Recently I was asked about Power BI Report Server and Enhansoft’s new Power BI reports. I didn’t see any reason why our new reports wouldn’t work with Power BI Report Server (PBRS). However, in order to confirm my prediction, I installed Power BI Report Server in my lab.
Given that Power BI Report Server is a pseudo-replacement for SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), the installation process for PBRS was, in fact, similar to the one for SSRS 2017. In case you weren’t aware, the installation process for SSRS 2017 is a bit different than it was in previous versions of SSRS. One of the main differences is that the setup is now external to the SQL Server ISO.
This post shows you, step-by-step, how I installed and configured Power BI Report Server in my System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) current branch lab. In future blog posts, I hope to show you how to install a SCCM reporting services point onto a Power BI Report Server and how Enhansoft’s SSRS and Power BI reports work with PBRS.
As you probably already know, Enhansoft, where I’m the Chief Architect, specializes in using SCCM to collect extra inventory details about computer warranties, computer monitors, local administrator group names, etc. Once these details are all inventoried and returned to SCCM, our customers need to see them in easy-to-read reports.
Even though our products provide customers with almost two hundred SSRS reports, I keep hearing requests for more Power BI reports, so guess what? Enhansoft now offers Power BI reports and we are creating new ones every week!
Let’s get the licensing question out of the way first. Yes, there is a license cost for Power BI Report Server, so please see the official Power BI docs site for more information. No, the Power BI Report Server license is NOT included with SCCM SQL Server licenses (at least not yet). If you would like to obtain more details about what SQL Server licenses you get from SCCM, please see the official docs site.
Virtual Machine Details
I know people will ask, so below are the details about the VM I am using in my lab.
- C: 127 GB VHD – OS only.
- E: 127 GB VHD – SQL Server/SSRS/databases/etc.
- 2 Virtual CPUs.
- Enabled Dynamic Memory is set to allow for a maximum memory of 512MB to 8GB.
- Windows 2016 Datacenter is installed.
Why didn’t I split-up the databases from the SQL Server itself or from the temp databases? The simple answer is: I know this server will never get overloaded. All of the VHDs sit on the same RAID 10 disk, so they all share the same disk I/O. By the way, from a performance standpoint, you gain very little by adding extra VHDs to split-up the virtual disk I/O as it is limited by the physical disk I/O. IMO – adding an extra VHD wastes a TON of extra physical hard drive space, especially if the VHDs have a fixed size.
The following items are required before starting the installation process:
-SQL Server 2017 is installed. You can see my post, How to Install SQL Server 2017, for detailed step-by-step instructions.
-The project key information used to install SQL Server 2017 is handy.
-The Power BI Report Server setup is downloaded.
Install Power BI Report Server
To start the setup, double-click on the PowerBIReportServer.msi.
Click on Install Power BI Report Server.
Select Enter the product key and then complete the field. Click Next.
Select, I accept the license terms, and then click Next.
Change the install directory to E:\… and then click Install.
At this point you have two options: Restart or Configure report server. Keep in mind that both are required in order to complete the installation process. I decided to Restart the server first before I configured it. I did this in order to ensure that PBRS was completely installed before I tried to configure it.
Click on the Restart button.
Configuration Power BI Report Server
Once the server is restarted, logon and locate the Microsoft Power BI Report Server folder and then click on the Reporting Services Configuration Manager link. As I mentioned in the intro, the process of setting-up PBRS is almost identical to setting-up SSRS 2017.
Click Yes on the User Account Control (UAC) prompt.
On the Web Service URL node, accept the Virtual Directory defaults and click Apply. Wait for the Virtual Directory setup to complete before clicking on the Database node.
Click Change Database.
Accept the defaults and click on the Next button.
Click Test Connection.
Now, Click Next.
Again, Click Next.
Upon returning to the main screen, wait until the message, The task completed successfully, appears in the Results pane. Next, click on the Web Portal URL node.
Accept the Web Portal URL defaults and click Apply. Wait until the message, The task completed successfully, appears in the Results pane.
At this point everything is setup for Power BI Report Server. However, if you want to use email subscription, then you need to complete the E-mail Settings section. I highly recommend that you use this feature, but also keep in mind that you can change it at a later date by re-running this configuration and only updating the E-mail Settings node. Check out my post, How to Subscribe to SCCM Reports Using Office 365, for step-by-step instructions. In that post I’m using SQL Server 2016, but the steps are the same for SQL Server 2017.
Finally, click on the Exit button in order to close the Report Server Configuration Manager window.
The last thing you need to do is to confirm that PBRS is working correctly. You can do this by testing the URL (https://<servername>/reports). The above screenshot shows you what a perfect PBRS site would look like. Isn’t it very similar to the SSRS interface?
With Power BI Report Server successfully installed, I can now start testing Enhansoft’s Power BI reports in SCCM current branch.
If you have any questions about how to install PBRS, please feel free to contact me at @GarthMJ.