Databricks vs Microsoft BI comparison

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Comparison Buyer's Guide
Executive Summary
Updated on Aug 28, 2022

We performed a comparison between Databricks and Microsoft BI based on our users’ reviews in five categories. After reading all of the collected data, you can find our conclusion below.

  • Ease of Deployment: Users of both solutions agree that their initial setup is straightforward.

  • Features: Users of both products are satisfied with their scalability and stability.

    Databricks users say it is powerful, fast, integrates well, and has good AI, but that it should accommodate more open-source products.

    Microsoft BI reviewers say that it is flexible, intuitive, integrates well with other Microsoft tools, and has good reporting features. Some users mention that it is sometimes slow when rendering data.

  • Pricing: Each of these products received mixed reviews in the pricing category. Some users of each solution feel that the price is too high.

  • ROI: Users of both solutions report seeing an ROI.

  • Service and Support: Reviewers of both solutions report being satisfied with the level of support they receive.

Comparison Results: Databricks is the winner in this comparison. It is robust, high performing, and received good feedback for its speed.

To learn more, read our detailed Data Science Platforms Report (Updated: November 2023).
745,341 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Featured Review
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
"The most valuable feature of Databricks is the notebook, data factory, and ease of use.""Databricks is a unified solution that we can use for streaming. It is supporting open source languages, which are cloud-agnostic. When I do database coding if any other tool has a similar language pack to Excel or SQL, I can use the same knowledge, limiting the need to learn new things. It supports a lot of Python libraries where I can use some very easily.""A very valuable feature is the data processing, and the solution is specifically good at using the Spark ecosystem.""Databricks integrates well with other solutions.""What I like about Databricks is that it's one of the most popular platforms that give access to folks who are trying not just to do exploratory work on the data but also go ahead and build advanced modeling and machine learning on top of that.""Databricks gives us the ability to build a lakehouse framework and do everything implicit to this type of database structure. We also like the ability to stream events. Databricks covers a broad spectrum, from reporting and machine learning to streaming events. It's important for us to have all these features in one platform.""The initial setup phase of Databricks was good.""Databricks has a scalable Spark cluster creation process. The creators of Databricks are also the creators of Spark, and they are the industry leaders in terms of performance."

More Databricks Pros →

"It provides good visibility.""It is useful for bringing visualization to data. It calculates counts, ratios, etc.""The most valuable feature is definitely the visual aspect and the DAX capabilities to virtually do anything.""The stability is great and continues to get better and better.""The initial setup is relatively simple.""What's most valuable in this tool is that it gives its users detailed error messages. It's a very stable data analytics tool, and it offers good scalability.""Microsoft BI's most valuable features are the user interface, which is easy to use and light.""We have found the product very stable and reliable."

More Microsoft BI Pros →

"Databricks would benefit from enhanced metrics and tighter integration with Azure's diagnostics.""I have had some issues with some of the Spark clusters running on Databricks, where the Spark runtime and clusters go up and down, which is an area for improvement.""The solution has some scalability and integration limitations when consolidating legacy systems.""The initial setup is difficult.""Databricks may not be as easy to use as other tools, but if you simplify a tool too much, it won't have the flexibility to go in-depth. Databricks is completely in the programmer's hands. I prefer flexibility rather than simplicity.""I would like more integration with SQL for using data in different workspaces.""There would also be benefits if more options were available for workers, or the clusters of the two points.""Databricks could improve in some of its functionality."

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"I have a little problem with Synapse Analytics because it's very new. It's a product that has many capabilities, but it is not very well developed. I have to see the list of permissions from one object. I can't do this in Synapse. I have to search on the web for a solution because I don't have the tool for it.""If you look at the new tool, even though they promised that you could do data modeling, that you could do everything from the Power BI side, if your data is really large in volume, sometimes it doesn't work on the Power BI. More feature testing from their side would certainly help users.""Microsoft BI can improve some of the visual level filters or visual functionality, that are available in other BI tools, such as Tableau or Qlik Sense.""We haven't used it that long and I haven't come across anything that's stood out as needing to be fixed.""The performance of Microsoft BI could improve for large datasets and it would be beneficial to have more visualization features.""I have found using Microsoft BI is not easy. For example, trying to use the auto-refresh feature is not simple.""There is no specific area that I have a problem with. It's just that, with whatever feature you come across, every visual has its own formatting and behavior. What you get in one visual for a feature, you don't seem to get in another.""I believe the price should be degressive, and we should have a lower, or better unit price if we have more users."

