Author Power BI Reports on Real-Time SFTP Data

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SFTP Power BI Connector

The fastest and easiest way to connect Power BI to remote files and directories over SFTP. Includes comprehensive high-performance data access, real-time integration, extensive metadata discovery, and robust SQL-92 support.



Use the CData Power BI Connector for SFTP to visualize SFTP data in Power BI.

CData Power BI Connectors provide self-service integration with Microsoft Power BI. The CData Power BI Connector for SFTP links your Power BI reports to real-time SFTP data. You can monitor SFTP data through dashboards and ensure that your analysis reflects SFTP data in real time by scheduling refreshes or refreshing on demand. This article details how to use the Power BI Connector to create real-time visualizations of SFTP data in Microsoft Power BI Desktop.

If you are interested in publishing reports on SFTP data to PowerBI.com, refer to our other Knowledge Base article.

Collaborative Query Processing

The CData Power BI Connectors offer unmatched performance for interacting with live SFTP data in Power BI due to optimized data processing built into the connector. When you issue complex SQL queries from Power BI to SFTP, the connector pushes supported SQL operations, like filters and aggregations, directly to SFTP and utilizes the embedded SQL Engine to process unsupported operations (often SQL functions and JOIN operations) client-side. With built-in dynamic metadata querying, you can visualize and analyze SFTP data using native Power BI data types.

Connect to SFTP as a Power BI Data Source

Installing the Power BI Connector creates a DSN (data source name) called CData Power BI SFTP. This the name of the DSN that Power BI uses to request a connection to the data source. Configure the DSN by filling in the required connection properties.

You can use the Microsoft ODBC Data Source Administrator to create and configure the DSN: From the Start menu, enter "ODBC Data Sources" and select the CData PowerBI REST DSN. Ensure that you run the version of the ODBC Administrator that corresponds to the bitness of your Power BI Desktop installation (32-bit or 64-bit). You can also use run the ConfigureODBC.exe tool located in the installation folder for the connector.

SFTP can be used to transfer files to and from SFTP servers using the SFTP Protocol. To connect, specify the RemoteHost;. service uses the User and Password and public key authentication (SSHClientCert). Choose an SSHAuthMode and specify connection values based on your selection.

Set the following connection properties to control the relational view of the file system:

  • RemotePath: Set this to the current working directory.
  • TableDepth: Set this to control the depth of subfolders to report as views.
  • FileRetrievalDepth: Set this to retrieve files recursively and list them in the Root table.
Stored Procedures are available to download files, upload files, and send protocol commands. See gdatamodel for more on using SQL to interact with the server.

Query SFTP Tables

Follow the steps below to build a query to pull SFTP data into the report:

  1. Open Power BI Desktop and click Get Data -> Other -> CData SFTP.
  2. Select CData PowerBI SFTP in the Data Source Name menu and select a data connectivity mode:
    Select Import if you want to import a copy of the data into your project. You can refresh this data on demand.
    Select DirectQuery if you want to work with the remote data.
  3. Select tables in the Navigator dialog.
  4. In the Query Editor, you can customize your dataset by filtering, sorting, and summarizing SFTP columns. Click Edit to open the query editor. Right-click a row to filter the rows. Right-click a column header to perform actions like the following:

    • Change column data types
    • Remove a column
    • Group by columns

    Power BI detects each column's data type from the SFTP metadata retrieved by the connector.

    Power BI records your modifications to the query in the Applied Steps section, adjusting the underlying data retrieval query that is executed to the remote SFTP data. When you click Close and Apply, Power BI executes the data retrieval query.

    Otherwise, click Load to pull the data into Power BI.

Create Data Visualizations

After pulling the data into Power BI, you can create data visualizations in the Report view by dragging fields from the Fields pane onto the canvas. Follow the steps below to create a pie chart:

  1. Select the pie chart icon in the Visualizations pane.
  2. Select a dimension in the Fields pane: for example, Filesize.
  3. Select a measure in the Fields pane: for example, Filename.

You can change sort options by clicking the ellipsis (...) button for the chart. Options to select the sort column and change the sort order are displayed.

You can use both highlighting and filtering to focus on data. Filtering removes unfocused data from visualizations; highlighting dims unfocused data. You can highlight fields by clicking them:

You can apply filters at the page level, at the report level, or to a single visualization by dragging fields onto the Filters pane. To filter on the field's value, select one of the values that are displayed in the Filters pane.

Click Refresh to synchronize your report with any changes to the data.

At this point, you will have a Power BI report built on top of live SFTP data. Learn more about the CData Power BI Connectors for SFTP and download a free trial from the SFTP Power BI Connector page. Let our Support Team know if you have any questions.