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Power BI Licensing

By: Collin Quiring

As Power BI continues to rapidly grow in popularity Microsoft continues to modify the way Power BI can be used based upon licenses.  This is both good and bad.  Bad in that they deprecate some features while moving them to other license tiers.  But, it is good in that they are responding to some common needs in the real world.

This article is being written on May 8 and it could be that by the time you are reading this that things have changed.  I will try to update this post as I learn of new changes to licensing.

Microsoft has announced a couple of new tiers of licensing that I very much like – a Premium level and a Report Server.  The Premium level is to help organizations that have lots of Power BI users but don’t like the cost structure that this entails based on a large scale user based model.  Using Power BI Premium licensing, a larger organization can better align usage with costs.

The on-premises Power BI Report Server is great for customers that don’t want to be in the cloud or may just want more direct control of their own server.

There are some feature changes as well:

Power BI Premium will allow for faster refreshes, more scalability, dedicated hardware (cloud hardware), easier to move the data in house and increase the limit on the storage size to 100 TB.

Power BI Pro doesn’t have any changes at this point.

Power BI Free does eliminate the sharing ability though.

I have absolutely no inside information here but I would predict that at some point Microsoft will produce a “Power BI Lite” license for folks that just need to look at the occasional dashboard but have no input or other Power BI needs.  I think that in the Project Online world the “Project Lite” license is working well for a similar type of need.




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