In here we will compare both Power BI service and Tableau Online 10 as both are cloud based BI platforms that provide data update management, content sharing, application integration capabilities.

Bear in mind that Tableau Online and Tableau Server are serve the same purpose the only different is Tableau Server is the on-premise option for businesses that don’t want to host data in the cloud and Tableau Online is for the group’s private cloud storage.

We will discuss about update management and content sharing for this part.

Data Refresh

Power BI

Data refresh works depending on Power BI subscription type, Power BI (free) and Power BI Pro.

Data Refresh Power BI (free) Power BI Pro
Data scheduled to refresh Daily Hourly*
Streaming data in your dashboards and reports using Microsoft Power BI REST API or Microsoft Stream Analytics. 10k rows/hour 1M rows/hour
Live/Direct Query on-premises data sources with full interactivity via the Power BI Gateway – Enterprise    
Live cloud data sources with full interactivity (Azure SQL Database, Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Spark on HDInsight)    
On-premises data sources requiring a Power BI Gateway – Personal and/or the Power BI Gateway – Enterprise.    

* Up to eight times (hours) per day.

In order for Power BI to connect to on-premises data sources and refresh the dataset, Power BI Gateway must be installed first. The gateway allows for the use of Direct Query connection to an on-premises data sources or live connection to either tabular or multidimensional model in Analysis Services. The enterprise gateway can also be used with scheduled refresh for data that you have imported into Power BI.

As data refresh is supported for Power BI Desktop files and Excel workbooks that connect to external online or on-premises data sources, only data within the Power BI service will be updated but not your local file. Hence, keeping your files on OneDrive, or SharePoint Online, and connecting to them from Power BI is provides a great amount of flexibility in refresh data by automatic or scheduled refresh.


Tableau allow data extract can be created for all types of data source available in order for better performance within Tableau Desktop, Tableau Server or Tableau Online. After you publish workbooks and data sources to Tableau Online, you can decide how you want to keep the data current: Schedule refresh using sync client, manual refresh from Tableau Desktop, schedule refreshes on Tableau Online or Automated command-line scripts, etc. Options for refreshing published data depend on the characteristics of your data sources.

Tableau Online supports live connections for Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery, and web-hosted MySQL, PostgreSQL or Microsoft SQL server data. As for cloud applications like Google Analytics or, Tableau Online can automatically update data extract based on scheduled-basis.

For on premise data source whether is file-based data source or relational database, data extract needs to be created as a data source in Tableau Desktop then published to Tableau Online. There are four ways to update on-premises data: schedule refresh using sync client, manual refresh from Tableau Desktop, schedule refreshes on Tableau Online or automated command-line scripts.

Content Sharing

Tableau Online have richer set of features for content categorization such as comments, favorites and tags. Power BI does a good job with search driven data visualization via natural language Q&A. Use Q&A to explore your data using intuitive, natural language capabilities and receive answers in the form of charts and graphs which provides result about the data in Power BI with correct interactive chart or graph.

  Power BI Tableau Online
Comment Content iPhone mobile app allows annotations to be added to a data point and share snapshots of tiles to anyone Comments can be added to a view. Annotations can be added to a data point based on user’s permission.
Tag Content N/A Tags are keywords you can create for workbooks, views, and data sources to find, filter, and categorize content.
Search Content

Search driven data visualization with natural language Q&A.

Filter content is supported.

Quick search, filtered search and favorite search are supported to find dashboard.
Share Content

Via email or embedding html code inside a web application

(authentication will be need)

Custom View New dashboard with different name needs to be created. Based on user’s permission, each user can create their own custom view based on the original view and save it.
Mark Favorite iPhone mobile app allow to tag dashboards, KPIs and data to your own personal “favorites dashboard” Workbooks can be marked as favorites for easier search on next time.
Data Alert Alerts can be set in the iPhone app to notify user when data in dashboards changes beyond limits have set. Site administrator can set email alerts on data refresh fail
Email Subscription N/A User can subscribe a workbook.
Export Data N/A

Based on user’s permissions within Tableau online, data can be exported as CSV files.

A view can be exported as an image or PDF.


1 Gigabytes (Free user)

10 Gigabytes (Pro users)

100 Gigabytes
Mobile Support

Mobile apps for iOS and Windows

For iPhone app, requires at least an iPhone 5 and iOS 9.0 or later.

For iPad app, requires at least iOS 8.0.

Mobile apps for iOS (5.1.1 or later) and Android (3.2 or later)

Tableau Mobile available in Apple Store and Google Play Store

Supported Browser Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer 11, Chrome desktop latest version, Safari Mac latest version, Firefox desktop latest version. Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer 8 or later (but with Tableau 10.0 release, only internet Explorer 11 or later will be support), Apple Safari 3.x or later, Mozilla Firefox 3.x or later (not supported on mobile devices), Google Chrome (include Android devices)

So this conclude about data refresh and content sharing based on both information provided by Power BI service and Tableau Online 10

Thank you for reading. 

For those who want to know more about Power BI and Tableau Desktop can click here for more information.

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