Thursday, February 22, 2024

Data Flow in Power BI

Data flows in Power BI are a feature that allows users to build, manage, and share reusable data preparation processes across multiple Power BI datasets and reports. Think of data flows as self-service ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) capabilities within the Power BI service. Here's a breakdown of key aspects of data flows:

  1. Data Preparation: Data flows enable users to ingest data from various sources, perform transformations, and shape the data into desired formats. This can include tasks such as cleaning data, merging datasets, creating calculated columns, and aggregating data.

  2. Reusable Data Entities: Data flows create reusable data entities called entities. An entity represents a table of data that has been transformed and prepared within a data flow. These entities can be used in multiple datasets and reports within the Power BI service.

  3. Data Integration: Data flows support data integration by allowing users to combine data from disparate sources into a unified data model. Users can create relationships between entities within a data flow or between entities in different data flows.

  4. Scheduled Refresh: Data flows support scheduled refresh, ensuring that data is kept up-to-date. Users can schedule periodic refreshes to pull in the latest data from source systems and update the entities within data flows accordingly.

  5. Data Lineage and Impact Analysis: Data flows provide visibility into the lineage of data, showing how entities are connected and derived from source data. This lineage information helps users understand the flow of data and perform impact analysis when making changes.

  6. Data Profiling: Data flows include data profiling capabilities that allow users to analyze the quality and characteristics of their data. This can help identify data issues, such as missing values, outliers, and inconsistencies, during the data preparation process.

  7. Integration with Power Query: Data flows leverage the Power Query engine, which provides a familiar and powerful interface for data transformation. Users can build data flows using Power Query Online, a web-based version of Power Query, within the Power BI service.

  8. Data Governance and Security: Data flows adhere to the data governance and security features of the Power BI service. Administrators can apply security policies to control access to data flows and monitor usage through audit logs.

Overall, data flows in Power BI empower users to create and manage robust data preparation processes within the Power BI service, streamlining the data integration and analytics workflow.

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