XMLA endpoint connectivity for public preview has been announced late March 2019. As at today, it is only available for Power BI Premium capacity users. This sounds like a massive restriction to a lot of people who don’t have a Premium capacity, but they’d love to see how it works. In this article I show you an easy way to get your hands to Power BI XMLA endpoint as quick as possible. Before I start, I’d like to simply explain what XMLA endpoint is and what it really means for Power BI users.
Power BI is Like Onion! It has layers!
Generally speaking, Power BI has two different layers, presentation layer and data model layer. Presentation layer is the visual layer, the one you make all those compelling reports and visualisations. The data model as the name resembles, is the layer that you make your data model in. This layer is the one you can access it via XMLA connectivity.
In a Power BI Desktop file, you can see both layers:
How XMLA Relates to Different Layers in Power BI?
As you may have already guessed, XMLA is only related to the data model layer and it has nothing to do with the presentation layer. So you may connect to a data model, browse the data model, import data from the model to other platforms like Excel and so forth.
XMLA Is Not New!
Seriously? Yes, seriously. It is not new. It’s been around
for many years and perhaps you’ve already used it zillions of times. Whenever
you’re connecting to an instance of SQL Server Analysis Services, either
Multidimensional or Tabular from any tools like SQL Server Management Studio
(SSMS), Power BI Report Builder, Excel, Tableau, etc…, you’re using XMLA
Power BI is an Instance of SSAS Tabular
It is true. Power BI runs a local instance of SSAS Tabular
model. So, whenever you open a Power BI Desktop file (PBIX), Power BI creates a
local instance of SSAS Tabular model with a random local port number that can
be accessed on your local machine only. When you close the file, the local
instance of SSAS Tabular is shut down and its port number is released.
I first revealed the fact that you can connect to the underlying data model in Power BI Desktop from whole different range of tools like SSMS, SQL Server Profiler, Excel, etc… on Jun 2016. So, we indeed were using XMLA to connect to Power BI data models for a long time. We can even take a step further to import our Power BI data models into an instance of SSAS Tabular. In that sense, we are literally generating XMLA scripts from Power BI to create the same data model in SSAS Tabular. How cool is that?
Sooo… What is new then? Continue reading “What Does XMLA Endpoints Mean for Power BI and How to Test it for Free?”