A Quick Dive Into Data Refresh

Microsoft Power BI Learning Series

Hemshree Madaan
Mar 20 · 3 min read

Till now, we have learnt about Power BI and how we can use its Data Sources. In this article, we will learn about the ‘Refreshable’ and ‘Non-refreshable’ Data Sources in Power BI. If you haven’t already checked the previous blog of Data sources, you can give it a read here.

In the previous blog, we had learnt about getting data in Power BI. Now when we click the ‘Get Data’ button to connect to some data that has been stored in a CSV file, you’ll notice that we have some different choices here, Local File, OneDrive Business, OneDrive Personal, SharePoint Team Sites and learn about importing files.

The real difference between the Local File and the OneDrive and SharePoint choices is in the refresh.

  • Non-Refreshable Data Files: When we upload a file from our local computer, we upload a non-refreshable data file. This means that Power BI doesn’t have the capability to reach down to our local computer and refresh the CSV file. This thing is also valid in the case of network shares. Therefore, if we connect to a local data source stored in a Network share, it won’t be refreshable.

If we want to refresh such files, we need to delete the file and start with the ‘Get Data’ process again and upload a refreshable data file.

  • Refreshable Data Files: If we want our files to automatically refresh, we need to push our data into cloud storage. We have multiple choices here to create refreshable files which include OneDrive for Business, OneDrive personal or SharePoint library. These files can be refreshed anytime and hence the data can be updated whenever required.

Best Practices for Data Refresh

Now that we have created a refreshable data file, we need to take care of some points which would help us to ensure that our reports and dashboards are using the refreshed data.

  • The data refresh should be kept within limits. If the data volume is large, consider the use of aggregations in Power BI.
  • The refreshes should be scheduled for less busy times to make the process easy and fast.
  • The datasets should be optimised in such a way that you are only using those tables or columns which your report is using.
  • Make sure that your dataset refresh time doesn’t exceed the maximum refresh duration. For this, Power BI Desktop can be used. If it is taking more than 120 minutes to refresh the data, one can choose Power BI Premium for an effective data refresh.
  • Lastly, you must ensure that you’re being notified about the refresh failure via email.

Further, you can take a glance at Microsoft Docs to learn more about the concept of Data Refresh in Power BI.

Hope you found this blog helpful. This is not the end here, we will meet again in the upcoming article, till then make yourself familiar with the data sources using this article.

If you have any suggestions, feel free to share them with me!

Happy learning till then!

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Hemshree Madaan

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