Finding the best Data Source in Power BI – Part II
If you haven’t already, make sure to start with Part I, where I explore OneDrive and set the baseline on how to measure “best” connector type in Power BI.
Live Connect or Power BI Dataset
Today I am going to write about my experience with the Power BI dataset as a data source. It’s also called Live Connect. If you choose this connection method you will connect to an existing, published Power BI dataset from the service.
Based on that, the starting point is going to be a report and dataset that I have already published. Additionally, I flagged the dataset as a Promoted dataset to make my job of finding it easier. Promoted and certified datasets are always going to “sit” on the top of the pop-up panel.
Refreshing a Live Connection in Power BI
The short story is, we cannot refresh a live connection.
Why? Because with this connector type Power BI does not import data, it’s just “referencing” an existing dataset. If you would like to learn more details about Power BI data refreshes, click HERE.
To be able to refresh the data itself in a model like this, the underlying, Promoted dataset, has to be refreshed. This also means that I won’t be able to measure refresh speeds within this pbix file.
It also means, that I still have to somehow update or refresh the original dataset.
Essentially, just by connecting to a Power BI dataset as our data source will not have any impact on report refresh speeds.
Just a reminder, my main objective is to speed up the refresh process as getting files from Excel files and Folders seems to be a slow connection type.
Business Continuity / Data Availablity
While there is not much progress when it comes to refresh times and speed, there is a massive benefit from the data availability point of view.
All other users, whether they are business users or other report creators, are presented with a clean, blazing-fast, and well-organized data model. They don’t have to learn all the underlying concepts of Star Schema, Power Query, DAX and so on…
Moreover, they don’t need to learn how to import data piece-by-piece and then create relationships.
With a Live Connected dataset, I can give users a cleansed dataset.
In return, they are no longer required to create their own datasets, creating more and more data silos within the organization. Using a single, well-defined dataset is crucial to ensure data consistency.
Furthermore, it will also help with the BI maturity of the whole organization and help to realize that sweet-sounding self-serve BI solutions and data-driven decision making.
While using a Power BI dataset as a source for my reports wouldn’t solve my initial problem, which is slow report refreshes, it is a very powerful option to have.
I would definitely suggest giving it a try, show it to some super-users and ask for their feedback.
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