The Microsoft Power BI suite - Using Microsoft Power BI with the AWS Cloud

The Microsoft Power BI suite

To reduce confusion due to product naming similarities, this whitepaper presents what each Microsoft Power BI product and service is.

Power BI Desktop

Power BI Desktop is a free application you install on your local computer. It lets you connect to, transform, and visualize your data. With Power BI Desktop, you can connect to multiple different sources of data and combine them (often called modeling) into a data model. This data model lets you build visuals and collections of visuals you can share as reports with other people inside your organization.

Power BI Desktop can connect to any supported data source that is available locally or over the network. For supported data sources, see the Appendix: Microsoft Power BI supported AWS data sources.

Most users who work on business intelligence projects use Power BI Desktop to create reports. Then they push content to either Power BI Report Server or the Power BI service in order to share their reports with others. The act of pushing content from Power BI Desktop to the Power BI Report Server or the Power BI service is known as publishing. For more information, see What is Power BI Desktop?

Note

Power BI Desktop is a Windows-only application. It is not available for Linux, macOS, or other operating systems.

Power BI Service

Power BI is a collection of software services, apps, and connectors that work together to help you create, share, and consume business insights in a way that serves you and your business most effectively. The Power BI service, sometimes referred to as Power BI online, is the software as a service (SaaS) part of Power BI. For more information, see What is the Power BI service?

The Power BI service is a cloud-based service. It supports light report editing and collaboration for teams and organizations. You can connect to data sources in the Power BI service too, but modeling is limited.

Most report designers who work on business intelligence projects use Power BI Desktop to create reports, and then use the Power BI service to distribute their reports with others. For additional information on this crucial component, refer to Connecting the Microsoft Power BI service to AWS data sources.

Power BI Report Server

Power BI Report Server is a private report server with a web portal in which you display and manage reports and KPIs. Customers use Power BI Report Server in cases where they do not want their reports published to the Power BI service. Although it was originally intended for on-premises environments, the Power BI Report Server can run on AWS as well. For additional information, refer to Using Microsoft Power BI Report Server in AWS.

On-premises data gateway

The Microsoft on-premises data gateway is a commonly-deployed component that can increase the security and performance of Power BI deployments. It allows the Power BI service to access privatized data sources, which are located in another facility and accessible by internal network connectivity between the data source and the data gateway. Although it is typically installed as a server component, you can also install a personal mode on your local computer as an application. This whitepaper focuses only on the standard (server) mode. For additional information, refer to Connecting the Microsoft Power BI service to AWS data sources.