Azure Power BI Scanner OCF Connector: Overview

Alation Cloud Service Applies to Alation Cloud Service instances of Alation

Customer Managed Applies to customer-managed instances of Alation

Use the Azure Power BI Scanner OCF connector to catalog Power BI as a BI source in Alation. The connector catalogs Power BI objects such as workspaces, apps, dashboards, tiles, dataflows, datasets, and reports, enabling users to search and find Power BI objects from the Alation user interface.

This connector supports Power BI Cloud and Azure Government Cloud and does not support on-premise instances of Power BI, Azure Power BI on GCC High (Microsoft 365 Government Community Cloud High), and China Cloud.

Note

Newer versions of the Power BI Scanner OCF connector may require newer Alation versions. See Azure Power BI Scanner OCF Connector Release Notes for information on version compatibility.

The connector is available as a Zip file that can be uploaded and installed in the Alation application. The latest connector package can be downloaded from the Alation Customer Portal. Ask an Alation admin with access to Customer Portal to download the connector from the Connectors section (Customer Portal > Connectors).

Team

The following administrators are required to install this connector:

  • Alation Server Admin:

    • Installs the connector

    • Creates a Power BI source

    • Provisions Alation API tokens

  • Azure administrator:

    • Creates an application in Azure Cloud to be used as a service principal

    • Provides the application’s ID, tenant ID, and secret key to Server Admin

    • Creates a security group and adds the created application to this group

  • Power BI administrator:

    • Grants consent to access Power BI admin APIs under the Power BI tenant settings

    • Grants the necessary workspace permissions

Scope

The table below shows what metadata is extracted by the connector.

Feature

Scope

Availability

Metadata

Power BI instance

Catalog a Power BI instance in the Azure Cloud environment. The connector supports both Pro and Premium instances of Power BI.

Yes

Workspaces

Catalog workspaces in Power BI.

Yes

Classical workspaces

Catalog classical workspaces.

Yes

Workspace description

Extract the description of a workspace.

No

Filter workspaces

Ability to include or exclude specific workspaces.

Yes

Power BI reports

Catalog reports in a workspace.

Yes

Power BI paginated reports

Catalog paginated reports in a workspace.

Yes

Large size Power BI reports

Catalog reports that are large in size.

Yes

Power BI reports from different workspace datasets

Catalog reports created from datasets under different workspaces.

Yes

Power BI report object data sources

Catalog datasets used by report objects.

Yes

Paginated report object data sources

Catalog data source used by a paginated report.

No

Power BI dashboards

Catalog dashboards in a workspace.

Yes

Power BI dashboard tiles

Catalog tiles of the dashboard.

Yes

Power BI apps

Catalog apps from Power BI.

Yes

Power BI datasets

Catalog datasets from Power BI.

Yes

Power BI dataflows

Catalog dataflows from Power BI.

Yes*

Datasets without reports

Catalog datasets which does not have reports.

Yes

Datasets with XMLA

Catalog datasets that are managed by XMLA endpoints.

Yes

Datasets with incremental refresh

Catalog datasets with incremental refresh.

Yes

Dataset fields

Catalog fields of dataset and DAX expressions of the fields.

Yes

Dataflow fields

Catalog fields of dataflows.

Yes

Report pages and visuals

Catalog pages and visuals of a report.

No

Report object dimensions

Catalog dimensions of a report object.

Yes**

Report measures

Catalog measures and measure expressions of a report object.

No

Report owner

Owners or authors who created a report.

No

Dashboard object measures and dimensions

Catalog dimensions and measure of a dashboard object.

No

Image preview

Ability to show a thumbnail image of reports and dashboards.

No

Popularity

Popularity of dashboards and reports.

No

Security replication

Replicate access control to reports and dashboards.

No

Filter reports

Ability to include or exclude certain reports.

No

Filter applications

Ability to include or exclude certain applications.

No***

Source description

Extraction of descriptions from dataset fields.

Yes****

Lineage*****

Table-level lineage for report objects

Generate table-level lineage for report objects.

