What is the difference between Power BI on premise and cloud?

Power BI on premise and cloud: Power BI, a versatile business intelligence tool by Microsoft, comes in both on-premise and cloud-based versions, each offering unique features and functionalities. In this comprehensive blog post, we’ll explore the differences between Power BI on-premise and Power BI cloud, providing insights into their distinct capabilities, use cases, and considerations. Additionally, we’ll include external links and FAQs to enhance your understanding of these two Power BI deployment options.

Power BI On-Premise: Embracing the Local Landscape


Power BI on-premise, also known as Power BI Report Server, allows organizations to deploy and manage Power BI reports and dashboards within their own data centers. This on-premise deployment is suitable for businesses with specific security and compliance requirements or those preferring to keep their data within their infrastructure.

Key Features

  1. Data On-Premise: Keep sensitive data on-premise, addressing security and compliance concerns.
  2. Local Control: Maintain control over infrastructure, updates, and data governance.
  3. Customization: Customize the Power BI Report Server to fit specific organizational needs.

How do you troubleshoot performance issues in Power BI?

Power BI Cloud: Unleashing the Power of the Cloud


Power BI cloud, the more widely used version, operates as a Software as a Service (SaaS) offering. Hosted on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, Power BI cloud provides a scalable, feature-rich environment for creating, sharing, and collaborating on reports and dashboards.

Key Features

  1. Scalability: Leverage the scalability of the cloud for handling large datasets and user loads.
  2. Collaboration: Facilitate real-time collaboration with cloud-based sharing and editing capabilities.
  3. Integration: Seamlessly integrate with other Microsoft 365 cloud services for enhanced productivity.

Differences in Focus and Use Cases

While both on-premise and cloud versions of Power BI share core functionalities, their primary focuses and use cases differ:

  • Power BI On-Premise is ideal for organizations with strict security and compliance requirements or those wanting complete control over their infrastructure.
  • Power BI Cloud is suitable for businesses looking for the benefits of scalability, real-time collaboration, and seamless integration with other cloud services.

Feature-by-Feature Comparison

Feature Power BI On-Premise Power BI Cloud
Data Location On-premise servers Cloud-based (Microsoft Azure)
Control and Customization Full control over infrastructure and updates Managed service with regular cloud updates
Scalability Limited by on-premise infrastructure Virtually unlimited scalability in the cloud
Collaboration Limited real-time collaboration capabilities Robust collaboration features for cloud users
Integration with Cloud Services Limited integration with other cloud services Seamless integration with Microsoft 365 services

External Resources

Explore these external links for in-depth knowledge and advanced techniques:

  1. Power BI On-Premise Documentation
  2. Power BI Cloud Documentation

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I switch from Power BI On-Premise to Power BI Cloud or vice versa?

  • Yes, migration is possible, but it involves careful planning and consideration of data transfer, security, and compatibility.

2. Are there any differences in features between Power BI On-Premise and Power BI Cloud?

  • While the core features are similar, some advanced capabilities may be exclusive to one version or have different implementations.

3. How does licensing work for Power BI On-Premise vs. Power BI Cloud?

  • Licensing models differ, with Power BI Cloud often following a subscription-based model, and Power BI On-Premise requiring separate licensing for Power BI Report Server.

4. What security measures are in place for Power BI Cloud?

  • Power BI Cloud benefits from Microsoft’s robust security infrastructure, including encryption, access controls, and compliance certifications.

How do I check my Power BI service status?


Choosing between Power BI On-Premise and Power BI Cloud depends on your organization’s specific needs, preferences, and security considerations. Understanding the differences in features, use cases, and deployment models is crucial for making an informed decision. Whether you opt for the control and customization of Power BI On-Premise or the scalability and collaboration features of Power BI Cloud, Microsoft’s Power BI suite provides versatile solutions to meet your business intelligence needs. Happy analyzing!