Hi community, hi PowerBI team (don't know if you are reading here),
this is just feedback about the new license option I wanted to share.
For two years my company is searching for a proper replacement for an old running SSRS server instance.
We are using it for the creation of paginated reports. We requesting user reports on a regular basis via the API and store them into blob storage, for the users to download. This works quite well but we are looking for a proper replacement to get rid of the old SSRS version. Also, since we are using Azure SQL database and there is no standalone or Azure offer for classical SSRS, we started to look into PowerBI.
Greate news, PowerBI includes an evolution of SSRS called paginated reports. We already using PowerBI (Pro) for internal reporting, so even better to go with a well-known product.
Bad news, to use paginated reports you need a Premium license. It starts at ~4,200€/m (!?) only to activate paginated reports. This is not even close to our budget to send out a couple of hundred PDF reports per week. I know there is much more included in Premium, but we only need the additional feature of reports. In a company of 40 people where only 10 need PowerBI Pro (internal) and 2-3 that need to create some paginated reports, this is not an affordable price. Alternative products like TIBSO JasperReports Server (same features for paginated reports) are way cheaper.
And then there was Premium Per User (PPU) for the rescue (we through). When we heard about the new license model we were very enthusiastic. Three additional Premium Per User (PPU) licenses and we are finally ready to use PowerBI as a report server.
Creating reports was straightforward like we expected, and the API comes with a nice c# SDK. Great!
Until the point where we tried to use the API to generate some real reports. A lot of "too many requests" responses happen. We looked closer into the (hard to find) details of the documentation.
First, "Limitations: Premium Per User (PPU) is not supported". Hmmm strange, but still works so maybe the docs are outdated.
Reports - Export To File (Power BI Power BI REST APIs) | Microsoft Docs
Second, "with a limit of one call every 5 minutes, per user". Ok, a show stopper... 😞
Power BI Premium Per User - Power BI | Microsoft Docs
Some hints about limitations here would be nice.
So before the joy begins, it was over already. In the end, there is still no license model for small companies to generate paginated reports. So for now we will continue using our outdated SSRS 2016 that was included in a SQL server license, but without additional cost.
Please to get me wrong, we are willing (already do) to pay an adequate price for a great product like PowerBI. But, there is a huge gap between Per User and Per Capacity license, which clearly targeting big companies with 100+ employees that want to share reports and dashboards outside of the company. Since we have no idea what is the roadmap for SSRS, how to get a new license when using Azure SQL Database, and the sad API limitations of PPU, we will continue to look for alternative products.
Very disappointed, Microsoft Fanboy, PowerBI loving customer 😞
@AbhiSSRS In our use case, our customers are not willing to learn or switch to a second application just to download a simple PDF report and they don't need interactivity. They expect a deep integration into our web app. Something that would be done easily via the API. Something we are doing with SSRS at the moment.
Even that I understand the limitation that was made here, I just wanted to give Microsoft customer feedback. In our opinion, there is still a huge gap between PPU (19€) and PPC (4,200€). For smaller companies that only searching for a future proof replacement/upgrade from SSRS, there is no solution at the moment.
And there is a solution name "On-premises reporting with Power BI Report Server", but sadly this is also only bound to PowerBI Premium (PPC). Would it be a standalone product or an Azure Cloud service, it would match our needs perfectly.
@SteffenMangold since you mentioned on-premise Power BI report server, I would like to mention that in case you have a SQL Server Enterprise Edition with SA, you can get a key for your On-Premise Power BI server and use that with just Pro licesnes for developers. We did that for one of our clients back in 2018 for free as they had the SQL EE with SA and it worked perfectly. The RS generated reports seemlessly and fed them to an on-premise SQL storage from where they were later downloaded via a client application.
Yes I know that and it sounds great, but we migrated all our Databases to Azure SQL Databases. Therefore we do not have such a license. Sadly this MS-SQL type does not come with On-Premise Power BI server license. But you are right if Microsoft would allow Azure SQL customers to use it as a "SQL Server Enterprise Edition with SA" it would be a perfect solution! I mean in the end we paying a lot more for our databases on azure than buying a SQL Server Enterprise Edition with SA.
@SteffenMangold I do see the issue you have with a limit of one call per 5 minutes, however the PPU is proving beneficial for App based users and cases where users received power Bi reports as pdfs from subscriptions and also within Power BI apps. The subscriptions are enabled in PPU workspaces even for pro users and they can receive Pdfs for all the paginated reports in PPU worksapce even with a single PPU license.
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