Power BI : Deployment Models

When we propose BI for our clients, a typical questions we get are such as:

“Do we need to upload our data to cloud?”

“How secure it would be to upload data on cloud ? ”

“Is it only available as on cloud? ”

We have most of our systems on premise, how would it fetch data from these systems if its on cloud?

“Can we deploy it on premise?”

“Do we need data ware house? or its handled by Power BI?” etc etc…..

We should be able to address these questions satisfactorily for a successful sales pitch. To answer these questions we should be aware of the deployment models of Power BI. In this blog let us go through these aspects of Power BI.

We need to first understand generic  deployment models

  • On-Premises: Refers to data, applications and infrastructure entirely owned by client at client data center and client has complete control over it.
  • Cloud: Refers to data, infrastructure and/or services residing in a public cloud environment and completely managed /controlled by third party. Microsoft Azure and web based Power BI service are examples of the cloud offerings.
  • Hybrid: This denotes to the implementation which  spans both on premises and cloud sources which can be services, infrastructure and data sources

Power BI supports all three types of models. Let us see how this is possible and exactly what is to be  done.

On-Premises Deployment :

Power BI can be deployed on premise three different options . Kindly refer below diagram.

On Premises Deployment

Option 1 : File Share 

The first on-premises option involves usage of a file share:

  • Data preparation and report creation is done in client tools: Power BI Desktop and/or Excel.
  • The completed Power BI Desktop and/or Excel file is published to a file share or a document collaboration area / repository.
  • To view the reports, Excel or Power BI desktop has to be installed on the viewer’s machine

Option 2 : SharePoint

The second on-premises option involves a specialized document library in SharePoint called the Power Pivot Gallery. Due to my limited knowledge, I am not going in details of this option

  • Data preparation and report creation occurs in Excel.
  • The completed Excel file is published to SharePoint within a Power Pivot Gallery.

Option 3: Third Party Integration

The third on-premises option involves a third party which integrates with Power BI.

  • Data preparation and report creation occurs in Power BI Desktop.
  • The completed Power BI Desktop file is published to the third party server

Hybrid Deployment 

Power BI can be deployed in hybrid mode in three different options . Kindly refer below diagram.

Hybrid Deployment

Option 1: Power BI Service

  • Data is either from the on premises corporate applications or it might be born in cloud. It can even mix of these two
  • Data preparation and report creation occurs in Power BI Desktop or excel
  • Completed Power BI reports are then published to Power BI service
  • Report consumption, sharing, security, collaboration, data refresh happens in Power BI service
  • Dashboards are created in Power BI service and reports can also be edited or created in Power BI service

Option 2: Custom Application Integration

  • Data is either from the on premises corporate applications or it might be born in cloud. It can even mix of these two
  • Data preparation and report creation occurs in Power BI Desktop or excel
  • Completed Power BI reports are then published to Power BI service
  • With Power BI API , these reports can be published in custom web application or mobile app  within iFrame
  • If user interacts with this report, he/she will be redirected to Power BI service
  • Application can be on premise or cloud application

Option 3: Public Website 

  • Data is either from the on premises corporate applications or it might be born in cloud. It can even mix of these two
  • Data preparation and report creation occurs in Power BI Desktop
  • Completed Power BI reports are then published to Power BI service
  • An embed code is generated by Power BI service for selected report and this code can be embedded in web page of the website within iFrame
  • Here no security is maintained as its public website, hence suitable for the data which can be made publicly available

Be reading my blog , I am hoping that you would be able to answer to client’s questions As we move further , you would get more clarity on the Power BI implementations.

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