Guidance for deploying a data gateway for Power BI

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We recently revised the on-premises data gateway docs, splitting them into Power BI specific content and general content that applies to all services that the gateway supports. You're currently in the Power BI content. To provide feedback on this article, or the overall gateway docs experience, scroll to the bottom of the article.

This article provides guidance and considerations for deploying a data gateway for Power BI in your network environment.

For information about how to download, install, configure, and manage the on-premises data gateway, see What is an on-premises data gateway. You can also find out more about the on-premises data gateway and Power BI by visiting the Microsoft Power blog and the Microsoft Power BI Community site.

Installation considerations for the on-premises data gateway

Before installing the on-premises data gateway for your Power BI cloud service, there are a handful of considerations you should keep in mind. The following sections describe these considerations.

Number of users

The number of users consuming a report that's using the gateway is an important metric in deciding where to install the gateway. Here are some questions to consider:

  • Are users using these reports at different times of the day?
  • What types of connections are they using (DirectQuery or Import)?
  • Are all users using the same report?

If users are all accessing a given report at the same time each day, you'll want to make sure you install the gateway on a machine that's capable of handling all those requests (see the following sections for performance counters and minimum requirements that can help you determine this).

There is a constraint in Power BI that allows only one gateway per report, so even if a report is based on multiple data sources, all such data sources must go through a single gateway. However, if a dashboard is based on multiple reports, you can use a dedicated gateway for each contributing report, and thereby distribute the gateway load among those multiple reports that contribute to that single dashboard.

Connection type

Power BI offers two types of connections: DirectQuery and Import. Not all data sources support both connection types, and many reasons may contribute to choosing one over the other, such as security requirements, performance, data limits, and data model sizes. You can learn more about connection types and supported data sources in the list of available data source types.

Depending on which type of connection is used, gateway usage can be different. For example, you should try to separate DirectQuery data sources from Scheduled Refresh data sources whenever possible (assuming they're in different reports and can be separated). Doing so prevents the gateway from having thousands of DirectQuery requests queued up, at the same time as the morning's scheduled refresh of a large size data model that's used for the company's main dashboard. Here's what to consider for each:

  • For Scheduled Refresh: depending on your query size and the number of refreshes occurring per day, you can choose to stay between the recommended minimum hardware requirements or upgrade to a higher performance machine. If a given query is not folded, transformations occur on the gateway machine, and as such, the gateway machine benefits from having more available RAM.

  • For DirectQuery: a query is be sent each time any user opens the report or looks at data. So if you anticipate more than 1,000 users accessing the data concurrently, you'll want to make sure your computer has robust and capable hardware components. More CPU cores will result in better throughput for a DirectQuery connection.

The requirements for a machine on which you install can be found in the on-premises data gateway installation requirements.

Location

The location of the gateway installation can have significant impact on your query performance, so try to make sure your gateway, data source locations, and the Power BI tenant are as close as possible to each other to minimize network latency. To determine your Power BI tenant location, in the Power BI service select the ? icon in the upper-right corner, and then select About Power BI.

Determine your Power BI tenant location

Also, if you intend to use the Power BI gateway with Azure Analysis Services, be sure that the data regions in both match. For more information about setting data regions for multiple services, watch this video.

Next steps

More questions? Try the Power BI Community