Choosing Between Power BI Premium and Azure Analysis Services

Yesterday I posted an article comparing Power BI dataflows, Power BI datasets, and Azure Analysis Services. Although I’d like to believe that the article was useful, I used the disclaimer “I’m not an expert” in multiple places where I was talking about the differences between models in Power BI and AAS. I may not be an expert, but I do know quite a few people who are.

Specifically I know Gabi Münster and Oliver Engels from oh22data AG in Germany, and Paul Turley from Intelligent Business LLC in the United States.

Gabi and Oliver presented last month at the PASS Summit conference in Seattle on this very topic. Their session “Azure Analysis Services or Power BI – Which service fits you best?” looked at the history of the two services, their current capabilities and strengths, and future capabilities that Microsoft has announced in its business intelligence release notes. They even included a decision flowchart!

If you weren’t able to attend their session in November, I have good news and I have bad news and I have more good news.

The good news is that this session is included in the PASS Summit session recordings, which you can purchase and download today.

The bad news is that the session recordings cost $699, which may be difficult to justify if this is the only session you’re interested in[1].

The good news is that Oliver and Gabi were kind enough to share the slide deck and let me share it with you. You can download it here: AAS or PBI – Which service fits – from PASS Summit 2018.

And I’m very happy to see that their conclusions line up pretty well with my previous post.


Paul has also presented a conference session[2] related to this topic, and has also recently blogged with an excellent feature comparison table between the different options in SQL Server Analysis Services, Azure Analysis Services, and Power BI.

If you’re in a position where you need to select a BI platform, I highly recommend checking out these resources, as they includes both valuable information, and a framework for using that information in different common scenarios.

Update: Check out this new post from James Fancke at Why Azure Analysis Services is a great value proposition. This article provides a great counterpoint to my post, and drill-down specifically into Azure Analysis Services, and is well worth a read.

Update: Also check out this new post from Dave Ruijter at the Guide To Selecting Between Azure Analysis Services And Power BI Premium.

And if after reading these posts and this slide deck you still have unanswered questions, please seek professional help. Specifically, please find a Microsoft Partner who specializes in business intelligence, or a similar expert consultant who can help evaluate your specific needs and how the different available technical options can be applied to address them.

[1] The conference had many awesome sessions, so this should not be the only one you’re interested in.

[2] A delightfully themed conference session, at that.

7 thoughts on “Choosing Between Power BI Premium and Azure Analysis Services

  1. Pingback: Why Azure Analysis Services is a great value proposition –

  2. James Fancke

    I initially started writing out a rambling comment to your post about why I think AAS is great, but it became too long and so I turned it into a rambling blog post.
    I guess the message I want to get out there is that while there’s a lot of development and effort going into Premium, you can still get a heck of a lot achieved using AAS and at a fraction of the cost of Premium.


    1. GregT

      Unless AAS can query web services like PBI then it is basically dead. The further it gets behind PBI the more obvious it becomes that MS is orphaning it.


      1. James Fancke

        Don’t hold me to this but I believe the 1470 compatibility level may include an increased set of supported data sources, and that “from web” may be one of them.


  3. Pingback: Data Model Options for Power BI Solutions | Paul Turley's SQL Server BI Blog

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