July updates for Power BI include new features, a new region, and more

Today, Microsoft has published its monthly recap of updates introduced to its Power BI service and mobile. In the month of July, some new features have been introduced, including service availability notifications, a capacity load testing tool for premium users, and plenty more.

Here's a summary of all the improvements that have been brought to the service last month:

  • Support for non-premium datasets for Paginated reports
  • General availability of Power BI aggregations
  • July update for On-premises data gateway
  • Send refresh failure notifications to others
  • Power BI Premium capacity testing tool
  • Service availability notifications (Preview)
  • New Look (Preview) in the Power BI service
  • New Power BI region in South Africa
  • Report page tooltips on Power BI mobile
  • Roadmap updates
Connection to datasets for everyone

Expanding a bit further on each of these changes, the ability to connect to datasets arrived for all users. Previously, this was only possible of the datasets were backed by premium capacity. However, non-premium users still cannot publish their created paginated reports. Moreover, Power BI aggregations also reached general availability last month. This is one of the largest scalability features in the Microsoft BI stack, and it helps enable better control over model architectures, as well as more efficient cost and performance management.

Moving on, On-premises gateway was bumped up to version 3000.7.149, bringing a .NET framework update, a bug fix for encrypted connection, and an improved mashup engine. There's also a new feature for scheduled refresh plans in Power BI Reports that enables specifying of additional users in email-enabled groups to receive the refresh failure notifications. This is noted to enable more reliable monitoring of scheduled refreshes. As far as notifications are concerned, an opt-in email notification system is available in preview, informing users whenever there is a service disruption or degradation. Tenant admins can also make a security group comprising of all users who should be receiving these.

Refresh failure notifications

For premium users, a new capacity load testing tool has been introduced. This helps test automated loads in a simulated environment, generating loads on different capacities. A GitHub repository has specifically been created to host the tools and its utilities. Microsoft also previewed a new look and feel for Power BI that makes it more consistent with the rest of Office 365; this was announced back in June at the tech giant's Business Applications Summit. For its mobile experience, the data visualization service now has report tooltips that can be viewed simply by holding and pressing on a relevant visual.

The service finally has its first available region in Africa, the South Africa North region located in the city of Johannesburg. This brings overall availability for Power BI up to 19 regions in Microsoft's public cloud, aside from six regions across its three national clouds.

Finally, the Power BI section in the Business Application Release Notes has also been recently updated to shed light on some upcoming changes, including new data protection capabilities, a revamped landing experience for mobile users, and more. Last week, Microsoft also announced new features in early access for Dynamics 365 2019 release wave 2, which feature some of the aforementioned changes, as well as updates across the Power Platform as a whole.

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