Changes to the Power BI Data Management Gateway – Nov 2013

Several of the Power BI preview components were updated last week, most notably, Power Query and the administration app in BI sites. Without much fanfare, the Data Management Gateway was updated as well. There is a fair bit of documentation on what’s new in Power Query, and I’ve added my own thoughts here. There’s also some documentation outlining the changes to the the admin application here. However, although I looked, I haven’t found anything for the DMG.

I therefore decided to poke around a bit myself, and discovered a few things. This should obviously not be taken as a comprehensive list, and if I find anything else, I’ll update it. What follows are the changes that I’ve observed.

Performance Improvements With Azure data sources

In my article on working with the data management gateway, I observed that refreshing a relatively large model (1MM rows, 20 columns) required upwards of 10 minutes. After updating the my version of DMG, refresh required only about 1.5 minutes. I am told that performance was a focus for the team, and that focus appears to have paid off.

No more Gateway Limits

If you set up an on premises data source, you can expose it as an OData feed, and consume it with Power Query. In early testing, users would bump into a limit with large data sets. As soon as the data stream hit 100 MB, an error would result. This was due to a built in limit in the gateway. In current testing, it appears that this limit has been completely removed in this version.

Oracle support

Until now, the only data refresh support has been for SQL server. In this version of the gateway, Oracle support has been added. I haven’t tested it, as I don’t have any Oracle handy, but it’s there.

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Credential storage and use

When creating a data connection, it is necessary to input credentials. These credentials are used to connect to the original data source when the model is refreshed. Due to security constraints, Microsoft cannot “see” the credentials, and they are stored locally. With this version of the gateway, there is now an option to save the (encrypted) credentials in the cloud. This helps with restoring gateways. 

System Health OData Feed

In the admin center, it’s possible to get quick visibility into the performance of all gateway machines.

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With the November 2013, you can also get this performance information via an OData feed, and perform your own analysis, and use tools like Power View to visualize it.

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This is what I’ve uncovered so far. I’ll update this post if I learn of any more.

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