Although the Power BI gateways have been around for some time now, they weren’t really easy to use. Depending on what you needed to do – refresh your data from the Power BI or use the live connection method – you had to install a different gateway.
In the past you had two different gateways:
Next to the annoyance of having to install two separate software packages for your Power BI cloud solution, you would think there is no real issue. Wouldn’t it be for the fact that you can’t install both packages on the same machine. So if you would need to refresh data and have live connections in one environment, at least two different machines on-premise are required to make this work: one to install the personal gateway, and the other to install the enterprise gateway.
The general idea was that at some point in time these two gateways would both come together in the Enterprise Gateway. That finally happened in July this year. After launching the Enterprise Gateway in February 2016, Microsoft announced the new Enterprise Gateway that combines both packages at the beginning of July. As part of the announcement, Microsoft also changed the name of the Enterprise Gateway to On-premises data gateway. This means that now we only need to install one software package on one on-premise machine to get a connection between PowerBI.com and on premise data sources. You can then setup one or several connections, depending on your setup.
The new on-premises data gateway has more to offer. It behaves as a bridge and connects not only Power BI but also allows a secure data transfer between on-premise data and the Power BI, PowerApps services, Microsoft Flow and others. This means a big step forward for connecting Power BI with on-premise systems. The new data gateway also opens doors to the future to not only be limited to PowerBI.com, but also giving connection possibilities to other applications.