In this article, we are going to highlight some of the PowerBI Data Refresh Limitations and restrictions. However, you will have to understand that, not all “Data Refreshes” happen in the same way. It also depends on the data source that you are using for your data model.
As a prerequisite, you will need to have a basic knowledge of PowerBI to have a proper understanding of this technology and related acronyms. So, lets being with the following table:
As you can see from the table above, when you are using the Import methods, you are only allowed to refresh your data a couple of times in a day. For most use cases, this should be sufficient. However, for real-time scenarios, you will ideally need to use “DirectQuery” as opposed to the Import method. See the screenshot below:
Here is a quick comparison of Import method vs. DirectQuery method:
In order to keep your data current, here are the types of data models which PowerBI supports:
Check out the table below. It will help you to understand the differences between Import vs. DirectQuery vs. Live Data. As you can see from the table below, the behavior is different for different connection methods, types, and data sources.
No data download
Queries triggered directly from Report visuals
No dataset download
MS SQL Server
Azure SQL Database (SMP)
Azure SQL Data Warehouse (MPP)
SAP HANA (In-Memory)
Custom Parameterized queries
Calculated Columns & Tables (via. DAX)
** Measures will create new information from the existing data already present in your model
Change Column Types
As you can see from the above comparison tables, when you try to refresh your imported data, you can only do it eight times for Pro and 48 times for Premium accounts. When you exceed these numbers, your Data Refresh jobs will fail. Sometimes, if you delete and recreate the existing data refresh schedules, you can exceed the prescribed limited. We got mixed results with this and is not a viable long term solution.
One important thing to understand is one user can own one dataset at a time. See the screenshot below:
So, a single dataset cannot be taken over by multiple people in a single tenant and refresh it simultaneously. Thus, the data refresh is per dataset in a given tenant.
We hope this article helped understand the various hard limits and feature specifications. It is highly recommended to know these limitations before implementing your next BI project based out of PowerBI.
Comments or suggestions are welcome in the comment box below. Thanks for visiting.
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