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How-To

How to Increase the Size of SCCM Site Server Log Files

By Garth Jones Has this ever happened to you? You’re trying to do a proper investigation of a problem, but you can’t because the log file was overwritten too quickly? Did you know that the default log file size for all site server logs is 2 MB? This size is too small for an average System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) site. Since I still get asked about how to increase the size of SCCM site server log files, I decided to update my original 2015 blog post. In that post I recommended that the site server log file size be increased to at least 10 MB in order to be able to review the log file over a 5-day period. I still stand by that recommendation because reviewing a log file over a 5-day period is very useful when troubleshooting an issue. New in this post is an easy way to increase, ...

How Color Is Used in Power BI and SSRS Dashboards

By Garth Jones Continuing on with my Power BI Desktop blog post set (How to Install Power BI Desktop, Getting Started with Power BI Desktop and SCCM, Adding a Calculated Column to a Power BI Table and Adding a Chart to a Power BI Dashboard) where I showed you how to create a basic Power BI dashboard, in this blog post I will show you how color is used in Power BI and SSRS dashboards. In my opinion, color is one of the areas where Power BI falls short when compared with SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS). In SSRS you can assign colors to charts or tables by using its color code feature, however, a similar feature doesn’t exist within Power BI. I will demonstrate what I’m talking about by taking the Power BI chart (where I left off in the previous post) and comparing it with a similar SSRS...

Adding a Chart to a Power BI Dashboard

By Garth Jones Building on the steps shared in my blog posts, How to Install Power BI Desktop, Getting Started with Power BI Desktop and SCCM, and Adding a Calculated Column to a Power BI Table, in this post I will be adding a chart to a Power BI dashboard. It might be helpful for you to review the previous blog posts to see how we got to this point. Again, as a reminder, this is what our Power BI canvas looks like now. Adding a Chart to a Power BI Dashboard Start by selecting the Age column for Query1. Drag the Age column to an empty area on the Power BI canvas. Notice how Power BI automatically selects a bar chart for you. Congratulations! You now have a chart on your dashboard. Wasn’t adding a chart easy? Okay, I hear you, as it stands it isn’t that useful, but wait for it! Drag the Age...

Adding a Calculated Column to a Power BI Table

By Garth Jones In my last blog post, Getting Started with Power BI Desktop and SCCM, I showed you how to create a very basic Power BI dashboard by adding a table to the canvas. In this post I’ll show you how to add a calculated column to a Power BI table. Ultimately this particular calculated column will be used within a chart, but I’ll talk about that more in my next blog post. Keep in mind that the steps I’ll be showing in this post can be used for any number of items that need to be calculated. This can include calculating the age of computers or determining how long ago a software title was last used. In my last post I started designing a Power BI dashboard about computer ages by adding a table. As a reminder this is what the Power BI canvas looked like at the end of that post. Adding ...

How to Install Power BI Desktop

By Garth Jones I was looking at my upcoming blog post set about Power BI and I thought it would be appropriate to start off first by showing you how to install Power BI Desktop. This way, once the other blog posts come out, you will already have Power BI Desktop installed and you’ll be ready to get started creating reports for System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) and Intune! With that in mind, this blog post will give you a bit of background about Power BI and then I’ll show you the step-by-step instructions on how to install Power BI Desktop. What is Power BI? To quote the Microsoft Power BI website: Power BI is a suite of business analytics tools that deliver insights throughout your organization. Connect to hundreds of data sources, simplify data prep, and drive ad hoc analysis. P...

How to Setup, Configure and Use SCCM’s Asset Intelligence

By Garth Jones Asset Intelligence (AI) is one of the underused features of System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM). AI is comprised of two basic elements: Asset Intelligence Synchronization Point and Asset Intelligence Inventory Classes. This blog post will discuss both elements and I will show you how to setup and configure each of them. How to Configure the Asset Intelligence Inventory Classes Once enabled this feature allows SCCM’s hardware inventory cycle to collect additional asset intelligence details. To give you an idea of its scope, these details range from what software is installed (using the Asset Intelligence catalog) to what USB devices are connected to a computer. This feature does NOT require the Asset Intelligence Synchronization Point to be setup in order to inventory ...

