What is Power BI Premium Gen2?

Power BI Premium Generation 2, referred to as Premium Gen2, is the second generation of Power BI Premium. Premium Gen2 provides additional enhancements to Power BI, and a comprehensive portfolio of Premium features.

The following table lists some of the Premium Gen2 enhancements.

Enhancement Details
Purchase Premium for individuals in your organization See Power BI Premium Per User (PPU).
Better performance Power BI operations will run at up to 16 times faster than previously, always perform at top speed, and won't slow down when the load on the capacity approaches the capacity limit. Premium Gen2 also provides complete separation between report interaction and scheduled refreshes.
Improved metrics Capacity performance depends only on the amount of CPU usage. Metrics can be easily understood using the Power BI Premium Capacity Utilization and Metrics app.
Autoscale An optional feature that prevents slowdowns caused by throttling on overloaded capacities. When enabled, if the load on the capacity exceeds the capacity limits, autoscale automatically adds one v-core at a time for 24-hour periods. Additional v-cores are charged to your Azure subscription on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Note

To review the Power BI Embedded Gen2 enhancements, refer to Power BI Embedded Generation 2.

Capacities and SKUs

Capacity is a dedicated set of resources reserved for exclusive use. It offers dependable, consistent performance for your content.

Each capacity offers a selection of SKUs, and each SKU provides different resource tiers for memory and computing power. The type of SKU you require, depends on the type of solution you wish to deploy.

The table below describes the resources and limits of each SKU.

Capacity SKUs Total v-cores Backend v-cores Frontend v-cores Max memory per dataset (GB)1, 2, 3 DirectQuery/Live connection (per second)1, 2 Max memory per query (GB)1, 2 Model refresh parallelism2
EM1/A1 1 0.5 0.5 3 3.75 1 5
EM2/A2 2 1 1 5 7.5 2 10
EM3/A3 4 2 2 10 15 2 20
P1/A4 8 4 4 25 30 6 40
P2/A5 16 8 8 50 60 6 80
P3/A6 32 16 16 100 120 10 160
P4/A74 64 32 32 200 240 10 320
P5/A84 128 64 64 400 480 10 640

1 The Power BI Premium Utilization and Metrics app doesn't currently expose these metrics.

2 These limits only apply to the datasets workload per capacity.

3 The Max memory per dataset (GB) column represents an upper bound for the dataset size. However, an amount of memory must be reserved for operations such as refreshes and queries on the dataset. The maximum dataset size permitted on a capacity may be smaller than the numbers in this column.

4 SKUs greater than 100 GB aren't available in all regions. To request using these SKUs in regions where they're not available, contact your Microsoft account manager.

Subscriptions and licensing

Power BI Premium Gen2 is a tenant-level Microsoft 365 subscription, available in two SKU (Stock-Keeping Unit) families.

P EM
Range P1-P5 EM1-EM3
Use Enterprise features and embedding Organizational embedding (embed for your organization)
Commitment Monthly or yearly Yearly
Billing Monthly Monthly
Additional information Includes a license to install Power BI Report Server on-premises EM1 and EM2 SKUs are available only through volume licensing plans. You can't purchase them directly.

Purchasing

Power BI Premium subscriptions are purchased by administrators in the Microsoft 365 admin center. Specifically, only global administrators or billing administrators can purchase SKUs. When purchased, the tenant receives a corresponding number of v-cores to assign to capacities, known as v-core pooling. For example, purchasing a P3 SKU provides the tenant with 32 v-cores. To learn more, see How to purchase Power BI Premium.

Workspaces

Workspaces reside within capacities. Each Power BI user has a personal workspace known as My Workspace. Additional workspaces known as workspaces can be created to enable collaboration. By default, workspaces, including personal workspaces, are created in the shared capacity. When you have Premium capacities, both My Workspaces and workspaces can be assigned to Premium capacities.

Capacity administrators automatically have their My workspaces assigned to Premium capacities.

Memory allocation

With Premium Gen2 and Embedded Gen2, the amount of memory available on each SKU is set to the limit of the memory consumption of a single Power BI item. For example, in a Premium Gen2 P1 capacity, you can host as many Power BI items as you need, as long as the size of your largest Power BI item isn't bigger than 25 GB. You can find the memory upper limits for each SKU, in the Max memory per dataset column of the Capacities and SKUs table.

