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Power BI Updates: Power BI Service UI; Capacity Planning; South Africa North availability region

by MSDW Reporter
Editorial Team,

As July came to a close, the Power BI team announced a new look for the Power BI Service. The public preview bills itself as a simplification of the user interface. Changes include last refresh dates for metadata, vertical navigation akin to Word and PowerPoint, an action bar highlighting the most used commands and a lighter color scheme. Edit mode isn't being changed, but many less-widely used commands are only visible once the menu is expanded.

Because the changes may feel unfamiliar to some, the new look will be activated with a toggle button for the time being, although it will become the default experience in two to three months.

The team is also adding service availability notifications, enabled after a tenant admin logs into the admin portal, picks a security group and approves notifications. Whenever disrupted or degraded service crops up, an email notification gets sent out. Power BI currently offers a 99.9 percent SLA but Microsoft wants to notify users of any unexpected service issues.

Since the time of the Business Applications Summit, Microsoft has offered a Capacity Planning tool that indicates how much user load Power BI Premium capacity can handle. The tool uses PowerShell to run automated load tests, simulating different reports and numbers of users. To prevent unrealistic performance numbers as a result of report caching, each automated report run renders with different filter values. It pairs well with the more established Performance Analyzer, letting Power BI Desktop test the effect of user load on performance.

While the tool is running, users can connect to XMLA endpoints and measure the queries with SQL Server Profiler. To view results in the metrics app, admins can expand the datasets tab, set it to refresh on-demand and wait about 15 minutes for the test to run. Tools and utilities related to the new capability are housed in a dedicated GitHub repository.

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