One of the key improvements in the new Power BI Preview is the ability to push data into datasets instead of pulling data from data sources such as Excel, SQL, etc. This is a big change because it creates the possibility of incrementally updating dashboards in real time and providing the ability to integrate Power BI Preview with analytics engines that push data such as Hadoop, Azure Streaming Analytics or sensors generating data in real time.
A good example of this is the demo just published that shows the integration of Azure Stream Analytics and Power BI Preview – stream analytics pushes data into Power BI so that it can dashboards can be updated in near real time.
Another example is the new REST API – Microsoft has published a new API that allows you to push data into a dataset instead of requiring you to preconfigure a dataset to pull data. This API will programmers to send data into Power BI incrementally and in real time.
Imagine the scenarios that this will start to enable in the near future:
- Pushing data from Hadoop into Power BI to provide a dashboarding layer on top of analytics processing jobs.
- Pushing data in real time through Azure Streaming Analytics
- Pushing data from web sites, custom applications, etc.
The current REST API is quite limited but the potential is massive…stay tuned as it will inevitably improve over the coming months.