Power BI Report Server – Preview version

Preview version of Power BI Report Server is available. It’s called May 2017 Preview and is available together with dedicated Power BI Desktop application.

Let’s take a look how to install and generally how it works!

What is it? It is a combination of Power BI Desktop features with SQL Server Reporting Services and it works on-premise.

Let’s take a look at the Power BI on-prem vs other products.


Acquiring Power BI Report Server we can use Power BI reports, paginated reports (rdls) and mobile reports (based on Datazen) on-premises.

It is based on SQL Server Reporting Services but is separated from SQL Server setup and release cycle. It will be updated multiple times per year!

You can also migrate reports from SSRS 2008 or later to this version.


Power BI Report Server requires:

  • .NET Framework 4.6
  • Operating system – from Windows Server 2012-2016, or Windows 8.1-Windows 10
  • x64 processor
  • SQL Server 2008-2016. It is required after installation and it is not required to collocate it with Power BI Reports Server.

More at Hardware and software requirements for installing Power BI Report Server


First you need to download Power BI Report Server from Microsoft Download Center.

Run the installer file and choose Install Power BI Report Server.


In the screens you must accept license agreements, choose install folder and edition type (evaluation, developer or provide key).


After installation complete we must configure Report Server.


This is the same configuration steps as in SQL Reporting Services. We need to configure accounts, database and URLs.

Next step is to verify our new Power BI Report Server. Simple go your Web Portal URL.


Install Power BI Desktop

We need to install special version of Power BI Desktop which works with Power BI Report Server. Installer is available on Microsoft Download Center.

This version can coexist with normal version of Power BI Desktop (you can have both installed on computer).

Create report

Now we can start creating our first Power BI on-prem report.

This preview version (May 2017) supports only Analysis Services as data source so let’s create one. Simply choose Analysis Services and enter server name.


Now choose model.


And build some Dashboard.


Now we can save it directly to Power BI Report Server. Simply choose Save As and select Power BI Report Server.


Enter your report server URL.


Now we can go to the Web Portal and see how it works.


The same Dashboard as created in Power BI Desktop. Rendered directly on-premises.


As you can see installation process is simple and fast. If you are familiar with SQL Server Reporting Services it takes you only a few minutes.

This version allows only Analysis Services as data source only but for testing it is really enough. More data sources will come in next versions.

There are some bugs and glitches but this is a preview and I hope that final version will be polished.

It works fast, experience is almost the same as in classic Power BI and it works on-premises. Now we only need to wait for final version which is expected this month!

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