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Power Query Updates in Power BI Desktop August 2021 Release

This content applies to: Power BI Desktop

The Power BI Desktop August 2021 Release contains many Power Query-related updates, summarized below for easy reference. To view the full list of feature releases in Power BI Desktop August 2021, read the full Power BI blog post here.

One Dataflow Connector (Connector Update)

We are happy to announce an update to Dataflow Connectors in Power BI and the consolidation of the two existing Dataflow connectors into a single Dataflows connector. Dataflow customers will now be able to leverage a single connector to discover, navigate and get data from dataflows created in either Power BI workspaces or Power Apps Environments. In addition, the new connector will provide Power BI Premium dataflow customers with improved performance when authoring dataflows or datasets by leveraging Power BI’s enhanced compute engine. The Dataflows connector can significantly reduce evaluation time for steps performed over computed entities such as performing joinsdistinctfilters, and group by operations. There are two specific benefits:

  1. Downstream users connecting to this new Dataflows connector in Power BI Desktop can take advantage of better performance in authoring scenarios because the new connector supports query folding.
  2. Dataset refresh operations can also fold to the enhanced compute engine, meaning even incremental refresh from a dataset can fold to a dataflow, improving refresh performance and potentially decreasing latency between refresh cycles. Just make sure the compute engine is explicitly set to “On.”

As part of the consolidation into one connector, the Previously named ‘Power Platform Dataflows’ connector will be renamed to ‘Dataflows’ connector and the ‘Power BI Dataflows’ connector will be renamed to ‘Power BI Dataflows (Legacy)’ connector and will eventually be removed from the ‘Get Data’ menu.

All existing Dataflows and Datasets created using either connector will continue to function without interruption, will not be impacted by the name changes, and no action is required to maintain their long-term functioning. When creating new Datasets from Dataflows, we recommend choosing the ‘Dataflows’ connector in ‘Get Data’ in Power BI Desktop under the ‘Power Platform’ category. If you have existing datasets connected to Dataflows, consider trying out the new connector to take advantage of the improvements in this initial release.

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Automy Data Analytics (New Connector)

We are excited to announce the release of the Automy Data Analytics connector, by ACEROYALTY! Here are some notes from the ACEROYALTY team.

We are happy to announce the new Automy Get Data connector this month!

Extend the reporting capabilities of Automy and capture it within your Power BI architecture to quickly share across your organization. Automy provides integrated software and data solutions for process automation. The Automy connector for Power BI brings a whole new experience to analytics. Our market-leading process automation capabilities enable you to combine multiple data from workflows and processes, into a single virtual data layer on-demand without copying or moving data. All your automation data in Power BI without any manual work. Reduce time & increase accuracy when getting data, adding calculated columns and other query edits, and pulling in the data from custom fields, are just a few capabilities that Automy connector brings.

This connector can be found in the Online Services category of the Get Data dialog.

Azure Databricks (Connector Update)

The optional flag “Fast Evaluation” improves refresh performance of DirectQuery reports and imports. This is available for Databricks SQL and for Databricks Runtime versions starting at 8.3 and later.

Dremio (Connector Update)

The connector has been updated to Version 1.0.7. Here is the set of updates from the Dremio team.

Add support for connecting to Dremio Cloud. The Dremio Cloud connector shows up as a separate connector along with the previous connector for software now renamed as Dremio Software. The methods of authentication available for Dremio Cloud are Azure Active Directory and Personal Access Token. Method of authentication for Dremio Software is unchanged.

Google BigQuery (Connector Update)

We are excited to announce support for native database queries for the Google BigQuery connector.

Similar to SQL and Snowflake connectors, this will allow you to input a Google BigQuery native query and build reports on top of it. In this initial version, you will need to specify a Project ID and use fully qualified table names of the format ProjectID.Schema.Table.

For example: SELECT * FROM ProjectID.Schema.Table.

We are working on improving this experience in upcoming updates.

Quickbase (Connector Update)

We are introducing a new version of the Quickbase connector. Firstly, the logo and company name has been updated to new brand identity.

Also, the new connector will use the more modern RESTful API, which you can read more about here. Briefly, this API has been designed from the ground up to ensure that we provide a consistent experience, with capabilities that we will continue to expand on and invest in for years to come. As a result of the upgrade, we have been able to implement several backend performance improvements and bug fixes. Functionally, we have been able to add support for Custom Fields that are defined in reports. As new capabilities are added to the RESTful API we will continue pass through those benefits to the connector.

Download Power BI Desktop

The full list of updates for the August release of Power BI Desktop can be found in the August 2021 Power BI Feature Summary blog post. To access these features, and more, use the link below to download Power BI Desktop!

Desktop Download button


The Power Query team is interested in your feedback! Feel free to leave a comment below with your thoughts.