Introductory session done at Microsoft (New York) for the enterprise collaboration audience. This slide designed to make understanding of building blocks of Power BI business tool offered by Microsoft Office team.
Power BI’s key features? Power BI Dashboards. Customers can see all their data through a single dashboard. Live Power BI dashboards show visualizations and KPIs from data that resides both on-premises and in the cloud, providing a consolidated view across their business regardless of where their data lives. Natural Language Query. Simplifying how customers interact with data, natural language query is built into the dashboard, allowing users to type questions and receive answers from data in the form of interactive visualizations. Customers can also explore their data further by drilling through the dashboard into the underlying reports, discovering new insights that they can pin back to the dashboard to monitor performance going forward. As part of this experience, new visualizations have been added including combo charts, fill maps, gauges, tree maps, and funnel charts, as well as new formatting capabilities. Power BI Desktop. Power BI Desktop is a powerful visual data exploration and interactive reporting tool. It provides a free-form canvas for drag-and-drop exploration of your data and an extensive library of interactive visualizations, while streamlining report creation and publishing to the Power BI service. Connect from the cloud to on-premises data. With the Power BI connector for Analysis Services customers can create a secure connection to SQL Server Analysis Services from Power BI. When customers view and explore dashboards and reports, the system will interactively query the on-premises cube to fetch the data using the customer’s credentials. With this hybrid solution, customers can continue to manage and secure your data on-premises, removing the need to have data reside in the cloud. Power BI can also connect to a wide variety of other on-premises data sources and set a schedule for updating the data in their reports and dashboards. Power BI Mobile apps. Power BI native apps for Android, iOS, and Windows allow users to monitor important changes in their data and share and collaborate with colleagues. Power BI content packs. Pre-built solutions for popular services as part of the Power BI experience makes it easy for users to visualize and analyze their data in minutes, A subscriber to a supported service can quickly connect to their account from Power BI and see their data through live dashboards and interactive reports that have been pre-built for them.
“Microsoft Power BI leads the Agile BI pack. Throughout the history of the BI market, Microsoft has dominated and will continue to dominate the market with Excel, the de facto and most commonly used BI platform around the globe.” – The Forrester Wave: Agile Business Intelligence Platforms, Q3 2015
“BI leaders can now consider Power BI ready for broad deployment without waiting for a change in corporate policy for Office.” · “Power BI's enhanced self-service data preparation, data discovery, business-user-oriented dashboards with a streamlined workflow in a single, low-cost package give BI leaders an alternative from a single vendor as it matures through frequent releases.” · “Consider Power BI as an alternative for data discovery and dashboard deployments, particularly when the requirement is to combine cloud and on-premises data sources.” · “Microsoft’s new, partner-friendly approach to Power BI expands the Microsoft ecosystem, giving BI users improved functionality and options for mobile and prebuilt solutions.” -- Gartner: New Microsoft Power BI Is an Enhanced Offering at a Compelling License Price
So when we think of Power BI we think of a comprehensive solution for BI and reporting and analytics.
It can connect to your data wherever it exists out of the box. So even though Power BI is a service that was born in the cloud, its not limited to only connecting to data source in the cloud. So whether your data is in the cloud or on-premises, Power BI can connect to it. And it doesn’t take a lot of complicated configuration.
So Power BI supports hybrid connectivity using the On-premises Data Gateway, which is a little utility that you install within your data center that has line of site to your on-premises data sources. The Data Gateway supports secure access to your data sources on-prem without you have to open up ports or do anything like that. There’s a personal version of the Data Gateway that’s intended to be installed on your desktop and there’s an Enterprise version that you install on a server and can be scaled out to support high availability.
And once your data is in Power BI, you can create reports using Power BI Desktop and publish those reports to the Power BI Service.
And in the service you can create Power BI specific dashboards, which contain visualizations from many reports to use that as your high-level starting point to get a pulse on your organization’s business.
Not only that, you can also stream live data directly into your dashboard for real-time reporting capabilities.
In your dashboards, and in the mobile apps now, you can also leverage the Natural Query Language, which allows you to ask questions in your own natural language (English or Spanish).
Also, one of the really cool thing about Power BI is that the visualization stack is open.
This is just a brief overview of the features and capabilities that you have in Power BI.
You can view your Power BI content in your web browser, mobile apps, or embedded in your custom applications.
When Power BI was first released, only cloud data sources were supported.
But Microsoft was one of the first in the industry to innovate a method for being able to reach on-premises data sources using the On-premises Data Gateway to offer this hybrid type of functionality. Many customers are using this type of setup today.
But we still have some customers that for whatever reason, due to laws and regulations, company policies, or simply personal preferences, but they have to keep their reporting solution on-premises. Microsoft has always been about giving our customers that choice: run in the cloud or run on premises.
