Upgrade Power BI on-premise Report Server

Reference Upgrade Power BI Report Server

 

Before you begin

Before you upgrade a report server, it is recommended that you perform the following steps to back up your report server.

Backing up the encryption keys

You should backup the encryption keys when you configure a report server installation for the first time. You should also backup the keys any time you change the identity of the service accounts or rename the computer. For more information, see Back Up and Restore Reporting Services Encryption Keys.

Backing up the report server databases

Because a report server is a stateless server, all application data is stored in the reportserverand reportservertempdb databases that run on a SQL Server Database Engine instance. You can backup the reportserver and reportservertempdb databases using one of the supported methods for backing up SQL Server databases. Recommendations that are specific to the report server databases include the following:

  • Use the full recovery model to backup the reportserver database.
  • Use the simple recovery model to backup the reportservertempdb database.
  • You can use different backup schedules for each database. The only reason to backup the reportservertempdb is to avoid having to recreate it if there is a hardware failure. In the event of hardware failure, it is not necessary to recover the data in reportservertempdb, but you do need the table structure. If you lose reportservertempdb, the only way to get it back is to recreate the report server database. If you recreate the reportservertempdb, it is important that it have the same name as the primary report server database.

For more information about backup and recovery of SQL Server relational databases, see Back Up and Restore of SQL Server Databases.

Backing up the configuration files

Power BI Report Server uses configuration files to store application settings. You should backup the files when you first configure the server and after you deploy any custom extensions. Files to back up include:

  • config.json
  • RSHostingService.exe.config
  • Rsreportserver.config
  • Rssvrpolicy.config
  • Reportingservicesservice.exe.config
  • Web.config for the Report Server ASP.NET applications
  • Machine.config for ASP.NET

Stop the Power BI Report Server Service.

Upgrade the report server

Upgrading Power BI Report Server is straight forward. There are only a few steps to install the files.

  1. Find the location of PowerBIReportServer.exe and launch the installer.
  2. Select Upgrade Power BI Report Server.

  3. Read and agree to the license terms and conditions and then select Upgrade.

  4. After a successful upgrade, you can select Configure Report Server to launch the Reporting Services Configuration Manager, or select Close to exit the installer.

Upgrade Power BI Desktop

After the report server is upgrade, you will want to make sure that any Power BI report authors upgrade to the version of Power BI Desktop optimized for Power BI Report Server that matches the server.

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Power BI Q&A for On-premises Data Gateway datasets

Once we publish the Power BI report to cloud (Power Bi Service) we need to navigate to the dataset created and enable Q&A.

Then you navigate to the dashboard created using this report and enable Q&A.

As of October 28, 2017 there are following limitations:

  • Initially the feature is only available for SQL Server 2016 Analysis Services Tabular data sources. The feature is optimized to work with tabular data. Some functionality is available for multi-dimensional data sources, but the full Q&A experience is not yet supported for multi-dimensional. Additional data sources supported by the On-premises data gateway will be rolled out during the public preview.

  • Full support for row level security defined in SQL Server Analysis Services is not available initially in the public preview. While asking questions in Q&A, the “auto-complete” of questions while typing can show string values a user does not have access to. However, RLS defined in the model is respected for report and chart visuals so no underlying numerical data can be exposed. Options to control this behavior will be released in coming updates.

  • Live connections are only supported with the On-premises data gateway. As a result, this cannot be used with the personal gateway.

Details:

Once enabled, Power BI creates an index of your data source and uploads a subset of that data to Power BI to enable asking questions. It may take several minutes to create the initial index and Power BI maintains and updates the index automatically as your data changes. Using Q&A with these datasets behaves the same as with data published to Power BI. The full set of features available in the Q&A experience is supported in both cases, including using the data source with Cortana.

As you ask questions in Power BI, Q&A determines the best visual to construct or report sheet to use to answer your question using an index of your dataset. After determining the best potential answer, Q&A uses DirectQuery to fetch live data from the data source via the gateway to populate charts and graphs. This ensures Power BI Q&A results always show the most up-to-date data directly from the underlying data source.

Since Power BI Q&A uses the text and schema values from your data source to determine how to query the underlying model for answers, searches for specific new or deleted text values (such as asking for a customer name related to a newly added text record) rely on the index being up-to-date with the latest values. Power BI automatically keeps the text and schema index up to date within a 60 minute window of changes.

