Random Procrastination

Darren Gosbell [MVP]

Power BI Report Server – an unexpected error occurred (Nov 2021)

Earlier this week we started getting reports of the following error on our production Power BI Report Server (PBIRS) instance for any reports that were using a live connection back to one of our Analysis Services models.

All it basically said was “an unexpected error occurred. Please try again later”. And if you looked at the details it showed the message above saying that “We could not connect to the Analysis Services server”.

Some other fun facts about this issue are:

  • It was not affecting all users (at least in our environment)
  • There had been no recent updates or configuration changes on PBIRS, SQL or SSAS
  • The same issue appeared to be affecting our test environment but not our development environment.
  • It was happening for both pbix and paginated reports
  • It was affecting reports that sourced data from SQL Server as well as SSAS
  • When running a profiler trace against SSAS listening for the session events I could see some sessions with usernames and others where the user was listed as “ANONYMOUS USER”

Putting all of the above evidence together point to some sort of Kerberos issue. In our environment our SQL and SSAS instances are on different servers to our PBIRS instance we had to configure Kerberos with constrained delegation to allow for the user credentials to flow from client > to PBIRS > to SSAS.

Kerberos can be a little fiddly to setup initially, but once it’s configured I’ve never had an issue with it until the one this week. When we initially configured Kerberos I had distilled the generic instructions from the Microsoft documentation down into a series of specific steps for our production environment listing the specific setspn commands that needed to be run and how the constrained delegation settings needed to be configured and saved these in a document. This made it very easy to cross check that all these configurations were still correct.

At this point we knew that the Kerberos configuration appeared to be unchanged, but we still had an issue where it worked for some users and not for others.

So the next thing I started doing was to get some of our users to run the klist command from a command prompt. This command lists all the Kerberos tickets that are cached on the current machine. This lead us to find a pattern where everyone that was getting the error were getting their kerberos tickets from a specific list of domain controllers while people that did not have the issue were getting theirs from a different list of domain controllers. Our IT admins then noticed that all the failing servers were in a group which had had security patches applied earlier that day.

The specific patch that had been applied was KB5007206 and after raising a support ticket with Microsoft they were able to point us to the following hotfix (KB5008602) for this update which fixed an issue when you were using Kerberos authentication with constrained delegation and protocol transition (which is exactly how Kerberos needs to be configured when using PBIRS or SSRS or SSRS in Sharepoint integrated mode for people with on-prem Sharepoint environments).

Hopefully this post will help anyone else that runs into this issue.

DAX Studio 2.17.2 released

DAX Studio 2.17.2 has just been released and the following is a run down of the new features and fixes that you will find in this release.

Apologies to anyone who attempted to download the 2.17.0 release – there was an update to the code signing tool and it failed to correctly sign the installer. The automated build has now been fixed so that it correctly signs the installer again.

New Features

Added Parameter support to Query Builder filters

The Query Builder now supports parameters. Typing an @ as the first character in a query builder filter value will switch the value into parameter mode and the following text will be treated as the parameter name. (typing @ a second time or clicking on the purple @ button will toggle the parameter back to the standard value mode)

When you run the query builder where a filter has a parameter you will be prompted for the parameter value just as if you had typed out a query that included a parameter reference. This allows you to build a query with parameters that can be pasted into a paginated report or any other tool that supports DAX parameters.

Running Query Builder with a filter parameter

Removing <pii> tags from xmSQL in Server Timings to improve readability

Power BI and AzureAS have added <pii> tags around some of the text in the query events that DAX Studio captures as part of the Server Timings. These tags allow Microsoft to strip out information that could potentially be personally identifiable when writing them to centralized logs. But because DAX Studio does not send any of this information off your machine and because this information also includes important contextual information for troubleshooting and performance tuning we are just removing these tags to reduce the noise and improve readability.

Fixing accuracy of Server Timings for queries with Batch events

Prior to this update Storage Engine batch events timings were not being added to the SE duration figures. For a lot of models this difference is insignificant, but for large queries against large models this can result in an incorrect inflation of the FE duration. Keep an eye on the posts from Marco and Alberto at sqlbi.com as they are working on an in-depth video to explain this improvement to the Server Timings.

Query Builder queries are now captured in the query history

Prior to this update the Query History pane was only capturing the text of queries that had been typed into the query editor. Now the Query History pane captures any query that was executed regardless if it was from the edit window or from the Query Builder.

There is now an icon next to each query history row indicating where it was captured from and if you double click on a query that was originally run in the Query Builder it will be restored back into the Query Builder window

The /f parameter can now open vpax files

Now when you run DAX Studio from the command prompt the /f parameter will open either .dax or .vpax files.

