I’ve mentioned before that in my opinion, one of the most compelling features of Power BI is the ability to automatically refresh data models in the cloud with data from on premises. Up until now, this couldn’t even be done manually – you needed to download the workbook, use the Excel client to do the refresh, and then re-upload. I’ve had the opportunity to work with the preview for a little while now, and while automatic refresh still isn’t there, it is at least possible to manually refresh the data in the browser, which forms the underpinnings of the upcoming automatic refresh feature.
On premises data refresh is restricted for the moment to SQL data sources (I’ll be writing more about this shortly), but until today, I had been unsuccessful in getting even those to refresh properly. Needless to say, I was pretty disappointed. After trying a number of scenarios, and spending some time in the forum (I highly recommend the forum), I got some help from the product team. It turns out that I was pretty quick off the draw, and the version of the gateway I had installed didn’t work. Since the release, it had already been updated.
So how do you know that you’re out of date? If you go to the Power BI Admin Center, and click on Gateways, you’ll see all of your registered Data Gateways. Under status, if everything is up to date, and running, you should see “online”.
However, in my case is said “expiring”. This means that a newer version is available. OK, so how do I get access to this wonderful new version? Just to the left of the status, there is an ellipsis. Click on it to open the Gateway Configuration dialog (that’s what I’m calling it).
There are a number of options available here, but at the bottom of it is a link – “Download gateway installation package here”. It’s pretty self explanatory. It may go without saying, but in case it doesn’t, you will need to be on the machine that is running the gateway to install it. It’s a simple install, and it will install over top of the existing gateway. If you have the gateway status window open, you will need to close it before the install completes.
One other thing that’s worth mentioning about this dialog. Clicking the machine name next to “Installed On” will open up a remote desktop session to the machine running the gateway. You will need to be on the same network for this to work – it’s simply launching Remote Desktop – it doesn’t have any tunnelling protocol a la Windows Live Mesh, but it’s handy nonetheless.
In my case, this wasn’t quite enough to get data refresh working. The final step was to delete my original data connection, and then create a new one. Once that completed, I was able to use a browser to update my cloud based data model from on premises data.