Power BI Connector: Install and Configure

Available from release 2020.4

Follow these steps to perform the necessary configuration for the Power BI connector on the Power BI side and in Alation.


Firewall Configuration

Open outbound TCP port 443 on Power BI Server for Rest API communication.

Authentication Requirements

  • Azure App registration

  • Power BI application registration credentials

I. Power BI Setup and Authentication

STEP 1: Register an Application in Azure Portal

  1. Navigate to App registrations in Microsoft Azure Portal.

  2. Click New registration:

  3. Provide the following information:

    • a name for the application

    • select the account types Accounts in this organizational directory only (<Org Name> only - Single tenant)

    • the Power BI URL as Redirect URI

  4. Click Register.

  5. On the next screen, note down Application (client) ID, Directory (tenant) ID, and Object ID:

  6. On left-hand side of the page, click Certificates & secrets to generate the client secret:

  7. Click New client secret under the Client secrets section and in the pop-up dialog provide the description for the client secret and click Add:

  8. Note down the newly generated client secret. You will need it for the next configuration steps.

STEP 2: Create a Security Group for Power BI

  1. Navigate to the Groups management section of Azure Portal.

  2. Add a new group and enter the following details:

    • Select Security for Group Type

    • Enter a Group Name and Description:

  3. Under Members, add the app created in Step 1 as the Member of the group.

  4. Click Create.

STEP 3: Enable Power BI Service Admin Settings

For an Azure application to be able to access the Power BI content and APIs, a Power BI admin needs to set Enable service principal access and Export Data flags in the Power BI admin portal.

  1. Login to Power BI.

  2. From the Settings menu, select the Admin portal:

  3. Navigate to Tenant Settings > Developer Settings and perform the following configuration:

    • Enable Allow service principals to use Power BI APIs

    • Choose Specific security groups and select the security group created in Step 2.

    • Click Apply to apply the settings:

  4. Go to Export Settings under Tenant Settings:

  5. If Export Data is already enabled for the entire organization, leave it as it is. If not, enable it for the security group created in Step 2:

  6. Click Apply to apply the settings.

STEP 4: Add the Service Principal to Workspace

For the Azure app to access the content of a workspace, add the Service Principal as its member.

  1. Select a workspace and choose Workspace access:

  2. Select the app in the dialog:

  3. Add the app as a Member and click Close.

II. Alation Setup and Authentication

STEP 1: Install the Connector


Installation of an OCF connector requires Alation Connector Manager to be installed as a prerequisite.

  1. If this has not been done on your instance, install the Connector Manager first: Install Alation Connector Manager.

  2. Install the Power BI connector using the steps in Install OCF BI Connectors .

STEP 2: Create and Configure a New BI Server Source

Add a New BI Server Source

  1. Log in to the Alation instance and add a new BI Server source: Apps > Sources > Add > BI Server. The Register a Business Intelligence Server screen will open.

  2. On this screen, from the Select a Business Intelligence Server type list, select the Power BI connector name (POWERBI) and enter a Title and a Description.

  3. Click Add. You will be navigated to your BI Server source Settings page.

Configure the Power BI Source

Perform the configuration on the Settings page:

  1. Specify Application Settings:



    Disable Hard Sync

    Leave this checkbox unselected.

    Selecting it will disable synchronization of BI objects between Alation and Power BI.


    This is not applicable from version 2021.2

    Disable Automatic Lineage Generation

    Select the Disable Automatic Lineage Generation checkbox to skip the creation of automatic Lineage after extraction. When automatic Lineage generation is disabled, during extraction Alation does not calculate Lineage data for this BI source.

    For more information, see Automatic Lineage Generation FAQ.


    This is applicable from version 2021.3

    Disable Permission Enforcement

    Leave this checkbox selected.

    Permission enforcement is not supported between Power BI and Alation.

    Disable Certification

    Leave this checkbox selected.

    Certification of BI objects in Power BI from Alation is not supported.

    Server URI

    Enter the server URI used to access Power BI

  2. Click Save to save the information you have entered.

  3. Specify Connector Settings:



    Power BI Base URL

    Enter the URL to access Power BI. Default value is https://app.powerbi.com/

    Power BI API URL

    Enter the API URL to access Power BI APIs. Default value is https://api.powerbi.com/v1.0/myorg/

    Power BI Client ID

    Enter the Power BI Client ID.

    Power BI Client Secret

    Enter the Power BI Client Secret.

    Power BI Tenant ID

    Enter the Power BI Tenant ID.

  4. Click Save.

  5. Under Test Connection, click Test to validate network connectivity.

  6. Under Extraction Settings, configure the metadata extraction. Turn on Selective Extraction, if required. Selective extraction settings are used to apply a filter to include or exclude a list of Workspaces.

  7. Click Get List of Projects to first fetch the list of Workspaces from Power BI.

  8. The status of the Get Projects action is logged in the Job History table at the bottom of the Settings page.

  9. If the folder synchronization is successful, a drop-down list of Workspaces will become enabled. Select one or more Workspaces to extract.

  10. Check the selected filter option. Available filter options are described below:

    Filter Option


    Extract all Project except

    Extract metadata from all Workspaces except from the workspaces selected.

    Extract only these Projects

    Extract metadata from only the selected Workspaces.

  11. Click Run Extraction Now to extract metadata. The status of the Extraction action is also logged in the Job History table at the bottom of the page.

  12. If you wish to automatically update the metadata in the Catalog, under Automated and Manual Extraction, turn on Enable Automated Extraction and select the day and time when metadata must be extracted. The metadata extraction will be automatically scheduled to run at the selected day and time.

Upto 2021.1:


From 2021.2:


From 2021.3:



Untitled Reports

Issue: Reports are cataloged in Alation as Untitled

Resolution: Edit the specific report visual in Power BI Desktop, make sure the Title bar is enabled, and provide a title for the visual. Publish the report to Azure.


The Power BI Connector extracts the measures and dimensions of a Report by exporting the PBIX file. There are some limitations to this export functionality from Microsoft: Considerations and troubleshooting.

The main limitations are summarized below:

  • If the administrator has turned off the ability to download data, the connector cannot download reports.

  • Datasets with incremental refresh cannot be downloaded to a PBIX file.

  • Datasets enabled for large models cannot be downloaded to a PBIX file: Large datasets in Power BI Premium.

  • Datasets modified by using the XMLA Endpoints cannot be downloaded.

  • If a Power BI report is based on a dataset in one workspace but is published to a different workspace, users will not be able to download it.

  • Parsing fails if the report size exceeds 500 MB.


Is it possible to provide “Popularity” for Power BI objects, similar to the way this is provided for Tableau?

Power BI does not have an API that provides this information.

Is it possible to identify the report owner from Power BI?

Power BI does not have an API that provides this information.