If you find the ability to share Power BI dashboards privately is essential, you will now have to cough up some money for the privilege. Microsoft has today announced a Premium service for its data visualization platform. Power BI Premium hides some key features that were previously free behind a paywall. Of course, there are some new features thrown into the mix too.

Among those new features is a Report Server. This allows organizations to safely store their data behind a security firewall. Additionally, Power BI Premium will be based on a dynamic pricing scale that charges users depending on content creation and frequency of use.

As mentioned, Microsoft has also changed the way in which users can share dashboards. Power BI users can still share public dashboards through powerbi.com, an avenue that used to be open for private reports.

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To share privately, users will now need to pay for the premium service. Indeed, all shared content will also be tucked behind the paywall. Microsoft explained the decision in an email to ComputerWorld:

“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.”

Naturally, Microsoft is still trying to appeal to free users. With that in mind, the unpaid version of the service is not a complete dud in the wake of the premium model. For example, free users can still data sources that have always been available.

Additionally, Microsoft says free accounts will soon get a storage bump to 1GB of data and also score 1 million rows/hour streaming. The company also says it will introduce 8-time-per-day scheduled refreshes.

Power BI Premium

You may be thinking that Power BI Pro has been around for a while and is a paid service ($9.99/month). Premium is a new service, and Pro customers will be able to use it.

Microsoft says the service will launch late in the second quarter of 2017, so expect it in a couple of months. Also, expect the company to discuss the platform more at Build 2017 next week. Microsoft says the new platform comes with the following capabilities to enhance the Power BI experience:

  • “Flexibility to license by capacity. Power BI Premium introduces expanded licensing flexibility to help organizations equip users with the appropriate level of access to the Power BI service based on their unique needs. For example, many organizations contain users who aren’t actively creating BI content, but require the ability to consume content distributed to them. Power BI Premium enables Power BI Pro users to publish reports broadly across the enterprise and beyond, without requiring recipients to be licensed per user.
  • Greater scale and performance. Organizations using Power BI Premium will be able to customize performance based on the needs of their team, department or the organization itself. The offering consists of capacity in the Power BI service exclusively allocated to each organization and supported by dedicated hardware fully managed by Microsoft. Organizations can choose to apply their dedicated capacity broadly, or allocate it to assigned workspaces based on the number of users, workload needs or other factors—and scale up or down as requirements change. A calculator is available to help with capacity planning.
  • Power BI apps. Along with the freedom to license Power BI for enterprise deployments, we are evolving content packs into Power BI apps to improve how users discover and explore insights at enterprise scale. Available today, Power BI apps offer a simplified way of deploying dashboards and reports to specific people, groups or an entire organization. Business users can easily install these apps and navigate them with ease, centralizing content in one place and updating automatically.
  • Extending on-premises capabilities. Power BI Premium introduces the ability to maintain BI assets on-premises with Power BI Report Server. Power BI Report Server is an on-premises server that allows the deployment and distribution of interactive Power BI reports – and traditional paginated reports – completely within the boundaries of the organization’s firewall. With Power BI Premium the same number of virtual cores an organization provisions in the cloud can also be deployed on-premises through Power BI Report Server, without the need to split the capacity. Organizations can choose Power BI in the cloud, or elect to keep reports on-premises with Power BI Report Server and move to the cloud at their pace.
  • Embedded analytics. With Power BI Premium we’re also advancing how Power BI content is embedded in apps created by customers, partners and the broad developer community. As part of the new offering we are converging Power BI Embedded with the Power BI service to deliver one API surface, a consistent set of capabilities and access to the latest features. Moving forward we encourage those interested in embedding Power BI in their apps to start with Power BI Desktop and move to deployment with Power BI Premium. Existing apps built on Power BI Embedded will continue to be supported.”
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