Microsoft Releases New Power BI Premium Service

With its introduction in 2015, Microsoft’s Power BI quickly changed the world of business intelligence. Power BI’s simplicity and reasonable pricing led to its quick use and growth among hundreds of thousands of organizations. As Power BI’s audience of users grows, so too, does the need for performances at greater scale, speed, and accuracy.

Shared Capacity

One of the most common critiques of Power BI’s services is the significant caps it puts on users’ computational resources. Part of this is derived from how Power BI is operated. Power BI is run from Microsoft’s shared Power BI hardware. While this makes for a simple setup, it means workloads are all run from the same hardware. With hundreds of thousands of users operating off shared computational resources, Microsoft puts up restrictions and limits to prevent any one user from monopolizing the capacity of the Power BI resources. Thus, the restrictions on data set sizes or number of refreshes.

Power BI Premium

The introduction of Power BI Premium is set to change that. Power BI Premium allows users to move towards a user-centered capacity model. Within Power BI Premium, organizations can run their data off Power BI hardware dedicated to their use. Dedicated capacity means that Power BI Premium users will no longer be on a shared capacity model, granting them much greater freedom in terms of data set sizes, refresh rates, and general operational capabilities.

Along with greater computational freedom, users on Power BI Premium will also have greater access to their users. Users on Power BI Premium will be able to publish reports, share dashboards and operate their Power BI services as an organization not as a collection of individual users. This will streamline analytics activities and foster greater collaboration among teams.

Power BI Premium also holds several powerful improvements over the existing Power BI platform. Power BI Report Server allows your users to access data and use the enterprise-level reporting capabilities of SQL Server Reporting Services within an on-Prem solution. Along with Power BI Report Server, Power BI Premium allows for customized views to be edited and saved, data can be analyzed in Excel or Power BI Desktop, and dashboards can be shared with Office 365 team groups.

Is Premium Right for You?

While Power BI Premium allows for greater analysis across a variety of different situations, a few specific situations particularly showcase Power BI Premium’s value. For businesses that have a high number of users, Power BI Premium provides an ideal solution. Rather than signing up individual users under Power BI, Power BI Premium allows for the organization to purchase Premium services through capacity nodes. Capacity nodes refer to the number of virtual cores, bandwidth, and memory needed to power a system. Currently, Microsoft offers three different sizes of capacity nodes. The three sizes range from the smallest with eight virtual cores and 25 GB RAM, to the largest at 32 virtual cores and 100 GB RAM. This new purchase system provides a great alternative for organizations with many different users. They can purchase Power BI Premium based on capacity, rather than the number of users.

Power BI Premium’s dedicated capacity also helps departments with heavy use of BI programs. For example, if a department has a special BI need that requires Power BI’s full capabilities, dedicated capacity can ensure that only their department has use of Power BI Premium’s computing resources. This ensures that scale, performance, and budget are optimized for those individuals and departments that use Power BI Premium the most. When Microsoft first introduced Power BI two years ago, the low-cost analytics tool disrupted the existing market for business intelligence. Power BI Premium’s customization and specialization are sure to cause similar industry disruptions.

At Affirma, our business intelligence consultants can help you with all of your Power BI Premium implementation needs. Whether it’s help determining costs and scope or optimizing your current business intelligence needs, we can help.

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