Not long ago, Microsoft announced that the limits for Datasets and Reports per Dataset had been increased to 200. You can read their announcement here. That raised some additional questions for me. I asked Microsoft and have now gotten the answers I sought.
Please note that these answers are valid as of September 23, 2015, but are subject to change in the future.
A Dataset is a connection to a single source of data, a single file, a single database, etc. So, this means you can connect to up to 200 distinct sources from your Power BI service account. Note that a Power BI Desktop file, which can connect to many sources at once, counts as a single Dataset in the Power BI service. Therefore, effective use of Power BI Desktop raises your limit of data sources well above 200.
NOTE: I don’t, as of the time of this writing, have the limit on sources supported by a Power BI Desktop file. I will provide that info once I have it.
Reports per Dataset
A Report in Power BI connects to one and only one Dataset. If you think 200 Reports per dataset does not seem like much, remember that Reports can have multiple pages of visualizations. I don’t have a maximum on number of pages at the moment.
NOTE: I got confirmation from Microsoft that tiles created via Q&A DO NOT count against this 200-Report limit. So, with effective use of Q&A for creating Dashboard tiles, you can get a lot of mileage out of 200 Reports by only using them for things that a Q&A tile cannot do.
With 200 Datasets each supporting up to 200 Reports, some simple arithmetic leads to the conclusion that you can have up to 40,000 Reports in your Power BI account. I have not seen an Enterprise environment with anything close to that number of Reports. I would think they could be out there, but, still: That’s a LOT of Reports.
You can have up to 100 Dashboards in your Power BI account. To me, this is the most limiting out of all of these numbers. The reason is that there is no real wiggle-room here as there is no comparable alternative to Dashboards. While there is not a technical reason that dictates your Dashboard tiles have to all fit on a single screen without scrolling, it is definitely a best practice to keep them to a single screen. Still, if you remember that your dashboards should be for the MOST important information that needs to be seen at a glance, you can make good choices about what gets pinned to Dashboards and what stays on the underlying Report(s). Keep in mind, too, that Dashboards can support Tiles from multiple Reports and from multiple Datasets via Q&A. So, it is possible to to have multi-purpose Dashboards if you are approaching this limit. That said, I would recommend you avoid mixing unrelated data in the same Dashboard as it could create confusion and make the Dashboard less effective overall.
There you have it. I hope that provides some clarification. I have to say, for a service with the elegance and flexibility of Power BI, and price points of FREE and $10/Month, these limits are VERY generous.
Categories: Power BI