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Author: Mark Robinson
Mark is the guy you talk to about Business Intelligence (BI) at Cloud2

Power BI Premium explained in pictures

The release of Power BI Premium in June 2017 was a major milestone for Microsoft and its flagship BI platform; however, Premium continues to cause some confusion to some. So what’s the difference between Free, Pro and Premium?

Power BI tenant on Office 365 and Azure AD
Power BI tenant on Office 365 and Azure AD

The differences between Free and Pro licensing for Power BI are pretty straightforward, Free is great if you work in Power BI alone whilst Pro allows you to work in Power BI on your own and with others. But where does Premium come into this? Well hopefully the below diagrams help to answer this question better than words can.

Here’s a Power BI (PBI) tenant with an O365 tenant and Azure AD running behind it – these are always created when a new PBI tenant is created (even if its only used by one user)

Pro licensed users can create content and publish it to their own My Workspace and to App Workspaces.

Content in App Workspaces can be published as Apps. Pro licensed users can access content in App Workspaces and in Apps.

Its important we understand there’s a difference between App Workspaces and Apps. App Workspaces in Power BI can contain data sets, reports, dashboards and Excel workbooks. The content in an App Workspace can be published as an App. Publishing and sharing Apps is the best way to share content with users.

Power BI free licence users only create and publish own content
Power BI free licence users only create and publish own content

Free licensed users can create content and publish it to their own My Workspace; however they cant publish content to App Workspaces, publish Apps or access content other users have created

If a Premium Node for Power BI is purchased and applied to our tenant, we can create a new Premium Capacity against this Node

Premium Node added Power BI
Premium Node added Power BI

We can now assign some or all of our organisations App Workspaces to this Premium Capacity. Apps created from such App Workspaces will also now reside on the Premium Capacity.

Power BI Premium allows app Workspaces to be created and Apps published
Power BI Premium allows app Workspaces to be created and Apps published

Content published to App Workspaces that have been assigned to a Premium Capacity can be accessed by Free licensed users

Power BI Free users can access Published Apps on Pre
Power BI Free users can access Published Apps on the Power BI Premium capacity

Even if Premium has been added to your tenant, its not possible to give Free licensed users direct access to App Workspaces. Free licensed users can only access published Apps residing on a Premium Capacity

This last point may be unnecessarily over-complicating the matter, but those who used Power BI before June 2017 were used to giving users access to content in Workspaces (now called App Workspaces). Now we have App Workspaces in Power BI, it’s important to understand that we can’t give Free licensed users access to App Workspaces. We can only give Free licensed users access to Apps created from an App Workspace assigned to a Premium Capacity.

Power BI Free users can't access App Workspaces in Power BI Premium
Power BI Free users can’t access App Workspaces in Power BI Premium
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