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First look at Power BI Report Server



Power BI Report Server Preview was made available early May 2017 and this blog walks you through the installation, configuration and ends with a demo. The demo video shows how a report can built and added to the Power BI Report Server.



The installation and configuration of the May 2017 Preview was uneventful. The support operation systems are-

Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016
You'll need -

  • NET Framework 4.5.2 or later
  • SQL Server Database Engine (2008 or later), to store the report server database
  • SQL Server Analysis Services (2012 SP1 CU4 or later), to store your data models


If you match all the above pre-requisites following are the installation items which are available at this link

  • Install Power BI Report Server (PowerBIReportServer.exe)
  • Install Power BI Desktop (PBIDesktopRS_x64.msi)

 Power BI Report Server

Following are two screenshots of the installation.






 Report Server Configuration Manager

Below is a screenshot of the Report Server Configuration manager. Notice the Power BI Service (cloud) on the bottom? This is also where you configure the Web Portal URL





The Report Server Configuration manager is also where you configure the Web Portal URL. Once that is configured successfully you can go to the browser and type in http://servername/Reports to view the web inteface. Here is a screenshot



 Power BI Desktop

The Power BI Desktop that comes along with this installation is different from the Online one. Take a look at the screenshots below.







(Below is a screenshot of what you see at the top of the Power BI Desktop)





The May 2017 preview version supports only Power BI Desktop reports that connect live to the SQL Server Analysis Services on-premises. Below is a screenshot of the message you will receive when trying to save a report built using, say, a SharePoint On-Premises list. The demo shows gives a quick review of the SQL Sever Database and the SQL Server analysis used here.






 Helpful links

 • Get overview of Power BI Premium white paper
 • Power BI Premium calculator
 • Microsoft Power BI Report Server - May 2017 Preview
 • Guided learning
 • Sample data for SQL Server Database and SQL Server Analysis


As it is rightfully stated by the Microsoft Power BI team, 'Power BI Report Server gives your users access to data and insights, and the enterprise reporting capabilities of SQL Server Reporting Services—in a modern, on-premises solution.' Indeed, this is an on-premises reporting tool for today which is cloud-ready for tomorrow and I look forward to the new features that will be available.




I do see the value on PBI report server, but there is a very common use case that is not working and I am hoping will be resolved by GA.   Currently if your SSRS instance uses Custom Authentication rather than the out of the box AD account mode,  you are not able to publish PBIX files to the SSRS server.   The reason seems to be that PBI desktop doesn't  prompt for credentials as Report builder does when saving a file to the server.   In other words,  PBI desktop just takes the identity of the user running it and expects that this user is user in SSRS server.   In the case of a custom authentication SSRS set up that is not the case.  I am hoping that MSFT is aware of the issue and is working on it.  For our large customer base there is no way we can roll this out given the current deficiency around custom authentication provider support.


@luisrh, Power BI Report Server supports custom authentication in the GA release (released earlier this week). Once you author your report in Power BI Desktop for Report Server, you'll need to use the portal (typically http://server/reports) to upload the report.

Doing a fresh install is indeed pretty straightforward.  We're not convinced, however, that doing a migration from SSRS to PBIRS will be straightforward.  There are some instructions in the administrator handbook about how to do such a migration, but one question we have: why clone the report server database if you're just going to point at the clone?  Why not point the PBIRS instance at the existing report server database?  One answer might be that the instructions are written assuming that you're going to run SSRS and PBIRS in parallel, but that doesn't make sense since PBIRS is a superset of SSRS.  Why would you run the two in parallel on the same server?


We'll be taking a snapshot of our development SSRS environment and attempting the migration to see how it goes.  Our requirement is that existing folders, security, schedules/subscriptions, reports, datasources, and other settings all persist through the "upgrade".  


My biggest disappointment with PBIRS, by far, is that the *only* data source it can use is a live SSAS Tabular or Multidimensional model.  It is simply absurd that you can't connect to a database directly or even import data into a Power BI report and then publish that report to the server.  I'm further disappointed by  promises of undefined "additional data sources" to be in cluded at some undefined point "in future releases".  


All in all, this GA was premature.  They've given us an incomplete feature set with incomplete deployment options.

As a follow-up, we did get our development environment migrated from SSRS to PBIRS, and we maintained existing folders, reports, security, schedules, subscriptions, datasources, branding, and other settings.  We were right that you do not have to clone the report server database: you can merely point the PBIRS instance to the existing SSRS 2016 report server database instance.  This dramatically reduces the complexity of the process.


The major issue we ran into during migration has to do with URL reservations.  That issue is described in the community forum, including a link to a workaround for the issue.







Theirs a lot of problems with custom visuals that not display on browes - any one now about some solution ?

hi Yaniv,


Please post as a separate topic on the forum explaining the issue you are seeing. Thanks.

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@rpatkar  we are now able to upload the reports with custom auth.   the problem we have now is not being able to use the Power BI mobile app to connect to power bi report server using custom auth provider.   Do you have an ETA when that issue will be resolved?   Mobile is really important to us and we'd like to be able to leverage.

thank you,


Hi Luis, please start a new thread on this issue and I'll loop in the right people from product team to help. Thanks.