Are you looking for a way to establish a MySQL Power BI connection? You are in luck. This blog post will take you through the different methods to move data from MySQL to Power BI. We will also be looking at why this migration is important and how to make it efficient.

Understanding Power BI

Definition and Objective

With Power BI, you can effortlessly analyze and visualize all of your data on one platform. Power BI is a business analytics solution. It offers a variety of tools and an intuitive interface to convert unprocessed data into insightful knowledge.

Important Elements

Many capabilities are available with Power BI, including drag-and-drop interactive dashboards, real-time data monitoring, natural language searches, and easy interaction with other Microsoft programs like Excel and Azure.

Power BI’s advantages

Power BI has several benefits, including an easy-to-use interface and effective handling of big information. Enhanced teamwork, data-driven insights, and better decision-making are a few of the main advantages.

How to Perform MySQL-Power BI Integration

Power BI integrates out of the box with MySQL. MySQL is one of the most popular open-source relational databases and is employed by a large number of companies. An in-built connector allows for easy integration, visualization and analysis of MySQL data in Power BI or after exporting to other system. However, it works with the desktop version of Power BI only. 

You can download the connector here.

If you want to create reports and perform scheduled data updates on Power BI Online, you should do the following:

  1. Through Power BI Desktop, connect to your MySQL database (it should either be deployed locally or present in a location which is accessible from the desktop computer).
  2. Export your selected table into a PBIX file.
  3. You can readily analyze the data within the Power BI Desktop.
  4. Now, sign in to your Power BI Online account and pull the previously saved PBIX file from your local desktop instance.
  5. Create a report based on the data from MySQL and add it to the Power BI dashboard.
  6. Schedule regular data to refresh and update the report from the PBIX file.

Note: It is necessary to maintain the desktop instance and its connection to the local MySQL database to enable ongoing data refreshes.

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Importing Data from MySQL Using an ODBC Connection to Power BI

This section explains how to use an ODBC driver to connect to MySQL and import data into Power BI Desktop. It’s a given that you have a DSN for ODBC driver for MySQL installed and set up previously.

  1. After starting Power BI Desktop, choose Get Data.
  2. In the Get Data dialogue box, choose the Other category and then ODBC. Select Connect to validate the selection.
  3. Expand the Data Source Name (DSN) drop-down list in the From ODBC dialogue box, then choose the DSN for MySQL that was previously setup.
  4. Click the Advanced Options button to open the dialogue box. If you would want to submit a SQL statement to limit the returned results, write or paste your SQL statements.
  5. Press OK. In the event that your data source requires a password, Power BI will ask you for your login information. In the corresponding sections, enter your username and password, then click.
  6. The data structures in your data source should now be visible to you. By clicking on the database objects, you may see a brief overview of their contents.
  7. Click Load after selecting the required table to import the MySQL data into Power BI for analysis.

Steps to Connect MySQL to Power BI

Follow the given steps to make a Power BI MySQL connection:

  1. Install Power BI Desktop on a system that can access your MySQL database.
  2. Once installed open Power BI Desktop and browse to Get Data > Database > MySQL Database.
  3. Enter the network hostname on which your MySQL database is running, the database name and your credentials in the given fields.
  4. The Power BI Navigator will then display a list of all tables in the database, click on the checkboxes adjacent to the tables that you want to load into Power BI.
  5. You can now create reports in Power BI using your MySQL data. Save the report with a meaningful name. It will generate a PBIX file. You can publish this file from Power BI Desktop to make it more easily accessible from Power BI Online.
  6. Schedule a refresh.

Congratulations! You have successfully pulled data from your MySQL database to Power BI. This data is now available in Power BI Online and will automatically be refreshed from the MySQL database after specified intervals.

Limitations of Using In-Built Connector

Although extremely useful, the MySQL-Power BI connector has certain limitations:

  • Power BI Desktop is necessary for integration with MySQL: MySQL database can only be accessed via Power BI Desktop, which has system requirements that can be restrictive. E.g. It only runs on Windows 7 or 2008, .NET 4.5 and Internet Explorer 9.
  • Poor stability of the data connection: Any malfunction in the Power BI Desktop (or gateway), a disrupted connection between the local software and local data source or even a disrupted connection between the Power BI Desktop and Power BI Online may lead to the data not being refreshed.
  • MySQL data on the cloud cannot be accessed directly: Power BI can only access data from those sources which are directly accessible from the desktop machine on which it is running. Microsoft also offers an on-premise gateway which allows remote access to a local machine. However, to access data stored on the cloud, the local machine must connect remotely to a cloud service like Amazon RDS or Aurora and pull data over the network. This method is inefficient and not feasible.
  • Power BI Desktop and Gateway may be unreliable: Some users have reported difficulty in installing the software or have incurred errors while connecting to MySQL data sets.

Why Move Data to Power BI?

Power BI is Microsoft’s popular Business Intelligence platform, available both on-premise (Power BI Desktop) and on the cloud (Power BI Online). Moving your data to Power BI helps bring all your data to a single place and perform holistic analysis. This will help you make educated decisions for your business. Power BI will not only enable data integration but also help in data exploration. You can choose from a selection of graphs and charts to gain fresh insights into your data. It also facilitates data visualization by providing a drag and drop interface. You can conveniently create reports too. Moreover, you and your colleagues can interact seamlessly with these reports.

Use Cases of Connecting MySQL to Power BI:

  • Sales and Marketing Analytics: When you connect MySQL to Power BI, analyze website traffic and conversion rates to know the effectiveness of our marketing campaigns. 
  • Monitor Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): You can track real-time production metrics, inventory levels, and resource utilization from MySQL to identify bottlenecks and improve operational efficiency. 
  • Financial Analysis: You can do financial analysis and reporting by creating interactive dashboards. They can help to analyze current and future trends.

Some Pointers For Power BI MySQL Data Optimisation

The main pointers to keep in mind while moving data from MySQL to Power BI are,

Employing DirectQuery Mode

Power BI creates a live connection to the database when you use DirectQuery mode with MySQL as the data source. This minimizes data duplication and guarantees data accuracy by enabling you to query and visualize data in real-time straight from the database without importing it into Power BI’s internal data model.

Making Use of Query Folding

When it comes to maximizing data retrieval and query speed in MySQL with Power BI, using query folding is a key idea. It entails rerouting as many data processing and filtering activities as possible from the BI tool (like Power BI) to the data source (like MySQL).

Enhancing Data Models

Improving database speed and obtaining quicker data analysis and reporting require optimizing data models in MySQL and Power BI. Data retrieval activities may be greatly enhanced by using strategies like indexing, query optimization, denormalization, and appropriate hardware setup in MySQL.

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Conclusion

Now that it has been established that it is important to move your data to a Business Intelligence tool like Power BI, what remains is to choose the best way to do it. This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to connect MySQL to Power BI in a detailed manner. Using the in-built connector may fall short in certain use-cases where fully managed services like Hevo will give you an edge.

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Have any queries? Get in touch in the comments section below.

Shruti Garg
Freelance Technical Content Writer, Hevo Data

With an analytical perspective and a problem-solving approach, Shruti has extensive experience in solving business problems of data teams by delivering thoroughly researched content pivotal for data practitioners.

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