When you start a Power BI project, you need to decide how and where you should store the data in your dataset. There are three “traditional” options:
- Imported Model: Data is imported and compressed and stored in the PBIX file, which is then published to the Power BI Service (or Report Server if you are on-prem)
- Live Connection: Data is stored in Analysis Services and your Power BI dataset is really a reference to the Analysis Services database.
- DirectQuery: Data remains in the source system and Power BI stores metadata and a reference to the source data, executing live queries when a user interacts with a report
As Power BI has evolved, there are now some variations and additions to those options. Composite models allow you to combine imported data sources and DirectQuery data sources. We also now have dataflows, which allow you to use self-service data prep to define and share reusable data entities.
Each of these options has its advantages and limitations. There is no single right answer of which one you should always pick.
If you have been struggling with this topic, or just want to double-check your thinking, please join me and Kerry Tyler (@AirborneGeek on twitter) for our Denny Cherry & Associates Consulting webcast on April 5th at 12pm Mountain / 2pm Eastern.
The webcast will review your options for where to store data and explain the factors that should be used in determining what option is right for you. Obvious requirements such as data size, license costs and management, and desired data latency will be discussed. We’ll also talk about other factors such as the desire for self-service BI and avoiding data model sprawl. We’ll have content to present, but we are also happy to take questions during the webcast.
Register for the webcast today and join us next Friday, April 5th.