Your Power BI reports can be deployed to the Power BI Service running in the cloud or you can deploy your Power BI reports on-premises in Power BI Report Server. It’s totally up to the customer.
Power BI Report Server allows you to store and run your reports on-premises, and because its on-premises, you don’t need to install and set up the On-premises Data Gateway.
Power BI Report Server is built on SQL Server Reporting Services, so that means its compatible with SSRS. Power BI Report Server includes a superset of the features of SSRS. This means that Power BI RS can do everything SSRS can do, plus host interactive Power BI Reports. This also means that your existing SSRS reports can be easily migrated to Power BI Report Server with very little work.
Keep your Power BI reports on-premises.
PBI RS is compatible with SSRS because it is SSRS.
In terms of the Power BI reports you develop, those reports are compatible with the Power BI Service in the cloud meaning that you can effectively migrate those reports to the cloud on your terms whenever you’re ready. So if you’re building a report in Power BI Desktop, you can publish that report to Power BI Report Server and then later publish the report to the Power BI Service.
This is great news for our customers that have to keep their data and reports on-premises, but have a roadmap where they can see being able to deploy to the cloud. Power BI Report Server sets these types of customers up to be able to quickly scale out and take advantage of cloud resources.
There’s a couple different ways you can acquire Power BI Report Server.
Both ways require to license the server capacity, which are processor cores of the server. So if you’re installing Power BI Report Server on a physical server, all the cores must be licensed. If you’re installing Power BI Report Server on a VM, then the virtual cores of that virtual machine must be licensed.
It’s the same way that it works with SQL Server today.
So where do acquire those licenses from?
The first main way is by purchasing Power BI Premium. Power BI Premium is a capacity based licensing model that you subscribe to. When you subscribe to Power BI Premium, you get a fixed amount of dedicated Power BI capacity in the cloud and the same amount of core based licenses to deploy Power BI Report Server on-premises. So if I purchase 8 cores of Power BI Premium capacity, I also gain the rights to license 8 cores on-premises for Power BI Report Server. And that 8 cores doesn’t have to be on one server. I could deploy PBI RS on two separate 4 core servers and scale out my Power BI Report Server solution. So it doesn’t have to be on one single server.
The second main way it to purchase SQL Server Enterprise Edition with Software Assurance. Software Assurance is a maintenance subscription that you purchase in three year intervals and one of the benefits is that you gain the rights to instantly upgrade to the next version of SQL Server as soon as that newest version is released. So if you’re already running SQL Server Reporting Services Enterprise Edition and you have Software Assurance, you can instantly upgrade to Power BI Report Server right now with no hesitation. So they’re sort of giving away PBI RS if you’re an SA customer.
Users that are creating Power BI reports using Power BI Desktop, those users need a Power BI Pro license.
For users that are performing administrative tasks or just viewing reports, they do not need a license.
If you want to trial Power BI Report Server, you can do that. There’s a 180 day trial that you can then upgrade and license. There’s also a developer edition that you can deploy in a dev/test environment.
Now when you purchase Power BI Premium, you gain access to dedicated Power BI resources in the cloud.
Power BI Premium, in addition to being able to host Power BI reports like Power BI Report Server, also gives you the ability to create Power BI Dashboards, leverage the Natural Query Language, Quick Insights. So by purchasing Power BI Premium, you have access to all of these other really neat Power BI cloud features.
From the end user perspective, how does this person work with Power BI Report Server?
First, an analyst or someone that has report development responsibilities uses Power BI Desktop for Report Server, which is a special version of Power BI Desktop designed for Power BI Report Server, to create a Power BI Desktop file. So they’re connecting to some data source, building a model, and designing some reports using Power BI Desktop for Report Server. Once they’ve created the Power BI report, they can then publish the report to Power BI Report Server or upload the report to Power BI Report Server using the PBI RS portal. Once the report is published, other end users, if they have permissions, can view and interact with the Power BI reports directly in the Power BI Report Server portal from a mobile device or the web browser. .
So lets talk about installation, Migration, Scalability, Security, And life cycle with the more frequent releases.
Power BI Report Server uses a light weight installer that is separate from the SQL Server release cadence.
It’s a very lightweight download, almost 20% of the size of the SSRS installation included with SQL Server, so its very lightweight which is nice since you could potentially be installing this multiple times per year.
The PBI RS installation has been de-coupled from the SQL installer so you can download it and install it separately from the rest of the SQL tools.
So this isn’t installing any SQL Server database engine components, SSIS, SSAS or anything like that.
It has the same requirements as SQL Server Reporting Services 2016. You still need Windows Server 2012 or greater. You also need to be running SQL Server 2008 or greater database engine. You’ll also need SSAS 2012 or greater, tabular or multidimensional. But with the new release of Power BI Report Server preview, you won’t need SSAS as a requirement for very much longer.
