Issues (& solutions) with Power BI Analysis Services Connector

Last couple of weeks, I tried to install the Power BI Analysis Services Connector, and ran into a few issues (and found some solutions). I thought it'd be good to share them, in case anyone runs into the same issues. So here's my story of installing Power BI Analysis Services connector - translated to a list of findings and solutions / workarounds. Read on!

As stated above, this is kind of the 'installation story' with Analysis Services Connector (formerly shipped as Data Management Gateway) at my current employer. Here are the issues we encountered:

  • Service account is local by default (no way to change this during setup)
  • The ASC (Analysis Services Connector) service is still called DMG (Data Management Gateway)
  • Proxy functionality is broken (at least during setup / configuration)
  • Setup wizard crashes after typing in Federated AD login

Not all issues are major (in fact, IMHO only one of them is: the lack of thorough proxy support), but all issues must be tackled before the Analysis Services Connector worked over here. Here's our story:

Service account is local (minor)

After having installed the ASC, the service is configured automatically using a local service account1. In contrast to SQL Server, during setup you don't get the opportunity to change the service account.

At our company, non-domain accounts do not have network access. So although the setup offers to configure the gateway as soon as the setup is finished, in fact this is pretty useless in our situation: we first need to change the service account before being able to configure the gateway. With SQL Server you'd do this using the SQL Server Configuration Manager, with the ASC/DMG service this is not possible: you need to change this via the Windows Services dialog (services.msc) - which brings up our next chapter 🙂

The ASC service is still called DMG (minor)

When starting the Services dialog, suddenly it seemed I forgot to uninstall the old DMG. Strange, for as far as I could remember the ASC refused to install as long as the DMG was still installed. But no - the real case is that although the shipped product is now called ASC (and will be called Enterprise or Personal Gateway), the service running behind the scenes still is called 'Data Management Gateway':

AS Displayed as DMG

So in order to change the account running the ASC2, change the user running the DMG service. Remember to restart the service after changing the account!

Proxy not functioning properly for the setup wizard (major)

Still, with a valid domain account in place, the wizard kept displaying the next window:

AS Connector No Internet Connection

After investigating our firewall logs, we could see the configuration wizard ignored the proxy settings we set up in Windows. We tried to set the proxy on several places:

  • Logged in as the Power BI service-account, we changed Windows' proxy settings
  • We added the following code to all existing .config files in the ASC folders3:
     

All this to no avail - ASC keeps trying (at least during the 'login' step of the config wizard) to navigate to the preferred DNS Server, without contacting the proxy first. We resorted to changing the preferred DNS server to the proxy server's address4, followed by a 'ipconfig /flushdns'.

Setup wizard crashes after typing Federated AD account (minor)

The next issue that appeared was an error message after typing in my company Power BI account (but before typing in my password) - it looked like this (translations added by me):

AS connector error logging in

After some research I read this post in the Power BI forums, which described an issue that looked very much like ours. In short: the cause of this error is the use of Federated AD with Azure, with only Windows authentication supported as authentication method. It turns out the setup wizard doesn't support this (yet?), so we had to change our authentication policy and enable the Forms Authentication too:

  • On the ADFS server, open the ADFS snap-in, click Authentication Policies from the left tree navigation.
  • In the Authentication Policies section on the right panel, choose Edit Global Primary Authentication.
  • Under the Intranet section, check the Forms Authentication option.
  • Save the changes.

ADFS Add Windows Authentication

After this, login was not a problem anymore.

Time out when registering gateway

Lastly (when the wizard's almost finished) the following error message appeared:

AS Timeout

In online documentation of the Personal Gateway something is mentioned about machines with only 1 processor - but our VM has two cores.

The solution for us was to change 'diahost.exe.config' in a way that the proxy was enforced for this process (too). In order to do that, change the following line in diahost.exe.config5

into:

Don't forget to restart the DMG service after this change!

Success!

After these steps, the wizard continued the usual way.

AS Finished

Two Last Things to keep in mind

  1. Currently you don't see the ASC inside the 'Gateway Management' section in Power BI. This is somewhat confusing, but I think you'll see only the Personal & Enterprise Gateways here - in my case, I still see the following screen although I have already three Analysis Services Connectors configured:
    No EG
  2. You cannot 'just' connect to your SSAS server from within Power BI through the ASC. You can connect to your SSAS models in two ways:
    1. Create an offline report (for example in the Power BI Desktop) and connect that to your local SSAS server. Once you upload that report to Power BI, you can remain working on the local SSAS instance within the online Power BI environment.
    2. Plug into the SSAS model directly via the online Power BI environment. Choose Get Data > Databases > SSAS (Thanks @DaveRuijter for pointing out!)

Conclusion

We had to figure several things out about the ASC. Luckily we managed - with the help of the community, docs and common knowledge about networking - to get them out of the way. Looking forward to a time when everything just works - until then, we'll blog about our solutions 😉 .

Founder of this blog. Business Intelligence consultant, developer, coach, trainer and speaker at events. Currently working at Dura Vermeer. Loves to explain things, providing insight in complex issues. Watches the ongoing development of the Microsoft Business Intelligence stack closely. Keeping an eye on Big Data, Data Science and IoT.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Experiences with Power BI Enterprise Gateway | @MSBIBLog

Next ArticleSSRS non-ugly #4: Think About Layout