How Can I Hide an SSRS Gauge in a Dashboard?

By Garth Jones A super-cool feature with SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) is all of the available options for creating dashboards and reports! For example, did you know that you can hide an SSRS gauge in a dashboard based on the results of a query? Or, that you can hide an SSRS gauge based on the items selected within a prompt? I showed you how to make a gauge appear less plain-Jane in a recent blog post called, “How Can I Update the Plain SSRS Gauge in a Dashboard?” The dashboard example that I used in that post was Overall Software Update Status Dashboard from Enhansoft Reporting. Originally when I was building and testing this dashboard, a number of testers had questions about the software update categories. They told me that they either didn’t deploy all of the categories or their ...

How Can I Update the Plain SSRS Gauge in a Dashboard?

By Garth Jones The default SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) reports in System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), let’s face it, are plain. When you create a custom dashboard or report, however, they don’t have to stay that way! In this blog post I’ll show you how to update the plain SSRS gauge. Who wants to hear from their boss that a dashboard’s gauges look plain? With only a few simple changes your gauges will look better in no time! Take a close look at this Overall Software Update Status Dashboard (the final version is within Enhansoft Reporting). I deliberately made every gauge different. Can you tell what I did? This table’s explanation of the gauge changes I made might seem confusing, but I hope that once you see how I changed these items, it will become clearer. Gauge Parts T...

What Happened to the Tools Gauge in My SSRS Dashboard?

By Garth Jones In the screenshot below, you can see that there is clearly an issue with the Tools gauge in my SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) dashboard. The purple arrow is pointing out that the gauge is not displaying properly. What’s the matter with it? In this blog post, I will show you what the problem is and how to fix it. The Problem This is one of those rare times when I’ll show you a report that is incomplete. The final version of this report, Software Update Dashboard, is now in Enhansoft Reporting and it was a giveaway to attendees when we were at last month’s Microsoft Ignite. If you follow my blog, you will know that I always recommend creating queries in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). Then I suggest moving queries from SSMS over to SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) in or...

How Do I Bulk Upgrade SSRS RDLs from SQL Server 2005 to SQL Server 2008 R2?

By Garth Jones I discussed how I needed to update each SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) RDL in yesterday’s blog post called, “What Does the Error Message, “Unknown Report Version 9.0,” in Visual Studio 2015 Mean?” In order to update the RDLs I would have to perform a, “Save As,” or edit each report. In the closing section of that post, I complained that with over 600 reports, I needed to find a way to bulk upgrade SSRS RDLs from SQL Server 2005 to SQL Server 2008 R2. It took a little time and research, but in the end I stumbled upon a way that may not be completely automatic, but it’s still a great time saver! This blog post will show you how to bulk upgrade SSRS RDLs. The Problem Let me begin by reminding you about the problem that I had with the, “Unknown Report Version 9.0,” error m...

How Do I Enable CLR within SQL Server?

By Garth Jones If you take a copy of your System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) database and put it on your laptop (or anywhere else) without SQL Server common language runtime (CLR) enabled, you will receive an error when accessing Role-Based Administration (RBA) functions. The error message that you will receive will look similar to the one below. This blog post will talk about why and when this happens and how you can enable CLR within SQL Server. Msg 6263, Level 16, State 1, Line 6 Execution of user code in the .NET Framework is disabled. Enable “clr enabled” configuration option. Why Would You Put a Copy of Your SCCM Database on Your Laptop? During any of my presentations on either reporting for SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) or querying the SCCM database, I strongly advise...

How Do You Install SQL Server Data Tools?

By Garth Jones Many of my blog posts about tips and tricks for reporting (mostly SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS)) focus on System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM). Recently I noticed, while writing another blog post, that I don’t have a post about how to install SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT). SSDT is the SSRS reporting tool component. Installing SSDT on your workstation will allow you to create projects for dashboards and reports. Let’s get started! Installing SQL Server Data Tools If you follow my blog or if you attend any of my presentations, you’ll know that I always recommend to install SSDT and SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) locally on your computer. Doing so allows you to manage SQL Server and to create queries, dashboards, and reports all on your computer without tying u...