How does PowerBI compare with SSRS

  • Rod at work

    SSC-Dedicated

    Points: 33154

    First, I realize this question is probably in the wrong forum. I'm sorry about that. I couldn't find any forum specific for PowerBI.

    Now onto the question. Recently I was discussing PowerBI with my coworkers. We're using a mixture of MS Access report, Crystal, Excel and SSRS reports. Slowly moving to SSRS. SSRS has lots of benefits over what we've been using for many years, longer than I've been here. But I'm really beginning to see from Microsoft the push towards PowerBI. And having sat in a special SQL Saturday about a year ago in which one guy was using PowerBI, I was very impressed with its capabilities. So I was there chatting it up with my coworkers. However, I don't have any practical experience with PowerBI. One of my colleagues said that his brother works somewhere, where they were considering PowerBI, but eventually decided against it because of the cost. The price of anything is extremely important to where I work. So let me put this to you plainly, is PowerBI more expensive that SSRS?

    Kindest Regards, Rod Connect with me on LinkedIn.

  • pietlinden

    SSC Guru

    Points: 62614

    I think the easiest way into PowerBI is to get Rob Collie & Avi Singh's book, and to start playing. The book is only about $30, but absolutely worth it.
     PowerBI Desktop is free... Not sure what MS is doing with licensing right now.

    To me, PowerBI is much more about data exploration than reporting (which is what SSRS is good for).  You can download PowerBI and play with it at home. If you have a free version of SQL Server available, then PowerBI is great... It's one of the points Rob makes in his book - when you have  PowerBI and a good backend database, you're golden.

    You can download both PowerBI Desktop and SQL Server 2016 for free from the MS site.

  • xsevensinzx

    One Orange Chip

    Points: 25550

    If PowerBI cost is worrying you, then it's likely not what you're looking for. I think right now, it's about $9.99 per user where competitors like Tableau used to be around $1,000 per user, but now have monthly subs as low as $35 per user.

    PowerBI Costs
    PowerBI Enterprise Calculator

    In my opinion, PowerBI is the way to go if you can afford the $9.99 per user per month. You have the 10GB per user and per workgroup (groups of users) that is pretty much like SSAS Tabular in the cloud without having to setup SSAS specifically. PowerBI allows you to remodel the data and comes with very nice visuals, filters and much more compared to SSRS. It also allows you to live query on on-prem or Azure-based SQL Servers in case 10GB is too small for your organization.

    I would say it's cheaper to stick with SSRS if you already have it, but you would be missing out on some great visualization features with PowerBI if you do so. For $9.99 per user per month for pro and now with the Azure SSAS available for additional BI power, you really can't go wrong. 

    I think the only thing I miss about SSRS is the parameters you could set on queries that tied to filters. This is non-existant in PowerBI thus far. Other than that, PowerBI is been a great product and certainly one you should try out if you're looking for a good SSRS replacement.

  • Martin Schoombee

    SSCoach

    Points: 19026

    As the others have said, a Power BI Pro license will cost you $10 per user/month. To compare it with SSRS pricing, you really need to look at the edition of SSRS and whether you have CALs or per core licences, how many users you have, whether SSRS is on a shared server or not, etc. 

    All of these factors will influence the comparison, and will be different for each environment. If the price comparison yields a positive outcome for you environment, you should then consider the differences in features/capabilities, especially the ones you have in SSRS but not in Power BI (email subscriptions with attachments; export into various formats; paging for tabular reports).

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