There always have been some confusion around what all different Power BI licensing options means. In this post, we will try to clear those doubts.
Before understanding the costing under difference licenses, it’s important to know that a Power BI report can be deployed to an on-premise server as well as to a Power BI service hosted on cloud. Depending on the deployment model you choose, accordingly the license options varies. This need not to be mixed with Power BI Desktop which is a tool to author reports independently on your machine.
Power BI Service Deployment
There are 2 subscription options when you want to deploy your report to PBI service.
One, which is a Free subscription and comes by default with o365. Under this subscription, report is deployed to your own workspace only. You can’t share it with others.
Second, when you want to share your report(s) with others then you need PRO subscription which is roughly like $10 per user per month. Any user(s) you are sharing your report(s) with also need to have their own PRO subscription as this works per user basis. However, this subscription also comes free with o365 but with Enterprise E5 edition.
Functionality wise i.e. in terms of authoring options, there is NO difference in free vs. pro subscriptions. However, PRO subscription gives each user about 10 gigs of space in contrast to 1GB per user under the free subscription.
This is like setting up your own Power BI report server. This is mainly for those companies who want extremely strict privacy/security in terms of hosting the reports in their own network. Here, the cost of machine being used for report server installation/configuration would drive the pricing. You still would need PRO license to be able to share the reports among users.
Power BI Premium, this is also like having your own dedicated node/machine to host your reports but on the cloud itself. In this case also, cost of the node which is generally driven by the factors like number of vCores and RAM defines the total pricing. However, users are free here. It also have the benefits that node capacity is dedicated to you only so there is no impact on the performance of your reports by others. This is in contrast to other Power BI service options which runs under a shared tenant i.e. the node hosting your reports is shared among other organizations too so may have some impact on the performance. This is sometimes called as having “noisy neighbours”.
In terms of cost, this is the most expensive one where it roughly starts at $5000 per month. Additionally, this gives you about 100TB of space whereby a dataset can be upto 50GB.