I was chatting to my good friend Treb Gatte and one of the things we both discovered is that there was not a good blog post with regards to an introduction into Power BI Premium. I thought this was a great idea and have turned it into this blog post below.

I am going to cover the following sections below as a starting point for those wanting to find more information on Power BI Premium

  • What is Power BI Premium
  • What does it buy me?
  • Why would I use it?
  • How can it benefit my organization?
  • Licensing
  • Pricing

What is Power BI Premium

A great place to start is to first explain “What is Power BI Premium?”

At the very basic level Power BI Premium allows you to buy dedicated capacity with additional features. Now you might ask what dedicated capacity is?

Capacity is defined as CPU, Memory and Storage which is dedicated to you as shown below.

When you purchase Power BI Premium, you purchase dedicated CPU, Memory and Storage that is for your exclusive use.

In contrast to this, when you are using Power BI Pro, you used shared capacity (sharing CPU, Memory and Storage with other tenants). Don’t worry your data is secure and cannot be access by others in the shared capacity environments!

Below is how shared capacity (Power BI Pro) works

What does Power BI Premium buy me?

This is where the conversation really gets interesting. I personally think that you get a LOT of value when purchasing Power BI Premium.

Below is a list of what features you currently get when you purchase Power BI Premium

I would light to specifically highlight that when Power BI Premium first started it only had incremental refreshing and allowing free users to access the capacity.

Since then they have added a whole host of new features and even more features are planned in the future. The reason why this is such great value is that the pricing has not changed but you get a lot more features at the same price point.

As mentioned previously you get dedicated capacity and depending on the size of Power BI Premium that you buy is how much capacity you get.

Below is a list of the different capacities and what you get for each capacity sizing.

It is important to note that all the P1, P2, P3 Capacity nodes come with 100 TB of storage on each node.

Why would I use Power BI Premium?

With the list of features shown above hopefully it is starting to become clearer as to why you would be looking to use Power BI Premium.

Here are some of the typical use cases I have seen Power BI Premium be used for in the past

  • Free Internal & External Users
  • Performance of datasets
  • Geo Distribution for compliance or performance
  • Faster refreshing
  • Larger datasets
  • AI Workloads
  • Dataflows
  • On-Premise Power BI Reports using Power BI Report Server

How can it benefit my organization?

Some of the benefits have already been discussed above. Below are some benefits that you can look forward to when using Power BI Premium.

  • Free Internal and External Users
    • When you have deployed Power BI Premium, you can then share your dashboards and reports to both your internal users and external users without having to pay for any additional Power BI Licenses.
    • To do this you will have to share the dashboards and reports via an App.
  • Performance
    • This is very often where people start to look at Power BI Premium, they want to ensure that they can get dedicated performance. This can be achieved when using Power BI Premium and the dedicated capacity.
    • Another benefit is that you will be able to create larger datasets than is currently available in Power BI Pro. This allows for your organization and users to quickly get access to large datasets.
  • Geo Distribution for Compliance or Performance
    • If your organization has compliance regulations that the data must reside in a certain area, this can be easily achieved with Power BI Premium. Even if your default Power BI location is in a different location.
  • Faster Refreshing
    • This is achieved by using Incremental refreshing. When using incremental refreshing it only refreshes the last few days worth of data (that you configure).
    • You can also refresh your data via a schedule up to 48 times a day or as often as you want via the REST API
  • AI Workloads
    • A recent addition is AI workloads where you can run pre-canned AI workloads directly from Power Query inside Power BI Desktop, or from your dataflows.
  • Dataflows
    • With dataflows inside Power BI Premium it allows you to be able to use linked entities and referenced entities. This means you can re-use other dataflows that have already been created.
    • A new addition is the enhanced dataflows compute engine it allows you to gain up to 20X performance improvement when querying dataflows.
  • Cost Effective
    • Power BI Premium can be extremely cost effective when you have many users who are simply going to view and interact with dashboards and reports. There is a typical price point of roughly 500 report consumers where it becomes cheaper to purchase Power BI Premium than Power BI Pro licenses.
    • Power BI Premium is very efficient at also managing the datasets in your premium capacity. This means that if datasets are accessed at different times, they are automatically loaded in and out as needed. The direct benefit is that you are now consuming more datasets within a smaller capacity.
  • Easier Management of Dashboards and Reports
    • The sharing of Power BI Dashboards and Reports is done via an App. When an App is shared with users, they get a read-only copy.
    • This means that whilst the users can interact and use the dashboards and reports they cannot edit or make any changes. This leads to better management of the data assets.
  • Power BI Report Server
    • Not only can you benefit from Power BI Premium, you also get the option to run Power BI reports in your On-Premise environment.
    • This is useful for some organizations who do not want to put everything in the cloud
    • Or another reason is that the organization can run some Power BI workloads On-Premise and other workloads that might be broadly needed using Power BI Premium.

Depending on your situation there will be other benefits which you could look to use when using Power BI Premium. This is just an indication of some of the current features.


Licensing with Power BI Premium is always tricky. I very often have conversations around Power BI Licensing because there are many different options and scenario’s

All the licensing details below are defined by their dedicated capacity sizing. The features discussed above apply to all the SKU’s below.


  • An A SKU is typically used for white labelling Power BI into Applications, Portals or Websites.
  • It allows you to scale up, scale down and pause on demand.
  • It is billed hourly.
  • It can also be used to test EM and P SKU’s


  • An EM SKU is typically used for Organizational embedding (This means within your Organization)
  • Billing is done monthly with an annual commitment and can only be purchased through volume licensing plans.


  • A P SKU can be used for enterprise capabilities as listed above.
  • It can also be used for white labelling Power BI into Applications, Portals, Websites and Organizational embedding.
  • It is billed monthly with a monthly or yearly commitment (This can now be purchased by end users Self-Service Purchase on the Power Platform)


The final and important part to discuss is the pricing for Power BI Premium.

Below is a comparison which shows the Capacity Names, sizing and price based in USD at the time of this blog post (The pricing might change)


I do hope that this has given you a great introduction into Power BI Premium, what it is all about. What it can do for you, the benefits, the licensing and the pricing.

If you feel like I have left something out or it was not explained, PLEASE let me know and I will happily update this blog post.

Thanks for reading and I will forward to any comments or suggestions.

Suggested Links

In this section below are some of the links that I used when creating this blog post, that I thought might be helpful for others.

What is Power BI Premium? (A lot of content in this link)

Power BI Report Server

Power BI Enhanced Compute Engine

Power BI Overview Infographic

Power BI P SKU Pricing

Power BI A SKU Pricing