Last week I got involved with a customer issue. A refresh of the data imported to a PBIX always works in Power BI Desktop, but the refresh operation intermittently fails in the Power BI Service. Their workaround had been to refresh the PBIX in Desktop and re-upload the file to the Service. This post is about finding and fixing the root cause of the issue – this is as of March 2018, so this behavior may very well change in the future.
Turns out, the source of the problem was that the customer’s Open Orders table can contain invalid dates – not all rows, just some rows. Since Open Orders data can fluctuate, that explains why it presented as an intermittent refresh issue. Here’s a simple mockup that shows one row which contains an invalid date:
At this point, we have two open questions:
(1) What is causing the refresh error?
(2) Why is the refresh behavior different in the Service than the Desktop tool?
Read on for the explanation of the difference, as well as a fix to prevent refresh errors due to invalid dates.