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Difference between Data Refresh PBD and Scheduled Refresh?

Hi Guys! I really hope yall can help me out with this one ^^

I'am fairly new to Power BI and recently learned about scheduled refreshes through PowerBI Service.

I got confused when I heard that in order to set scheduled refreshes for the semantic model onehas to download and configure a On-premises data gateway.

This lead me to the following two questions:

  1. What is the difference between Data refreshes in PowerBI Desktop through storage modes (for example: DirectQuery mode) and Scheduled Data Refreshes through PowerBI Service?

  2. Why does PowerBI Service need an On-premises data gateway to acces the database and PowerBI Desktop can just access it through"Load Data"?

Any help is appreciated! 🙂

Super User
Super User

Hi @sam04 


Welcome to Power BI once you get familiar with it you will love it!


1. DirectQuery mode means that it goes back to your source to query and get the data (This can be potentially slow and expensive on your source systems. I would recommend always using Import Mode.

2. The reason for the On-Premises Data Gateway is that in order to get the data from your database into the Power BI Service it needs a way to get the data from inside your network. This is where the On-Premise Data Gateway is installed inside your network, which allows it to then send the data from your database into the Power BI Service.

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