How To Connect Power BI to an AWS RDS SQL Server

Power BI to AWS SQL Server Connection Tutorial

Power BI is a Microsoft business analytics service that allows people to visualize and analyze information efficiently. This powerful yet flexible tool provides users with the ability to connect and analyze a wide range of data.

Besides providing users with benefits in visualization, Power BI also offers excellent out-of-the-box connectivity, such as integration with databases. This is particularly essential for data scientists who operate via SQL.

With Power BI, users have a great live connector to the SQL Server that allows for the easy creation of dashboards, charts, and reports.

In this post, we will guide you through connecting Microsoft Power BI to SQL Server on an AWS RDS instance. If you’re more of an auditory or visual learner, here is the Power BI to AWS SQL Server Connection Tutorial video we most recently created to walk you through the steps.

Connecting Power BI to an AWS RDS SQL Server

Before you begin, there are four things you will need to check first. You will have to:

Keep in mind that the SQL Server could be one of four editions since AWS offers multiple editions. Username and password should also be ready for the actual login and then correct access to everything else.

Step 1: Check RDS to Ensure Instance Is Running

The first thing you will need to do is to go in and check the RDS to ensure that you have an instance working. The main point for this is because you want to see and capture the endpoint here. You also want to validate that it can be accessed publicly.

A great way to test this is to head over to SQL Server Management Studio, connect to that instance, and then do a query. Once it returns data, this means that you have a valid connection.

Step 2: Open Up Power BI

The next step is to get Power BI started and then click on Get Data. For this example, since we’ll be using an SQL Server, it should be built right into Power BI. Go ahead and select SQL Server then click Connect.

A dialogue window will pop up which shows entries for the server and the database. For the server, you want to use your endpoint that you can copy from the RDS AWS instance. As for the database, this entry is optional.

You will be presented with two data connectivity modes here that you can use: Import and Direct Query.

Import means that you will run a query and obtain the data while bringing it to the client instance of the Power BI Report that you are using. Direct Query is when you want to iterate a query as you make changes and bring the data down as you need it. You can also choose to write SQL statements or use the wizard to let you connect.

Step 3: Input Credentials

Click the okay button and then you will be sent a challenge for credentials. You can use the database credentials or the one from Windows here. The credentials you will be using here are the ones you applied when you made the RDS.

Power BI is then going to show you the databases that are inside the RDS, along with any tables. Select the table that you want and then click the Load button.

Once the data has been brought down, you can start using it to perform visualizations and anything else within Power BI as you would with any other data source.

Things To Keep In Mind When Connecting to the RDS With SQL Server

As you can see, it’s quite straightforward to connect to SQL Server instances within AWS RDS. However, there are a few advanced options you should take note of when connecting to the RDS with an SQL Server.

  • You can connect directly through Power BI
  • You can perform an Import or Direct Query
  • You can write an SQL statement if you wish
  • You can use the wizard to get the data

Common Issues When Connecting to SQL Server Inside AWS

Although the steps to connecting Power BI to an AWS RDS SQL Server can be quite simple, there are some common issues that can happen along the way.

Normally, these issues can be one of these four things:

Why Use Power BI?

Power BI provides users with the ability to explore and analyze huge amounts of data locally and in the cloud. It opens up the ability for collaboration and sharing of interactive reports and customized dashboards across the organization. Even better is that Power BI does all this easily and securely.

Power BI provides users with specific advantages that make it one of the best analytical tools. These advantages include:

  • Power BI is available as both a cloud-based and desktop interface
  • It offers capabilities such as data discovery, data warehousing, and interactive dashboards
  • Users can load custom visualizations
  • Power BI easily scales across the whole company

Thanks to the powerful features offered by Power BI, Gartner has named Microsoft as the leading analytics and business intelligence platform for thirteen consecutive years.

Power BI is available in various components. These components are available separately, which users can use exclusively.

Furthermore, Power BI is available as a desktop application that can be downloaded and installed on computers. Users can connect it to multiple data sources for maximum efficiency.

Normally, analysis work starts with a Power BI Desktop where the report creation happens. From there, the report is published to the Power BI service where it is shared with other compatible mobile apps.


The steps needed to connect Power BI to an AWS RDS SQL Server are easy and straightforward. However, there are things you need to consider before setting up and after the connection.

By following the tips provided in this article, you can quickly connect Power BI to an SQL Server to visualize and analyze your data. If you’re looking for a Power BI consulting firm to help your business, say no more! See what we have to offer at WCI Data Solutions for your Power BI needs.



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