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A quick introduction to Power BI Report Server

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To be honest with you todays post was going to be about something completely different. However I’ve been asked a few times about this recently. I have also seen some questions about it on the SQLHelp hashtag on Twitter. So I have decided to do a quick introduction to Power BI Report Server.

Power BI background

Power BI is a very popular offering in the cloud. People use it to create very powerful reports and dashboards. It’s feel is very familiar to that of the PowerView offering.

As popular as it has become some do not use used Power BI for various reasons. For instance one reason is that the data used for the dashboard is cached in the cloud somewhere. Due to those reasons and customer requests Microsoft have made available another Power BI offering. A version of Power BI that you can install on your own server.


Currently you have to download it as a separate application to install it. You can find the latest version here. Having it as a separate download is nothing new for anybody who had to install SSRS for SQL Server 2000. I suspect Microsoft will announce that this will be in the SQL Server 2019 install set shortly.

It’s basically a version of SQL Server Reporting Services with enhanced functionality to support Power BI. Once installed it uses the same Reporting Services Configuration Manager with added functionality.

It uses the same two ReportServer and ReportServerTempDB databases that Reporting Services uses. In fact it’s the same portal. It just has added Power BI features.

Publishing dashboards

Publishing to the this version is funny and at the same time confusing. You can not use the standard Power BI Desktop application to publish to it. Instead you have to download another version subtly called Power BI Desktop (Optimized for Power BI Server). Fingers crossed they will eventually merge the two versions to stop confusing people.

More information

Of course there are other things you have to take into consideration to get up and running with this. For more information about licensing and other tips and tricks I recommend viewing the Guy in a Cube series of videos here.  You can also follow a whole host of others on Twitter as well.

Final word

Well I hope you enjoyed my quick introduction on Power BI Report Server. It’s aim was to give  you a better idea of what it is and clear up a few things. 

Published inBusiness Intelligence & analytics

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