Added extra information to the error message when the XMLA endpoint is not correctly enabled

If the Power BI XMLA endpoint is not properly enabled the Microsoft ADOMD provider returns a very generic error message making it hard to know what has gone wrong. DAX Studio now adds some extra text after the Microsoft error if you are attempting to connect to an XMLA endpoint and hit this generic WebException error to suggest you check the XMLA endpoint settings in your tenant.

Improved caching of measure expressions

Prior to this update features that required access to the text of the multiple measure expression such as the “Define All Measures” feature would request the expression text one at a time, now all of the measure expressions are retrieved in a single request.

Fixes

  • Fixed #703 preventing a crash when entering a proxy password
  • Fixed #715 added DOUBLE data type to intellisense and syntax highlighting
  • Fixed #740 export to Excel failed on some machines
  • Fixed #755 saving parameters to XML was not correctly encoding special characters
  • Fixed #750 would crash on startup if the WMI information on the machine was corrupt
  • Fixed download link in Help – About screen

DAX Studio v2.16.2 Released

DAX Studio v2.16.2 has just been released and is available at daxstudio.org. It includes the following fixes and improvements. The first one being particularly important:

Traces fail to start with a timeout error

Fixed issue #664 – A small refactoring of the trace engine for some future work has accidentally resulted in the engine not being able to detect if a trace has been started or not, resulting in timeout errors. This appears to affect most scenarios apart from one or two edge cases. Unfortunately it was one of those edge cases that was used when testing that the previous code change had not broken anything. The 2.16.2 code base has been tested against all the different engine types PowerPivot, Power BI Desktop, Power BI Desktop as an External Tool, a local SSAS Instance, a remote SSAS Instance, Power BI Premium XMLA Endpoints and Azure Analysis Services

Showing View Metrics Last Refreshed and Analysis Date in the local timezone

Fixed issue #663 – Previously the Last Data Refresh and Date of Analysis were both displayed in UTC in the Summary tab of the View Metrics pane. Internally the dates are still stored in the vpax file in UTC so that that if you send the vpax file to someone in a different timezone the times will n

When saving a file with the Query Builder open custom measure names were not saved

Fixed issue #659 – if you save a file with the query builder open which has custom measures that were created within the query builder then the name of those custom measures was not saving properly prior to this fix.

Debug commas not handling lines with indented comments correctly

Fixed issue #663 – the new debug commas preview feature was not correctly positioning the commas if one of the lines of the query had an indented comment. This issue and a few other ones around different comment placements have been fixed.

View Metrics – Last Refreshed date was incorrectly adjusting from UTC time

Fixed issue #670 – The Last Refreshed Datetime in the View Metrics summary page was incorrectly getting the timezone offset applied twice when calculating the UTC time. This resulted in the time being moved too far forward if your local timezone is behind UTC or too far back if your local timezone is ahead of UTC.

DAX Studio v2.16.1 Released

This update to DAX Studio includes all the new features introduced in 2.16.0 but includes the following bug fixes:

  • #657 Unable to open a new query tab either with a new connection or with a copied connection
  • #658 passing the database name on the command line
  • #647 hidden objects not hidden correctly when show hidden objects option was turned off (this was partially fixed in 2.16.0 but should work in all scenarios now)

Learning to write queries in DAX – Demo Script from DataANZ 2021

If you were in my recent session at the DataANZ 2021 conference I mentioned that I would make a copy of the queries I created during that session so here they are!

In my demos I used the Adventure Works 2020 pbix file from here https://aka.ms/dax-docs-samples

And I added the following simple measure to the Sales table:

Total Sales = SUM( Sales[Sales Amount])

You can download the script of the demo queries from my OneDrive

DAX Studio 2.16 Release

The latest release of DAX Studio is now available with the following new features and fixes.

New Features

Added Sponsor page to daxstudio.org

We are now able to accept sponsorship via Github Sponsors. If you would like to make a financial donation to support the continued development of DAX Studio you can now sponsor the project at https://github.com/sponsors/DaxStudio

Added preview Data for tables and columns

A new right-click menu has been added to tables and columns which will display a preview of the first 500 rows of data.

Extended Parameter Support to data types other than text

Previously parameters were always passed through as text based parameters. As of v2.16 you can now specify the data type for your parameters. This support is available both in the parameter dialog and in the XMLA parameter blocks.

When you specify @parameters in your DAX queries they will still default to the string data type, but there is a new dropdown which allows you to change this to one of the other supported datatypes (this list matches the parameter data types supported by Report Builder and Power BI Report Builder)

And if you choose the Write Parameter XML button or if you capture the query parameters using the All Queries trace those data types will also be reflected in the XML parameter block.

