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.

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.