More Microsoft BI Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "Databricks is a very expensive solution. Pricing is an area that could definitely be improved. They could provide a lower end compute and probably reduce the price."
  • "We pay as we go, so there isn't a fixed price. It's charged by the unit. I don't have any details detail about how they measure this, but it should be a mix between processing and quantity of data handled. We run a simulation based on our use cases, which gives us an estimate. We've been monitoring this, and the costs have met our expectations."
  • "The cost is around $600,000 for 50 users."
  • "The billing of Databricks can be difficult and should improve."
  • "We only pay for the Azure compute behind the solution."
  • "I'm not involved in the financing, but I can say that the solution seemed reasonably priced compared to the competitors. Similar products are usually in the same price range. With five being affordable and one being expensive, I would rate Databricks a four out of five."
  • "Databricks' cost could be improved."
  • "The licensing costs of Databricks is a tiered licensing regime, so it is flexible."
  • More Databricks Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "In the beginning, the solution cost approximately $1,000 per month, we have a Microsoft startup subscription. There is a subscription pack for startups company which we are able to have for one year."
  • "If you purchase a license for a server, for users, or the professional version, you might not have to. The free version I think it can satisfy many customers' needs."
  • "We have enterprise licenses and some of the other tools or features come as a package and others you have to purchase separately."
  • "We're charged a monthly subscription fee of 500 rupees per person."
  • "They have a free Power BI Desktop version, but it has limitations."
  • "It's straightforward licensing."
  • "I have not had a customer suggest the solution is too expensive. There are licenses to use the solution."
  • "Both cost-wise and implementation-wise, this product is a good choice."
  • More Microsoft BI Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer:Databricks gives you the option of working with several different languages, such as SQL, R, Scala, Apache Spark, or Python. It offers many different cluster choices and excellent integration with… more »
    Top Answer:We researched AWS SageMaker, but in the end, we chose Databricks Databricks is a Unified Analytics Platform designed to accelerate innovation projects. It is based on Spark so it is very fast. It… more »
    Top Answer:Databricks is an easy-to-set-up and versatile tool for data management, analysis, and business analytics. For analytics teams that have to interpret data to further the business goals of their… more »
    Top Answer:There are many...It would rather depend what System BI architecture or Enterprise legacy you have at your end...I would recommend as follows:  1) If you have legacies of SAP, Oracle  - look for SAP… more »
    Top Answer:Power BI is an advanced visualization tool oriented to big data with a very complete set of widgets to visualize information, control users accessing information, the configuration of governance… more »
    Top Answer:Oracle OBIEE is great in allowing design and creativity per the individual needs of the organization. Dashboards are fully customizable and very user-friendly. This solution is very stable. Oracle… more »
    Average Words per Review
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    Also Known As
    Databricks Unified Analytics, Databricks Unified Analytics Platform, Redash
    SSRS, SSAS, MSBI, MS Reporting Services, Power BI, Microsoft BI Tools, Microsoft Big Data, Power BI Pro, MS BI
    Learn More

    Databricks is an industry-leading data analytics platform which is a one-stop product for all data requirements. Databricks is made by the creators of Apache Spark, Delta Lake, ML Flow, and Koalas. It builds on these technologies to deliver a true lakehouse data architecture, making it a robust platform that is reliable, scalable, and fast. Databricks speeds up innovations by synthesizing storage, engineering, business operations, security, and data science.

    Databricks is integrated with Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud Platform. This enables users to easily manage a colossal amount of data and to continuously train and deploy machine learning models for AI applications. The platform handles all analytic deployments, ranging from ETL to models training and deployment.

    Databricks deciphers the complexities of processing data to empower data scientists, engineers, and analysts with a simple collaborative environment to run interactive and scheduled data analysis workloads. The program takes advantage of AI’s cost-effectivity, flexibility, and cloud storage.

    Databricks Key Features

    Some of Databricks key features include:

    • Cloud-native: Works well on any prominent cloud provider.
    • Data storage: Stores a broad range of data, including structured, unstructured, and streaming.
    • Self-governance: Built-in governance and security controls.
    • Flexibility: Flexible for small-scale jobs as well as running large-scale jobs like Big Data processing because it’s built from Spark and is specifically optimized for Cloud environments.
    • Data science tools: Production-ready data tooling, from engineering to BI, AI, and ML.
    • Familiar languages: While Databricks is Spark-based, it allows commonly used programming languages like R, SQL, Scala, and Python to be used.
    • Team sharing workspaces: Creates an environment that provides interactive workspaces for collaboration, which allow multiple members to collaborate for data model creation, machine learning, and data extraction.
    • Data source: Performs limitless Big Data analytics by connecting to Cloud providers AWS, Azure, and Google, as well as on-premises SQL servers, JSON and CSV.

    Reviews from Real Users

    Databricks stands out from its competitors for several reasons. Two striking features are its collaborative ability and its ability to streamline multiple programming languages.

    PeerSpot users take note of the advantages of these features. A Chief Research Officer in consumer goods writes, “We work with multiple people on notebooks and it enables us to work collaboratively in an easy way without having to worry about the infrastructure. I think the solution is very intuitive, very easy to use. And that's what you pay for.”

    A business intelligence coordinator in construction notes, “The capacity of use of the different types of coding is valuable. Databricks also has good performance because it is running in spark extra storage, meaning the performance and the capacity use different kinds of codes.”

