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mjbernier
Helper II
Helper II

Power BI Report Server Licensing - Can we get a documented answer?

I've been racking my brain in this forum trying to get a straight answer to what should be a very simple question regarding Report Server licensing:

 

I have two SQL servers in my environment:

1 - a heavily used data server running 16 cores of SQL Enterprise with SA

2 - a lighter used app/data server running 16 cores of SQL Standard

 

I am wanting to install Power BI Report Server as we have a lot of reporting that must remain on-prem. I would like to install PBIRS on server 2, as server 1 is currently too busy to take on the additional workload.

 

My question is simple:

- Can I install PBIRS and its supporting ReportServer database on server 2 (the one with the Standard license) so long as it's the only server in our shop that uses it? Or, must PBIRS and its ReportServer database be installed on server 1 since it's where the Enterprise SA license is applied?

- And... is there a hard document published by Microsoft that I can take to my management to show them what the rules are?

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Hello,

I did contact our Microsoft account team and the response you provided is incorrect. Here is their official response:

 

PBI RS use rights come with either Power BI Premium Capacity or SQL Server Enterprise Edition with SA.  Since you are using the Product Key from your SQL Server Enterprise Edition with SA to activate PBI RS, that instance of PBI RS would need to reside on the same machine/VM as your SQL Server Enterprise Edition with SA.  If you decide to move the PBI RS instance to another server, and that server does not have SQL Server Enterprise Edition licenses (in this case you have a SQL Server Standard Edition installed/licensed on Server B and Standard Edition does not have use rights for PBI RS), then as far as I am aware you would need to acquire licenses for the cores on Server B which will now host PBI RS either with SQL Server Enterprise licenses with SA or with Power BI Premium Capacity licenses.  Using the same Product Key from Server A on Server B would only work if you were to transfer the licenses from Server A to B by removing all components of SQL Server Enterprise Edition from Server A (PBI RS, RDMS, SSAS, etc.), and then transferring those core licenses to the cores on Server B.

 

So, bottom line is, you cannot install PBIRS on any server other than the one where the SQL Enterprise SA license is installed. This will have a major impact on our planning, as we will be essentially wasting a very expensive Enterprise licence for the sole purpose of running a report server.

View solution in original post

4 REPLIES 4
johnbasha33
Solution Sage
Solution Sage

Did I answer your question? Mark my post as a solution! Appreciate your Kudos !!

johnbasha33
Solution Sage
Solution Sage

@mjbernier  i understand your concern, here is the brief explanation regarding the licensing requirements for Power BI Report Server (PBIRS). The licensing rules can sometimes be complex, but I'll try to provide a clear answer.

According to Microsoft's licensing documentation, the licensing requirements for Power BI Report Server depend on the edition of SQL Server being used. Here's a summary:

1. **For SQL Server Enterprise Edition with Software Assurance (SA)**:
- With SQL Server Enterprise Edition with SA, you are entitled to use Power BI Report Server without any additional licensing cost.
- You can install Power BI Report Server on any server within your organization's environment, regardless of the SQL Server edition running on that server.

2. **For SQL Server Standard Edition**:
- With SQL Server Standard Edition, you are not entitled to use Power BI Report Server without additional licensing.
- You need to separately license Power BI Report Server. This typically involves purchasing a Power BI Premium subscription, which includes the right to use Power BI Report Server.

Based on this information, if you have SQL Server Enterprise Edition with SA, you can install Power BI Report Server on the server running SQL Server Standard Edition without any additional licensing cost. However, if you only have SQL Server Standard Edition, you would need to acquire separate licensing for Power BI Report Server.

To ensure compliance and to get the most accurate information regarding your specific licensing situation, I would recommend reaching out to Microsoft Licensing Support or your Microsoft account representative. They can provide you with official guidance and documentation that you can present to your management. Additionally, you can refer to Microsoft's official licensing documentation for Power BI Report Server and SQL Server for more detailed information.

Hello,

I did contact our Microsoft account team and the response you provided is incorrect. Here is their official response:

 

PBI RS use rights come with either Power BI Premium Capacity or SQL Server Enterprise Edition with SA.  Since you are using the Product Key from your SQL Server Enterprise Edition with SA to activate PBI RS, that instance of PBI RS would need to reside on the same machine/VM as your SQL Server Enterprise Edition with SA.  If you decide to move the PBI RS instance to another server, and that server does not have SQL Server Enterprise Edition licenses (in this case you have a SQL Server Standard Edition installed/licensed on Server B and Standard Edition does not have use rights for PBI RS), then as far as I am aware you would need to acquire licenses for the cores on Server B which will now host PBI RS either with SQL Server Enterprise licenses with SA or with Power BI Premium Capacity licenses.  Using the same Product Key from Server A on Server B would only work if you were to transfer the licenses from Server A to B by removing all components of SQL Server Enterprise Edition from Server A (PBI RS, RDMS, SSAS, etc.), and then transferring those core licenses to the cores on Server B.

 

So, bottom line is, you cannot install PBIRS on any server other than the one where the SQL Enterprise SA license is installed. This will have a major impact on our planning, as we will be essentially wasting a very expensive Enterprise licence for the sole purpose of running a report server.

You are right, you are bound to your EE with SA-license! 

Use of Power BI Report Server – SQL Server Enterprise Edition 

Customer may run Power BI Report Server software on the Licensed Server, on any allowed Fail-over OSE in accordance with those same limits, or in Azure. Customer may run the software on a maximum numbers of cores equal to the number of SQL Server Enterprise Edition Core Licenses with active SA assigned to the Licensed Server, subject to a minimum of four core licenses per OSE. Alternatively, if the software is run in Azure, Customer must allocate one SQL Server Enterprise Edition Core License with active SA per virtual core, subject to a minimum of four core licenses per OSE. Use is additionally subject to the applicable terms of Customer’s volume license agreement. A Power BI Pro User SL is required to publish shared Power BI reports using the Power BI Report Server. This right expires upon expiration of Customer’s SA coverage.

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