Power BI vs QuickSight

Announced last year Amazon QuickSight catch attention of companies and users. Amazon QuickSight is a business analytics service from Amazon. As BI solution Amazon QuickSight allows users to build visualizations, perform ad hoc analysis, and quickly get business insights from data.

 A comparing of QuickSight with Power BI from Microsoft -a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms helps to understand better a value of solution from Amazon.

Sign up

Users can sign up and get started fast and free as with Power BI as with Amazon QuickSight.

Data Sources, Data Modeling, Data Relationships

The list of Amazon Quick Sight connects to data is much modestly then the list of Power BI data sources. Users can upload CSV or Excel files, ingest data from AWS data sources such as Amazon Redshift, Amazon RDS, Amazon Aurora, and Amazon S3, connect to databases like SQL Server, MySQL, and PostgreSQL, in the cloud or on-premises or connect to SaaS applications like Salesforce.

To compare a speed of speed of loading data into both system we created the identical report in both system. We chose the table in Azure SQL Server database as data source. The table contains more than 10 Million rows. SPICE is a parallel, in-memory, columnar calculation engine from Amazon automatically replicates data for high availability. After a uploading process was started user has access to data and can work with it.

To access to database, we need to allow access from Amazon QuickSight IP Address range. Open Firewall settings on Azure portal to perform this operation.

User can copy data to the in-memory engine or directly query it with SQL.

The SPICE import speed is really impressive. 10 Gb dataset was imported to SPICE for 23 minutes.

To connect to the Azure SQL Server database from the Power BI users need to download the Power BI desktop application, previously the data source was available thru the Power Bi site.

In Power BI desktop user also can choose between two options: import or direct query to data.

10 Gb dataset was imported to Power BI for 25 minutes. When we set a data source we can easily add tables from data source.

In QuickSight after data loading user can manage data and select table.

The current version of Amazon QuickSight has limited data preparation capabilities. User can manage data fields, change data types and create calculated fields, filter data.

A big disadvantage in my view is that Amazon QuickSight doesn’t have ability to combine data from different data sources in contradistinction to Power BI. Amazon suggest to use Amazon S3 or Amazon Redshift to combine data sources and then import into QuickSight.

In Power BI user can choose from more than 50 data sources and combine any of these in one report.

User can easily format data: change data type, set category, sorting options, add a new column or a new measure, create a group,hide/unhide column, delete/copy/rename column.

More options available thru Query Editor- user can manage parameters, split columns, remove duplicates, replace values, group, merge or append queries, reverse rows, transpose. User also can manipulate with data using DAX language.

The list of functions that available from Amazon QucikSight for grouping data is included only basic function as count, sum, average, max, min. The list of functions that available when user set calculation field also very small.

Data Visualizations

Amazon QucikSight provides only basic chart types as Bar, Line, Pie charts, Pivot table, Scatter Plot and Tree Map. Amazon QucikSight doesn’t have any map visuals to work with geographical data. It is extremely low number of charts in compare with Power BI with rich variety of charts types and ability to create and load custom visuals from power bi web site.

Amazon QucikSight chart display control properties are extremely limited. User can show/hide legend, refine axis start/end points, customize chart colors and titles. User can not copy, past charts, change colors and backgrounds colors, set pictures.

On the moment of working on the article tool type and drill down features doesn’t work.

Charts on the Amazon QucikSight report page are not interactive. User can not just select pies of pie-chart for example and filter others chart as we can do in Power BI.

Amazon QuickSight includes a built-in suggestion engine that provides recommended visualizations based on the properties of the underlying data. Power BI has also Quick Insights feature available thru web site.

Mobile versions

Both Quicksight and Power BI have a native mobile application for iOS,Android to view dashboards.


The Amazon QuickSight data engine works great but other functionality is just on the very first step on the way to be used for creating serious BI Solutions. Most interesting features of the Amazon QuickSight  are still not available for users. Features are mentioned in the technical documentation still not in live as connecting to an ODBC data source, Embedding visualization into another website,APIs, Row level security.  In the QucikSight via Power BI fight Power BI is the undisputed leader for now. Let’s see how situation will change in this year.




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