SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services

With SQL Server 2008, it is very clear that Reporting Services continues to be a major focus area and an investment area for Microsoft. It is one of the key components of the Microsoft Business Intelligence (BI) platform, which almost guarantees that this high level of focus and investment will continue into future releases of SQL Server.

Reporting Services is really in its third major release: it was introduced in 2004 as part of SQL Server 2000, completely integrated and expanded with SQL Server 2005, and now provided with major enhancements with SQL Server 2008. It is fair to say that, until SQL Server 2008, Reporting Services may have been the weakest component of the Microsoft BI platform. Integration Services and Analysis Services would consistently outperform their competitors for Windows-centric workloads. However, Reporting Services, although satisfying 75 percent of requirements, seemed to fall short in very large enterprise deployments. Having said that, and having spent some time reviewing and working with Reporting Services in SQL Server 2008, we think that Microsoft has made the required improvements to compete with the industry leaders in enterprise reporting.

Reporting Services technology allows you to design rich reports that can pull from multiple data sources; display the data from those data sources in a rich way using tables, matrices, lists, gauges, and charts; and also export your reports to a number of formats such as Word, Excel, PDF, XML, and HTML, without writing any code. Reporting Services also provides an extensibility model that lets you extend the designer, exporting formats, data sources, and delivery mechanisms for your reports. Reporting Services offers rich functionality for automating the delivery of reports on a scheduled basis, and its integration with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server continues to grow and improve.

Finally, Reporting Services has an API that you can call using web services, so you can automate almost any part of your reports through your own scripts or programs. The Reporting Services on what is new and changed with SQL Server 2008 such as the following:

• The new Reporting Services Configuration Manager encapsulates, in one tool, the most common configuration settings for a reporting environment.

• A new architecture eliminates the need for Internet Information Services (IIS), eases manageability, and dramatically improves the paging and caching capabilities for reports.

• Arguably the most talked about features are the new Tablix and Gauge data regions and the updated Chart data region. The new charts and gauges exist as the result of functionality acquired from Dundas Chart. The Tablix data region is a powerful feature that allows for the combination of tables and matrices in a single region. In the past, producing this type of report would certainly have required the creation of multiple reports and custom code to hide and show areas and columns.

• Reporting Services now provides improved rendering to Microsoft Excel format and new rendering to Microsoft Word format.

• The new Report Designer Preview application exposes the complete power of Report Designer, previously available only within the Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) environment. Report Designer Preview is a rich client application that can be installed in power users’ Windows environments to enable them to create very complex reports.

Source of Information : Apress Accelerated SQL Server 2008


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