[ #Office365 ] Power BI 2.0, part 2: architectural aspects (updated)

Second article from a series on [ #Office365 ] Power BI 2.0 :

  1. The big picture (updated with GA infos)


The architecture of the new Power BI can be summarized by the following schema:


[Updated on 2015-07-14] Added the personal Gateway and detailed the apps

In this picture, we can see from left to right:

  • The sources: basically there are three types of sources in Power BI, files, databases and services.


  • The service in itself where you can define three types of objects : datasets, reports and dashboards
  • The destinations : Dashboards and reports can be consumed in three ways,

The data sources can be shown in this picture:


They are separated in three categories:

  • Files (which formats are Excel and Power BI)
  • Services which are prepackaged models of data for popular services (like Google Analytics or GitHub)
  • Big Data and More (for Azure DBs and SQL Server Analysis on-premises)

A new direct connectivity to Apache Spark (especially suited for Big Data scenari) has been annouced. Query performance over a Hadoop dataset can be 100 times faster with Spark.



The 3 main concepts of Power Bi are:

  • Datasets
  • Reports and
  • Dashboards

A dataset is basicaly a set of tables. Each table can be the result of a Power Query query. All tables of in a dataset can be completaed with relationships, measures, …

You can combine several datasets in a report and again you can combine visualizations from several reports on a dashboard (this can’t be done in Power BI Designer by only in the service).



One of the best feature of Power BI is that everything you can do in the service is accessible via the API. So the API described here: Overview of Power BI REST API


You have access to 3 types of objects:

  • Datasets
  • Tables
  • Rows



So you can use PowerShell to inject data in real time to your datasets.

For example, this GitHub project has define a very quick and dirty sets of cmdlets and especially the Out-PowerBi cmdlet:



6 thoughts on “[ #Office365 ] Power BI 2.0, part 2: architectural aspects (updated)

  1. not gonna lie, that diagram looks amazing! Wish I had the rights to use it.

    One thing to update the diagram is that:
    – you could group the native apps into a) smartphone apps b) tablet based apps

    The smartphone apps only get access to the dashboards but the tablet based apps can get access to the reports as well. The Windows 8 app gets access to both the reports and the dashboards.

    Also, A dataset is not necessarily the result of a Power Query query. The output of a Power Query query is basically a table, but a dataset can have many tables (with relationships, measures, and all the good stuff as well!)

    Great post and perfect timing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: [ #Office365 ] Power BI 2.0, part 2: architectural aspects (updated) | Blog on IT

  3. Pingback: [ #Office365 ] Power BI 2.0, part 5: the gateways | Blog on IT

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