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Announcing Preview Availability of Improved Analytics with Next-Generation Power BI Premium

Headshot of article author David Magar

We are excited to announce the next generation of Power BI Premium is now available to all new and existing users of Premium as a fully supported Public Preview.
Watch this video  to see the performance and scale improvements of this exciting update in-action.
To turn on the update, simply enable the “Premium Generation 2 (preview)” switch on your capacity management page in the admin portal:


Customers and partners from various sectors joined us in a private preview and have seen improvements in both user satisfaction and management overhead:

Centrica, a British based Energy and services company is using Power BI Premium to report on multiple analytics models with billions of rows and dozens of dimensions. Arne Richards, a data engineer with Centrica reported “Gen 2 is a game changer for me, awesome performance and happy users. It feels like I can skip the Data Warehousing layer for a lot of my big data models and just use a combination of our Data Lake and Power BI to solve my end to end projects skipping out 2 integration points and a lot of IT overhead.”

Avanade, a long time Microsoft partner enabling Power-BI-based analytics solutions for customers around the world have been testing gen2 for various analytics projects. Mahima Bedi, an Advanced Analytics Manager with Avanade reported “usage of Premium Gen2 has shown significantly faster query durations for our key reports. We also noticed an increase in refresh successes and improved reliability across the capacity.”

Standard Bank, a South-African Financial Services company who successfully implemented self-service BI across their global workforce, have tried the next generation of Premium to try and reduce the management overhead of their self-service capacities. Wikus Kleynhans, Power BI Platfom Owner with Standard bank tells their story: “We identified datasets with a high average refresh times and moved Workspaces containing these datasets to the new Gen2 Capacities. This has been by far the best refresh rates we have had till date. There are no queues on any of our Premium Capacities.”

Finally, Rockwell Automation, a leading US-based provider of industrial automation and IT that uses Power BI to drive data culture across the company, used the next generation of Premium to improve the performance of their most complex analytics projects. Chris Wagner, a BI Architect with Rockwell happily shared that “Rockwell Automation has been running some of our heaviest Production workloads on Power BI Premium Gen 2 since day 1. Our Analytics Engineers love that users have been blown away at the increased speed and performance. Rockwell Automation sees Power BI Premium Gen 2 as the future for increased user experience, resource management and cost control.”

As a reminder, this update to the way Premium works enhances the value of Power BI Premium by introducing:

  • Ability to license Premium per user in addition to by capacity. Read this blog post from Chris Finlan to get more details and sign up for free trial
  • Enhanced performance on any capacity size, any time: Analytics operations will run significantly faster. Furthermore, operations will always perform at top speed and will not slow down due to increased usage.
  • Even greater scale with:
    • No limits on refresh concurrency so you don’t have to track refresh schedule spacing
    • Fewer memory restrictions
  • Reimagined metrics with clear and normalized capacity utilization data that is only dependent on the analytics operations the capacity performs and not on its size, or level of load. With the new metrics, utilization analysis, budget planning, chargebacks and need to upgrade are clearly visible with built-in reporting
    (This feature will be released in the next few weeks)
  • Autoscale providing the ability to automatically add 1 v-core at a time for 24 hr. periods when the load on the capacity exceeds its limits, thus preventing slowdowns caused by overload. V-cores are automatically removed when idle time is detected. Additional v-cores will be charged to your Azure subscription on a pay-as-you-go basis.
    (This feature will be released in the next few weeks)
  • Significantly reduced management overhead, with proactive and configurable admin notifications about capacity utilization level and load increasing.

The Next-Generation platform will come soon to Power BI Embedded as well.
When available, the new platform will improve chargeback support for ISVs and will introduce lower entry points for premium features like paginated reports and others. Stay tuned for further updates on Next Generation Power BI Embedded availability.

If you haven’t already, make sure your organization’s Premium capacities turn on the Premium Generation 2 (preview) switch and within minutes get your analytics done faster!