We are working in a group workspace. While working inside the group from the Power BI service, we add a new data connection to our on-prem SSAS server. Everything works fine. Next, we need to make some changes to our model definition, we need to add some new fields to several tables in the model. We use Visual Studio to make changes to the SSAS model and then deploy those changes. Next we run a refresh and verify the changes look good in Power BI desktop.
Here is the problem, when we go back to the onlne Power BI service and look at the dataset for our SSAS server inside the group workspace, nothing has changed. The new fields we added to tables in the model are not showing up on the Power BI service view. We tried t orefresh the data from the Power BI service, refresh the browser, log off and back on and still the changes never appeared in the dataset for our SSAS connection. Out of curiousity we create a duplicate connection to the SSAS model and the changes are there in the new connection but not in the old connection. If this is an active connection to the SSAS service, why is it not showing model definition changes?
Imagine building many reports off a model and at some point you are told, you need to add new semesters or date periods to a date dimension. You need to incorporate those changes in existing reports. If the Power BI service doesn't recoginize changes to a model in SSAS then you are dead in the water. If you want to delete and recreate the dataset to get the changes, you will lose every report tied to that existing dataset.
This probelm does not exist in the Power BI desktop. Only when working with a dataset inside a workspace group in the Power BI service does this problem exist. The only reason we are working within the workspace group is so we have a single publishing point for reports, where all of the editing capabilities are shared.
For the time being, we are just publishing reports to our personal workspace and then sharing it with the group workspace, which is not ideal.
This did bring up another interesting question for consideration though. If everything you do happens inside a group workspace, and you create many reports off a single dataset, what happens if somebody in that group comes along and deletes a dataset tied to all of your reports? I know you can restrict permissions in a group but what if its one of your power users who does this. Either way you would be in bad shape since I can see no way to recover that kind of data in Power BI. If you were publishing to your local workspace you would at least have another copy you could share again with the group. This has led me to reconsider working exclusively from inside a group workspace.
I'd be curious if you see this as a risk or how you might consider working around the data loss issue. This is probably something fit for another thread.
Hi SDP, I raised a ticket for our issue that looks to be exactly the same core problem, I have not had a reply yet:
There are core issues with dashboards tiles not updating when using the SSAS connector, even though the underlying reports update correctly after pressing the refresh button. These issues are interrelated and manifest differently with the iOS app, Android app and main website. I think the key cause is using dynamic time intelligence as a report filter, but secondarily with rebuilding the reports and repining the tiles.
I have setup the reports in the following manner:
XYZ Client V4.1 Today
XYZ Client V4.1 Yesterday
XYZ Client V4.1 WTD
XYZ Client V4.1 MTD
XYZ Client V4.1 YTD
XYZ Client V4.1 Last Month
XYZ Client V4.1 Last Week
Each report has a DashBoard with the same name that have tiles pinned from the underlying report. All reports have a single Dataset using the latest SSAS connector. The main difference between the reports above is a report level filter using time intelligence within SSAS to create a dynamic filter. Eg XYZ Client V4.1 Today has a filter TODAY that is a dimension hierarchy on the main date time dimension for the tabular model. The TODAY hierarchy automatically calculates the date for the today and displays the data automatically. Similarly, XYZ Client V4.1 Yesterday does the same filtering for YESTERDAY and each report for their respective time period. The reason for this is so that users, especially using the mobile apps, can access the right report pre-filtered for the date period. The SSAS tabular model is fully reprocessed at the beginning of each day, and then partially reprocessed during the day for data updates. We are using Groups to display the reports to the right set of end users, and the users are members only to stop editing.
The problem is that the tiles do not automatically update once pinned and the behaviour is different depending upon the Power BI client used:
Web client (main Power BI website) – reports update correctly if the refresh button pressed. Tiles DO NOT update unless the Dataset ‘refresh now’ option is manually clicked. The problem for the member only users is that the dataset is not visible, so they cannot initiate the refresh of the tiles, but can refresh the reports.
Android app – the android app seems to be the best for mitigating the web client issue as the android app seems to mimic the dataset ‘refresh now’ when using the refresh option in the app. i.e. if the web site is updated using ‘refresh now’ then the android app is automatically updated, if you only use the android app, then refreshing within the app does update the specific report with 5 minutes. This means Android users such as myself are essentially ok, as the app triggers refreshing even for member only users in a group.
iOS app – unlike the android app, the apple app does not seem to refresh the tiles at all. The only way the apple app updates is if the web site tiles are in a state to update, and then the iOS app updates as well. The issue is the as per point 1, is that member only users in a group cannot even trigger the ‘refresh now’ option themselves. The iOS refresh behaviour is definitely different than the android app as we have tested this in IT using example phones and user accounts. In simple terms, due to point 1, iOS Power BI users do not get updating dashboards, which means Power BI is useless to them
currently, if I rebuild the reports with different visuals or filters, I delete the tiles from the corresponding Dashboard after renaming it with a new version number, and then repin the tiles. Once this has been done, it seems even android app users cannot refresh their dashboards until they have logged on to the PowerBI web site first. Then the android app will refresh if they manually refresh from the mobile app. This behaviour seems unfriendly, as you should be able to access updated dashboards in the most convenient client to you.
Overall to try to mitigate this behaviour, I have updated the SSAS connector and even restart it after the full SSAS reprocess. Nothing makes any difference to the behaviour described.
To provide a meaningful Power BI experience I suggest:
change the iOS app refresh to behave in the same way as the android app refresh
link the report refresh button to the dashboard tiles so that pressing the report refresh triggers the tiles to refresh in the same way as if ‘refresh now’ on the dataset has been clicked
fix the backend so that the tiles refresh automatically regardless of manual refreshing. For example, allow a scheduled dataset ‘refresh now’ for SSAS datasets
If you want a test user to reproduce the behaviour, please ask and I will quickly setup this.
Currently Power BI is not being used by many users as it simply is not consistently updating for them. I also cannot rollout to our external customers without a consistent refresh behaviour.