Configure workspace dataflow settings (Preview)

With Power BI and dataflows, you can store a workspace's dataflow definition file and data files in your Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 account. Workspaces administrators can configure Power BI to do so, and this article walks through the steps necessary to get there.

Before you can configure a workspace’s dataflow storage location, your company's global administrator must connect your organization’s storage account to Power BI, and enable storage assignment permissions to that storage account. Connect Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 for dataflow storage (Preview)

There are two ways to configure the workspace dataflow storage settings:

  • During creation of the workspace
  • By editing an existing workspace

We'll take a look at each in the following sections.

Important

The workspace dataflow storage setting can only be changed if the workspace doesn't contain any dataflows. Also, this feature is only available in the new workspace experience. You can learn more about new workspace in the Create the new workspaces (preview) in Power BI article.

Create a new workspace, configure its dataflow storage

To create a new app workspace in the Power BI service, select Workspaces > Create app workspace.

Add new workspace

In the Create an app workspace dialog, a yellow box may appear that's titled Preview improved workspaces. In that area select Try now.

Preview improved workspaces

In the dialog that appears, you can give your new workspace a unique name. Don't select Save yet, since you need to make advanced settings.

Name your new workspace

Next, expand the Advanced area of the Create an app workspace dialog, where you can turn on the Dataflow storage (preview) setting.)

Advanced settings for the new workspace

Select Save to create your new workspace. Any new dataflow created in this workspace now stores its definition file (its Model.json file) and data in your organization's Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 account.

Update dataflow storage for an existing workspace

Alternatively to creating a new workspace, you can update an existing workspace to store the definition file and data in your organization's Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 account. Remember that the dataflow sotrage setting can only be changed if the workspace doesn't already contain a dataflow.

To edit an app workspace, select the elipsis (...) then select Edit workspace.

Edit workspace

In the Edit workspace window that appears, expand Advanced, then turn the Dataflow storage (preview) setting to On.

Dataflow storage to On

Then select Save, and any new dataflow created in that workspace stores its definition file and data in your organization's Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 account.

Get the URI of stored dataflow files

Once you create a dataflow in a workspace that's assigned to your organization’s Azure Data Lake account, you can access its definition and data files directly. Their location is available in the Dataflow settings page. To get there, follow these steps:

Select the ellipsis (...) next to a dataflow listed under Dataflows in the workspace. In the menu that appears, select Settings.

Get the URI of dataflow files

In the information that's displayed, the dataflow's CDM foloder location appears under Dataflow Storage location, as shown in the following image.

Location of dataflow files

Note

Power BI configures the dataflow owner with reader permissions to the CDM folder where dataflow files are stored. Granting access to other people or services to the dataflow storage location requires the owner of the storage account to grant access in Azure.

Considerations and limitations

Certain dataflow features aren't supported when dataflow storage is in Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2:

Power BI Pro, Premium and Embedded workspaces:

  • The linked entities feature is only supported among workspaces in the same storage account
  • Workspace permissions do not apply to dataflows stored in Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2; only the owner of the dataflow can access it.
  • Otherwise, all data prep features are the same as for dataflows stored in Power BI storage

There are some additional considerations as well, described in the following list:

  • Once a dataflow storage location is configured, it cannot be changed.
  • Only the owner of a dataflow stored in Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 can access its data.
  • On-premises data sources, in Power BI Shared capacities, are not supported in dataflows stored in your organization’s Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2.

Power BI Desktop customers cannot access dataflows stored in Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 account, unless they are the owner of the dataflow. Consider the following situation:

  1. Anna creates a new app workspace and configures it to store dataflows in the organization’s data lake.

  2. Ben, who is also a member of the workspace Anna created, wants to use Power BI Desktop and the dataflow connector to get data from the dataflow Anna created.

  3. Ben receives an error because Ben was not added as an authorized user to the dataflow’s CDM folder in the data lake.

    Error attempting to use dataflow

Next steps

This article provided guidance on how to configure workspace storage for dataflows. For additional information, take a look at the following articles:

For more information about dataflows, CDM, and Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2, take a look at the following articles:

For information about dataflows overall, check out these articles:

For more information about Azure storage, you can read these articles:

For more information about the Common Data Model, you can read its overview article:

And you can always try asking questions of the Power BI Community.