 

How does Microsoft Azure or cloud On-Premises Data Gateway works

Reference Sept 6th 2017 On-premises data gateway in-depth

How the gateway works

on-prem-data-gateway-how-it-works

Let’s first look at what happens when a user interacts with an element connected to an on-premises data source.

  1. A query will be created by the cloud service, along with the encrypted credentials for the on-premises data source, and sent to the queue for the gateway to process.

  2. The gateway cloud service will analyze the query and will push the request to the Azure Service Bus.

  3. The on-premises data gateway polls the Azure Service Bus for pending requests.

  4. The gateway gets the query, decrypts the credentials and connects to the data source(s) with those credentials.

  5. The gateway sends the query to the data source for execution.

  6. The results are sent from the data source, back to the gateway, and then onto the cloud service. The service then uses the results.

Note:

For Power BI, you will need to configure a data source for the gateway.

On-Premises Data Gateway FAQ

As of Oct 5th 2017 Reference article

General

Question: What is the actual Windows service called?
Answer: The gateway is called On-premises data gateway service in Services

Question: What are the requirements for the gateway?
Answer: Take a look at the requirements section of the main gateway article.

Question: What data sources are supported with the gateway?
Answer: See the data sources table in the main gateway article.

Question: Do I need a gateway for cloud data sources like Azure SQL Database?
Answer: No! The service will be able to connect to that data source without a gateway.

Question: Are there any inbound connections to the gateway from the cloud?
Answer: No. The gateway uses outbound connections to Azure Service Bus.

Question: What if I block outbound connections? What do I need to open?
Answer: See the list of ports and hosts that the gateway uses.

Question: Does the gateway have to be installed on the same machine as the data source?
Answer: No. The gateway will connect to the data source using the connection information that was provided. Think of the gateway as a client application in this sense. It will just need to be able to connect to the server name that was provided.

Question: What is the latency for running queries to a data source from the gateway? What is the best architecture?
Answer: It is recommended to have the gateway as close to the data source as possible to avoid network latency. If you can install the gateway on the actual data source, it will minimize the latency introduced. Consider the data centers as well. For example, if your service is making use of the West US data center, and you have SQL Server hosted in an Azure VM, you will want to have the Azure VM in West US as well. This will minimize latency and avoid egress charges on the Azure VM.

Question: Are there any requirements for network bandwidth?
Answer: It is recommended to have good throughput for your network connection. Every environment is different and this is also dependent on the amount of data being sent. Using ExpressRoute could help to guarantee a level of throughput between on-premises and the Azure data centers.

You can use the 3rd party Azure Speed Test app to help gauge what your throughput is.

Question: Can the gateway Windows service run with an Azure Active Directory account?
Answer: No. The Windows service needs to have a valid Windows account. By default it will run with the Service SID, NT SERVICE\PBIEgwService.

Question: How are results sent back to the cloud?
Answer: This is done by way of the Azure Service Bus. For more information, see how it works.

Question: Where are my credentials stored?
Answer: The credentials you enter for a data source are stored encrypted in the gateway cloud service. The credentials are decrypted at the gateway on-premises.

Question: Can I place the gateway in a perimeter network (also known as DMZ, demilitarized zone, and screened subnet)?
Answer: The gateway requires connectivity to the data source. If the data source is not accessable in your perimeter network, the gateway may not be able to connect to it. For example, your SQL Server may not be in your perimeter network. And, you cannot connect to your SQL Server from the perimeter network. If you placed the gateway in your perimeter network, it would not be able to reach the SQL Server.

Question: Is it possible to force the gateway to use HTTPS traffic with Azure Service Bus instead of TCP?
Answer: Yes. Although, this will greatly reduce performance. You will want to modify the Microsoft.PowerBI.DataMovement.Pipeline.GatewayCore.dll.config file. You will want to change the value from AutoDetect to Https. This file is located, by default, at C:\Program Files\On-premises data gateway.

Question: Do I need to whitelist the Azure Datacenter IP list? Where do I get the list?
Answer: If you are blocking outbound IP traffic, you may need to whitelist the Azure Datacenter IP list. Currently, the gateway will communicate with Azure Service Bus using the IP address in addition to the fully qualified domain name. The Azure Datacenter IP list is updated weekly. You can download the Microsoft Azure Datacenter IP list.

