What Is Power BI Report Server And How To Install It


Power BI is a business intelligence platform that helps to represent data in graphical view as well as share and analyze data. Many companies are not allowed to go to cloud services and are bound to an on-premises environment because of several reasons such as data privacy, security, compliance or data-sovereignty and data sensitivity. As Power BI is a robust platform for data analysis and visualization, it is most demanding and one of the best platforms for report designing and sharing. For those who cannot go to Power BI Cloud services Microsoft has brought Power BI on-prem services which is known as Power BI Report Server. Power BI Report server is like SQL Server Reporting Server.

Additionally, installation and setup steps are almost the same.

In this article, we will learn what Power BI Report Server is, it's features and how to install it. This article will describe steps to install Microsoft Power BI Report Server - January 2021 release. Before starting the installation steps, let us learn about the Power BI Report Server.

Prerequisites for Power BI Report Server

  • SQL Server Enterprise Edition with Software Assurance
  • Power BI Premium

For development and test purposes we can use SQL Server 2019 Community version too.

What is Power BI Report Server?

Power BI Report Server

Power BI Report Server is available as part of Power BI Premium which enables on-premises web and mobile viewing of Power BI reports as well as enterprise capabilities of SQL Server Reporting Services. Alternatively, it is included with SQL Server Enterprise Licensing with Software Assurance. It is an on-premises report server with a web portal where we can display and manage reports and KPIs. Furthermore, it comes with tools to create Power BI reports, paginated reports, KPIs and mobile reports. It is like SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) and Power BI Service online. Using Power BI Premium license, we can create a hybrid deployment mixing cloud and on-premises.

We can do the following things using Power BI Desktop and Power BI Server,

  • We can build reports using Power BI desktop.
  • Can publish interactive reports to Power BI Server on-Prem
  • View and analyze reports in web browser. Additionally, can use it through Power BI App in your mobile or tablet or as an email in the in-box.

Power BI Web Portal features

  • Web portal is secure and supported in all modern web browser.
  • Content in web browser is managed in traditional folder hierarch.
  • Can grouped contents in folder by: Power BI reports, mobile reports, paginated reports, KPIs and Excel workbooks.
  • Custom branding of web portal according to your organization is available.
  • Can schedule report processing, access report on-demand

Features Comparison of Power BI Report Server and Power BI Service

Features Power BI Report Server Power BI Service
Deployment On-premises or hosted cloud Cloud
Source Data Cloud or on-premises/cloud and on-premises Cloud or on-premises/cloud and on-premises
License Power BI Premium or SQL Server Enterprise Edition with Software Assurance (SA) Power BI Pro Power BI Premium or Both
Release cycle Three times a year Once in a month
Lifecycle Modern lifecycle policy Fully managed service
Can develop reports in Power BI Desktop Yes Yes
Host and connect shared datasets No Yes
Cross-report drill through No Yes
Full-screen view mode No Yes
Gateway required No Required for on-premises data sources
Mobile Apps Support Yes Yes
Paginated reports Yes Yes
Dashboards No Yes
Real-time streaming No Yes
Q&A No Yes
Quick insight No Yes

For more details on feature comparison visit Feature Comparison.

You can download Power BI Report Server from Installation File

Power BI Installation

To start the Installation of the Power Bi Report Server double-click on the Power BI Report Server installation file (PowerBIReportServer.exe ).

Server installation

You will get the below screen, click on Install Power BI Report Server.

 Install Power BI

In the next step, you will get the option to Choose an edition to install. If you are installing it for development and test environment, choose Developer and if you want to install it for Evaluation choose the default selection Evaluation which expires in 180 days, and then click on the Next option.

If you are installing for a Production environment, then Select the Enter product key option insert the key, and click on Next.

Enter product key

You will get the below screen, accept the license terms, and click on Next options.

 Next options

Then, you will get the next screen as shown below to Install Database Engine. By default, the Install Power BI Report Server only will be selected you just click on the Next option.

Install Database Engine

Then, specify the Installation location of your machine as depicted below and click on Install.


After that, you will get a confirmation for Installation. Click on Yes to allow the installation to proceed. Installation may take some time.

Get confirmation

When installation is complete, you will get the below screen to Configure it. You can start the configuration immediately or you can simply close it and can configure it later.

Configuration immediately


In this way, this article has described what is Power BI Report Server, why we need it, its feature comparison with Power BI service, and how to install it. Additionally, after installation, we need to configure it. In the edit next article, we will learn how to configure the Power BI Report Server.


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