Dataflow storage options

Note

Effective November 2020:

  • Common Data Service has been renamed to Microsoft Dataverse. Learn more
  • Some terminology in Microsoft Dataverse has been updated. For example, entity is now table and field is now column. Learn more

This article will be updated soon to reflect the latest terminology.

Standard dataflows always load data into Dataverse tables in an environment. Analytical dataflows always load data into Azure Data Lake Storage accounts. For both dataflow types, there's no need to provision or manage the storage. Dataflow storage, by default, is provided and managed by products the dataflow is created in.

Analytical dataflows allow an additional storage option: your organizations' Azure Data Lake Storage account. This option enables access to the data created by a dataflow directly through Azure Data Lake Storage interfaces. Providing your own storage account for analytical dataflows enables other Azure or line-of-business applications to leverage the data by connecting to the lake directly.

Dataflows that leverage built-in storage

By default, analytical dataflows will use the built-in Azure data lake storage; for example, when you create a dataflow in Power BI or Power Apps portal. Access to the output of this type of dataflow is only possible through the Power Platform Dataflow connector in Power BI Desktop, or from other dataflows.

Dataflows that leverage customer provided storage

Before creating a dataflow that leverages a customer provided Azure Data Lake Storage storage account, the environment or workspace they were created in must be linked to an Azure Data Lake Storage account. Depending on which product dataflow you're using (Power BI or Power Platform dataflows), the settings for connecting to an external Azure Data Lake Storage subscription is linked in different places.

Linking Power BI to your organization's Azure Data Lake Storage

To configure Power BI dataflows to store data in the organization's Azure Data Lake Storage, you need to follow the steps described in Connect Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 for dataflow storage in the Power BI Admin Portal.

Connect your own Azure Data Lake Storage for Power BI dataflows

Linking a Power Platform environment to your organization's Azure Data Lake Storage

To configure dataflows created in Power Apps portal to store data in the organization's Azure Data Lake Storage, follow the steps in Connect Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 for dataflow storage in the Power Apps portal.

Storage account setting for Power Platform analytical dataflow

Known limitations

  • Once a dataflow is created, its storage location can't be changed.

  • Linked and computed entities features are only available when both dataflows are in the same storage account.

The enhanced compute engine

In Power BI, in addition to the standard dataflow engine, an enhanced compute engine is available for the dataflows created in Premium workspaces. You can configure this setting in the Power BI Admin portal, under the Premium capacity settings. The enhanced compute engine is available in Premium P1 or A3 capacities and above. The enhanced compute engine will reduce the refresh time required for long-running ETL steps over computed entities, such as joins, distinct, filters, and group by. It also provides the ability to perform DirectQuery over entities from the Power BI dataset.

The enhanced compute engine

To learn more about the enhanced compute engine, see The enhanced compute engine.

Next Steps

The articles below provide further information that can be helpful.