The Impact of Storage and Hardware on Power BI Gateway Performance


“What are the critical considerations for selecting a virtual machine that will exclusively serve as a host for the Power BI Gateway, given that our database resides on a cloud server and requires a gateway for service refreshes? Specifically, how does the choice of temporary storage impact this setup, and what guidelines should be followed to determine the appropriate number of CPUs and the required size of RAM, especially when using the import method for data retrieval? Additionally, would opting for an SSD over a standard hard drive be advantageous in this scenario?”


Temporary storage plays a crucial role in the performance of the VM hosting the Power BI Gateway. It is used for processing data during refresh operations. If the temporary storage is insufficient, it could lead to slower performance during data load and refresh operations. Therefore, it’s essential to choose a VM with adequate temporary storage to handle the peak loads during data transformation and transfer.

CPU and RAM Guidelines

The number of CPUs and the size of RAM are determined by the workload of the Power BI Gateway. Microsoft recommends a VM with at least 8 CPU cores and 8 GB of RAM for a Power BI gateway. This recommendation serves as a baseline and should be adjusted based on specific use cases. For instance, if the gateway is handling large datasets or complex transformations, more CPUs and additional RAM may be necessary to maintain smooth operation.

SSD vs. Standard Hard Drive

Opting for an SSD over a standard hard drive can be advantageous, particularly for I/O-intensive operations. SSDs provide faster data access speeds, which can significantly improve the performance of data refreshes and queries. This is especially true for scenarios that involve large volumes of data or frequent data access. An SSD can help reduce latency and increase throughput, leading to a more responsive Power BI experience.

In summary, when choosing a VM for the Power BI Gateway, it’s important to consider the impact of temporary storage, ensure the VM is equipped with sufficient CPUs and RAM, and consider the benefits of SSDs for storage. These factors will contribute to a robust and efficient gateway setup that can handle the demands of data retrieval and transformation for Power BI service refreshes.

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