Added new version notification in title bar

When a new update is available there will be an update flag in the top right of the application and clicking on that flag will take you straight to the download page for that version.

Updated xmSQL cleanup to also fix table names

In the previous release of the xmSQL update feature we were cleaning up column names to match the display names, in this release this functionality was extended to also clean up table names.

Supporting all of the /f /s /d command line parameters at the same time

DAX Studio has always had support for the following command line parameters

/f <filename> – to open a .dax file
/s <server> /d <database> – to connect to a server and database

But prior to this release you could only use /f on it’s own. As of this release you can use all 3 of these parameters together.

Query Builder Enhancements

The Query Builder has a number of new features in this release which are outlined below.

Query Builder Updates
  1. There is a new Clear button at the top of the Query Builder which gives you a convenient single click to clear everything from the Query Builder.
  2. Now when you drag a column which has a Sort-by column the sort by column is added to the output list (this is required to support the next item)
  3. There is a new Order By pane, this is collapsed and all columns are sorted in ascending order by default.
  4. But you can expand this section and click on the columns there to switch them between sorting Ascending, Descending or ignored.
  5. There is a new Auto-Generate button. When you click on this button the query generated by the query builder will appear in the edit window and will be updated in real time as you make changes to the Query Builder
  6. Clicking the Edit Query button will now update any previously generated query rather than adding a new version underneath.

Extending installer support for Windows ARM64

The installer used to do a platform check for x86 or x64, this has been extended to allow installing on ARM64 since that platform now has an x64 emulation layer.

Other Enhancements

  • #620 Adding Ctrl+W to select current word
  • #584 Extending Hover tooltip to work with Keywords
  • Custom Key-Bindings moved out of preview
  • #636 Show PBIX filename instead of database ID in the database dropdown when connected to Power BI Desktop
  • #638 Adding encoding option when exporting to CSV
  • updating ADOMD / AMO references to 19.22

Preview Features

Debug Commas

This command moves commas in formatted queries to the start of the line. This re-formats the selected text so that you can more easily comment out sections of code while debugging.

Note: this preview feature replaces the swap delimiters button in the ribbon.

Show XMLA Commands in All Queries trace

This option is useful for viewing commands sent by other tools like SSDT and Tabular Editor.

Fixes

  • #578 Analyze in Excel not working with PBI XMLA or AzureAS
  • #579 Server Timings Layout Tab not appearing
  • Improved error message when no query text is specified
  • #581 All Queries Trace against PowerPivot caused crash
  • Fixed a crash when attempting to add a display folder to the Query Builder
  • Fixed a crash when attempting to use the query builder against a model with an invalid calculation script
  • #592 datatypes not syntax highlighted and not in code completion
  • #613 DMV and Function drag/drop not working
  • #647 Hiding hidden objects was not working correctly with items in display folders
  • #643 fixing issue with code completion window “sticking”

Fixing incorrect date formats in Power BI Report Server when using Chrome or Firefox

Reposted from 1 Mar 2019 from my old blog since geekswithblogs.net is down again at the moment: http://geekswithblogs.net/darrengosbell/archive/2019/03/01/fixing-incorrect-date-formats-in-power-bi-report-server-when.aspx

We are using Power BI Report server to publish Power BI Reports internally. And being in Australia we use a “sensible” date format of dd/mm/yyyy Smile 

However at a recent showcase with some of our end users they commented that our date format was “backwards” ie. mm/dd/yyyy

If you are using US regional settings on your PC you probably have not come across this issue, but for other regions this can be a problem.

Upon getting back to my desk I checked the report in Power BI Desktop and the date format was correctly picking up my local regional settings. I then opened the report in IE (which is what most of our End Users have as a default browser) and the report was still using the Australian format (dd/mm/yyyy):

DateSlicer-IE

However when opening the same report in Chrome or Firefox the date was using US regional settings (mm/dd/yyyy):

DateSlicer-Chrome

After doing some google/binging I found that both Chrome and Firefox have their own internal regional settings dialog and they both default to using US settings.

If you go into the Settings menu in Chrome and search for “Language” you will find the following, and it’s not just the default display language that matters the order is also important. Moving “English (Australia)” to the top of the list, then deleting cached images and files fixed this issue.

RegionalSettings-Firefox

Clicking on the 3 dots to the right of the language gives you an option to move that language to the top.

Firefox has a very similar language dialog and the same fix works for it too.

