussion area where they can interact with the instructors, asking questions related to the lectures and the exercises.

Prerequisites: Students need a good knowledge of the DAX Language, and a previous experience using Power BI Desktop or Analysis Services Tabular. You may acquire this knowledge by following the Mastering DAX Workshop, or by having equivalent real-world experience.

Collapse allCurriculum

  • Introduction

    • Introduction
      FREE
    • Prerequisites
      FREE
    • Sections and naming conventions
  • Download software, demos, and book

    • Software prerequisites
      FREE
    • Hardware prerequisites
      FREE
    • Download the demo files
    • Optimizing DAX book
  • Introducing optimization with examples

    • Introducing optimization with examples
      FREE
    • Introduction
      FREE
    • Optimizing DAX
      FREE
    • Optimizing the model
    • Conclusions
    • Links to external content
  • Introducing the Tabular query architecture

    • Introducing the Tabular query architecture
      FREE
    • Introduction
    • Introducing the formula engine
    • Introducing VertiPaq and DirectQuery architectures
    • Introducing the VertiPaq storage engine
    • Introducing the DirectQuery over SQL storage engine
    • Introducing DirectQuery over AS
    • Introducing data islands and cross-island query resolution
    • Different types of models
  • Using the Power BI Desktop performance analyzer

    • Using the Power BI Desktop performance analyzer
      FREE
    • Introduction
    • Running Performance Analyzer
    • Understanding the numbers reported by Performance Analyzer
    • Optimizing queries or measures?
    • What can be optimized
    • Saving performance data
    • Conclusions
    • Links to external content
  • Using DAX Studio

    • Using DAX Studio
      FREE
    • Introduction
    • Installing DAX Studio
    • Introducing the metrics of a database
    • Introducing All Queries
    • Capturing Excel queries (MDX)
    • Introducing Load Performance Data
    • Introducing Query Plan and Server Timings
    • Links to external content
  • Introducing query plans

    • Introducing query plans
      FREE
    • Introduction
    • Introducing the logical query plan
    • Introducing the physical query plan
      FREE
    • Introducing storage engine queries
    • Query plans in DirectQuery
    • Conclusions
  • Understanding the DAX Formula Engine

    • Understanding the DAX Formula Engine
      FREE
    • Introduction
    • Understanding datacaches
    • Understanding materialization
    • Understanding callbacks
      FREE
    • Formula engine with different storage engines
    • Understanding vertical fusion
    • Understanding horizontal fusion
    • Examples of formula engine calculations

      • Sales of best products
      • Top three colors
    • Measuring performance
    • Gathering important timings from the query plan
    • Analyzing query plans and timings
    • Conclusions
  • Understanding query plans

    • Understanding query plans
      FREE
    • Introduction
    • Query plan structure
    • Query plan operator types
    • Interactions between the formula engine and the storage engine
    • Common query plan operators
    • Examples of query plans

      • Comparing SUM versus SUMX
      • IF versus IF.EAGER
      • Filtering with DAX versus using relationships
      • Understanding SWITCH optimization
    • Conclusions
  • Optimizing the formula engine

    • Optimizing the formula engine
      FREE
    • Introduction
    • Optimizing datacache use
    • Sales of best products
    • Running total of sales and ABC analysis
    • Year-over-year customer growth as a percentage
    • Conclusions
  • Understanding the VertiPaq engine

    • Understanding the VertiPaq engine
      FREE
    • Introduction
    • Using VertiPaq Analyzer
    • Tabular data types
    • Introduction to the VertiPaq columnar database
    • Understanding VertiPaq compression
      FREE
    • Understanding segmentation and partitioning
    • Understanding the importance of sorting
    • Understanding VertiPaq relationships
    • Understanding attribute hierarchies
    • Optimizing VertiPaq model examples

      • Sales amount versus quantity and net price
      • Storing currency conversion data
      • Date time versus date and time
    • Conclusions
  • Understanding VertiPaq relationships

    • Understanding VertiPaq relationships
      FREE
    • Introduction
    • Regular, unidirectional one-to-many relationships
    • Regular, bidirectional one-to-many relationships
    • Regular, one-to-one relationships
    • Limited, many-to-many cardinality relationships
    • Conclusions
  • Analyzing VertiPaq storage engine queries

    • Analyzing VertiPaq storage engine queries
      FREE
    • Introduction
    • Analyzing simple xmSQL queries
    • Introducing basic VertiPaq functionalities
    • Introducing batches
    • Understanding internal and external SE queries
    • Understanding distinct count in xmSQL
    • Understanding VertiPaq joins and filters

      • Introducing VertiPaq joins
        FREE
      • Introducing bitmap indexes
      • Introducing reverse joins
    • Understanding VertiCalc and callbacks

