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I currently am running a 2016 SP Server enterprise instance with a separate SQL server for our data. We are looking at using Power BI to replace our current reporting functionality. I'm new to this as we were previously on a 2010 environment utilizing Crystal Reports. FTR - I'm well versed in 2016 development but I've never used Power BI before. So bear with me!

I've downloaded the gateway on our SQL server instance and then downloaded the Power BI Desktop version. Through the Power BI desktop version, I'm able to pull lists and data directly from one of our sharepoint website lists. What is the purpose of the gateway, then? Is it just unnecessary since I have the desktop version of Power BI?

The desktop version seems to make some sense to me, but it's also slightly confusing. Basically we have financials that we are looking to create sums of based on user-selected variables. For example, the user may only want to see financial information for one specific user, but also maybe for 3 selected users. Does Power BI reporting allow for this type of reporting service? Or does each report need to be created and then compiled by the developer and then exported to the end-user? Ultimately, I'm trying to figure out how an end-user would be able to pick variables to report on that wouldn't require developer intervention every time.

Lastly, if all of this is possible does anyone have a good learning tool to help me get up to speed with just how in depth the reporting functionality can be? I feel like most of the resources I've found are basic reporting. Aka: import a list and then let Power BI do it's thing.

Thanks for the help.

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The gateway should be installed on one or more dedicated servers. PBI desktop can access data directly from any data source your desktop is able to connect to (including on-prem). However, as soon as you publish that data to Power BI (online), you must have the gateway so PBI can communicate back to on-prem services to retrieve that data.

The gateway is used for other scenarios, including Power Automate and PowerApps to pull/push data from on-prem, too.

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  • Ah, understood. It's the publishing that requires the Gateway. Thanks for the info! – Sarah Grzymkowski Nov 22 '19 at 12:58

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