Export Power BI Service Data to SQL Server

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Update 2019 April: If you’re interested in exporting the data model from Power BI Service to SQL Server check this out.

Note: The method explained in the above post involves Power BI Premium or Embedded capacities with XMLA endpoints connectivity at the time of writing.

A while ago I wrote a blog post explaining how to Export Power BI Data to SQL Server with R. In that post I explained how to get the job done in Power BI Desktop using R scripts. In this post I explain how to export Power BI Service data to SQL server. YES! You can export data from Power BI service to a SQL Server database sitting in your on-premises environment. Keep reading to see how.

How It Works?

This is going to be a short post as I already covered the first part of the process in my other post on Export Power BI Data to SQL Server with R. So in this post I show you how to use the Power BI Desktop file you already created using the method explained in that blog post to export your Power BI Service data to an on-premises instance of SQL Server. All you need to do is to

  • Publish the existing Power BI Desktop solution to Power BI Service
  • Install On-premises Data Gateway in PERSONAL MODE

Note: R is NOT supported by the current version (Version Number: 14.16.6614.5) of the On-premises Data Gateway in Enterprise Mode.

After you successfully published the model to Power BI Service you’ll notice that you cannot refresh the model if you don’t install the On-premises Data Gateway in Personal Mode.

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Exporting Power BI Data to SQL Server

Exporting Power BI Data to SQL Server

Update 2019 April: If you’re interested in exporting the data model from Power BI Desktop or Power BI Service to SQL Server check this out.

Note: The method explained in the above post involves Power BI Premium or Embedded capacities with XMLA endpoints connectivity at the time of writing.

In the previous blog posts I explained how to export Power BI data to Excel and CSV here and here. As promised in this post I explain how to export data from Power BI Desktop to SQL Server.

Hans Peter Pfister has already explained how to export data from Power BI Desktop to SQL Server using R scripts. Although Hans has done a brilliant job, it might be a bit hard to make it work if you don’t have any R experience and you don’t even know how to install and call R libraries. That’s so true about myself, I’m NOT an R guy, but, who knows, maybe I will be. Smile 

But, what if you don’t want to go with R? If you are more involved with BI than analytics, then using R might not really be your cup of tea. Luckily, there is another way to export your Power BI data to SQL Server which is more BI friendly. You can export Power BI data to SQL Server using SSIS (SQL Server Integration Services). So if you are familiar with SSIS, then it might be your your preferred choice.

With respect to Hans, in this post, I explain his method of exporting data from Power BI Desktop to SQL Server more in details so that anyone who is not that familiar with R can make it work. I also explain how to export data from Power BI Desktop to SQL Server using SSIS. If there is any other methods you’re aware of please let me know in the comment section below.

Exporting Data from Power BI Desktop to SQL Server with R

As stated before, Hans has already explained this method here. So I don’t explain exactly what he did, but, I use his method to export data from existing Power BI Desktop model to SQL Server and I explain it step-by-step.

Requirements

To make this method work you need to:

  • Latest version of Power BI Desktop, you can download it from here
  • Have access to an instance of SQL Server, either on your own machine or on a server in your local network to export the data to
  • Either install R for Windows, you can download it from here OR using an existing R-Server OR install SQL Server 2016 R Services
  • Install RODBC library for R, you can download the library from here

Note: I haven’t installed R Studio and nothing went wrong.

Installing RODBC Library for R and SQL Server R Services

As mentioned earlier, you can install R OR SQL Server R Services OR R-Server, but, as I haven’t tried R-Server myself I just explain how to install RODBC in R and SQL Server R Services.

You have to download the library from the link provided above, then extract the contents of the zip file which contains a “RODBC” folder. Then all you really need to do is to copy the “RODBC” to the “library” folder exists in either R or SQL Server 2016 folders in your “Program Files” folder.

Library folder in R

Library folder in SQL Server 2016

How Does It Work?

Open an existing Power BI Desktop model that you’re willing to export its data to a SQL Server table and follow the steps below: (I use “Internet Sales” model created on top of AdventureWorksDW2016CTP3. You can download my Power BI Desktop model at the end of this post.)

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