      • Understanding VertiCalc and callbacks
      • Understanding CallbackDataID
      • Understanding EncodeCallback
      • Understanding LogAbsValueCallback
      • Understanding RoundValueCallback
        FREE
      • Understanding MinMaxColumnPositionCallback
      • Understanding Cond
    • Understanding the VertiPaq cache
    • Choosing the correct data type for VertiPaq calculations
    • Conclusions
  • Optimizing common DAX constructs

    • Optimizing common DAX constructs
      FREE
    • Introduction
    • Optimizing nested iterations
    • Understanding the effect of context transition
    • Different ways of performing a distinct count
    • Optimizing LASTDATE calculations
    • Avoid using SUMMARIZE and clustering
    • Optimizing division by checking for zeroes
    • Reducing the extent of the search by removing blanks
    • Optimizing time intelligence calculations
    • Distinct count over large cardinality columns
    • Conclusions
    • Links to external content
  • Moving and applying filters to tables

    • Moving and applying filters to tables
      FREE
    • Introduction
    • Different filters in CALCULATE

      • Different filters in CALCULATE
      • Analyzing single-column filters
      • Analyzing multiple-column filters
      • Analyzing filters over multiple tables
    • Understanding sparse or dense filters
    • Filter columns, not tables
    • Modeling many-to-many relationships

      • Modeling many-to-many relationships
      • Testing the bidirectional model
      • Testing the star model
      • Testing the snake model
      • Testing the advanced snake model
    • Conclusions
  • Optimization examples for VertiPaq

    • Optimization examples for VertiPaq
      FREE
    • Introduction
    • Reducing nested iterations
    • Optimizing complex filters in CALCULATE
    • Running faster than Fusion
    • Currency conversion
    • Optimizing cumulative totals
    • Average price variation of products over stores
    • Optimizing number of days with no sales
    • Computing open orders
    • Optimizing SWITCH and nested measures
    • Conclusions
  • Understanding security optimizations

    • Understanding security optimizations
      FREE
    • Introduction
    • Testing security conditions and their performance impact
    • Understanding when and where security is enforced
    • Understanding cached bitmap indexes and embedded filters
    • Optimizing dynamic security
    • Optimizing static security on the fact table
    • Optimizing dynamic security on the fact table
    • Conclusions
  • Understanding DirectQuery over SQL

    • Understanding DirectQuery over SQL
      FREE
    • Introduction
    • Reading SQL code in this course
    • Reading the numbers in DAX Studio
    • Callback operations
    • Calculated tables
    • Calculated columns
    • How caching works in DirectQuery over SQL
    • Understanding latency to send queries to the remote server
    • Max number of rows in a data cache
    • Different types of relationships

      • Regular one-to-many relationships
      • Limited many-to-many relationships
      • One-to-one relationships
    • DirectQuery over SQL max parallel queries
    • Using different data islands
    • Introducing aggregations and hybrid tables
    • Conclusions
  • Optimizing DirectQuery over SQL

    • Optimizing DirectQuery over SQL
      FREE
    • Introduction
    • Building an SQL data model for Analysis Services

      • Introduction
      • Designing indexes
      • Using columnstore indexes
      • Choosing column data types
      • Do not use Power Query transformations
    • Optimizing relationships

      • Choosing the best data type for relationships
      • Relying on referential integrity
      • Using COMBINEVALUES to implement multi-column relationships
    • Using aggregations

      • Introducing aggregations
      • Introducing VertiPaq aggregation and Dual storage mode
      • Designing aggregations for simple calculations
      • Designing aggregations for row-level calculations
      • Designing aggregations for distinct count
      • Aggregations are not VertiPaq aliases of DirectQuery tables
      • Manually activating aggregations in DAX
      • Using automatic aggregations
    • Using hybrid tables

      • Introducing hybrid tables
      • Hybrid tables and distinct count
      • Creating hybrid tables with incremental refresh
    • Conclusions
  • Optimization examples for DirectQuery

    • Optimization examples for DirectQuery
      FREE
    • Introduction
    • Optimizing LASTDATE calculations
    • Optimizing division by checking for zeroes
    • Optimizing time intelligence calculations
    • Computing distinct counts
    • Conclusions
  • Understanding composite models
    Added Apr 15, 2024

    • Understanding composite models
      FREE
    • Introduction
    • Introducing composite models
    • Understanding wholesale and retail calculations
    • Calculated tables
    • Calculated columns
    • Tracing remote queries
    • Understanding relationships between tables
    • Understanding special DAX functions for composite models
    • Splitting calculations between wholesale and retail
    • Conclusions
  • Composite models optimization examples
    Added Apr 15, 2024

    • Composite models optimization examples
      FREE
    • Introduction
    • Static segmentation
    • Budget and time intelligence calculations
    • Dynamic ABC analysis
    • Conclusions
  • Understanding complex models
    Added Apr 15, 2024

    • Understanding complex models
      FREE
    • Introduction
    • Understanding the role of the formula engine in complex models
    • Calculated tables
    • Calculated columns
    • Relationships in complex models
    • Using SQL Server features to avoid multiple data islands
    • Using VertiPaq to snapshot expensive DirectQuery queries
    • Conclusions
  • Conclusion

    • Conclusion
      Added Apr 15, 2024
Student Rating
4.8
21 ratings
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Student Reviews (14)
  • Micheal Reynolds (May 8, 2024)

    Wow! Lots of great information in this video series. I am looking forward to reading the book.