What this does behind the scenes is to change the “Accept-Language” headers that the browser sends to PBIRS to make your preferred language first in the list. This in turn alters the regional formatting setting javascript file that is sent down to the browser. Before this change I could see a file called angular-locale_en-us.js being used, after the change I now see angular-locale_en-au.js

DAX Studio 2.15 Released

This release includes a lot of small fixes, but hopefully I think I may have finally tracked down and fixed what was causing the code completion to randomly stop working.

You can get it from https://daxstudio.org

New Features

  • #559 Added a toolbar button and right-click menu to copy Server Timing metrics
  • #556 Added an option to play a sound after long running operations (this can be enabled in the Options menu)
  • Added “Duplicate Measure” right-click menu to Query Builder
  • Added Error events to All Queries trace, this can be helpful if you have another client tool that is generating invalid DAX or MDX
  • #568 Added right-click menu option in the editor to go to dax.guide for functions
  • #569 Added Function tooltip display when hovering the mouse over functions in the editor
  • Added setup cmdline parameter docs
  • Added SQLBI videos to docs
  • Added discussions link to website navigation
  • Updated Multiple Query Detection to work with 
    // Dax Query in addition to // SQL Query comments

Fixes

  • Adding extra checks around QueryEnd timeout in Server Timings
  • Close the Trace Layout ribbon tab when all documents are closed
  • Made ‘Add New’ disabled in the Query Builder if the current model has no tables
  • Fixed #458 added docs and tooltip to explain memory sizes
  • Fixed #517 updated clipboard bindings to allow for copying from the View Metrics tabs
  • Fixed #539 error starting traces when using Roles or EffectiveUserName
  • Fixed bug in retry for ViewMetrics when there is an error reading statistical information.
  • Added configuration to read statistical data for VertiPaq Analyzer. Disable reading statistical data for legacy versions of SSAS. Added retry logic and log of warning if there is an error reading statistical data.
  • Fixed #525 F1 and Context Menu to open dax.guide for functions
  • Fixed server timings trace for PowerPivot
  • Fixed drag drop issues with QueryBuilder
  • Fixed #514 Server Trace not working in Excel
  • Fixed #520 option to not truncate tables was not working when exporting to SQL Server
  • Fixed #511 Excessive metadata refreshes was causing metadata pane to collapse
  • Fixed #512 fixed Table tooltip warnings and added measure count
  • Fixed #546 corrected wording in error message
  • Fixed #549 correctly escape connection string values containing special characters
  • Fixed #557 delimiter error on Clear Cache when using non-US delimiter style
  • Fixed a bug with the Roles parameter in the advanced connection properties not accepting spaces
  • Fixed #563 metadata incorrectly resetting when using a combination of mouse selection and query builder hotkeys
  • Fixed #564 Application crashes when clicking on a ribbon tab while the ribbon is collapsed
  • Fixed crash when resetting key bindings
  • Fixed #575 autocomplete sometimes stops working
  • Disabled the Add Measure button when connected to a model with no tables
  • Fixed #576 Editing an existing Measure in Query Builder against PowerPivot causes a crash

Fixing “Attempted to read or write protected memory” Refresh Errors in Power BI Report Server

Warning: I am just sharing what worked for me in our environment in the hopes that it may help others who might hit this issue. But you should make sure to test changes like this yourself and that you have a good backups and a rollback strategy before changing your own production environments. Any changes you make to your servers are done so at your own risk.

After doing a fairly extensive round of testing we recently updated our production environment for our Power BI Report Servers to the Jan 2021 release. However unfortunately during the verification testing after the upgrade I found an issue on the production servers that had not occurred on any of our other environments.

The issue was that doing a scheduled refresh of a pbix file linked to an access file was failing with an error that “We’re sorry, an error occurred during evaluation.; Attempted to read or write protected memory” and searching for this error message only brought back hits from 2-3 years ago which were not very helpful.

The error reporting in the Report Server UI is often not very comprehensive, but even checking the RSPowerBI* logs in the Report Server log folder did not help all that much (I’ve included the relevant lines from an example of this error at the end of this post)

Initially I tried running a repair operation by re-running the Power BI Report Server installer, I could see that one of the things it checked was the Access 2016 Engine, but unfortunately even after doing a reboot the issue persisted.

Upon checking in “Add or Remove Programs” I found that the servers had both the Access 2010 and Access 2016 Engine runtimes installed. I thought this was a little odd since the 2016 version should supersede the 2010 version and these servers only run Power BI Report Server so it was not like there was other software that my have had specific requirements for the 2010 engine. So I did wonder if something had gone wrong with the registration of these 2 versions and somehow the server was expecting to run using the 2016 version, but was actually running using the 2010 version.

