My blog post "Power BI Free vs Pro and Premium", detailing the differences between the Power BI licences is extremely popular. It seems many people want to know how the licensing works. In truth it's fairly simple, Free gives you most facilities, but not sharing, Pro allows sharing with other Pro users and gives the main facilities most users need, and Premium is for large organisations with Big Data and a large number of users who can then user Free licences to view Premium content. However many small and medium sized companies found Premium too expensive for their use, but wanted access to the facilities it provided. So Microsoft has now come up with a "Premium Per User" licence (PPU) which is now in "public preview" this licence addresses the needs of smaller organisations who want the Premium features, but without the large cost.
What is a Premium Per User Licence?
The PPU licence is a per-user licence that gives individual users most of the same facilities as a "Premium" licence gives to the whole organisation. It offers smaller businesses many of the features of Premium but without the cost and commitment of a company-wide Premium licence. The table below compares all four of the Power BI licences.
|Power BI Licence|
Premium Per User
|Cost||Free||£7.50/u/m||Public Preview||> £3100/m|
|Licence Type||Per User||Per User||Per User||Per Capacity|
|Data Storage Capacity||10GB||10GB||10GB||100TB (102,400GB)|
|Maximum size of a DataModel||1GB||1GB||10GB*||10GB*|
|Create and View Dashboards & Reports||Y||Y||Y||View Only|
|Share Dashboards & reports with other BI Users||N||Y||Y||View Only|
|Power BI Desktop||Y||Y||Y||N/A|
|Publish to Web||Y||Y||Y||N/A|
|Automated Data Refresh||8 Per Day||8 Per Day||48 Per Day||48 Per Day|
|XMLA Endpoint connectivity||N||N||Y||Y|
|PowerBI reports On-premise||N||N||N||Y|
|Deploy to Datacenters other than Home||N||N||N||Y|
|*can be larger with "large model support" (in preview)|
As you can see above, the PPU licence offers all the features of a Pro licence, but adds some Premium features, like larger Data Models, more refreshes per day, Paginated Reports and AI facilities. These are available on a per user basis, not the entire organisation as the full Premium licence gives.
What PPU does not have
Whilst PPU gives individual users most of the Premium facilities, there are a few significant things it does not provide. First and most importantly PPU does not give Unlimited Distribution rights. With a Premium licence reports and content can be shared with users who have a Free licence. This is great for large organisations who want many users to view and interact with reports and data, as they don't each need a Pro licence, but can view content with just a Free licence. PPU does not do this, and any content held in a PPU workspace is only available to others with a PPU licence. Secondly, PPU does not provide on-premise licences. With Premium you have the licence to run your own internal Power BI Server, so if you don't want to store data in the Cloud you can manage it yourself. But there's no on-premise licences with PPU.
There are several other smaller differences, like deploying content on other Datacenters, which is useful for large geographically dispersed organisations, but these are the major differences.
How do I get a PPU licence ?
Currently Microsoft has the PPU licence on "Public Preview", it is free to anyone who want to use it, and we are told it will continue to be Free for at least the next two months. If you already have a Power BI licence, you can click on your profile (top right of the Power BI screen) and see the link to "Try Premium per user for free". If you don't already have a Power BI licence you'll be offered PPU when you sign up, or if you receive a link to access Power BI content.
Note that access to this "Free PPU Trial Licence" can be turned off by Power BI administrators, so talk to your admins if you don't see the PPU option and need it.
Once you have a PPU licence you can designate any Workspace as a PPU Workspace in its settings, you'll then see the PPU icon against the Workspace name.
Some words of caution
Great as the PPU licence is, I do think it's right to sound a few words of caution. The one main thing we don't know about the PPU licence is how much it will cost per month. Microsoft has only said that it will cost less than a Premium licence and presumably more than a Pro licence. It will be hard to give up the PPU facilities one they've been used for a few months, so companies should be aware that they may be getting into a financial commitment they don't know the size of. The PPU licence is essentially viral, once one user gets PPU and sets up a PPU workspace, when they share from that workspace with others they will be offered a PPU licence, and so on. So PPU can spread quickly through an organisation. If they want to restrict this Power BI Administrators have an option in the "Admin Portal" "Tenant Settings".
Administrators, disable this tenant settings if you want to stop users being offered PPU licences.
Is PPU for you ?
I think PPU is a great option. Now smaller organisations can get the Premium features they may not have been able to afford before. There are many great features and reasons to use PPU, we'll certainly be training on these in the New Year. However there is just one caveat over the cost, hopefully Microsoft will announce a price soon and end speculation and rumour.
I've given an overview of the new PPU licence here, but the devil is in the details, here are links to the Microsoft documentation if you need it.
We'll be covering PPU and its features on our Advanced courses, meaning you can get in depth knowledge on exactly how to use these functions to your advantage. If you would like more information about our courses, get in touch with our team on 0800 0199 746.