Backup and restore datasets with Power BI Premium (preview)

You can use the Backup and Restore feature with Power BI datasets if you have a Power BI Premium or Premium Per User (PPU) license, similar to the backup and restore operations available in tabular models for Azure Analysis Services (Azure AS).

You can use SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), Analysis Services cmdlets for PowerShell, and other tools to perform backup and restore operations in Power BI using XMLA endpoints. The following sections describe backup and restore concepts for Power BI datasets, certain requirements, and other considerations.

Screenshot of backing up database

The ability to backup and restore Power BI datasets provides a migration path from Azure Analysis Services workloads to Power BI Premium. It also enables dataset backups for multiple reasons, including corruption or loss, data retention requirements, and tenant movement, among others.

Using dataset backup and restore

Backup and Restore is in preview, and its features and functionality may change as we gather feedback from customers.

The Backup and Restore feature uses existing connections between Power BI and Azure, such as the ability to register an Azure Data Lake Gen2 (ADLS Gen2) storage account at the tenant- or workspace-level to facilitate dataflow storage and operations. Since Backup and Restore uses the same connection, no other storage account is required.

You can also perform offline backups, downloading the files from your ADLS Gen2 storage account using the file system, Azure Storage Explorer, .NET tools, and PowerShell cmdlets, such as the Get-AzDataLakeGen2ItemContent cmdlet. The following image shows a workspace with three datasets and their corresponding backup files in Azure Storage Explorer.

Screenshot of Azure Storage Explorer with backups

To learn how to configure Power BI to use an ADLS Gen2 storage account, see configuring dataflow storage to use Azure Data Lake Gen 2.

Multi-geo considerations

Even if you have configured your Power BI Premium capacities for multi-geo support, the Backup and Restore feature is not supported for multi-geo during preview.

As such, you must provision the storage account in your tenant’s home region, which also means that dataflow data and dataset backups might not be stored in the region of your Power BI Premium capacity. Check your data residency requirements before configuring your workspaces on a multi-geo capacity with a storage account.

Who can perform backup and restore

With an ADLS Gen2 storage account associated with a workspace, workspace admins who have write or administrator permissions can conduct backups. Users with such permissions may be an admin, a member, or a contributor, or may not be part of the workspace level roles, but has direct write permission to the dataset.

To restore an existing dataset, users who have write or admin permission to the dataset can conduct a restore operation. To restore a new dataset, the user must be an admin, member, or contributor of the workspace.

To browse the backup/restore filesystem using Azure Storage Explorer (the Browse... button in SSMS), a user must be a admin, or a member or contributor of the workspace.

Power BI associates workspaces with their backup directories based on the workspace name. With owner permissions at the storage account level, you can download backup files or copy them from their original location to the backup directory of a different workspace, and restore them there if you are a workspace administrator in the target workspace as well.

Storage account owners have unrestricted access to the backup files, so ensure storage account permissions are set and maintained carefully.

How to perform backup and restore

Backup and Restore requires using XMLA-based tools, such as SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). There is no backup or restore facility or option in the Power BI user interface. Because of the XMLA dependency, Backup and Restore currently requires your datasets to reside on a Premium or PPU capacity.

The storage account settings for Backup and Restore can be applied at either the tenant or the workspace level.

For Backup and Restore, Power BI creates a new container called power-bi-backup in your storage account, and creates a backup folder using the same name as your workspace in the power-bi-backup container. If you configure a storage account at the tenant level, Power BI only creates the power-bi-backup container. Power BI creates the backup folder at the time you attach the storage account to a workspace. If you configure a storage account at the workspace level, Power BI creates the power-bi-backup container and creates the backup folder.

During backup and restore, the following actions apply:

  • Backup files are placed into the backup folder in the power-bi-backup container
  • For restore, you must place the backup files (.abf files) into the folder before conducting a restore

If you rename a workspace, the backup folder in the power-bi-backup container is automatically renamed to match. However, if you have an existing folder with the same name as the renamed workspace, the automatic renaming for the backup folder will fail.

Limitations and considerations

When using the Backup and Restore feature with Power BI, keep the following considerations in mind.

  • For existing workspaces with ADLS Gen2 configured to dataflows only, you must unlink the ADLS Gen2 account first, then relink it for Backup and Restore to work properly.
  • If your ADLS Gen2 is already working with backup and restore, if you later reconfigure it to work with backup and restore, you must first rename or move the backup folder, or the attempt will result in errors and failure.
  • Restore only supports restoring the database as a Large Model (Premium) database.
  • Only the enhanced format model (V3 model) is allowed to be restored.
  • Password encryption in the backup command is not supported

Next steps

More questions? Try asking the Power BI Community