What Is Metadata in Power BI?
Businesses have always needed and will always need software through which they can visualize data in a way that is easy to understand and process. One of the most common software packages utilized across the industry is Power BI—a collection of software services, applications, and connectors which aim to turn unrelated sources of data into something visually pleasing with meaningful insights.
However, not everyone understands what Power BI is and how it operates. Today, we are going to be looking at one important aspect behind the software—the metadata.
Once you understand the metadata behind this package, you can explore what a KPI in Power BI is and calculated tables in Power BI, or even get a Power BI certification from the ONLC website.
Power BI and Its Functionality
Power BI is a product released by Microsoft that specializes in Business Intelligence (BI) and aims to provide users access to a wide range of tools that can help them aggregate, analyze, visualize, and share data.
Power BI features a user interface that is simple to understand and can be integrated into other Microsoft products. Anyone can download the application on Windows machines or use it on mobile devices, including ones running Android or iOS.
One of the most fundamental types of data that gets stored on top of Power BI is metadata.
Metadata in Power BI
Metadata is information that is used as a means of describing other data. Metadata is generated when new data gets created, acquired, added to, deleted from, or altered. The main goal of metadata, in this case, is to make it easier for a person to program or locate information about specific data sets.
When Power BI Desktop creates reports, it also creates metadata for any corresponding PBIX and PBIT files. Through an enhanced dataset metadata feature, PBIX files are automatically upgraded to the enhanced metadata once they are opened.
Power BI also has metadata scanning functionality which facilitates the governance of an organization’s Power BI data by making it possible to quickly catalog and report on metadata. This is possible because of the utilization of a set of Admin REST APIs, collectively known as the scanner APIs.
The Value of Metadata
Metadata in Power BI plays an essential role when it comes to establishing security. Specifically, Power BI utilizes Azure Active Directory (AAD) to store and manage user identities, data, and metadata through the utilization of Azure, BLOB, and the Azure SQL Database.
Through an analysis of the metadata within Power BI, any administrator or developer will be able to handle a variety of different data types and massive data points with ease. There are numerous benefits that result from this, such as being able to combine and reshape data from different sources to create reports and dashboards.
Moving Forward With Power BI
Metadata within Power BI contains information surrounding the underlying data sources, referenced alongside all of the relevant report design and instructions used as a means of generating reports. The metadata can also contain source data refresh rates, automated report distribution schedules, and more.