Creating gateways and refreshing reports in Power BI Service
Part four of an eight-part series of blogs

Naturally you want the reports that you publish to Power BI Service to be up to date, but the rules are fiendishly complex. This blog explains when and how to create the two types of gateway, and how to ensure your reports refresh.

  1. Getting Power BI Service reports to refresh
  2. How Power BI connections work
  3. How connections work for Direct Query
  4. Setting up a personal gateway to allow data to refresh (this blog)
  5. Creating an on-premises data gateway for everyone to use
  6. Gateway requirements, limitations and troubleshooting
  7. Manual and scheduled refreshing of data
  8. Refreshing data within the cloud (Azure, OneDrive)

This blog is part of a much longer series, which together comprise a full online training course in Power BI Service.  You can see get details of our classsrom Power BI training courses here.

Posted by Andy Brown on 03 July 2017

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Setting up a personal gateway to allow data to refresh

If you've read this far, you'll know that you need to get your data to leap across the green line below: 

Refreshing diagram

You can only refresh data if you can set up a connection to cross the green line between Power BI Service and the folder or database containing your data.

 

To do this, you need to set up an on-premises data gateway.

This has two variations: normal (sometimes called enterprise) and personal.  This page will cover the personal version - this can only be used within Power BI, but has the advantage that it can link to a wider range of data sources.  The next part of this blog will cover creating enterprise gateways, while the part after that will explain some gateway requirements and limitations, as well as ways to react when things go wrong.

Creating an On-Premises Data Gateway (Personal Mode)

To create an on-premises data gateway (personal), select this option:

Installing Gateway

At the top right of Power BI Service, select this option.

You can now choose to install your gateway:

Download Gateway

Click on the button!

This downloads an installable file, which you need to execute:

Gateway installer

This is the file that you need to run.

 

At about step 2 of the wizard which runs, you'll need to make your choice - enterprise or personal:

Choice of gateway

I'm going for the second option here, even though it's not the one Microsoft recommend.

After going through a series of obvious steps, you should see this message:

Gateway installed

Progress! Now to register your gateway ...

Registering your gateway

You can now sign in using your Power BI credentials to register your new gateway:

Registering gateway

Microsoft Azure is the name of Microsoft's cloud-based services (gateways actually use something called the Azure Service Bus to shuttle information from your organisation's computer to the cloud).

 

Assigning credentials to reports

I now want to assign one of my reports to use this gateway:

Assiging a report to a gateway

The Simple report report didn't have any gateway attached to it, so I've clicked on this to remedy this.

There's now a credentials problem:

Edit credentials

I can't connect to either of the two data files.

If you click on Edit credentials next to each data source as above, you can then sign in:

Updating credentials

You'll need to do this once for each data source - it should happen automatically.

Refreshing data

I've covered different policies for refreshing data later in this blog, but for the moment here's a quick check that things are working OK.  First make changes to the workbook and text file stored on your computer - I've gone for a new course, and a new delegate:

Courses CSV files Delegates workbook
I've added a fifth course ... ... and a new delegate on it

Choose to manually refresh your dataset in Power BI Service:

Refresh now option

Click on your dataset, and choose to refresh it.

Wait patiently for this message to disappear:

Preparing for refresh

A sign that something good is happening.

Now go to your report, and click on the Refresh button as shown below:

Refreshing a report

Tell the report that it's underlying data has changed.

You should now see your updated data:

Updated report data

I've sneakily widened my slicer to accommodate the new gender type, but even without this change you can see the new .NET column in the chart.

 

Be careful to make sure that the changes you make are valid.  If you leave blank rows at the bottom of your text file, for example, the data refresh will fail - but silently.

Time now to look at the standard type of gateway, the subject of the next part of this blog.

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