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DAX and the Data Model

Hi Daxians! Today, we will learn about the basics of DAX and data model.

What is DAX?

DAX stands for Data Analysis Expressions. It is popularly recognized as the programming language of Microsoft Power BI, Microsoft Analysis Services and Microsoft Power Pivot for Excel. Release of PowerPivot for Microsoft Excel 2010 saw the creation of DAX also in 2010. DAX is there in all tools which share the internal engine called Tabular.

DAX is a functional language – everything in DAX is a function. To implement many complex calculations, one must make use of nesting of multiple DAX functions.

Application of business formulas and to work on complex data models led to the introduction of DAX. To get good idea about what DAX can do, let’s first understand some basics regarding data model.

Basics of Data Model

Data model is a group or set of tables which are linked to each-other via relationships. These tables are a set of rows having data in them. A table is, indeed, a data model – the smallest data model. Each row has many columns. Each column equates to a list or array, i.e., all the rows in a column have same data type and contain information about a single unit. Every row in a data model is a record.

Multiple tables in a data model are associated with each-other via relationships. A relationship is a link between two tables. This link exists by means of keys or ID columns. Existence of a relationship between two tables makes them related.

An example of a Data Model

Following image shows simple example of a data model:


Some observations from the given data model include:

Many-to-One Relationship

One-to-One & Weak Relationships

A Chain of Relationship


The given example talks about a simple data model. In the upcoming tutorials, we will talk about more complex data model and how we can make use of DAX to build complex business formulas and calculations to fetch information out of those data models. Readers can also check out my channel on Power BI, DAX and data science. Stay tuned!

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