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Power BI

is a suite of business analytics tools to analyze data and share insights. Power BI dashboards provide a 360-degree view for business users with their most important metrics in one place, updated in real time, and available on all of their devices. With one click, users can explore the data behind their dashboard using intuitive tools that make finding answers easy. Creating a dashboard is simple thanks to over 50 connections to popular business applications, complete with pre-built dashboards crafted by experts that help you get up and running quickly. And you can access your data and reports from anywhere with the Power BI Mobile apps, which update automatically with any changes to your data.

If you are a data analyst delivering reporting and analytics to your organization, Power BI lets you be productive and creative with what you build. Power BI Desktop is a feature-rich data mashup and report authoring tool. Combine data from disparate databases, files, and web services with visual tools that help you understand and fix data quality and formatting issues automatically. With over 20 built-in visuals and a vibrant community of custom visualizations, create stunning reports that communicate your message effectively. With the Power BI service, publish reports securely to your organization and setup automatic data refresh so everyone has the latest information.

Power BI can unify all of your organization’s data, whether in the cloud or on-premises. Using the Power BI gateways, you can connect SQL Server databases, Analysis Services models, and many other data sources to your same dashboards in Power BI. If you already have reporting portals or applications, embed Power BI reports and dashboards for a unified experience.

Choose how to get started with Power BI

Power BI Gateway - Enterprise

The Power BI Gateway - Enterprise enables IT departments to deploy and manage central gateways to serve a large group of users. It is the successor to the Data Management Gateway in Power BI for Office 365. Instead of each employee installing and configuring a Power BI Gateway - Personal, IT can configure, manage and maintain a group of gateways to transparently refresh data uploaded to Power BI for users requiring up-to-date data.

With the enterprise gateway, IT can centrally manage the set of users who have access to the underlying data sources. IT departments can gain visibility into gateway usage, such as most commonly accessed data sources, and the users accessing them.

Anyone can install or manage an enterprise gateway. However, to view content that makes use of the gateway is only available with a Power BI Pro subscription. While you can install this gateway on any machine, it is intended to be installed on a server within your organization. It installs and runs as a windows service.

Data transfer between the Power BI service and the gateway is secured through Azure Service Bus. The Service Bus creates a secure channel between the Power BI service and your computer. Because the gateway starts this secure connection, there’s usually no need to open a port in your firewall because it is an outbound connection.

For more detailed information about how the connector works, be sure to see Power BI Gateway - Enterprise in-depth.

Before we go into details about the enterprise gateway, let’s look at some terms used in Power BI:

dataset is data uploaded into the Power BI service from an online or on-premises data source. You create a dataset when you use Get Data to connect to and upload data. Datasets appear in the left navigation pane. When you create reports and pin tiles to your dashboards, you’re looking at data from your datasets.

data source is where the data actually comes from. It can be just about anything; a database, Excel worksheet, Web service, etc. With Excel workbooks, you can create a simple worksheet with rows of data, and that is considered a data source. You can also use Power Query or Power Pivot in Excel to connect to and query data from both online and on-premises data sources, all in the same workbook. With Power BI Desktop, you use Get Data to connect to and query data from both online and on-premises data sources.

The gateway is different from a data source. The gateway is more of the proxy between on-premises and the cloud. When you configure a data source for a gateway, you are providing the connection information that the gateway will use to connect to the data source. An example of a data source would be a SQL Server deployed in your on-premises environment.

DirectQuery always gets the latest data using the credentials that were setup for the Data Source by the Gateway Admin.

Do I need the Power BI Gateway - Enterprise?

Before you install the gateway, it’s important to know whether or not use you really need it. It really depends on your data source and your organization needs.

The gateway allows for the use of DirectQuery to an on-premises SQL Server, SAP HANA, Oracle or Teradata, as well as a live connection to Analysis Services. You can use a live connection to either a tabular or multidimensional model in Analysis Services. The enterprise gateway can also be used with scheduled refresh for data that you have imported into Power BI.

List of available data source types

Data source Live/DirectQuery User configured manual or scheduled refresh
Analysis Services Tabular Yes Yes
Analysis Services Multidimensional Yes Yes
SQL Server Yes Yes
Oracle Yes Yes
Teradata Yes Yes
File No Yes
Folder No Yes
SharePoint list (on-premises) No Yes
Web No Yes
OData No Yes
IBM DB2 No Yes
MySQL No Yes
Sybase No Yes

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