In the first generation of Premium and Embedded, memory was restricted to a limited amount of RAM used by all items simultaneously running. In Premium Gen2 and Embedded Gen 2, there's no memory limit for the capacity as a whole. Instead, individual items (such as datasets, dataflows and paginated reports) can't exceed the amount of memory the capacity SKU offers. This includes all the operations (interactive and background) being processed for the item while it's in use. Dataset operations such as queries are also subject to individual memory limits.

To illustrate the restriction, consider a dataset with an in-memory footprint of 1 GB, and a user initiating an on-demand refresh while interacting with a report based on the same dataset. Three separate actions determine the amount of memory attributed to the original dataset, which may be larger than two times the dataset size. The total amount of memory used by one Power BI item can't exceed the SKU's Max memory per dataset allocation.

  • Loading the dataset - The first action is loading the dataset into the memory.

  • Refreshing the dataset - The second action is refreshing the dataset after it's loaded into the memory. The refresh operation will cause the memory used by the dataset to double. The required memory doubles because the original copy of data is still available for active queries, while another copy is being processed by the refresh. Once the refresh transaction commits, the memory footprint will reduce.

  • Interacting with the report - The third action is caused by the user's interaction with the report. During the dataset refresh, report interactions will execute DAX queries. Each DAX query consumes a certain amount of temporary memory required to produce the results. Each query may consume a different amount of memory. The memory used to query the dataset is added to the memory needed to load the dataset, and refresh it.

Refreshes

Premium Gen2 and Embedded Gen 2 don't require cumulative memory limits, and therefore concurrent dataset refreshes don't contribute to resource constraints. There's no limit on the number of refreshes running per v-core. However, the refresh of individual datasets continues to be governed by existing capacity memory and CPU limits. You can schedule and run as many refreshes as required at any given time, and the Power BI service will run those refreshes at the time scheduled as a best effort.

Monitoring

When monitoring Premium Gen2 and Embedded Gen2, you only need to take into consideration one aspect: how much CPU your capacity requires to serve the load at any moment. To monitor your capacity, use the Power BI Premium Capacity Utilization and Metrics app.

To install the app, see Install the Gen2 metrics app. You can learn how to use the app in the article Use the Gen2 metrics app.

Here's what happens when you exceed your CPU limit per the SKU size you purchased:

Paginated reports

When using Premium Gen2 and Embedded Gen2, Power BI paginated reports benefit from the architectural and engineering improvements reflected in Premium Gen2.

  • Memory - There's no memory management for Paginated reports.

  • SKU availability - Paginated reports running on Premium Gen2 can run reports across all available embedded and Premium SKUs, including the EM1-EM3 and A1-A3 SKUs. Billing is calculated per CPU hour, across a 24-hour period.

  • Enhanced security and code isolation - Code isolation occurs at a per-user level, rather than at a per-capacity level.

Considerations and limitations

The following known limitations currently apply to Premium Gen2.

  • Rendering visuals - There's a 225-second limitation for rendering Power BI visuals. Visuals that take longer to render, will be timed-out and won't display.

  • Throttling - Throttling can occur in Power BI Premium capacities. Concurrency limits are applied per session. An error message will appear when too many operations are being processed concurrently. To mitigate throttling, you can use autoscale. When autoscale is enabled, if CPU consumption exceeds the additional limits, throttling will still take place.

  • Client library version - Client applications and tools that connect to and work with datasets on Premium Gen2 capacities through the XMLA endpoint require Analysis Services client libraries. Most client applications and tools install the most recent client libraries with regular updates, so manually installing the client libraries isn't usually necessary. Regardless of the client application or tool version, the following minimum client library versions are required.

    Client Library Version
    MSOLAP 15.1.65.22
    AMO 19.12.7.0
    ADOMD 19.12.7.0

    In some cases, manually installing the most recent client libraries may be necessary to reduce potential connection and operation errors. To learn more about verifying existing installed client library versions and manually installing the most recent versions, see Analysis Services client libraries.

Next steps