    An Associate Manager who works in consultancy mentions, “The technology that allows us to write scripts within the solution is extremely beneficial. If I was, for example, able to script in SQL, R, Scala, Apache Spark, or Python, I would be able to use my knowledge to make a script in this solution. It is very user-friendly and you can also process the records and validation point of view. The ability to migrate from one environment to another is useful.”

    Microsoft BI is a business intelligence solution that connects to all your data sources and turns your data into insightful and useful business information that is relevant to all levels of the business, ensuring data accuracy, consistency, and security.

    Microsoft BI combines familiar Microsoft tools - Office, SharePoint, and SQL server - with extra features for end-users, such as Power View and Power Pivot. This powerful product gives businesses a competitive advantage by allowing end users to better analyze their data, collaborate, and better present their data.

    The BI platform empowers members of your organization to make data-driven decisions that drive strategic actions quickly by allowing them to work together easily on the same data, share insights, and collaborate on reports using other Microsoft Office applications.

    Microsoft BI Benefits

    Some of the benefits of using Microsoft BI include: 

    • Scalability: Easily scale the Microsoft BI platform to help reduce costs and minimize the security risks and complexities that arise as a result of maintaining multiple systems.
    • Secure analytics: Protect your data with sophisticated data security features, including sensitivity labeling, end-to-end encryption, and real-time access monitoring. View and share meaningful AI-based insights enriched by data visualizations.
    • Regular user-driven innovative updates: Get weekly and monthly updates that improve the capabilities of Power BI based on thousands of ideas submitted each year from a community of over 500,000 members worldwide.
    • Seamless integration with Microsoft products: Microsoft BI connects with Microsoft 365, allowing you to create Excel queries, data models, and reports for the Power BI dashboards. These integrations make it easy to collect, analyze, publish, and share Excel business data.
    • Access Microsoft BI from any location: BI can be accessed at any time from anywhere using its mobile app, allowing ease of access to distributed teams or businesses across many locations. The business intelligence platform also enables teams to work on any file at the same time.
    • User-friendly dashboard: View and manage your data in a user-friendly and intuitive customized dashboard. The Microsoft BI platform enables teams to work independently while exchanging analytics between different departments and users. With Microsoft BI, you can easily create personalized dashboards that combine on-premises and cloud data into a single view, allowing you to monitor enterprise data from multiple business applications.
    • Easy installation: Install the platform in minutes just by creating an API key and inputting it into the software.

    Reviews from Real Users

    Microsoft BI stands out among its competitors for a number of reasons. Two major ones are its integration options and its data analytics capabilities.

    Tariq R., an operations & BI analyst at American Hospital Dubai, writes, “Power BI is a complete ecosystem. It has an integrated ETL tool and good connectivity with applications such as Office 365 and SQL. Power BI supports the DAX and Power Query M languages. These languages are making Power BI very strong in data analytics, and you can do many types of analysis. ”

    Learn more about Databricks
    Learn more about Microsoft BI
    Sample Customers
    Elsevier, MyFitnessPal, Sharethrough, Automatic Labs, Celtra, Radius Intelligence, Yesware
    Konica Minolta, Klout, Mahindra Satyam, The Weather Channel, Argus, Credit Suisse, NCR, and Sysmex.
    Top Industries
    Computer Software Company24%
    Financial Services Firm17%
    Manufacturing Company10%
    Financial Services Firm14%
    Computer Software Company12%
    Manufacturing Company8%
    Healthcare Company6%
    Financial Services Firm14%
    Manufacturing Company13%
    Computer Software Company11%
    Energy/Utilities Company9%
    Educational Organization34%
    Financial Services Firm8%
    Computer Software Company8%
    Company Size
    Small Business29%
    Midsize Enterprise13%
    Large Enterprise57%
    Small Business17%
    Midsize Enterprise11%
    Large Enterprise72%
    Small Business39%
    Midsize Enterprise17%
    Large Enterprise45%
    Small Business14%
    Midsize Enterprise41%
    Large Enterprise46%
    Buyer's Guide
    Data Science Platforms
    November 2023
    Find out what your peers are saying about Databricks, Microsoft, Alteryx and others in Data Science Platforms. Updated: November 2023.
    745,341 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Databricks is ranked 1st in Data Science Platforms with 50 reviews while Microsoft BI is ranked 1st in BI (Business Intelligence) Tools with 83 reviews. Databricks is rated 8.2, while Microsoft BI is rated 8.0. The top reviewer of Databricks writes "Ahead of the competition in building data ecosystems, but needs to improve ease-of-use". On the other hand, the top reviewer of Microsoft BI writes "User friendly, easy to set up and great for analyzing data". Databricks is most compared with Amazon SageMaker, Microsoft Azure Machine Learning Studio, Informatica PowerCenter, Dataiku Data Science Studio and Tableau, whereas Microsoft BI is most compared with Amazon QuickSight, Tableau, KNIME, Domo and Salesforce Einstein Analytics.

    We monitor all Data Science Platforms reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.