  • Giuliano Pomini (Feb 15, 2024)

    As usual with SQLBI, amazing content!!

  • Kaur Köök (Jan 30, 2024)

    Very good course. Some technical observations. The pre-written questions made the lectures smoother. It also made the lectures smoother when you could start copying server timings from DAX studio. I'm waiting for the composite model part to come out.

  • Odermatt Guido (Dec 18, 2023)

    Thank you Alberto and Marco for all the information given. It is very impressive to gain this knowledge. Thank you. Guido

  • João Campelo Ribeiro (Sep 15, 2023)

    Very nice course filled with knowledge you will hardly find elsewere. You see, a relatively new PowerBI Developer can make beautiful dashboards, but only a small percentage masters Dax and it's optimizations. This course is very dense/very technical in terms of content but I would say it is absolutely essential for developers with lots of users. At a corporate level you will have users with bad internet connections (even more with the advent of remote), and you will probably (as myself) have to present Dashboards on Teams Meetings - which quite often - slow the performance of the share. This to say that even if you write perfect code/ and have a perfect model (which dont exist) there are other factors that will degrade your dashboards performance, so it is absolutely essential you know optimizations - otherwise you will have users complaining and eventually the quality of your work will be questioned lol. Even though I am not finding the course "enjoyable" it's a must. Like eating vegetables, I would rather have a pizza but legumes are essential..

  • Toby Gill (Sep 5, 2023)

    This is an excellent course. I have already used the learnings to optimise several of my reports! I love that the course encourages an empirical approach, where you test different designs with different data distributions. The course avoids the dogmatic one-size-fits-all advice you sometimes get in code reviews, where it is assumed there is only one right way to do things.

  • Coro Lamoré (Aug 27, 2023)

    I am a hobby user of DAX and power BI and very interested in this matter. I followed this and other courses at sqlBI, because I was curious how it worked behind the screen with Vertipaq, I started taking this course. A world has opened up and I found it clearly explained. The thing I found annoying is that sometimes columns in the model had to be made visible and I could only do this by installing SQL server and then creating my own Power BI document via power query (smaller (10M) because my laptop didn't have enough memory). Maybe in the future make all columns immediately visible in Power BI and then also in the smaller files. Although I have studied DAX as a hobby, this will also apply to my work. Not in the financial world, but in delivered products (assignments) vs Year Target. Keep following you on YouTube. Greetings Coro Lamoré in the Netherlands

  • Igor Poleshchuk (Aug 15, 2023)

    Enjoyed a lot this course! A lot of useful and practical information. Great work guys!

  • David Williams (Jul 28, 2023)

    This course tied the theory and implementation together for me. After 4 years of study and implementation, I finally assess that I'm a minimally competent Power Bi developer. I look forward to using this new knowledge updating my existing projects over the next few months. This course is the most valuable course so far. I highly recommend it after you have completed the other courses.

  • Aadil Sharma (Jul 25, 2023)

    Needs to improvise the material

  • Ajay Rathor (Jul 3, 2023)

    It is a good course for dax optimization, it taught me lot of internal things about dax how the dax query work and what is the structure of dax queries formulation. thanks to preparing great course.

  • Nicolas Rojas (Jun 7, 2023)

    Buen curso, creo que se entiende muy bien como optimizar los modelos y a utilizar dax studio como herramienta, lo recomiendo para todos los que trabajen con power bi no se van a arrepentir de tomarlo. lo que si, es necesario saber muy bien las funciones de dax antes de tomarlo.

  • KANG YOUGEN (May 20, 2023)

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  • Kenneth Barber (May 19, 2023)

    This review is for the 2nd edition of this course before the content about DirectQuery and composite models was released. Anybody that works regularly with DAX should take this course. It succeeds in "teaching a man to fish" and gets you comfortable with looking at xmSQL code and query plans. There is great emphasis on analytical thinking, methodology, adaptability, and trial and error, and this approach prepares you for any Data Model in any version of Tabular, whether now or in the future. Because of this, you will leave the course feeling empowered rather than feeling powerful. Lastly, the delivery of this course's content is overall the best so far out of SQLBI's courses. I look forward to the rest of this course and any future courses by SQLBI!

Would you prefer a classroom course?

This video course is based on a classroom course we teach all around the world. If you prefer a classroom learning experience, take a look at the dates below for a list of our upcoming classroom courses!
Sorry, there are no classroom courses scheduled at this time.