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Power BI Premium – A New Offering

Author by Seth Bauer

Power BI Premium is a new licensing offering that was announced on 5/3/2017 and will answer the call of Enterprise level companies that have many users that only consume reports. These users have no inclination, or need to create reports on their own. Up until today, these users all would have been required to have a “Pro” license to consume reports shared with them (if the report was built with a Pro feature). This new license acts like an add-on of sorts to the Pro User license. The Pro license is still required for Report Authors who are responsible for creating reports, but the Premium license extends usage to those that only need to view reports. The following is an abbreviated list of new features that can be found in detail in the Power BI Premium Whitepaper that can be downloaded from here.

Features of Power BI Premium:
The first major feature is Dedicated Capacity. This allows companies to choose a sized environment that is only used by them. Whereas Pro or Free licensed users all use shared capacity which could be impacted by other Power BI workloads from different customers. This capacity is determined by what Microsoft is calling v-Cores. Upon release, there will be three offerings to choose from
P1 – 8 v-Cores
P2 – 16 v-Cores
P3 – 32 v-Cores
For ballpark pricing you can use the new pricing calculator that was developed to assist in determining the level of capacity needed. Determining the capacity isn’t an exact science, so it’s nice that there is a calculator to go along with this new offering.

Power BI Apps – This is the new way of sharing content to end users without a license. Apps can include any dataset, report, dashboard and can be published to a wide audience for consumption.

Additional Features that will release at the launch on June 1st:
     Noisy Neighbor Isolation –because you have your own dedicated capacity, you no longer need to worry about an extremely heavy load that another company may be putting on Power BI that has the potential to slow your reporting performance down.
     More storage – A Pro account gets 10GB of storage. Premium offers 100TB (that’s a “T”) for each capacity that you provision
     Better Refresh Rates – A Pro license has always offered 8x refreshes per day, Premium now allows for up to 48 refreshes per day and you can schedule this down to the minute.
Roadmap Features that will release at a later date:
     Increased Data Set Size – Currently Datasets are limited to 1GB (This aligns with the Desktop limitation for publish) This means that it will be possible to have a model as large as the dedicated capacity can hold.
     Incremental Refresh – This would allow to refresh only the most recent data instead of the entire dataset each time.
     Pinning Datasets to Memory – This feature would allow you to override the current Power BI behavior that evicts idle datasets that haven’t been used from memory.
      Dedicated Refresh Nodes – In scale out scenarios this would allow you to assign your heavy lifting of refreshing large datasets to separate nodes so your reporting queries aren’t affected.
      Read Only Replica – Distribute load of datasets across multiple nodes.
      Geographic Distribution – This will allow global companies to store data closer to the consumers of the reports. For example, if the main dataset resides in Country A and the consumers are in Country B the node can be copied to the nearest datacenter for Country B improving performance.
Closing Thoughts
Power BI Premium is an incredible addition to the Power BI platform. This truly pushes the product into the Enterprise space, and clearly adds significant value for large scale implementations. The roadmap of features looks compelling, the ability to finally integrate SSRS reports alongside Power BI in the Power BI Report Server on premises completes the BI story, and I look forward to working with clients soon in implementing this new feature.
There are a significant number of other changes that came along with the Power BI Premium announcement that effect the tool and users, and I’ve blogged about that separately here if you want to catch up on those changes and my thoughts on them as well.
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