An introduction to the Power BI Admin Center

An introduction to the Power BI Admin Center

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As part of Power BI for Office 365 we provide the Power BI Admin Center for IT professionals. Login to Power BI as a Power BI IT Admin to get started today. As we continue to improve these capabilities we invite you to email us at  PowerBIAdminCenter@microsoft.com with your feedback.

Key Scenarios

1)     Setting up data refresh connections to on-premises data sources (SQL Server and Oracle)

In this scenario, an information worker creates an Excel workbook with a Power Pivot model that uses an on-premises data source of SQL Server or Oracle, and publishes it to Power BI for Office 365 to share with others. If the data source has not already been setup for data refresh, the information worker can contact an IT Administrator with a link to/copy of the Excel workbook or the data source connection string. The administrator extracts the connection string from the Excel workbook if needed, and uses the connection string to register the on-premises data source with the Admin Center, enabling cloud access for the data source and granting access to appropriate users / security groups so that they can refresh the Excel workbook with the latest data from that on-premises data source.

2)     Publishing IT-configured on-premises data source (SQL Server and Oracle) connections as OData feeds and making them available to Power Query for search and data access

In this scenario, an IT Administrator exposes data from an on-premises data source as an OData feed so that it can be consumed by users from Power Query for Excel. To expose data from an on-premises data source as an OData feed the administrator will first register the on-premises data source with the Power BI Admin Center, enable OData feed for the data source, select the tables/views to be included in the feed, and grant users access to the feed. Administrators can enable indexing of the data sources so that metadata is indexed in the Data Catalog, allowing users to discover the feeds through online search from Power Query. Users will also be able connect to the feed directly by using the feed URL available from the Admin Center.


A few Simple Steps to Get These Scenarios Rolling!

1)   Login to your Power BI Admin Center using a valid account enrolled in the Power BI IT admin group (Note: all the O365 global administrators are automatically added to the Power BI admin group upon provisioning).

2)    Data Management Gateway setup

a. Download, install, and configure a Data Management Gateway  on-premises and then register the gateway with the Admin Center. See Install, Configure, and Register Data Management Gateway for details.

b. We recommend you check option “Enable cloud credential store to achieve business continuity for gateway.”  See Business Continuity for a Data Management Gateway for details.

3)   Data source connectivity setup

a. Create/Register the on-premises data source with the Power BI Admin Center

b. To expose data from on-premises data sources as an OData feed (See Create a Data Source and Enable OData Feed in the Power BI Admin Center for details):

i. Enable OData feed for the data source

ii. Select tables and views to be included in the OData feed

iii. Grant users access to the feed

c. To enable cloud access for an on-premises data source (See Enable and Secure Cloud Access for an On-Premises Data Source using the Power BI Admin Center for details):

i. Enable cloud access for the data source

ii. Grant users access to the data source



Additional Administrative Features

Power BI Admin Center (GA) allows IT administrators to perform the following operations:

  • Environment setup: Install a gateway on-premises for data source connectivity
  • Cloud accessible data source: Set up IT-configured on-premises data source (SQL Server and Oracle) connections for data refresh
  • Corporate OData feed data source: Publish IT-configured on-premises data source (SQL Server and Oracle) connections as OData feeds available in Power Query for search and consumption
  • User and groups: Perform role management operations (with users and/or security groups) for Power BI
    • “IT Admins” – Manage this list to perform administrative operations such as creating a gateway and creating a data source in the Admin Center
    • “Data Stewards” – Manage this list of data stewards who can certify queries using Power Query
  • Settings: Configure tenant-level settings for IT administration of Power BI
    • “General” – Enable/Disable tracking of top users of shared Power queries and windows authentication for OData feed with DirSync
    • “Notifications” – Enable/Disable email notifications when a gateway is expiring/expired/released and an OData feed indexing operation has failed
  • Gateway Business Continuity: Including data source migration and gateway restoration
  • System health tab (Logs): View/Filter/Download detailed logging information (errors/warnings/information) from various Power BI Admin Center operations


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  • It seems like you give more detailed descriptions for the preliminary steps than you do for the Key Scenarios.  Some detailed description of how one extracts the connections string from Excel and enters it into the Power BI Admin Center would be super helpful.  Thanks.

  • Thanks Charles for your feedback.

    FYI you may refer to below reference on extracting connection string from Excel.  Hope this helps.

    office.microsoft.com/.../overview-of-connecting-importing-data-HP010201710.aspx

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