<setting name="ServiceBusSystemConnectivityModeString" serializeAs="String">
    <value>Https</value>
</setting>

High Availability/Disaster Recovery

Question: Are there any plans for enabling high availability scenarios with the gateway?
Answer: Yes, this is an area of active investment for the Power BI team. Please stay tuned to the Power BI blog for further updates about this feature.

Question: What options are available for disaster recovery?
Answer: You can use the recovery key to restore or move a gateway. When you install the gateway, supply the recovery key.

Question: What is the benefit of the recovery key?
Answer: It provides a way to migrate or recover your gateway settings. This is also used for disaster recovery.

Troubleshooting

Question: Where are the gateway logs located?
Answer: See the tools section of the troubleshooting article.

Question: How can I see what queries are being sent to the on-premises data source?
Answer: You can enable query tracing. This will include the queries being sent. Remember to change it back to the original value when done troubleshooting. Having query tracing enabled will cause the logs to be larger.

You can also look at tools your data source has for tracing queries. For example, for SQL Server and Analysis Services you can use Extended Events or SQL Profiler.

Analysis Services

Question: Can I use msdmpump.dll to create custom effective username mappings for Analysis Services?
Answer: No. This is not supported at this time.

Question: Can I use the gateway to connect to a multidimensional (OLAP) instance.
Answer: Yes! The On-Premises Data Gateway supports live connections to both Analysis Services Tabular and Multidimensional models.

Question: What if I install the gateway on a computer in a different domain from my on-premises server that uses Windows authentication?
Answer: No guarantees here. It all depends on the trust relationship between the two domains. If the two different domains are in a trusted domain model, then the gateway might be able to connect to the Analysis Services server and the effective user name can be resolved. If not, you may encounter a login failure.

Question: How can I find out what effective username is being passed to my on-premises Analysis Services server?
Answer: We answer this in the troubleshooting article.

Question: I have 25 databases in Analysis Services, is there a way to have them all enabled for the gateway at once?
Answer: No. This is on the roadmap, but we don’t have a timeframe.

Administration

Question: Can I have more than one admin for a gateway?
Answer: Yes! When you manage a gateway, you can go to the administrator’s tab to add additional admins.

Question: Does the gateway admin need to be an admin on the machine where the gateway is installed?
Answer: No. The gateway admin is used to manage the gateway from within the service.

Question: Can I prevent users in my organization from creating a gateway?
Answer: No. This is on the roadmap, but we don’t have a timeframe.

Question: Can I get usage and statistics information of the gateways in my organization?
Answer: No. This is on the roadmap, but we don’t have a timeframe.

Power BI

Question: Do I need to upgrade the personal gateway? Answer: No, you can keep using the personal gateway for Power BI.

Question: How often are tiles in a dashboard, in Power BI, refreshed when connected through the On-Premises Data Gateway?
Answer: About ten minutes. DirectQuery connections are just that. This doesn’t mean that a tile issues a query to your on-premises server, and shows new data, every ten minutes.

Question: Can I upload Excel workbooks with Power Pivot data models that connect to on-premises data sources? Do I need a gateway for this scenario?
Answer: Yes, you can upload the workbook. And, no, you don’t need a gateway. But, because the data will reside in the Excel data model, reports in Power BI based on the Excel workbook will not be live. In order to refresh reports in Power BI, you’d have to re-upload an updated workbook each time. Or, use the gateway with scheduled refresh.

Question: If users share dashboards that has a DirectQuery connection, will those other users be able to see the data even though they might not have the same permissions.
Answer: For a dashboard connected to Analysis Services, users will only see the data they have access to. If the users do not have the same permissions, they will not be able to see any data. For other data sources, all users will share the credentials entered by the admin for that data source.

Question: Why can’t I connect to my Oracle server?
Answer: You may need to install the Oracle client and configure the tnsnames.ora file with the proper server information in order to connect to your Oracle server. This is a separate install outside of the Gateway. For more information, see Installing the Oracle Client.

Question: Will the gateway work with ExpressRoute?
Answer: Yes. For more information about ExpressRoute and Power BI, see Power BI and ExpressRoute.

Power BI Report Server – Support

Microsoft  plans to release Power BI Report Server “multiple times per year.”
– Initially, they have planned for about 3 releases per year (in other words, on average, every 4 months).
– They support each release for 12 months, which gives customers up to a year to upgrade to a newer version while receiving any necessary security patches for the version they’re using.

Version Availability date Support end date
June 2017 June 12, 2017 June 12, 2018

Support Reference