In traditional Microsoft style, the SQL Server and Power BI teams just released a few totally amazing downloads for the holidays including the highly anticipated SQL Server 2016 CTP 3.2 and the latest Power BI Desktop. Since many of you are scrambling to get your last bit of work done before holiday break, I’ll keep this article brief with download links to easily find your fabulous holiday gifts.

SQL Server 2016 CTP 3.2

SQL Server 2016 CTP 3.2 is a milestone release for Microsoft BI on premises customers. In this preview, Reporting Services now has a gorgeous branding makeover and includes Datazen mobile reports integration. There is much more to explore within this lovely gift than I am highlighting here. Check out the official SQL Server BI product team blog, SlideShare overview presentation, download it and have a lot of fun over the next few weeks. I know you can’t resist tearing the wrapping off this one!

SSRS 2016

Power BI Desktop December Update

Last night the Power BI teams delighted the Microsoft BI world again with the latest and greatest version of Power BI Desktop. This month another massive set of new features was delivered. For those of you trying to keep up, I just posted my What’s New in Power BI webinar slide deck that summarizes updates across all areas since November. You can also sign up to watch the recording.

What is New in Power BI

By far, my favorite feature in this month’s release is the R visualization integration. It opens up a whole world of sophisticated R visualizations with libraries like ggplot. Last month R Scripts were added as a data source. You can also use R visualizations in SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services reports and optionally pin them to Power BI dashboards.

I am immensely grateful for the work that Timo Klimmer,  Smita Parasa and the rest of the Reporting Services team has done this past year. Smita has several wonderful articles on the Reporting Services with R topic posted on her LinkedIN profile that I highly recommend reading.

This year my R dreams for Microsoft BI have finally come true! Someone actually listened to me and my passionate pleas to make this happen.

R Visuals

For fun with R during the holidays, check out this Christmas tree with random gifts script.

R in Power BI Desktop


Plus we keep on getting more excellent custom data visualizations posted to the Power BI visuals gallery each week. Ahhhh.. Life is good for data visualization enthusiasts.


Happy Holidays!