What is a virtual network (VNet)?
Azure virtual network (VNet) enable many types of Azure resources, such as Azure Virtual Machines (VM), to securely communicate with each other, the internet, and on-premises networks. This offers direct connectivity to Azure resources over an optimized route over the Azure backbone network. Azure resources can either be deployed within a VNet or they can be associated to the VNet using service or private endpoints.
Virtual networks, Private Links, and Power BI
We could categorize your communication with Power BI with respect to Azure VNets into the following:
- Secure Inbound connections to Power BI from your network using Private links
- Secure Outbound connectivity from Power BI to data sources within a VNet
The scope of this document is restricted to only Secure Outbound connectivity from Power BI to data sources within a VNet. For the Secure Inbound connections to Power BI from your network using Private links, see the Power BI Private Links documentation.
The Azure resources associated to a VNet could include Azure data services like Azure SQL, Synapse Analytics, Azure Data Explorer, and others. List of supported data services is available here: Supported Azure data services.
Currently, to be able to connect from Power BI to Azure data services within your VNet, you must install the on-premises data gateway. Data gateway enables secure connectivity to these data sources associated to the VNet and manages query execution from one or more of such data sources.
A data gateway however brings its own overhead like monthly updates and monitoring. The VNet Gateway will eliminate this overhead and enable secure connectivity to data sources associated to your VNet.