Guidance for deploying a data gateway for Power BI

Note

We recently revised the on-premises data gateway docs. We split them into content that's specific to Power BI 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 you install the on-premises data gateway for your Power BI cloud service, there are some considerations to keep in mind. The following sections describe these considerations.

Number of users

The number of users who consume a report that uses the gateway is an important metric in your decision about where to install the gateway. Here are some questions to consider:

  • Do users use these reports at different times of the day?
  • What types of connections do they use (DirectQuery or Import)?
  • Do all users use the same report?

If all the users access a given report at the same time each day, make sure that 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 whether a machine is adequate.

A constraint in Power BI allows only one gateway per report. Even if a report is based on multiple data sources, all such data sources must go through a single gateway. If a dashboard is based on multiple reports, you can use a dedicated gateway for each contributing report. In this way, you distribute the gateway load among the multiple reports that contribute to the single dashboard.

Connection type

Power BI offers two types of connections: DirectQuery and Import. Not all data sources support both connection types. Many factors might contribute to your choice of one over the other, such as security requirements, performance, data limits, and data model sizes. To learn more about connection types and supported data sources, see the list of available data source types.

Depending on which type of connection is used, gateway usage can be different. For example, try to separate DirectQuery data sources from scheduled refresh data sources whenever possible. The assumption is that they're in different reports and can be separated. Separating sources 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 option:

  • Scheduled refresh: Depending on your query size and the number of refreshes that occur per day, you can choose to stay with the recommended minimum hardware requirements or upgrade to a higher performance machine. If a given query isn't folded, transformations occur on the gateway machine. As a result, the gateway machine benefits from having more available RAM.

  • DirectQuery: A query is sent each time any user opens the report or looks at data. If you expect more than 1,000 users to access the data concurrently, make sure your computer has robust and capable hardware components. More CPU cores result in better throughput for a DirectQuery connection.

For the machine installation requirements, see the on-premises data gateway installation requirements.

Location

The location of the gateway installation can have significant impact on your query performance. Try to make sure that 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. Then select About Power BI.

Determine your Power BI tenant location

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 how to set data regions for multiple services, watch this video.

Next steps

More questions? Try the Power BI Community.