Cross-data-source lineage is supported for:

  • Amazon Redshift

  • Azure Databricks

  • Azure Databricks Unity Catalog (from connector version 2.1.0)

  • Azure SQL DB (from connector version 2.1.0)

  • Azure Synapse (from connector version 2.1.0)

  • Databricks on AWS

  • Google BigQuery

  • MySQL

  • Oracle

  • PostgreSQL

  • Snowflake

  • SQL Server

  • Teradata

Yes

Column-level lineage for report objects

Generate lineage on the column level. Users can trace lineage from upstream data source columns to report columns in a Power BI source.

Yes

* Dataflows are extracted starting in Alation version 2023.3.3. For details on dataflow extraction, refer to Azure Power BI Scanner OCF Connector: Dataflows.

** Extraction of report object dimensions is supported from Alation version 2024.1.2 and connector version 2.2.0.

*** Apps cannot be directly selected and filtered. Filtering of apps is done based on the workspaces selected for extraction. Only the apps that belong to extracted workspaces will be cataloged in Alation.

**** Extraction of source descriptions is supported from connector version 1.4.3.

***** Lineage:

  • Lineage for datasets that are created through Power BI dataflows is available from Alation version 2023.3.3. In older versions, lineage for datasets is only available if a dataset is created directly from the underlying data source.

  • Column-level lineage is supported starting in Alation version 2024.1.2 and connector version 2.2.0. Column-level lineage is not available by default and requires enablement: Enable Column-Level Lineage for Power BI.

Power BI Objects Hierarchy

The following diagram shows the hierarchy of Power BI objects and how they are cataloged in Alation:

../../../_images/powerb1.png

The Use of Power BI APIs

The connector makes use of the Power BI Scanner API and Power BI REST API.

Power BI Scanner API

The following table lists Power BI Scanner API endpoints used by the connector to extract metadata from Power BI. The base URIs for Power BI are:

  • https://api.powerbi.com

  • https://api.powerbigov.us - For Azure Government Cloud

Type

Category

API Endpoint

Description

Authentication

Authentication

https://login.microsoftonline.com/common/oauth2/token

Gets the access token for authentication

Workspace

Admin

https://api.powerbi.com/v1.0/myorg/groups

Gets workspaces

Apps

Admin

{BaseURL}/v1.0/myorg/admin/apps

Gets Apps using admin API

Modified Workspaces

Scanner

{BaseURL}/v1.0/myorg/admin/workspaces/modified

Gets the list of modified Workspace IDs

Scan Request

Scanner

{BaseURL}/v1.0/myorg/admin/workspaces/getinfo?lineage=True&datasourceDetails=true&datasetSchema=true&datasetExpressions=true

Gets the scan id required to get scan status

Scan Status

Scanner

{BaseURL}/v1.0/myorg/admin/workspaces/scanStatus/{scan_id}

Gets scan status for posted workspace IDs

Scan Result

Scanner

{BaseURL}/v1.0/myorg/admin/workspaces/scanResult/{scan_id}

If scan status is “Success”, returns all the Power BI artifacts

Note

From connector version 2.2.4 onwards, the connector will only extract workspaces that are accessible by the service principal whose credentials are configured in the connector settings.

Power BI Scanner API Limitation

The Power BI Scanner API does not return datasets with object-level security due to a caching issue, because of which Alation will not show connections, fields, and lineage for such datasets. Caching happens after every successful dataset refresh and republish only if the following conditions are met:

Power BI REST API

From version 2.2.0, the connector uses the Export Report in Group REST API to enable extraction of report fields (dimensions). The ability to catalog report fields powers the column-level lineage feature.

Type

Category

API Endpoint

Description

Export Report in Group

REST

{BaseUrl}/v1.0/myorg/groups/$workspace_id/reports/$report_id/Export

Downloads the PBIX report files from Power BI

Power BI PBIX Download Limitations

Some lineage information may not be extractable due to limitations in downloading PBIX files. For details, refer to Download a report from the Power BI service to Power BI Desktop in Power BI documentation.