Microsoft Takes Wraps Off Power BI Improvements
- By Kurt Mackie
- October 28, 2016
Microsoft this week announced several enhancements coming to its Power BI product, including the ability for IT to assign the role of a Power BI service administrator to specific personnel.
While it's now available, role assignments for IT personnel have to be done using a PowerShell script, as described in Microsoft's announcement. The capability eventually will be coming to the Office 365 Admin Center portal, Microsoft promised, but it's still a couple of months off. Microsoft expects the roles assignment capability will be available in the Office 365 Admin Center by year's end.
Microsoft previously had required that IT personnel have Office 365 Global Administrator privileges in place to be a Power BI service administrator. The new assignment capability likely will ease delegation issues for IT organizations, as well as for partners that manage Power BI services.
Preview of Reports Using SSRS
Microsoft also announced a preview of Power BI reports based on SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS). The preview is available via the Azure Marketplace, with Microsoft's "getting started" instructions located in this blog post. The preview is a preconfigured virtual machine that will connect to both Tabular and Multidimensional analysis service models, according to Microsoft's description.
Power BI is an online service right now. Tapping SSRS is an important new capability because it will allow Power BI's reporting capabilities to work with hybrid and premises-based infrastructures, according to this Redmond article.
In other Power BI news for IT pros, Microsoft noted this week that its Power BI Desktop application running on Windows 10 can throw an error when loading a report. End users experiencing this problem will see the following "Unexpected Error" message:
This implementation is not part of the Windows Platform FIPS validated cryptographic algorithms.
The error likely pops up because of a "security hardening requirement added as part of the Windows 10 Security Technical Implementation Guideline," according to a blog post by Sam Lester of Microsoft. FIPS, or Federal Information Processing Standards, are encryption standards used in document processing. Power BI doesn't support FIPS, according to a blog post by Aaron Bator of Microsoft:
FIPS is a setting which restricts the algorithms which can be used to encrypt data. SharePoint administrators are usually familiar with this setting having learned that SharePoint versions are not FIPS-compliant. Turns out that Power BI Desktop -- at least at the moment -- is not compliant with FIPS either.
Bator offered a workaround script that will avoid throwing the error. However, the workaround dodges a Power BI Desktop app security protection.
"Obviously, this bypasses the security feature intended by setting the registry key, but only for this application, which may be a security posture you are able to live with," Bator wrote.
Microsoft's Power BI service is a subscription-based suite of business intelligence technologies, offered through Office 365 plans. It leverages the familiar Excel application for so-called "self-service" data charting by end users.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.