Power BI

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Power BI is a group of software services, applications, and connectors that combine to transform users’ various data sources into coherent, engaging visuals and interactive insights.

The data may be contained in an Excel spreadsheet or a set of hybrid data warehouses that are both cloud-based and on-premises. Power BI makes it simple to connect to data sources, view the data, identify the critical information, and share it with whomever you choose.

The Power BI products overview

Microsoft BI set of products is made up of many components that all function together, beginning with these three fundamentals:

  • Power BI Desktop is a program you can download and install on your computer without charge.

The Desktop is a comprehensive tool for connecting to, transforming, visualizing, and analyzing your data to create reports.

powerbi desktop interface

A key component of it is the Query Editor, which enables you to connect to numerous data sources and merge them (a process known as modeling) into a data model. After that, you construct a report using that data model.

Reports can be immediately shared with others or published to the cloud-based Power BI service. A Power BI Pro license is needed to share reports.

  • The Power BI service is a cloud-based software as a service (SaaS).

For teams and organizations, it provides collaborative report editing. Power BI service modeling is restricted compared to the Desktop version, but you can also link to data sources there.

Both Desktop and service applications have similar report editors. They consist of three parts:

  1. The top navigation panes.
  2. The report’s canvas.
  3. The windows for the Fields, Visualizations, and Filters.

The Venn diagram shows a comparison of the Power BI Desktop with the Power BI service.

Power BI Desktop and Service comparison
  • Windows, iOS, and Android mobile apps.

All the reports and dashboards you generate in Power BI Desktop or Report Service are accessible in mobile apps, whether they are hosted locally or in the cloud.

Additional products

Beyond the above-mentioned three products, the Microsoft BI family also features two other services:

  • Power BI Report Builder for creating paginated reports to share in the Power BI service.

Paginated reports are created for printing or sharing by enterprise report producers in the form of invoices or transcripts. It is a standalone tool for authoring paginated reports.

Power BI Report Builder is available for free download from the Microsoft Download Center and does not require a license. You can publish paginated reports to My Workspace with a free license in the Power BI service.

  • After developing them in Power BI Desktop, you can publish your reports using the on-premises Power BI Report Server.

By deploying Power BI Report Server behind your firewall, you can send reports to the appropriate people in various formats, including emails, web browsers, and mobile devices.

You can transition to the cloud when you’re ready since Power BI Report Server is compatible with Power BI on the cloud.

Pricing and premium version of Power BI service

Power BI may be used for personal data analysis and visualization, group initiatives, organizational divisions, or entire businesses.

Some licenses apply to an individual (per user), and some licenses apply to the storage capacity that an organization purchases.

Power BI per-user licenses come in three different subscription types: Free, Pro, and Premium Per User (PPU). Another kind of subscription is a Premium capacity-based license.

The table below summarizes the basic capabilities of each license type.

Power BI FeatureProPremium Per userPremium Per capacity
Pricing$9.99 per user/month$20.00 per user/monthFrom $4,995 per capacity/month
Mobile applications
Create reports to share and work together 
RDL reports
Consume data without obtaining a license for each user  
Power BI Report Server for on-premises reporting  
Max. model size1 GB100 GB400 GB
Update frequency8/day48/day48/day
Connect to more than 100 data sources
Using Power BI Desktop, produce reports and visualizations.
Embed APIs and controls
AI visuals
Advanced AI (text analytics, image detection, automated machine learning) 
Read/write endpoint connectivity for XMLA 
Dataflows (direct query, connected and computed entities, better compute engine) 
Datamart creation 
Data encryption and security
Metrics for publishing, consuming, and creating data
Management of the application’s lifetime 
Management of multiple-geo deployment  
BYOK (bring your key)  
Autoscale add-on availability  
Maximum capacity10 GB/user100 TB100 TB

Power BI free per-user license

The Power BI service allows users with free licenses to access data, produce reports and dashboards for their usage, and connect to data sources. They cannot publish content to other people’s workspaces or use the Power BI collaboration or sharing tools.

However, if the information is saved in workspaces hosted in Premium capacity, Pro and PPU users can share it and interact with free users.

Power BI Pro license

Power BI Pro is a single-user license that enables users to publish content, consume content that has already been published, and interact with that content. Users with this license category can work with other Power BI Pro users and share content.

Unless a Power BI Premium capacity hosts that content, only Power BI Pro users can generate material, share content with other Pro users, or consume content that they have published.

Pro users can share content and work with free and PPU users if a Power BI Premium capacity holds the content.

Power BI Premium per user (PPU) and per capacity (PPC) licenses

With a PPU license, holders can access all Power BI Pro features and most Premium capacity-based features. Only the PPU license holder and those coworkers who own PPU licenses have access to content.

Unless precisely placed in a workspace hosted in a Premium per-user capacity, content created by a PPU-licensed user can only be shared with other PPU-licensed users while using a PPU license.

As opposed to using Power BI Premium per-user licensing, paying for Power BI Premium per capacity license means you are not sharing server space with other businesses.

Power BI
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