Power BI On-Premises; Hello World!

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It has been a very long time request from users around the world to make Power BI available for on-premises, not for using on-premises data sources (this is available from long time ago with gateways), but for publishing reports into on-premises server. With the fast pace of development of Power BI this feature was looking so impossible to achieve, however the great news is that Power BI can be published to on-premises now. This feature is still preview at the time of writing this post, but I believe it will be soon generally available. So the wait is over, you can now host Power BI reports in your on-premises SSRS Server. In this quick post I’ll show you how easy is to set up this with Technical Preview of Reporting Services for Power BI. If you would like to learn more about Power BI, read Power BI online book; from Rookie to Rock Star.

Technical Preview of SQL Server Reporting Services

For using this preview version, you need to download and install Technical Preview of SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) from here:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=54610

This download includes the SSRS Technical Preview version where you can publish your Power BI Desktop files to it, and also specific version of Power BI Desktop, which you can build your Power BI reports with it (Yes, for this preview version, you need to create reports with this specific version of Power BI Desktop named as SQL Server Reporting Service Power BI Desktop);

 

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Installation

Installation of SSRS Technical Preview is easy, just continue the setup which is only for SSRS (You don’t need to install whole SQL Server package for it);

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After installing SSRS, you need to set up Report Server in Configuration Manager (Mainly you need to set up a database for report server);

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Next step is to install Power BI Desktop version for SSRS;

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Now you are ready to build the report;

Building a Report

Note that with this preview version you can only use SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) Live connection as the source, nothing else. If you use other sources, you will get this error:

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So simply select a SSAS Live query and build a report;

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Publish to On-Premises

After building the report, just save it, and then in SSRS Report Manager, upload the file;

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Your Power BI report will appear in report manager then as a Power BI Report object

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Click on the Power BI report to open, and Yaaay! You’ve got Power BI on-premises! Fully interactive.

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My Thoughts

Why Power BI On-Premises?

We are in a world that rapidly running towards cloud. Your files are in Dropbox, or OneDrive these days, Your photos uploaded to a cloud storage, your emails are all backed up in a cloud backup media, and I’m in this thinking that in next few years, we might eat our food from a cloud kitchen! However there are still businesses and companies who require some on-premises solutions, and as long as a requirement exists, there should be an answer for it. Power BI for On-Premises bring the power of self-service, interactive reports of Power BI to these businesses. Power BI for On-premises is a great big step towards utilizing better data insight in all environments.

How the Costing Works?

To be honest, I don’t know yet. This is not yet fully released! However the costing and licensing would be definitely different from Power BI in cloud. Probably instead of per user, it might be through Enterprise or licensing editions like that. We need to wait to see that.

Would it be Similar to Power BI in Cloud?

I don’t think so. Power BI on cloud (or Power BI Service), has so many features in it; Dashboards, Power Q&A, Security, Sharing, Administration, data streaming input, and many other great features. These features will take time to implement in SSRS, and by the time that these be implemented in SSRS, some new features will be implemented in Power BI Service. My gut feeling is that Power BI Service would be the full experience of Power BI.

 

In overall I believe this is a great step towards better world, using data insight in every environment. Thanks Microsoft team for this great enhancement.

Your thoughts?

Let me know what do you think of this change? I’d love to hear your thinking 🙂

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Reza Rad

Reza Rad is an Author, Trainer, Speaker and DW/BI Consultant. He has a BSc in Computer engineering; he has more than 15 years’ experience in databases, programming and development mostly on Microsoft technologies. He is a Microsoft MVP in Data Platform for seven continues years (from 2011 till now) for his dedication in Microsoft BI. He is author of some SQL Server and BI books, and also Power BI online book; from Rookie to Rock Star.


8 Comments

  • this is a fantastic news, i work in construction industry, and traditionally we are cloud averse 🙂

    I just hope that microsoft will :
    – Make SSRS independent from SQL server bundle, so we can buy the product standalone
    – Make a reasonable price, as you have notice the model is already hosted in SSAS, so SSRS is just a rendering engine, and customers have already paid for SSAS license.
    – Give it a catchy name 🙂
    cheers
    Mim

  • What about user authentication? Should I still connect to azure and login then use the dashboards? or I can run powerbi with an offline activated file like Qlikview or Tableau?

    • If you want to work with offline files, you already can do that with Power BI files saved from Power BI Desktop. these files are *.PBIX.
      However for Power BI embedded into SSRS; I’m not sure yet, this information haven’t been released yet. I don’t think you would need to login with your account. this will probably go through your Domain accounts or something like that which SSRS works with that. For more details on this we have to wait for the release 🙂
      Cheers
      Reza

    • Hi
      Power BI Report Server is now part of SLA licensing, or Power BI Premium Licensing. Power BI Premium is $5K per node per month, for SLA licensing you need to contact your microsoft contacts to ask about it.
      Cheers
      Reza

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