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Demystifying the XMLA – Read Capabilities in Power BI Premium

Jul 4, 2020

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What are XMLA endpoints? 

This is a feature which helps to create connectivity of third-party tools to Power BI datasets. XMLA endpoints enable access to the Analysis Services engine in the Power BI Service.  

The read and write capabilities are only available in Power BI Premium workspace. Let us dig deep to understand the ‘read’ capability of XMLA endpoints from this blog. 

The XMLA endpoints concept is not new but became more popular after Microsoft`s Public Preview announcement in March 2019. This highlighted the availability of third-party client connectivity (e.g.: DAX Studio, Power BI Helper, and Tableau) to the Power BI dataset hosted in the Power BI Service along with existing Microsoft tools such as SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) and SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT). 

Until now, connections to the Power BI Dataset were enabled only with Power BI Desktop and Excel focusing on visualizations. However, with the help of XMLA endpoint connectivity, we can now connect to various third-party tools as said above. Microsoft’s Public Preview this year (in March 2020) has also announced the writing capabilities using XMLA endpoints (in addition to read-only).

Demystifying the XMLA – Read Capabilities in Power BI Premium

Advantages of XMLA Endpoints

  • Third-party tool
  • Single model view
  • Test limits of Power BI datasets
  • Consume datasets using non-Microsoft tools
  • Connect to SQL Server Profiler for easy tracing and debugging

XML endpoints help customers to connect the Power BI datasets using third-party tools such as Tableau and DAX Studio. Below furnished are some of the tools that can connect to Power BI Datasets hosted in Power BI Service through XMLA endpoints.

1. SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS)

Open SSMS, click on “Connect” and select “Analysis Services”. Paste the workspace name into the Server name, give the correct authentication details, and click on “Connect”.

Demystifying the XMLA – Read Capabilities in Power BI Premium

Once the connection is established, we can access the data from Power BI Datasets.

Demystifying the XMLA – Read Capabilities in Power BI Premium

2. DAX studio

Open DAX Studio. Select Tabular server in Connect window. Enter the workspace connection link in the Tabular server and click on Connect.

Demystifying the XMLA – Read Capabilities in Power BI Premium
Demystifying the XMLA – Read Capabilities in Power BI Premium

Here you will be able to see all the tables in DAX Studio from Power BI Dataset.

3. Report Builder (Paginated Reports)

Open Power BI Report Builder App. Since we are trying to consume data from Power BI dataset hosted in Power BI service, right-click on the Data Source and select the Add Power BI Dataset Connection option.

Demystifying the XMLA – Read Capabilities in Power BI Premium

Select an import or direct query dataset from Power BI service

Demystifying the XMLA – Read Capabilities in Power BI Premium

What we have covered in this blog:

  • Definition of XMLA endpoints
  • Advantages of XMLA endpoints
  • How does the customer benefit using XMLA endpoints?
  • Examples of various tools and its connection to Power BI service

Read more about  XMLA Endpoint-Write Operations in Power BI Premium from the blog titled ‘Demystifying the XMLA Endpoint-write operations in Power BI Premium‘.

Learn more about Microsoft Power BI services offerings from Visual BI solutions here.


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