Power BI admin – Pay attention to these upcoming updates!

Summer is already here and soon all (at least all Finns) will close their laptops for a month and gallop to their summer cottages set by one of the thousand lakes of Finland.  

This year returning to the office will be especially exciting one in the Power BI world. Here is a short recap what is coming and how it will affect you as a Power BI admin.

General availability of Premium Capacity Gen2 in July21

This is the biggest infrastructural change in Power BI in years. In a nutshell Premium Gen2 is an improved and architecturally redesigned version of a premium capacity. All current premium capacity will be automatically converted to Gen2 by Microsoft starting in July 2021 if the timeline published in May holds.  

Main benefits of Gen2: 

  • Dataset size 
    • In Gen1 your capacity was limited to all datasets. For example, 25G for all datasets. In Gen2 this limit will be per dataset. So, one dataset can be max 25G but there is no limit for the number of datasets. 
  • Unlimited concurrent dataset refreshes
    • No waiting times anymore
  • Autoscaling
    • If your usage patterns are heavy during month closing etc, with autoscaling you can set an additional number of v-cores to be taken into use when the load exceeds your normal capacity limit. 
    • Note that this is an optional feature

What actions are needed: 

  • Gen1 capacity metrics app will become obsolete 
    • Get the Gen2 metrics app instead
    • Re-evaluate your capacity requirements after Gen2. They might be lower

Read more about Gen2.

Classic workspace upgrade to modern experience 

So called modern workspaces were introduced two years ago. They replace classic workspaces created on top of an Office 365 group. Modern workspace gives you better control of the workspace and it’s content and permissions. Existing classic workspaces needs to be upgraded to the new experience and Microsoft just released the updated timeline for this. 

Key dates:

  • June 2021 
    • Enhancements to the tools to bulk upgrade classic workspaces
  • October 2021 
    • Ability to create classic workspaces will be removed 
    • Content packs will be removed from the service 
    • “Upgrade all workspaces” tool to Power BI Admin Portal
  • April 2022 
    • Forced upgrade to all classic workspaces performed by Microsoft 

Key action points: 

  • If you have been using content packs, this feature will be removed in the upgrade process. Content packs should be replaced with Apps.
  • Re-evaluate how you want to set up permission control. You can continue using the Office 365 Groups to manage access but with the modern workspace experience you have more options for this.  

Read the full blog post in the Microsoft Power BI blog and about the upgrade in general from the Microsoft documentation.

Long-term usage and performance insights with Azure Log Analytics

Knowing what is happening in your Power BI environment is tricky and in some use cases impossible. Microsoft is aware of this issue and has just released a new solution for a public preview.

The new solution currently enables detailed monitoring on a Power BI workspace level and is based on the Azure Log Analytics. It offers you insights on user activities, engine load, query performance and refresh behavior.  

Pros:

  • Data up to two years 
  • Report template that can be customized 
  • Near real-time 
  • No need to manually set up the pipeline to load log data through APIs 

Cons:

  • Currently only on workspace level (tenant level not available yet) 
  • Only for workspaces hosted in premium capacity 
  • Currently no control over what actions will be stored to Log Analytics workspace –> In big environments follow that the costs for storage won’t get out of hand 

This blog post includes all the necessary links and instructions on how to set it up. The report is in preview phase and has limitations but if you do not have performance reports set up yet, we highly recommend checking this out. When the limitations of workspace level etc are lifted, this will be a crucial tool for Power BI admins to use in performance & usage pattern monitoring. 

So exciting times ahead and as mentioned, we highly recommend that you pay attention to these updates latest after summer holiday season. There is more of course, but these are currently at the top of the list. 

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