Exploring Azure Data with Kusto and Dashboards

In order to more effectively learn Kusto (the query language powering Azure analytics, log querying and PowerBI) and data visualization capabilites in Azure, I did the following:

  1. Created a cluster and database (this takes quite a while)

  2. Open the Azure Data Explorer (a.k.a. Kusto Web Explorer) at https://aka.ms/kwe

  3. Add the cluster with the full URI or alternatively just the name.region parts (i.e. kzukusto.centralus vs https://kzukusto.centralus.kusto.windows.net)

  4. Optionally add an arbitrary Application Insights app as a "virtual cluster", using a url with the format https://ade.applicationinsights.io/subscriptions/<id>/resourcegroups/<name>/providers/microsoft.insights/components/<ai-app-name>

  5. Right--lick database and select Ingest new data

    Ingest new data context menu

  6. Find some interesting Azure Open Dataset from the catalog that has an Azure storage URL readily available from the Azure Open Datasets catalog, such as the Bing COVID-19 Data (I used the .jsonl link). NOTE: the .json one will not properly infer schema because it has a root object of type array. The .jsonl is actually a "JSON fragment" (if that even exists, would be the equivalent of an XML fragment) where each entry is just a JSON entry/line in the file.

    The JSON version is preferable to .csv because it properly infer the data type for columns.

  7. Click on Dashboards for the new stuff here. Parameters driven by queries are particularly handy:

Query-driven multi-select parameter for widget

While editing the query/widget, if the parameter is used in the query, you can interactively change its value to explore the visualizations. For example:

Used parameter becomes enabled for selection

Whereas if it wasn't used:

Unused parameter unavailable

After shaping the Resultsthe way you want, clicking the Visual tab allows configuring a bunch of visualizations. Inference works quite nicely if the data/results are filtered to just what you want to display.

Many chart options and inference that works great