Power BI Desktop hosted on premises with SSRS 2016

UPDATE 2016-10-27: the preview is available as a VM in the Azure Marketplace. More information can be found on the SSRS Team blog. You can also find my first impressions of the preview in the blog post First thoughts on Power BI on premises.

UPDATE 2017-05-08: you can find more information about the Power BI on premises options in the blog post Power BI Announcements Summary.

At Microsoft Ignite, it’s announced that very soon, we will be able to host Power BI Desktop files on premises using Reporting Services.
Watch the following Ignite session at the 40:52 time mark:

I’d like to see some demos soon. Anyway, happy dance!

You can see a demo by Riccardo Mutti here:


A preview will be released on Thursday 27 October 2016. It’s an Azure VM where you can try out the Power BI on premises feature.
More information:

Announcing a Technical Preview of Power BI reports in SQL Server Reporting Services

Koen Verbeeck

Koen Verbeeck is a Microsoft Business Intelligence consultant at AE, helping clients to get insight in their data. Koen has a comprehensive knowledge of the SQL Server BI stack, with a particular love for Integration Services. He's also a speaker at various conferences.

20 thoughts to “Power BI Desktop hosted on premises with SSRS 2016”

  1. Very soon… is that like ‘at the PASS conference next month…’? I surely hope so! It’s still sooooooo long till xmas 🙂

  2. 1. For PBI reports on-prem, will SSRS get updated in a fast pace in order to support all monthly features being added on PBI Desktop an PBI service? No point releasing this if it will get neglected.

    2. Will SSRS support custom visuals for PBI? Will it also support R scripts? What about custom R packages?

    3. What about the gateway for PBI Embedded? When will it be available? The service is a joke without access to on-premise data.

    1. Hi PMDCI,

      Great questions in regards to #3, there are other ways for the data to be updated other than the gateway. The tool that Rob Collie has on his website allows for updating Excel Power Pivots and Power BI Desktop workbooks without the gateway.


      You can get a free trial here:



    2. HI PMDCI,

      1. We’re exploring how we could release SSRS on a frequent release cadence and are eliciting customer feedback on the topic. Any community feedback on this topic would be helpful.
      2. We plan to release incrementally, much like we do in the cloud and like we did to integrate Datazen into SSRS. Our very first preview will be a technical preview with limited features. Then we’ll be adding more features toward an eventual generally-available (GA) version.
      3. I contacted the Power BI Embedded team and they’re still aiming to release this support “soon,” but couldn’t communicate a specific date.

  3. @PMDCI:
    these are very good questions, and I’d like to know the answers as well.
    These are my guesses:
    1. I hope so. Power BI Desktop gets updated frequently, but I would expect that it would keep running in SSRS. However, there’s a difference between editing content (which is done in PBI Desktop) and just rendering the HTML5 (which is done by SSRS). Maybe the rendering engine doesn’t need to be updated that frequently.

    2. For custom visuals, the code is embedded in the .pbix file. So it’s just a matter of rendering the HTML. Regarding R, maybe you’d have to install SQL Server R Services?

    3. No idea. Ask Microsoft 🙂

  4. This (Power BI in SSRS on premise) will be an enterprise feature or? It would be great if this will be possible also with the standard version of sql server, but I think Microsoft will not open this functionality for standard sql server installation. Or what do you think?

  5. What is the main advantage going to be for using SSRS over the Power BI cloud? Is it just that the data won’t have to travel as far and thus should reduce latency? Is it that non-Power BI users will be able to use interactive dashboards? What else?

    1. For some reason a lot of companies don’t want to put their data in the cloud. Also, it reduces the number of Power BI licenses needed.
      Personally I like the cloud environment a lot, although it needs some work in supporting Enterprise scenarios (like AD groups for example).

      1. If it does allow users to view the reports without needing a Power BI license, then that would be a huge plus. It puzzles me that every person who will use a report currently needs a separate Power BI license. It makes more sense to charge licenses for those of us who develop them, but allow a simple view of them at an enterprise level, such as with SSRS.

    2. Some companies have legal restrictions on their data, for ex. financial institutions.

      For ex. you can have cases where you are legally bound that data cannot reside on servers outside of your specific the country. With the cloud, you typically cannot guarantee that the data (and any backups and replication sites) will stay inside your country. Control of your data, location, and access to it, is a part of many Audit requirements that may not be able to be met or kept if hosted in the cloud.

      Another advantage would be cost at certain scales. For ex. I have 400-500+GB Databases with 30GB of daily transactions. The cost to host locally currently is much less than in the cloud at that scale. Running a local SSRS server would be faster (with 10Gbps network backend), and cheaper.

      1. Hal makes a few good points. Also, if you put your model in the cloud and you refresh it daily, you have to upload to data to the cloud every day. You pay for this data transaction. Locally, you don’t (at least not directly).

  6. Thanks for this update Koen. Using the SSRS local infrastructure makes total sense. Thankfully it’s not SharePoint integration, that would suck.

    Re the cloud vs on-prem debate, I’m sure it will head there eventually as software-defined-everything. The progression from vm to lightweight container to ephemeral compute and ubiquitous computing will make outright hardware purchase redundant.

    In the meantime Microsoft and other cloud providers want you in their garden, which means running everything in their cloud. Azure runs linux vms happily so they don’t care what you run as long as it’s on Azure. Running everything means all business apps, all data storage including the DW or the lake or the sump or cesspit swamp of schema-less noise or whatever junk you have lying around. Only small businesses are going that far right now.

    In the intermediate years while internet speeds are orders of magnitude slower than LAN, disk, bus etc, and companies have large data on prem, it means ETL into the cloud will suck, be slow and cost a lot, so it won’t take off the way the cloud providers hope.

    It will get there eventually as I alluded to, where everything is in the cloud. The killer app game changer for that to occur will be simple yet rock solid security and privacy management. So yeah, no time soon!

  7. Another advantage regarding Power BI on premises is that SSRS supports Active Directory a lot better. What do I mean with this? Currently, it’s quite hard to sync your AD security groups to Power BI groups. You have to use quite some PowerShell to pull this off automatically. This is caused by the fact that Power BI groups are in fact Office 365 groups. When you mention the bad integration, you get the answer “It’s not the problem of Power BI, but of Office 365”, so the Power BI team is not fixing it.

    Locally, there are no such issues and security will be a lot easier.
    Furthermore, some companies don’t want Office 365. If you want to use Power BI at a certain scale, you’ll need Office 365 and Azure Active Directory.

    1. Hi Rajesh,

      that is still unclear. Probably not with SQL Server 2016, but with SQL Server vNext. Which might be released in 2017.
      The SSRS team promised a blog post about this, but nothing yet…

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