However upon checking our non-prod environments I found that they all had both versions installed. But by watching the installer I could see that the Jan 2021 release was definitely only installing the Access 2016 runtime. So as a test on one of our non-production environments I tried uninstalling both runtimes then only re-installing the Access 2016 Engine runtime (which I found by searching for “access 2016 engine download“).

I did not get prompted to reboot after doing the re-install of the Access 2016 engine so I simply did a stop and start of the Power BI Report Server using the Report Server Configuration Manager. After doing this refreshing one of my test reports using an Access file data source still worked. So since production was already in a broken state as far as Access refreshes were concerned I tried this same process on the production environment and this fixed our issue so we now have a fully operation install of the Jan 2021 release of Power BI Report Server.

For reference the full error message from the RSPowerBI log files is below:

2021-02-24 18:49:46.7357|ERROR|19|Error Processing Data Model Refresh: SessionId: b3c84c62-2cf0-4df0-b22c-fde90857c4b8, Status: Error Failed to refresh the model, Exception Microsoft.AnalysisServices.OperationException: Failed to save modifications to the server. Error returned: 'We're sorry, an error occurred during evaluation.;Attempted to read or write protected memory. This is often an indication that other memory is corrupt.
Attempted to read or write protected memory. This is often an indication that other memory is corrupt.
Attempted to read or write protected memory. This is often an indication that other memory is corrupt.
Attempted to read or write protected memory. This is often an indication that other memory is corrupt.
Attempted to read or write protected memory. This is often an indication that other memory is corrupt.. The exception was raised by the IDbCommand interface.
'.
at Microsoft.AnalysisServices.Tabular.Model.SaveChangesImpl(SaveOptions options)
at Microsoft.PowerBI.ReportServer.AsServer.TOMWrapper.RefreshModel(Database database)
at Microsoft.PowerBI.ReportServer.AsServer.AnalysisServicesServer.RefreshDatabase(String databaseName, IEnumerable1 dataSources, IEnumerable1 parameters, String clientSessionId)
at Microsoft.PowerBI.ReportServer.WebHost.EventHandler.AnalysisServicesDataRefresh.RefreshDatabase(AsDatabaseInfo asDatabaseInfo)
at Microsoft.PowerBI.ReportServer.WebHost.EventHandler.DataRefreshScope.<>c__DisplayClass34_0.b__0()
at Microsoft.PowerBI.ReportServer.WebHost.EventHandler.DataRefreshScope.d__33`1.MoveNext()

Power BI Report Server – fixing the “Server is not reachable” Error

If you’ve ever worked with Power BI Report server there is a handy button in the top menu that says “Edit in Power BI Desktop”.

And as you would expect this button will open the report you are currently viewing in Power BI Desktop where you can edit it. All in all a very handy button, particularly when you get sent a link to a report and get asked to help fix something or explain some data issue.

The Problem

However recently I started seeing the following error stating “Server is not reachable” any time I tried to use this button

Power BI, Power Platform, Data Platform: In Action: Technical Preview of Power  BI Reports in SSRS

This is a bit strange as I’ve used this button many times before. So I tried going another way and using to File > Open in the Report Server version of Power BI Desktop and tried to open the report from the Report Server that way.

However I was again met with the same “Sever is not reachable” error which is not very helpful as I was definitely able to reach that server and view reports on it.

Error_Message.png

When this first happened I just went back to the tile view in the Report Server portal and chose the download option from the “…” menu on the report, then I was able to open the local copy and sort out the issue I had been asked to look at.

But today it happened to me again and I decided to do some digging to see if I could get to the bottom of this.

An initial solution

Doing some searches turned up a number of people hitting similar issues.

There was this one where the person was trying to connect using the webservice url instead of the portal url. But I knew that was not the issue in my case.

Then I stumbled across this one which suggested adding your credentials to the Windows Credentials section of Credential Manager. This actually worked for me, but I was not overly happy with this approach as in a few month time when my password expires I’d have to remember to come in here again and update my password. The more likely scenario would be that I would forget to do this and a few weeks later I’d realise that the “Edit in Power BI Desktop” button had broken again.

However while I was in the Credential Manager I clicked over to the web credentials and noticed the following interesting entry that started with SsrsSessionResourceKeyPrefix…

I knew that Power BI Report server was built on top of the old SSRS portal and when I expanded the entry it showed that these credentials had been saved by “Power BI”.

The Final Solution

Removing this entry and also removing the entry I just added to the Windows Credentials section fixed the issue properly. Now I don’t have to update a stored password and both the Edit in Power BI Desktop button and the File – Open option are both working as they should.

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