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Posts Tagged ‘power’

On-Premise Power BI–A Microsoft Story

Posted by denglishbi on November 18, 2016

Just a few warnings, backgrounds, and heads up before a do a quick status update here on the current Power BI on-premise situation.  If you do not know me or haven’t met me before, I am a huge Microsoft fan and always have been and will continue to be. I have run every version of the desktop OS since Windows 3.1 as well as Office since version 2.0 and SQL Server since 6.5.  I have owned the three versions of the Zune with the original brick, nano, and touch. I was an early adopter of the Windows phone with the Samsung Blackjack and not until very recently have I made the switch to Android (but I still have a Windows Phone with Win Phone 10 running to test), but that is because of Microsoft’s new vision and direction where their software can run on any device (even on iOS, crazy).  I will always be a fan of Microsoft, nothing will ever change this.

All of the opinions and information that I state in this post here is simply my personal experiences as well as a few thoughts that I just wanted to post. Oh and by the way, I am not a graphic artist by any means, so please don’t slam me for my mocked up image below. I love movies, so just wanted to put this quick little graphic together, I hope you like it.

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So let’s begin the story.

Last year, back when Power BI went GA in July 2015 there was a pretty significant announcement made. Microsoft and Pyramid Analytics had formed a strategic alliance and this is what helped Microsoft deliver the Power BI Desktop application so quickly. If you are not familiar with the Pyramid Analytics product offering, BI Office, but you might be familiar with a former product that Microsoft acquired, ProClarity, they are for the most part the same thing. An outstanding tool for doing reports, dashboards, and self-service models with Analysis Services.

Along with the announcement and the release there was information that at some point Power BI Desktop users that owned BI Office would be able to publish their reports to a Pyramid Analytics Server. I was so excited about this announcement that I immediately downloaded, installed, called my Pyramid Analytics sales person, and did a blog post – Power BI Desktop Install Experience & Publish Feature!

Well needless to say it took some time for the Publish feature to be actually turned on and the new version of BI Office to be available, so flash forward to basically one year later from the GA announcement and Pyramid Analytics Launches On-Premise BI for Power BI Desktop. Once again I downloaded the new version of Power BI Desktop and I then had to wait for the new version / update for the BI Office.  Once I had everything installed I was able to quickly test out and use Power BI reports on-premise, very exciting!

Example of a Power BI Desktop report in BI Office:

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A few things to note about the Power BI and BI Office functionality:

– the reports have to be created with live connections to an Analysis Services database

– custom visualizations are not supported

– Power BI report items and reports can easily be integrated into BI Office dashboards (storyboards)

– the reports can be modified and viewed in the browser, but they cannot be saved, would need to download and publish to update

– Power BI published reports can be secured through BI Office

– Power BI reports can easily have the data sources changed once published in BI Office if migrating content between environments

 

So this is all good.  Now in the meantime, pretty much everything we are hearing from Microsoft with regards to the roadmap for Reporting Services is that all reports will be able to run in the new SQL Server 2016 Web Portal. This means mobile, paginated, Power BI, as well as even Excel workbooks. This has been talked about and discussed since October 2015. We were a little uncertain about Excel, but with the recent announcements with regards to SharePoint-Integrated Mode going away, we now know that Excel workbooks will be viewable in the Web Portal as well.

The excitement and anticipation for Power BI coming to on-premise in Reporting Services has been building up all year and finally it was demoed at Microsoft Ignite (click link to watch video) and PASS Summit as well as a Technical Preview in Azure being released to test drive. Everyone including me is just biting at the chops to get our hands on this and now it is available. Everything looks great and now the waiting game to see how we can get this new functionality.

Well I was not able to physically attend the PASS Summit this year (I watched some of the keynote and sessions that were streamed live), but apparently it was stated at the What’s New and What’s Next session that Power BI on-premise was not coming to SQL Server 2016 in an update or service pack. This new functionality was in development and would be made available in SQL Server v.Next only.

What?!? Are you serious???? I know, my exact thoughts and I just found this information out YESTERDAY!?!  I was completely baffled, slightly upset, and extremely confused. I followed up on this since I wasn’t able to attend or see the session yet from PASS Summit and it has been confirmed by internal Microsoft resources. The information is apparently public knowledge, no secret, and it has never truly been communicated that Power BI would be coming to SQL Server 2016.  The only thing communicated, but rather slyly, was that Power BI functionality would be coming in the future and was being worked on. But everything we have been seeing has led us to believe that it would be made available in SQL Server 2016, but now sadly that is not the case. I sure hope that customers that purchased SQL Server 2016 in anticipation of this also purchased the product with Software Assurance. Otherwise they could have been misguided by some of the Microsoft sales and messaging.

 

As of right now, the functionality that we are expecting to see in the Power BI / SSRS on-premise story is very similar to what we (or I should at least say I) have with BI Office.

– the reports have to be created with live connections to an Analysis Services database

– custom visuals are not supported

The main exception though, at least currently, is that there will be no dashboard functionality. That is kind of the secret sauce with BI Office, very slick.

 

You can continue to stay up-to-date with some of the status with Power BI being made available for on-premise by checking out the Power BI Ideas forums. In the near future we should expect to see a blog posting by the SSRS team to provide us the true communications about the Power BI and SQL Server story, so stay tuned and subscribe to their blog feed.

Well I will wrap this post up. I am not by any means upset with the SQL team, it is complete opposite. I love all of the work they do and amazed at what is being worked on. Just seems like we need better and more accurate communication so that we can keep our expectations in check. This will help the community, MVPs, and customers all plan accordingly and make sure everyone is on the same page.

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