How many of you are using SQL Server Analysis Services in your organizations?
So you can still use Power BI Report Server even if you’re organization isn’t planning to upgrade to SQL 2016 for some time. You can still put the Reporting Services database on a 2012 database, for instance, and then use an existing SSAS 2012 instance while deploying Power BI Report Server without having to upgrade any database servers to 2016.
How many of you have ever performed an SSRS migration before?
If you have, then you already know everything you need to do know to migrate to Power BI Report Server.
The process if real simple: First you backup the SSRS database. Restore the back up of the SSRS database in the new location. Go install Power BI Report Server. Run the Report Server Configuration Manager to configure Power BI Report Server to use the new Report Server Database that you copied or moved.
During the backup step make sure that you backup your encryption key and restore your encryption key during the restore step so that the encrypted credentials and connection strings are also backed up and restored.
Migrating an SSRS SharePoint integrated setup is a little bit more involved.
In the latest version of SSRS and Power BI Report Server, SharePoint integrated mode no longer exists. So there is no Power BI Report Server for SharePoint.
So the challenge with SSRS SharePoint integrated is that you can’t just backup the SharePoint database because there are lots of other types of reports and files in there, too.
So to do the migration, we’ll need to use the RS.exe utility, which is a little utility used to managed SSRS deployments and administrative tasks.
So we basically need to pull out the SSRS files from the target and migrate them to the new Power BI Report Server.
It’s a little bit of manual work, but there are sample scripts available.
Power BI Desktop is used is the tool used to create your interactive and dynamic reports that you’ll then publish to the Power BI Report Server.
In the first release of Power BI Report Server, you could only leverage SQL Server Analysis Services or Azure Analysis Services. If its SQL Server Analysis Services, it can be a multidimensional cube or a tabular model.
Late last month, the preview of the next version of Power BI Report Server also supports other data sources that can be imported into your Power BI Desktop files such as SQL Server, Oracle, Excel, Access, and many other data sources aside from SQL Server Analysis Services or Azure Analysis Services.
You don’t need SSAS to be able to use Power Query to do data mashups, clean and share, and model the data.
This latest version is currently in preview, but will be generally available later this year.
All the built in and custom visuals are also supported in Power BI Report Server.
The custom R visuals and ESRI maps are currently not supported.
Power BI Report Server is fully SQL Server Reporting Services.
So all of your existing SSRS reports can be fully deployed to Power BI Report Server right away.
It’s the complete SSRS engine.
But these paginated reports are optimized for document generation, printing, page headers, footers, numbering, pixel perfect reporting.
These reports are developed using SQL Server Data Tools and Report Builder but these reports can be very complex with a ton of customization.
One of the really unique things about Power BI that separates Power BI from a lot of the other BI tools out there is the really tight integration between Power BI and Excel. Excel and Power BI contain a portfolio of tools that is unique in the industry. Together, they enable business analysts to more easily gather, shape, analyze, and visually explore their data.
In addition to viewing Power BI reports in the web portal, business users can now do the same with Excel workbooks in the new version of Power BI Report Server, giving them a single location to publish and view their self-service Microsoft BI content.
To do this, customers can take advantage of Office Online Server (OOS), a separate download from Microsoft Office to render Office documents that you can view in your browser.
Customers with a Volume Licensing account can download OOS from the Volume License Servicing Center at no cost and will have view-only functionality. We’ve published an easy-to-follow walkthrough of how to add Office Online Server to your Power BI Report Server preview environment.
Once configured, users can view and interact with Excel workbooks that: Have no external data source dependencies. Have a live connection to an external SQL Server Analysis Services data source. Have a PowerPivot data model.
PBI RS can be scaled up to the extent of your licensing.
But you can also scale out by deploying PBI RS to multiple machine and have each of those instances pointed at a single Report Server database.
Then for your users, you could stand up a load balancer in front of the PBI RS instances to spread the workload evenly across the PBI RS instances.
You can also configuring your PBI RS instances to handle different types of workloads. So for instance you could have one node handle users that are running reports directly in the portal. But then you could also configure another node to only handle subscriptions and document creation. This can be managed by the SSRS configuration files so that way your heavy burst workloads will not negatively effect your Adhoc and real time report users.
If you want to enable Power BI Report Server for Multi factor authentication or mobile access.
This is not currently built into Power BI Report Server but the Engineering team did do work so that Power BI Report Server does integrate with ADFS by using Windows Server Web Application Proxy.
Once you set up Windows Server Web Application Proxy, it will translate from ADFS, that provides certificate login, pin, smartcard, etc and translates that to a traditional Kerberos login, so that your Power BI Report Server content can be viewed on non-domain joined devices like tablets and smart phones.
With Power BI Report Server the product team is moving to a much more aggressive release cadence.
They’ve decoupled the SSRS product from the database engine because typically people don’t upgrade their database engines as frequently as they do their business intelligence software.
