Power BI is a business solution which provides a wide range of analytics tools that help an organization to get insights from their data, create reports and share dashboards to users.

 


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What does Power BI offer?

In simple words Power BI has three key points :

  • Cloud-based data analysis and reporting
  • Simple and user-friendly
  • Powerful and mature

 


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The History of Power BI

Power BI is the progression of many solutions that aim at analyzing data.

At the image below we can see the history of Power BI. We can clearly notice that Power BI is a blend of Power Pivot, SSAS, PowerView, Power Query and Power Map.

 


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Power BI

Components

The basic Power BI components are mentioned below:
  • Power Query: Data mash up and transformation tool
  • Power Pivot: In-memory tabular data modeling tool
  • Power View: Data visualization tool
  • Power Map: 3D Geospatial data visualization tool
  • Power Q&A: Natural language question and answering engine
  • Power BI Desktop: A powerful companion development tool for Power BI

Approach

At the image below we try to make a high-level approach of how Power BI works.

Considerations & Limitations

  • Dataset size Limit
    • 1 GB limit for each data set in the Power BI service
  • Row Limit (max number of rows in a data set)
    • not using Directory Query: 2 billion rows
    • using Direct Query: 1 million rows
  • Column limit (max number of columns allowed in a data set)
    • 16.0000 columns

BI Benefits

As we have already mentioned, Power BI is a very powerful analytics tool that helps organizations analyze and share data insights. In the image below, we can see the benefits of this tool.


Data Sources

Power BI gives the ability for users to connect to different resources. At the next image, we can see these data sources.

Notice : The list of available data sources are constantly updated

 


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DAX (Data Analysis Expressions)

One of the valuable Power BI features is DAX (Data Analysis Expressions) which offers users functions, conditional statements and value references for data manipulation.

 


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Power BI Desktop


Minimum Requirements

Below are the minimum requirements to install and run Power BI Desktop

Desktop Gateway

The desktop Gateway is responsible for the transfer of the data from the local network to cloud, and must be installed on a local server. Generally, its basic role is to keep local databases safe from internet risks.

There are two types of gateways :

  • On-premises data gateways (personal mode)
  • On-premises data gateway

Below are the differences between Personal and On-Premises data.

On-Premises Gateway Requirements

 


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Power BI Versions Comparison

Below are the feature differences between the most popular of  Power BI versions, Free and Pro.

More details about the differences between Free, Pro and Premium versions.

Free

The Power BI Free version allows to users connect to 70+ data sources, create and publish to the web. Of course, like all the free versions of various applications, Power BI free version has some limitations, for example, a user can't collaborate or share reports with other users, etc.

 1 GB/user data capacity limit
 Create, view and share personal dashboards and reports with other Power BI users
 Author content with the Power BI Desktop
 Explore data with Natural Language
 Access dashboards on mobile devices using native apps for iOS, Windows and Android
 Consume curated content packs for services like Dynamics, Salesforce, and Google Analytics
 Import data and reports from Excel, CSV, Power BI Desktop files, and more..
 Publish to Web
 Consume content that is scheduled to refresh daily
 Consume streaming data in your dashboards and reports 10K rows/hour

 

Pro

The Power BI Pro version in comparison with the Free version provides more features, like sharing of data, reports, and dashboards. Also, we can create App Workspaces and give specific permissions to users..

10 GB/user, data capacity limit
 Create, view and share personal dashboards and reports with other Power BI users
 Author content with the Power BI Desktop
 Explore data with natural language
 Access dashboards on mobile devices using native apps for iOS, Windows and Android
Consume curated content packs for services like Dynamics, Salesforce, and Google Analytics
 Import data and reports from Excel, CSV, Power BI Desktop files, and more..
 Publish to Web
 Consume content that is scheduled to refresh hourly
 Consume streaming data in your dashboards and reports 1M rows/hour
 Consume live data sources with full interactivity
 Access on-premises data using the data connectivity gateways (Personal and Data Management)
 Collaborate with your team using Office 365 groups in Power BI
 Create, publish and view organizational content packs
 Create, publish and view organizational content packs
 Manage access control and sharing through Active Directory groups
 Shared data queries through the data catalog

Premium

The Power BI Premium version is by design a powerful tool suitable for Enterprise deployments and workloads. It provides dedicated resources to running Power BI service on enterprise organizations. One more advantage of this version is the Premium capacity. Premium capacity means dedicated resources to workspaces, there is also shared capacity which provides shared resources between customer workspaces.
At the below table we can see the extra differences for the Premium version in contrast  Pro and Free version.

 
Shared capacity
Premium capacity
Refresh rate
8/day
Not restricted
Isolation with dedicated hardware
N/A
Supported
 Apps and sharing
N/A
Supported
Embedded API and controls
N/A
 Supported
Publish Power BI reports on-premises
N/A
 Supported


Important Notice: Power BI Premium  version offers specific SKUs and cost, for This reason, we must calculate the cost using a cost calculator.


 Useful TIP : On the cost calculator, we must change, the currency (Euro, US Dollar, etc.) and add the number of the organization users


Note this : Power BI Workspace Collection service is deprecated. Use Power BI Embedded resource to embed Power BI dashboards and reports in the applications.


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Why Power BI ?

There are many reasons someone can benefit from Power BI, the most important of them are :

  • Integration and Sharing: Power BI integrates with O365 Suite
  • Data Sources and Modeling: It offers a large number of Data Sources
  • Custom Visuals: The visuals gallery is kept Up to date
  • DAX Expressions: Gives the possibility to handle data using complex expressions
  • Cost: Depending on the needs of someone offers 3 different types of versions and cost.
  • Always Updated: Every month a new update exists for Power BI Desktop with new features.
  • ... and more ...

Conclusion

Microsoft Power BI is a great tool that enables data to be processed and presented by a user, from a novice to an expert. It's a tool with huge potentials which still growing up without a top level.

 

Useful Links

 

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