Power BI to add Premium service; private dashboard is free no more

Users will need a paid Pro subscription to create and share dashboards privately

Available R-powered visuals

Microsoft on Wednesday announced a Premium enterprise service for its Power BI data visualization platform, including a Report Server that allows companies to keep all their data behind the firewall. Premium will offer "a capacity-based licensing model" based in part on whether users create content, access it frequently or just view it occasionally.

The company also said that Power BI users will need a paid Pro subscription if they want to create and share dashboards privately. People who want to view shared content will also need to be licensed above a level of free account. "Consumers of content shared with them have the flexibility to be licensed individually with Power BI Pro, or with capacity in Power BI Premium when it becomes generally available late this quarter," according to an e-mail from a Microsoft spokesperson.

Previously, private sharing was available for free account holders on the powerbi.com service. Free accounts can still share reports publicly on the powerbi.com site.

Power BI users who don't sign up for paid Pro or Premium accounts can also continue to use the desktop software for free, and will get access to all available data sources (under the existing structure, some data sources were for paid users only). In addition, free accounts will soon get the same 1GB of data storage, 1 million rows/hour streaming rates and 8-times-per-day scheduled refreshes as Pro users currently have. However, for those who built up internal dashboards, or dashboards for clients, paid accounts will be required.

Power BI Pro accounts have existed for awhile at $9.99/month; Premium is new. Microsoft posted a Power BI Premium pricing calculator along with its announcement.

Premium accounts that aren't using Report Server can use the service in the cloud: "Capacity in the Power BI service [is] exclusively allocated to each organization and supported by dedicated hardware fully managed by Microsoft," according to Microsoft.

Power BI Premium will be available "late in the second quarter of 2017," Microsoft said. The company's annual Microsoft Data Insights Summit is scheduled for June 12-13 in Seattle, where officials will explain today's announcement further.

Microsoft is offering a free trial of its Pro service to users who had signed up as of yesterday. That free Pro trial will run through next year, according to an email sent to current users. "If you’re interested in an extended Power BI Pro trial that will run from 1 June 2017, to 31 May 2018, simply sign in as normal on or after 1 June 2017, and get going," the email said.

Microsoft made several other announcements involving Power BI Premium, including Power BI apps that will take the place of existing content packs. Available now, Microsoft said apps "offer a simplified way of deploying dashboards and reports to specific people, groups or an entire organization."

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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