What is a virtual network (VNet)?
Azure virtual network (VNet) enables many types of Azure resources, such as Azure Virtual Machines (VM), to securely communicate with each other, the internet, and on-premises networks. This VNet offers direct connectivity to Azure resources over an optimized route over the Azure backbone network. Azure resources can either be deployed within a VNet or they can be associated to the VNet using service or private endpoints.
Virtual networks, Private Links, and Power BI
Your communication with Power BI with respect to Azure VNets can be categorized as follows:
- Secure Inbound connections to Power BI from your network using Private links.
- Secure Outbound connectivity from Power BI to data sources within a VNet.
The scope of this document is restricted to only Secure Outbound connectivity from Power BI to data sources within a VNet. For the Secure Inbound connections to Power BI from your network using Private links, go to the Power BI Private Links documentation.
The Azure resources associated with a VNet could include Azure data services like Azure SQL, Synapse Analytics, Azure Data Explorer, and others. A list of supported data services is available at Supported Azure data services.
Before the advent of the VNet gateway, to be able to connect from Power BI to Azure data services within your VNet, you had to install the on-premises data gateway on a virtual machine inside the VNet. This is still an option. The on-premises data gateway enables secure connectivity to these data sources associated with the VNet and manages query execution from one or more of such data sources.
However, an on-premises data gateway brings its own overhead, like monthly updates and monitoring. The VNet gateway will eliminate this overhead and enable secure connectivity to data sources associated with your VNet.