Wednesday, February 3, 2016

PowerBI dataset sharing via content packs

I've recently started using PowerBI content packs for sharing data with my colleagues (as well as different group workspaces) and noticed a few weird and misleading things around them. In this blog post I'd like to share my findings.

Refreshing an organizational content pack
The documentations basically says the following:
As the content pack creator, you can schedule refresh of the datasets.  When you create and upload the content pack, that refresh schedule is uploaded with the datasets. If you change the refresh schedule, you need to re-publish the content pack (see above).

You might think that datasets within the content pack are self-sufficient and can update themselves but that's not how it works.In reality, when you update the main dataset, the changes will be applied everywhere. Refresh schedule settings at the dataset copies might show absolutely irrelevant information in this case. Here's the one which was actually updated on Feb 3 and is setup to update automatically.

Dataset model (schema) updates
When you update SQL database schema, the changes will not be picked up automatically during the scheduled refresh, but you don't need to update content pack either. All you need is to refresh the data in the PowerBI Desktop, and then publish the report. This will update associated dataset and all it's copies even without updating content pack.

I'll add more similar findings here if I come across any in the future.