Power BI Gateway: How to share local data in Power BI reports

Access to data has become crucial for companies seeking to remain competitive and responsive to changing market needs. In this context, tools such as Microsoft's Power BI have established themselves as reference points in data analysis and visualization. However, many companies still hold significant amounts of data within their local infrastructures, presenting challenges in connecting these resources with cloud solutions. This is where Power BI Gateway comes in, a critical component that facilitates the integration of local data with the Power BI ecosystem.

What you'll find in this article

  • What is Power BI Gateway and what is it for
  • How to install Power BI Gateway
  • How to connect Power BI Gateway to enterprise on-prem sources
Power BI Gateway: How to share local data in Power BI reports

What is PowerBI Gateway and what is it for

Power BI Gateway is a Microsoft program that connects local data sources with the cloud platform of Power BI. This free program plays a crucial role in allowing users to easily import and share locally stored information, while ensuring data security.

Let's take a closer look at PowerBI Gateway's capabilities and usage possibilities.

Microsoft cloud services that the gateway can connect to
The gateway is a tool developed by Microsoft to act as a bridge between its cloud services and a company's on-premise architecture, consisting of software and physical resources.

Power BI is therefore not the only platform that can use the gateway to import data from local sources. This component is in fact used to enrich the functionality of cloud services such as Power Apps, Power Automate, Azure Analysis Services and Azure Logic Apps. However, the association with Power BI represents one of the most common cases.

In fact, Power BI Gateway allows you to obtain and share more detailed reports and dashboards, while meeting the need to keep part or all of the data in local resources.

In addition, it is possible to configure the mode of transmission of this information based on two different versions of the gateway as an integration of Power BI:

  • Personal version of Power BI Gateway: This version is designed for individual users who need to keep data imported from Power BI up to date through queries that run on their personal device. It's an ideal option for those who work with small-scale local data and don't require the complexity of a multi-user solution.
  • Standard version of Power BI Gateway: This version is more suitable for environments where there are multiple users and multiple on-premise data sources. It allows the gateway to be installed on different machines, forming a local cluster that offers redundancy and improved performance. It's the recommended option for businesses with more complex needs and a significant number of users who need to access and share local data through Power BI and other Microsoft cloud services.

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The standard version represents the best approach for complex scenarios, where the reliability and availability of the service are of vital importance.

Let's continue with an analysis of the benefits and limitations of Power BI Gateway.

Let's start with the benefits:

  • Flexible data update schedule: Power BI Gateway allows you to schedule the update of data on an hourly, daily, weekly or real-time basis through Direct Query. This flexibility allows users to keep their analyses up to date without having to intervene manually, thus preserving one of the key features of the platform.
  • Centralizing control of data connections: Another advantage is the ability to manage all data connections from a single location in the corporate network. This ensures greater control and better management of resources, simplifying maintenance and monitoring operations.


Turning now to product limitations:

  • Internet connection required: One of the main limitations of Power BI Gateway is its reliance on an internet connection to transmit local data to the Power BI cloud. While this is a common feature for many cloud solutions, it can be a constraint for businesses that operate in environments with limited or unreliable connectivity.
  • Limited number of refreshes: Another limitation concerns the number of available refreshes, which depends both on the Power BI license subscribed and on the type of connected data source. This may limit how often users can update their data and may require updating licenses to support more complex needs for updating data in real time or at high frequency.

How to install Power BI Gateway

You can download the gateway directly from the Microsoft website, in dedicated section. Once you have run the file and choose the version of the component to install (Personal or Standard), you can log in to Power BI Gateway with your Microsoft credentials.

How to connect Power BI Gateway to enterprise on-prem sources

Power BI Gateway offers different ways to connect to data stored in a company's on-premise resources. The connection process may vary depending on the type of data source, but in general, you can follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to the Power BI Service through your account.
  2. Select the 'Manage Gateway' option from the menu.
  3. Enter the name of the gateway that was previously configured during installation.
  4. Click 'Add Data Source' to start the configuration process.
  5. Select the type of data source to which the gateway should connect from the available options.
  6. Configure the source settings, if necessary, providing the login information and credentials necessary to establish the connection.

Once this procedure is complete, the gateway will be able to retrieve information from the specified data source each time a report is created or updated in Power BI. This process allows users to securely and reliably access on-premise data and use it to create analyses and reports within the Power BI cloud environment.

Conclusion

Power BI Gateway represents an important resource for companies that want to integrate and exploit their local data within the Power BI cloud environment. Thanks to its flexibility and advanced functionality, this component allows users to maintain control over their data, while ensuring security and regulatory compliance.

With the ability to connect to a wide range of data sources and the simplicity of configuration, Power BI Gateway confirms itself as an indispensable tool for optimizing business analysis and decisions. Whether it's a single personal installation or a large scale implementation for an enterprise, using Power BI Gateway provides fast and reliable access to data, allowing organizations to derive the most value from their on-premise resources.

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