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Microsoft PowerPivot is a tool that provides self-service BI functionality for users of Microsoft Office. It consists of 2 components, a client-side and a server-side component.
- PowerPivot for Excel is an application that is closely linked to Excel, but it isn't actually part of Excel, it's a free add-in to Excel. Users can create reports based on portable, reusable data. These Excel files can be shared towards other users or can be published to a SharePoint server that has the server-side component installed.
- PowerPivot for SharePoint is an application that can be added to a SharePoint 2010 environment. Storing PowerPivot reports in such a SharePoint environment gives you the advantage of automating the data refresh in your PowerPivot reports (even when the author is not online).
PowerPivot is based on the new in-memory Vertipaq engine. This will make it possible to create highly interactive and fast reports even if they are based on tables that hold several millions of rows.