The enterprise Business Intelligence and IT community have been waiting with bated breath for a feature that could revolutionize the way we work with Power BI. Finally, that day has arrived – Power BI CI/CD DevOps solutions are now available in Preview form for testing and prototyping. This new addition promises to be a serious game-changer, further elevating Power BI as a tool of choice for BI professionals.
The journey towards this moment has not been without its challenges. Until recently, Power BI presented significant obstacles when it came to Continuous Integration & Continuous Deployment (CI/CD), particularly concerning version control and code sharing. Achieving DevOps and CI/CD was possible, but it required creative work-arounds and manual steps.
The Promise of Power BI Projects and Git Integration
The solution to these challenges lies in the new Power BI Projects and Git integration feature set. This feature set consists of three capabilities:
- Data models and reports defined as separate objects, stored as text files and folders
- Native Git integration in a local file system repository
- Git integration and file synchronization for a published workspace
This setup allows different developers to manage the data model and report separately, facilitating version control and simplifying the process of merging changes.
Introducing the New PBIP Project Storage Format
The innovation doesn’t stop there. Power BI Desktop now offers an option to store data as “Power BI project files”. Rather than a single PBIX file that contains a “black box”, all object definitions are now stored in a series of files, organized in either the “Dataset” or “Report” folders. This new storage format ensures that each file contains clear text that can be edited with a standard text editor, with most definition files stored in the readable and intuitive JSON format.
The Future Looks Bright
With these changes, Power BI is on the verge of a new era, one where CI/CD DevOps solutions become an integral part of the BI workflow. As these features are currently in Preview form, they represent the first steps towards managing BI data model and report projects in a standardized environment, all ready for true DevOps integration and automated build and deployments.
Looking ahead, we can expect even more integration capabilities, including the ability to automate the Build process for a Git repo created from a Power BI project, with Build and deployment pipelines managed in Azure DevOps.
So, how can you take advantage of this leap forward in Power BI capabilities? Make sure you have the June 2023 edition of Power BI Desktop installed from the Microsoft Store, enable the Power BI Project (.pbip) save option on the Options dialog, and then restart Power BI Desktop.
The future of Power BI is here, and it is shaping up to be an exciting time for the enterprise Business Intelligence and IT community. Power BI CI/CD DevOps solutions are no longer just a dream – they are here, and they promise to revolutionize the way we work with Power BI.