Changes in Power BI licensing
In the past month or so Microsoft has made many announcements related to changes in Power BI licensing. And, this has confused both customers already using Power BI and customers thinking to purchase and use Power BI for their organization.
Let’s check what are these big changes and their implications –
Big Change 1 – Power BI Free is more powerful and personal, but restrict sharing and collaboration
From June 1, 2017 – More features are introduced in Power BI free service which are equivalent to Power BI Pro – including the same 1 GB workbook size limit, up to 8 daily scheduled refreshes for datasets, and maximum 1 million rows/hour streaming data rate. Microsoft is also providing access to all data sources, including those available through the on-premises data gateway.
So, what is not available? – Peer-to-peer dashboard sharing, group workspaces (now called app workspaces), and analyze in Excel with Power BI apps
If my organization is existing user of Power BI Free and active what are the options?
Big Change 2 – Introduction of Power BI Premium
Power BI Premium provides resources dedicated to running the Power BI service for your organization or team, giving you more dependable performance and larger data volumes. Premium also enables widespread distribution of content without requiring you to purchase per-user licenses for viewers.
This also means that for only publishing reports organization needs a Pro license and for viewing reports Power BI Free license can be used.
By default, Shared capacity is the experience you are used to with Power BI, where your workloads run on computational resources shared by other customers. In shared capacity, more limits are placed on individual users to ensure the quality of the experience for all users.
|Shared capacity||Power BI Premium capacity|
|Refresh rate||8/day||Not restricted|
|Isolation with dedicated hardware||
|Enterprise Distribution to all users|
|Embedded API and controls||
|Publish Power BI reports on-premises||
Power BI premium is available in two deployment options – SaaS and PaaS with different node and virtual core options.
There are two kinds of nodes available EM and P nodes. P nodes can be used for embedded or service deployments and EM nodes can be used for embedded deployments only
You can refer to this table to estimate your capacity model you are using – embedded or service deployments –
You can check more details on Power BI premium in Power BI documentation
Side note – So, what is Embedded analytics?
Embedded analytics is the integration of analytic content and capabilities within business process applications. It provides relevant information and analytical tools designed for the task at hand so users can work smarter and more efficiently in the applications they use every day
Using Power BI REST APIs and the Power BI SDK, developers can easily embed interactive reports and dashboards in their app and achieve consistent, high-fidelity experiences across devices.
With Power BI Premium Microsoft is advancing how Power BI content is embedded in apps created by customers, partners and the broad developer community. As part of the new offering Microsoft is converging Power BI Embedded with the Power BI service to deliver one API surface, a consistent set of capabilities and access to the latest features.
Also with Power BI Premium you have the right to run Power BI Report Server on-premises. Check more details here on how to build your own report server
Big Change -3 – Power BI Embedded migration to Power BI Service
Power BI Embedded, delivered as an Azure service, enables partners and app developers to surface Power BI data experiences within their applications. As of July 1, 2017, the Power BI Embedded Azure service is converging with the core Power BI service and it will be part of a new capacity-based licensing model called Power BI Premium.
This change will enable one API surface, access to the latest Power BI features in embedding scenarios, and enhanced scale and performance. The current Power BI Embedded Azure service will continue to be available for one year until July 2018 following general availability of the converged offering, under Power BI Premium.
So, if you acquired Power BI Embedded through the Azure website, you’ll continue to have access to your current Power BI offering for one year until July 2018.
All these three are big changes if you are already using Power BI or planning to use this is super challenging to decide what is the best combination to use? To help with these challenges let us take some use cases –
Use case 1
Company with 100 Power BI free users and around 10% Pro users (consisting of developers and executives) and sharing data with one another. Now with change in licensing and features everyone sharing content requires a pro license. What are alternatives –
Option 1 – Everyone sharing use a Pro license or
Option 2 – You purchase the Premium license. Then a Pro user can share with unlimited free users. (limited only by the capacity that you purchase in Premium)
To overcome the shock and spending of additional amount, Microsoft is providing a year of Power BI Pro trial to all users which were active in past year
Use case 2
You are a company with 250 users – all are accessing reports and dashboards in form – be it shared PBIX files, embedded reports in LOB application or app workspaces and shared with both Power BI and non-Power BI users. Currently, most of users are on free tier, except for “creators” and “authors”. What are options –
For publishing or embedding reports you will need a Power BI Pro license, and any non-Power BI user can access embedded reports. But when you are ready to move to production, you also have to assign this workspace to a Premium capacity – EM or P based on your workload.
Use case 3
You need all reports and dashboards inside your firewall which is accessible only to your employees and all data resides on premise. Also, a flexibility to move some reports to cloud as and when needed
Option – Go for Power BI premium which supports the creation of Power BI report server – you can download the trial from here and publish reports directly to Power BI Report Server. Organize your reports in folders, manage access, and update as necessary. Reports can be accessed from all users in your organization irrespective of Power BI per-user license requirements. In addition, you get a dedicated capacity in the cloud.
These are typical cases from a consumption perspective. Let us know your thoughts on how you are using or planning to use Power BI. Also, what are the challenges or constraints you are facing or if you a very different use case. Let us know or you can start a private conversation by sending email to Vikram dot jain at Advaiya dot com.