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Power BI Service and Mobile April 2019 feature summary

Headshot of article author Nikhil Gaekwad

April was packed full of new capabilities for Power BI. Thank you for the ongoing support and feedback – we couldn’t have done it without you. Here’s a quick rundown of everything we announced last month:

Power BI dataflows GA

We announced that Power BI dataflows are generally available. Dataflows are used to ingest, transform, integrate, and enrich big data by defining data source connections, ETL logic, refresh schedules, and more. In addition, the new model-driven calculation engine that’s part of dataflows makes the process of data preparation more manageable, more deterministic, and less cumbersome for data analysts and report creators alike. Since our public preview last year, we shared a list of new dataflows updates, and with the GA release we added more new capabilities which include: email notifications on refresh failures, take ownership of a dataflow, cancel refresh, preserving source entity relationship and additional settings to optimize dataflow workload performance. Learn more

Q&A update for dashboards

We rolled out a new update for Q&A on dashboards. With this update, we merged the existing Q&A dialog found inside reports with the dashboard experience. One of the most notable changes is the inclusion of the suggestions side pane which is available for all users. The suggestions pane works like reports, where suggestions defined by the report author show up by default. At the same time, Q&A will also auto-generate sample suggestions to help you quickly get started and find insights inside your data. Learn more

New workspaces experience GA

The new workspace experience also reached general availability. With this announcement, we made the new workspace experience the default when creating a workspace. This will allow Power BI workspace admins can use security groups to manage access to workspaces, enable BI teams to create workspaces without needing to create an Office 365 Group, and to provide granular workspace roles to make giving access to workspaces easier. Learn more about the update and roadmap in the announcement blog.

Paginated Report Builder

We launched the first release of Power BI Report Builder, which is free, standalone Windows Desktop application that allows you to author Paginated Reports. The application was built to serve as the primary authoring experience for paginated reports in the Power BI, separate from SQL Server Reporting Services Report Builder. With this new too, we can provide a familiar experience but also optimize the paginated reports for publishing to the Power BI Service. Check it out for yourself and download it here.

New Power BI regions available

We expanded Power BI to the following three new regions in April: France Central and Korea Central. With the addition of these two new regions, Power BI is now available in 18 regions in our global public cloud, in addition to six regions in our three national clouds, Power BI for US Government, Power BI Germany, and Power BI in China (operated by 21Vianet). You can immediately leverage these by deploying your Power BI Multi-Geo Premium capacity. Learn more

Additional capabilities and support for paginated reports

We shipped a flurry of updates to paginated reports in Power BI service, including:

  1. Support for Azure Analysis Services – Paginated reports can be built on semantic models from Azure Analysis Services and Power BI datasets. Check out the announcement blog for more details.
  2. Publishing within Power BI Apps – Paginated reports can be published from your workspaces as part of your apps in Power BI Premium. Learn more
  3. Email subscriptions – You can schedule e-mail subscriptions with a PDF attachment of your full paginated report in the Power BI service. You can even set these hourly! Learn more
  4. Oracle and Teradata support – We added Oracle and Teradata data source support to Power BI Report Builder so report authors could connect directly and begin creating paginated reports with these popular data sources.

Power BI Premium summary and workload metrics in the Admin Portal

We made improvements to the high-level metrics for Power BI Premium in the Admin Portal and added a separate health tab to keep track of the 7-day summary of system metrics and workload metrics. This new experience replaces the four of the following tiles that you saw previously (CPU, Memory thrashing, Memory usage and DirectQuery) with wide range of metrics measuring the usage in the last 7 days to better portray the health of your capacity. It helps capacity admins to make data driven decision without having to leave the portal. Learn more

Query caching in Power BI Premium

To help with the perceived performance of reports, we announced query caching in Power BI Premium. This feature instructs the Premium capacity to use its local caching service to maintain query results, avoiding having the underlying data source compute those results on demand. Cached query results are specific to user and report context and always respect security rules. You can control query caching behavior on the dataset settings page in the Power BI service. Learn more

April updates for on-premises data gateway

We rolled out a new update for the Power BI On-premises data gateway for the month of April. The update includes new connectors for Oracle Essbase and PDF support in File, and of course an updated mashup engine. Try it out for yourself by installing the new gateway or learn more about the new capabilities here.

In addition, to help alleviate situations where connecting to data sources might be unavailable or slow and you keep having to retry multiple times, we added a new option to “skip test connection” that creates a data source without running into the error. Learn more

New capabilities to data gateway management in Power Platform Admin Center

To help tenant admins have visibility into all On-premises data gateways within their organization, we added two new capabilities Data Gateway administration page which include more visibility into On-premises data gateway (Personal mode) and the ability to manage installers for On-premises data gateways. Learn more

Power BI Home GA

We continued to improve the overall navigation experience in the Power BI service and made it easier for you to access your most important content by announcing the general availability of Power BI Home. With this release, we added a separate section for your frequently used workspaces, made them accessible via Favorites + Frequents, and added the capability for users to favorite content directly on Home. Now, Home is a personalized page for both consumers and creators alike. Find out more about these new features and our next steps from the announcement blog.

Workspace management tips and tricks

We published tutorial blogs to help administrators manage workspaces more efficiently in Power BI. These include exporting the workspaces list and duplicating workspaces using Power IB cmdlets. Check them out for more details!

Roadmap updates

We use the Power BI section in the Business Application Release Notes to share details on what’s coming in the next three to six months.  These release notes are updated weekly with details on shipping dates, screenshots, and new announcements. Here’s what we disclosed recently: