Microsoft Power BI vs. Microsoft SQL Server

Overview
ProductRatingMost Used ByProduct SummaryStarting Price
Microsoft Power BI
Score 8.4 out of 10
N/A
Microsoft Power BI is a visualization and data discovery tool from Microsoft. It allows users to convert data into visuals and graphics, visually explore and analyze data, collaborate on interactive dashboards and reports, and scale across their organization with built-in governance and security.
$10
per month per user
Microsoft SQL Server
Score 8.6 out of 10
N/A
Microsoft SQL Server is a relational database.
$1,418
Per License
Pricing
Microsoft Power BIMicrosoft SQL Server
Editions & Modules
No answers on this topic
Subscription
$1,418.00
Per License
Enterprise
$13,748.00
Per License
Offerings
Pricing Offerings
Microsoft Power BIMicrosoft SQL Server
Free Trial
YesNo
Free/Freemium Version
YesNo
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
NoNo
Entry-level Setup FeeNo setup feeNo setup fee
Additional Details
More Pricing Information
Community Pulse
Microsoft Power BIMicrosoft SQL Server
Considered Both Products
Microsoft Power BI
Chose Microsoft Power BI
Just because we wanted single-party integration environment and a player which can take ownership of Big Data Analysis. Microsoft Power BI is better in these features as compared to other key BI players like Tableau.
Chose Microsoft Power BI
In any [Microsoft] Power BI to Tableau comparison, especially in organizations that uses both platforms the most important aspect is which platform came first. As any platform that is widely adopted first will naturally have the 'first mover' advantage.

In this case where in my …
Chose Microsoft Power BI
Microsoft Power BI was a cheaper alternative to Tableau. It is part of the Office 365 universe, so easier connectivity to all Microsoft apps.
Chose Microsoft Power BI
Some of the other tools that we use are Oracle Business intelligence, Oracle data Visualization, Tableau etc. All of these tools are being used for different purposes and are connected to the source system in different ways. However Power BI is the most widely used in our …
Chose Microsoft Power BI
We selected Microsoft Power BI because it was the easiest to integrate with our primary systems, allowed us to embed reports for our partners, allowed us to host our data and some reports on premise. It also provided the shortest route to production deployment allowing us to …
Chose Microsoft Power BI
Both do a good job from a presentation layer. I feel that PowerBI has better data modeling capabilities, and Tableau has a slight edge on the visualizations and end-user experience. Power BI is more attractive to most of our B2B clients, and Tableau is more attractive for B2C …
Chose Microsoft Power BI
They all offer a free trial with free versions available, but for enterprise installation and support and overall cost per user, we decided to try out Microsoft BI. Microsoft BI offers predictive analytics as well as data prep tools which Google Analytics does not offer. Power …
Chose Microsoft Power BI
The primary reason why we selected Power BI is cost. Most enterprises have some sort of Microsoft or SQL Server licensing in place. Adding Power BI and the Microsoft infrastructure is a low-cost barrier to an existing license. Most other products came at a much higher price …
Chose Microsoft Power BI
Although we use Birst for our client facing dashboards, PowerBI is much more efficient when connecting to external data sources, and is much easier to customise. The pricing of it almost makes is preferable to other more established options like Tableau.
Chose Microsoft Power BI

From a user perspective, Power BI appears to be more intuitive than Birst. You don't need a training class to learn or use Power BI.

Power BI Desktop is free, other vendors are charging for desktop licenses.

Microsoft SQL Server
Chose Microsoft SQL Server
Microsoft was the original creator of the SQL database, and thus, they still rule the market and drive innovation when it comes to data warehousing systems. It's comparable in price and allows you to retain the structured datasets that you lose when you change to a NoSQL …
Chose Microsoft SQL Server
Microsoft SQL Server was our first choice as we are a Microsoft partner.
Chose Microsoft SQL Server
I use Crystal and Microsoft SQL Server with each other. Each has a unique role that it brings to every query. Microsoft SQL Server allows me to write and refine my base query. Crystal allows me to take that query and make it more visually appealing and easier to interpret.
Chose Microsoft SQL Server
Microsoft SQL Server is a DBMS that can be used in any situation, from small projects to big ones, and the latest versions now can be used in several OS platforms. It is a great product with many features over its competitors. It's a mature and robust product. It's easy and …
Chose Microsoft SQL Server
SQL Server is definitely the go-to product for all things BI. It has its weaknesses, but other products like Oracle or Pentaho don't hold a candle to the power of SQL Server.
Top Pros
Top Cons
Features
Microsoft Power BIMicrosoft SQL Server
BI Standard Reporting
Comparison of BI Standard Reporting features of Product A and Product B
Microsoft Power BI
7.0
138 Ratings
15% below category average
Microsoft SQL Server
-
Ratings
Pixel Perfect reports6.3118 Ratings00 Ratings
Customizable dashboards7.7138 Ratings00 Ratings
Report Formatting Templates7.1126 Ratings00 Ratings
Ad-hoc Reporting
Comparison of Ad-hoc Reporting features of Product A and Product B
Microsoft Power BI
6.9
139 Ratings
16% below category average
Microsoft SQL Server
-
Ratings
Drill-down analysis7.0138 Ratings00 Ratings
Formatting capabilities6.2137 Ratings00 Ratings
Integration with R or other statistical packages7.6102 Ratings00 Ratings
Report sharing and collaboration6.9134 Ratings00 Ratings
Report Output and Scheduling
Comparison of Report Output and Scheduling features of Product A and Product B
Microsoft Power BI
7.7
133 Ratings
8% below category average
Microsoft SQL Server
-
Ratings
Publish to Web8.0128 Ratings00 Ratings
Publish to PDF7.9121 Ratings00 Ratings
Report Versioning7.3101 Ratings00 Ratings
Report Delivery Scheduling8.7103 Ratings00 Ratings
Delivery to Remote Servers6.473 Ratings00 Ratings
Data Discovery and Visualization
Comparison of Data Discovery and Visualization features of Product A and Product B
Microsoft Power BI
7.3
135 Ratings
10% below category average
Microsoft SQL Server
-
Ratings
Pre-built visualization formats (heatmaps, scatter plots etc.)7.3130 Ratings00 Ratings
Location Analytics / Geographic Visualization7.5121 Ratings00 Ratings
Predictive Analytics7.1101 Ratings00 Ratings
Access Control and Security
Comparison of Access Control and Security features of Product A and Product B
Microsoft Power BI
8.2
126 Ratings
4% below category average
Microsoft SQL Server
-
Ratings
Multi-User Support (named login)8.0120 Ratings00 Ratings
Role-Based Security Model8.9102 Ratings00 Ratings
Multiple Access Permission Levels (Create, Read, Delete)8.6110 Ratings00 Ratings
Report-Level Access Control7.01 Ratings00 Ratings
Single Sign-On (SSO)8.594 Ratings00 Ratings
Mobile Capabilities
Comparison of Mobile Capabilities features of Product A and Product B
Microsoft Power BI
7.9
117 Ratings
1% below category average
Microsoft SQL Server
-
Ratings
Responsive Design for Web Access8.0111 Ratings00 Ratings
Mobile Application7.593 Ratings00 Ratings
Dashboard / Report / Visualization Interactivity on Mobile7.5112 Ratings00 Ratings
Application Program Interfaces (APIs) / Embedding
Comparison of Application Program Interfaces (APIs) / Embedding features of Product A and Product B
Microsoft Power BI
8.4
80 Ratings
6% above category average
Microsoft SQL Server
-
Ratings
REST API8.172 Ratings00 Ratings
Javascript API9.856 Ratings00 Ratings
iFrames8.055 Ratings00 Ratings
Java API8.046 Ratings00 Ratings
Themeable User Interface (UI)8.163 Ratings00 Ratings
Customizable Platform (Open Source)8.444 Ratings00 Ratings
Best Alternatives
Microsoft Power BIMicrosoft SQL Server
Small Businesses
SAP Crystal
SAP Crystal
Score 9.0 out of 10
SingleStore
SingleStore
Score 9.0 out of 10
Medium-sized Companies
Reveal
Reveal
Score 10.0 out of 10
SingleStore
SingleStore
Score 9.0 out of 10
Enterprises
Jaspersoft Community Edition
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Score 9.7 out of 10
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Score 9.0 out of 10
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User Ratings
Microsoft Power BIMicrosoft SQL Server
Likelihood to Recommend
7.8
(140 ratings)
9.8
(97 ratings)
Likelihood to Renew
10.0
(1 ratings)
9.0
(6 ratings)
Usability
9.0
(56 ratings)
9.0
(11 ratings)
Availability
-
(0 ratings)
10.0
(1 ratings)
Performance
-
(0 ratings)
9.0
(1 ratings)
Support Rating
7.7
(52 ratings)
7.9
(25 ratings)
In-Person Training
-
(0 ratings)
9.0
(1 ratings)
Online Training
-
(0 ratings)
9.0
(1 ratings)
Implementation Rating
-
(0 ratings)
9.0
(5 ratings)
Configurability
-
(0 ratings)
10.0
(1 ratings)
Ease of integration
-
(0 ratings)
9.0
(1 ratings)
Product Scalability
-
(0 ratings)
9.0
(1 ratings)
Vendor post-sale
-
(0 ratings)
9.0
(1 ratings)
Vendor pre-sale
-
(0 ratings)
9.0
(1 ratings)
User Testimonials
Microsoft Power BIMicrosoft SQL Server
Likelihood to Recommend
Microsoft
In operations we use the tool for many different topics, from factory quality systems to high level reviews. We have created kind of an internal "App Store" based on Power BI where you have a lot of different dashboards for different solutions (cost, cash, health and safety, sales, factories, distribution centers...) and you as an user just need to get in that "App Store" and enter in whatever tool can be useful for you. It is open to all the operations employees and can use on demand. Also it has raised the imagination of our colleagues, as they are not only working by themselves creating new reports, but also raising fantastic ideas that can be extended for the usage of all the community.
Read full review
Microsoft
Microsoft SQL Server is ideal for highly available SQL workloads by using SQL Server Always On availability groups. Microsoft SQL Server might not be appropriate for solutions which require a very low resource footprint, since it requires significant CPU cores and RAM memory as well as high IOPS, always depending on the usage scenario.
Read full review
Pros
Microsoft
  • Quickly filter and view granular data sets with easily configurable reporting figures.
  • The ability to quickly switch between tabs allows for historical data comparisons and progress tracking.
  • It's helpful to dive into the data and break it down from high levels to small.
  • Achieve actionable insights faster by using real-time data. It's incredible to have online access to reports.
Read full review
Microsoft
  • Easy to configure and use with Visual Studio and Dot Net
  • Easy integration with MSBI to perform data analysis
  • Data Security
  • Easy to understand and use
  • Very easy to export database and tables in the form of SQL query or a script
Read full review
Cons
Microsoft
  • The desktop app is great but needs a lot of performance improvements
  • No MacOS Version for the Desktop app, this is a big limitation for business since executives prefer Macs
  • Premium Cloud Version of Power BI is awfully expensive
  • On-Premise Version of the Power BI Reports Server is bundled only with SQL Server Enterprise License and cannot be purchased separately and requires Software Assurance Subscription
  • On-Premise Power BI Report Server doesn't support ADFS, AzureAD or any Claims-Based authentication platform, a sad disadvantage for enterprises
Read full review
Microsoft
  • The import/export process can be tricky to follow with lots of steps and could be better for importing flat files
  • Obtaining help from Microsoft is cumbersome and often other internet sources are better and quicker
  • The documentation is not great and again it's generally better to obtain help elsewhere if needed
Read full review
Likelihood to Renew
Microsoft
I find it helpful and easy to use
Read full review
Microsoft
We understand that the Microsoft SQL Server will continue to advance, offering the same robust and reliable platform while adding new features that enable us, as a software center, to create a superior product. That provides excellent performance while reducing the hardware requirements and the total cost of ownership of our solution.
Read full review
Usability
Microsoft
At this point, I think we all know who has taken the lead in the business intelligence and analytics market worldwide. With fresh new updates every other day on top of an already robustly built product with all features that one can dream of is a no brainer, I feel. Microsoft will invariably be synonymous with quality and professionalism.
Read full review
Microsoft
SQL Server mostly 'just works' or generates error messages to help you sort out the trouble. You can usually count on the product to get the job done and keep an eye on your potential mistakes. Interaction with other Microsoft products makes operating as a Windows user pretty straight forward. Digging through the multitude of dialogs and wizards can be a pain, but the answer is usually there somewhere.
Read full review
Reliability and Availability
Microsoft
No answers on this topic
Microsoft
Its does not have outages.
Read full review
Performance
Microsoft
No answers on this topic
Microsoft
SSAS data cubes may some time slow down your Excel reports.
Read full review
Support Rating
Microsoft
I can't really speak to the support overall, [but] I will say that in the almost three years I have used the system, I have only needed to contact their support team once. I think the team was helpful, but it did take some time for us to resolve the issues/ request that they had. I guess the good news is that the system is pretty stable, and I personally have rarely needed to contact their technical support team.
Read full review
Microsoft
We managed to handle most of our problems by looking into Microsoft's official documentation that has everything explained and almost every function has an example that illustrates in detail how a particular functionality works. Just like PowerShell has the ability to show you an example of how some cmdlet works, that is the case also here, and in my opinion, it is a very good practice and I like it.
Read full review
In-Person Training
Microsoft
No answers on this topic
Microsoft
It was good
Read full review
Online Training
Microsoft
No answers on this topic
Microsoft
very hands on and detailed training
Read full review
Implementation Rating
Microsoft
No answers on this topic
Microsoft
Other than SQL taking quite a bit of time to actually install there are no problems with installation. Even on hardware that has good performance SQL can still take close to an hour to install a typical server with management and reporting services.
Read full review
Alternatives Considered
Microsoft
[Microsoft] Power BI is practical and effective, like a hammer for a nail, it is easy to use and produces very quickly the results that in most cases are urgently required by clients (nice reports to share on the web). To start using [Microsoft] Power BI you need a business email address, with that you create an account in Power BI Service and in less than 1 hour you will have installed Power BI Desktop, a report will have been created and it will have been published on the web .
Read full review
Microsoft
[Microsoft] SQL Server has a much better community and professional support and is overall just a more reliable system with Microsoft behind it. I've used MySQL in the past and SQL Server has just become more comfortable for me and is my go to RDBMS.
Read full review
Scalability
Microsoft
No answers on this topic
Microsoft
SQL server does handle growing demands of a mid sized company.
Read full review
Return on Investment
Microsoft
  • It helps us track and achieve company goals.
  • It shows us [our] performance in areas we could not previously track and allows us to see and work on how to improve their performance.
  • Quick easy access for executives to use in helping teams and addressing issues.
Read full review
Microsoft
  • Increased accuracy - We went from multiple users having different versions of an Excel spreadsheet to a single source of truth for our reporting.
  • Increased Efficiency - We can now generate reports at any time from a single source rather than multiple users spending their time collating data and generating reports.
  • Improved Security - Enterprise level security on a dedicated server rather than financial files on multiple laptop hard drives.
Read full review
ScreenShots

Microsoft Power BI Screenshots

Screenshot of Microsoft Power BI - Turns insights into impact for business usersScreenshot of Power BI integrates easily with Microsoft 365Screenshot of Microsoft Power BI - AI-Powered CapabilitiesScreenshot of Microsoft Power BI - Copilot can be used to create reportsScreenshot of Microsoft Power BI - Data HubScreenshot of Microsoft Power BI - Scales as organizational needs grow