And the database engine isn’t updated by the product team very often. Between SQL 2000 and 2005 there were 5 years where the database engine didn’t see any upgrade so we really don’t want to have to wait 5 years to see improvements to a BI tool.
Lately the releases have been much closer together, so it was 3 years, then 2 years, and now 1 year.
So by decoupling SSRS and PBI RS from SQL, we can release much more aggressively. So they’re planning to release about 3 times per year.
The product team is adopting the Modern Lifecycle Policy and so that means that we’re going to spend less time shipping service packs and security updates, and more time focusing on releasing updates and new features tailored to customers that want to stay more up-to-date on their business intelligence and reporting capabilities.
So they’re aiming to release about every 4 months, so 3 times a year.
Each release that is shipped will then be supported for a minimum of 12 months. So you can get security updates for the next year until you need to update to the latest release of Power BI Report Server or SSRS.
Transforming data with Power BI
Kushan Lahiru Perera
Principle Consultant at
Enterprise Collaboration - O365/ SharePoint
Cloud Services - Microsoft Azure & GCP
Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional)
MICROSOFT POWER BI?
• Suite of business analytics tools
• Focus on what matters
• KPIs such as Charts, Graphs, Scorecards, Tables, and Maps.
• Accessible from Web, Desktop, Mobile
• Works with ERP to web analytics apps
• Office 365 users to share with colleagues
• Improved collaboration.. SharePoint, MS Teams..
Data access, mashups, and
transformation in Power BI
Pre-built dashboards and reports
for popular SaaS solutions
Intuitive data exploration using
natural language query
Secure, live connection to your
data sources, on-premises and in
Real-time dashboard updates
Data sources include
Microsoft apps & SaaS
e.g. Dynamics, Office 365, Visual Studio
Online, System Center, …
3rd party apps & SaaS
e.g. Salesforce, Marketo, Zendesk,
Adobe, Quickbooks, Custom
Microsoft databases & data
e.g. SQL Server Stream Analytics, SQL
Data Warehouse, Excel, HDI, …
3rd party databases and data
e.g. Oracle, Teradata, DB2,
PostgresSQL, Hadoop, MySQL
Connects to the Data That Matters
Market leadership recognized by analysts
• “Microsoft Power BI leads the
Agile BI pack.” – Forrester
• “BI leaders can now consider
Power BI ready for broad
deployment without waiting for
a change in corporate policy for
Office.” – Gartner
• “Microsoft’s new, partner-
friendly approach to Power BI
expands the Microsoft
ecosystem, giving BI users
improved functionality and
options for mobile and prebuilt
solutions.” – Gartner
Forrester Wave: Agile Business Intelligence Platforms, Q3 2015
Gartner: New Microsoft Power BI Is an Enhanced Offering at a Compelling License Price
Power BI: experience your data
Any data, any way, anywhere
Power BI Report Server
Create interactive reports
in Power BI Desktop
Publish to Power BI Report Server
View and interact in
Power BI Mobile or web browser
Publish and manage reports
Power BI Desktop
Publish to Power BI Report Server
Re-open, edit, and save back
Organize and manage access to reports
Power BI Report Server
Consume reports in multiple ways
Web portal Embedded In your apps
Power BI Report Server for the IT Pro
Integrate with ADFSScale up and out
Migrate from SQL Server
Install in minutes
Lightweight download and installation
• Windows Server 2012+
• SQL Server Database Engine (2008+)
• SQL Server Analysis Services (2012+)
Zero impact on SQL Server
Migrate from SSRS (Native mode)
SSRS Power BI Report Server
1. Back up report server database
2. Install Power BI Report Server
3. Connect report server to database using
Report Server Configuration Manager
Migrate from SSRS (SharePoint-integrated
-i ssrs_migration.rss -e Mgmt2010
-v st="sites/bi" -v f="Shared Documents“
-u DomainUser1 -p Password
-v tu="DomainUser" -v tp="Password"
Power BI Report ServerSSRS
RS.exe Utility (Reporting Services)
mode no longer exist.
Which Microsoft BI solution to choose?
My organization wants an on-
premises solution to generate
My organization wants an on-
premises solution for self-service
BI as well as
My organization wants a
(SaaS) solution for next-
generation, business user-led BI,
complete with Apps, real-time
SQL Server Reporting Services Power BI Report Server Power BI service
Compare reporting options (Summary)
Deployment On-premises On-premises Cloud
Power BI dashboards
Power BI apps
Natural language query (Q&A)
Power BI reports
Paginated reports (RDL)
Mobile reports (Datazen-
How to buy SQL Server  Power BI/SQL Server  Power BI
Feature updates SQL Server release cycle Rapid release cycle Rapid release cycle
Support lifecycle SQL Server support policy Modern Lifecycle Policy Managed service
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