Microsoft's Power BI Embedded Gets Multi-Geo Support Preview Feature

The preview feature allows Power BI data to now be deployed to users in multiple regions around the world, which was not possible earlier.

Power BI

For the first time, users of Microsoft’s Power BI Embedded service in Azure will have the ability to deploy their business data across multiple regions around the globe so they can comply with varying data residency and security requirements.

The new multi-geo support for the application, which was unveiled in a preview version, was announced in an Aug. 22 post on the Microsoft Power BI Blog by Nimrod Shalit, a Microsoft program manager.

Power BI Embedded allows global companies, including multinational ISVs and other organizations, to embed analytics into their apps.

A public preview for Power BI Premium was announced in July, but now the new capability has arrived for customers of the non-premium Power BI product, which provides the same feature set and limitations of the Premium version, according to Shalit. Power BI Premium provides resources dedicated to running the Power BI service for an organization or team, delivering dependable performance and the ability to run larger data volumes. The Premium version also permits widespread distribution of content without requiring companies to purchase per-user licenses for viewers of the information.

Users of the Power BI Embedded service in Azure use APIs to embed their dashboards and reports. 

To add a multi-geo region in the preview version, users must choose the location of their desired region under the Create resource tab, which previously only offered a single region to locating the Power BI tenant, wrote Shalit. "With the release of multi-geo, you can choose between different regions to deploy your capacity."

The home tenant will always be shown as the default selection in the drop-down menu.

When a user chooses a different region, a message prompt will caution the user to be sure a change in region is desired. The message is intended to advise the user that the region change can have implications on compliance and performance of the application.

Users can monitor and see the Power BI operations they are conducting, which is done within what's called a Power BI capacity, through the main Power BI Embedded management page in the Azure portal. The same function can also be conducted within the Admin Portal in PowerBI.com. In the Admin portal, choose “Capacity settings,” and then switch to the “Power BI Embedded” tab.

Once created, the location of the Power BI Embedded resource cannot be changed, which is the same practice as other Azure resources, wrote Shalit. "In order to move your Power BI content to a different region, you will need to create a new capacity in the desired region, assign the workspaces from the existing capacity to the new one, and delete or pause the existing capacity."

Users also must be aware that if they delete a capacity without reassigning its content, all content residing in that capacity will be moved by default into shared capacity, which is the organization's home tenant, wrote Shalit.

As part of the preview version of the multi-geo feature, Microsoft also made changes to existing APIs to support the new feature.

The “Get Capacities

API returns a list of capacities the user has access to and now includes an additional property called “region” that specifies the capacity's location.

The “Assign To Capacity

API, which allows assigning a given workspace to a capacity, now enables the assignment of workspaces to capacity outside of a home region. It also now allows users to move workspaces between capacities in different regions. To perform this operation, the user still needs admin permissions on the workspace and admin or assign permissions on the target capacity.

All of the ARM API operations, including “Create

and “Delete,” will now support multi-geo.