One of the most exciting features of the new Power BI Preview is the ability to connect live to Analysis Services tabular models that live on-premise though the SSAS connector. Unlike caching the data in the Power BI service, with the new Analysis Services Connector you can connect from Power BI to your on-premises Analysis Services Tabular model & build dashboards, reports.  The connector will interactively query the on-premises cube to fetch the data using your credentials.  With this new option, you can continue to manage and secure your data on-premises, removing the need to have data reside in the cloud.

This can be used with the new Power BI Preview, now available worldwide, to enhance Power BI.  This further allows you to bring all your data together in Power BI and focus on what matters to run your business with the common metrics and dashboards for all.

How to set up the Analysis Services Connector

Firstly download the connector from here.

Before users can connect to a SQL Server Analysis Services tabular model, a Power BI Analysis Services connector needs to be configured for the server.  If you have more than one SSAS server, you’ll need to configure one connector per server. This is done by a server administrator.

Once the connector is configured, tabular model databases on the Analysis Services server instance will appear in the SQL Server Analysis Services page in Power BI Preview. Creating the connection requires a Windows account and password with Server Administrator permissions for the server instance you are connecting to. Once configured, users will need to have at least Read permissions for any tabular model databases they’re connecting to.

The connector can run on any domain machine, it doesn’t have to be your local machine or the AS server, as it’s just acting as a proxy between AS and Power BI.  The connector makes the connection to AS and passes the credentials of the user accessing Power BI Preview along to the AS machine. The machine where it is installed has to remain turned on, connected to the network, and able to access the AS server at all times.

Further details can be found in the Power BI support site here.