Posted by: kurtsh | June 28, 2021

INFO: Differences between Power BI Premium & Power BI Report Server

imageOur Power BI Specialist, Cyrus Christian, who also runs the Power BI Government users group, wrote up the following differences between Power BI Premium & Power BI Report Server that is worth reviewing for any Power BI user.

The Power BI Report Server is effectively an upgraded version of SSRS.  If the goal is to eliminate the SSRS server, what do you gain by just replacing it with another server…

The Power BI Report Server is effectively a stepping stone between SSRS and the broader Power BI service.  Since you can now host SSRS type reports within the Power BI Service, it arguably doesn’t add anything of value anymore…

This comparison chart might help:

For just your existing reports, the Report Server could be fine – but you don’t get access to creating Dashboards, data alerts, creating reports within the browser, packaging reports as “apps”, or more advanced features like Q&A, ARC GIS maps, Analyze in Excel, etc.

And for clarity – the “Premium” node isn’t really a VM – at least in how most people think about it.  There is no “server” exposed – there is nothing to “install” and nothing to “manage” in a Premium node.  All you need to do is setup the “capacity”, and then assign your workloads to use that “capacity”.  This typically takes minutes to setup – and then typically minimal (if any) maintenance after that.  The only time people typically have to “manage” a Premium capacity is if their utilization of Power BI is growing and they need to add more capacity, or if they want to start separating capacity – perhaps for different parts of the organization or “tiers” of reports (we need these 5 to run as fast as possible, these other 100 can run a little slower…).

So if you choose to run Power BI Report Server, we’ll need to:

  • Create and manage a VM (with underlying storage, compute, network, etc.)
  • Deploy, update, and support the OS
  • Deploy, update, and support the SQL Server
  • Deploy, update, and support the Power BI Report Server
  • Deploy, update, and support any management/etc. tools you use on your servers
  • Etc.

Contrast that with the Power BI Premium Node, where you’ll need to:

  • Configure and assign the capacity


    %d bloggers like this: