Today, data generation is a simple task that can be done by organizations but making the most of the data that is getting generated is still elusive. It is quintessential to possess the right information to sustain ultra-competitive business environments. In such a game-changing environment, there is a definite need for technologies, tools that can give us the power to generate that sense. To answer this question comes to a tool from Microsoft along with the SQL Server package which provides features and the like to achieve just that, and the solution is an offering from Microsoft (SSRS).
In this article, we will go through these features and functionalities one by one and to the possible detail.
SSRS is Microsoft’s version of business reporting. SSRS stands for SQL Server Reporting Services and it is a server-based report generation software that has been developed by Microsoft. SSRS provides a unified, server-based, extensible, and scalable platform through which all the business reporting needs can be satisfied. It extends its scope from the present paper-based reporting to interactive and web-oriented reporting content. This reporting content can further be shared with various users through emails, file shares, etc. for maximum reach.
SSRS has the capability to generate reports of interest in various file formats such as HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), Microsoft Excel, or CSV (Comma Separated Values) format, etc. In addition to all these mediums, SharePoint can be used as a front-end to such reports and then be pushed to corporate portals for regular access.
SSRS is just another tool that comes along with Microsoft Business Intelligence (BI) services of the platform. SSRS along with other components of the Business Intelligence platform provides the most sophisticated enterprise data analysis. The Microsoft Business Intelligence suite consists of the following:
The SSRS tool provides an interface into Microsoft’s Visual Studio to enable developers and SQL Database administrators to connect to the SQL database and prepare SQL reports in different ways. There is also a Report Builder tool that is available with the package that comes in handy for less technical users to format SQL reports in standard formats. There are tools and other business intelligence tools like Crystal Reports that SSRS competes within this line of technology.
From the offerings that the Microsoft Business Intelligence suite provides, SSRS is definitely a unique offering as it caters to a wide variety of users. In a broader sense, Microsoft has classified this diverse set of users into:
From this classification, any individual can definitely vouch for the maximum usage is in the first category of users – the Information Consumers. Data that is generated or already available will always be consumed, hence the maximum user base will be with this user group. Information Consumers use the static, predefined, and formatted data that is available. Information explorers form the next bigger user group of users who would be interested to interact with the reports to some degree as in applying some custom filters or drilling down the available data to certain levels. This would definitely require some technical expertise but doesn’t restrict to only technical skills.
Finally comes the Analysts, the smallest user group of users who can develop reports and also perform some sophisticated calculations such as linear regressions or trend analysis, etc. Analysts require more on technical expertise to cater to all of these reporting needs and also to satisfy the most critical and complex reporting requirements. It can be thus said that the reports that are generated by the Analysts will become the input to both Information Explorers and Information Consumers.
To cater to the various needs of the users, SSRS does provide the following tools for specific usages. These tools find their usages based on the user’s perspective of the reports:
Consider a medical research facility where patients are recruited to various clinical trials. The staff in the clinic create a database record for each patient when he or she agrees to be part of the trial, and then the clinic receives a payment from the drug company based on the rate at which it finds willing participants.
A typical scenario in the past might have involved the clinic emailing the drug company with the total number of participants in the trial on a weekly basis, maybe with details of any patient who dropped out of the trial for medical or personal reasons, the number of drugs used, and any adverse events encountered. The time taken to collate and send this data in the correct format would take up valuable time in the clinic.
If the clinics were recording data in a database, SSRS could be used to produce on-demand reports in a pre-defined format that could then be either exported as a PDF, Excel, etc and emailed to the drug company, or the drug company could be given access to a reporting server so that they could run the report at any time, and get up-to-date data without anyone from the clinic lifting a finger.
There a numerous set of features that are provided by the SSRS offering of Microsoft’s Business Intelligence (BI) suite. These features address complex business reporting requirements and needs. Here is the brief overview of the features that are provided by the SSRS offering of Microsoft’s Business Intelligence (BI) suite:
SSRS is definitely a fully featured report engine and reports can be created or generated against any possible data source which has a managed code provider such as an OLE DB or an ODBC data source. This translates to saying that the data retrieval part will be able to retrieve data from SQL Server, Oracle, Analysis Services, Access, Essbase, and the like. Data can be presented in multiple ways and hence with every release, Microsoft ensured that the feedback taken is put to greater use. There are these new Chart and Gauge controls and a Tablix control which provides an amalgam of Table plus Matrix controls. Apart from these, there were new presentation formats as Word and Excel included and also provided direct integration with SharePoint.
Let us now take a look at the features that are provided by SSRS offering:
Over and above all of these features, there is this icing on the cake. The extensibility that has been provided by SSRS, to be able to embed reports or generate reports customized based on your needs – it is a wonderful feature that came beyond the developer’s anticipation.
As there is a conflict to other applications they removed the dependency of IIS in 2008 by replacing with the components
a) Server Infrastructure for process memory monitoring
b) Reporting Processing uses a file system caches t adapter to memory pressure
c) The administrator is able to set targets (Min, Max)
d) Adapts to other processes consuming memory.
----- Related Article: Types of Reports in SSRS -----
a) Report processing
a) Reports in SQL: 2005 are memory bound
b) Very large reports can starve (or) fail many smaller reports.
a) Tablix provides a combination of the best features of tables and matrix data regions
b) Build versatile reports
c) Allows a flexible layout with multiple Row and column
It monitors the incoming request directed to HTTP.sis on a specific code on the local computer the host name and port are specified on a URL resection while you configure the server.
When the HTTP listener process the request it forwards the application layer to verify the user ident
It verifies the user id, password (Or) the identity of user (or) application that makes the request. The following authentication that supported are
It is the heart of reporting services which is implemented as windows server.
It consists of
a) Windows Service: (provides report scheduling & delivery services):-
Both the services are used in designing, saving, executing, managing, and publishing the reports Reporting services hosts the report manager, the reports report server, web service & background features in their own service.
b) Report Manager: It provides client fronted access the report server Items and their management
c) Web service: It provides access to report server via report builder.
d) Background processing: There are many processing have in this background processing
The report server has 2 cool processors
a) Report processor
b) Scheduling and delivering processor
Report server back end:
Report server temp DB à It stores temporary data session information and caching information
------ Related Article: Matrix Reports in SSRS ------
It is designed to retrieve a specific type of data source and provide extended functionality during report design and processing.
Data Rendering extensions
There are three rendering formats available
a) Data render: Data only display
Eg:– CST & XML
b) Soft page break render:- Maintain format & layout
EG:– Msword, excel, MHTML, Report viewer controls, etc
c) Hard page break render:- It supports gif & pdf formats
Scheduling Delivery Extensions
Reports are required in general but situations
a) For Internal Reports
b) For external Reports
Internal Reports: Generally, company Internal Operations such as payslip, salary slip, Relieving letter, Internal Audition, etc.
External Reports: These reports generally submitted to 3rd party authorities such as the IT department, STPI, etc…
Conclusion: To create this type of reports we go for different reporting applications like cog Nos, BO, SSRS, CRYSTAL REPORTS, MICROSTAR tegy etc
To understand the ways how SSRS can be used or deployed, you should have the perfect understanding on its lifecycle works. It also helps if there is a better understanding on what features comes to your rescue in what stage of the report development life cycle. To keep it a bit simple, any typical reporting application goes through the following three stages – Authoring, Managing and Delivery. There are tools that help through these stages for any reporting application. With this understanding, let us now take a look into each of these stages to gain the best knowledge on the same.
SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services) comes in 4 different editions that mimic the 4 editions of SQL Server or Visual Studio, namely Express Edition, Workgroup Edition, Standard edition, and last but not the least is the Enterprise edition. These editions are as expected range from free editions to fully scalable Enterprise editions. Let us see in some more detail about these editions, shall we?
The simplistic answer that one could provide here is that any machine that runs Microsoft SQL Server is licensed not just for the database engine but also gets listed for the entire Microsoft Business Intelligence (BI) platform. This means that it is licensed for Microsoft SQL Server, SSRS, SSAS, SSNS, and also SSIS at once with just one license. This gives one an opportunity to work with SSRS without actually worrying about anything else.
Currently, there are 3 different ways to license an SQL Server installation. To gain more specific details on this can be achieved and procured, it is suggested to contact the Microsoft representatives or resellers.
In this article we have gone through the concepts of SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Service) and also understood the circumstances or scenarios where it finds its usage. We have also understood the features that SSRS provides to its end users. We also have discussed how we can leverage different SSRS features in the report development life cycle. We have gone through a few more specifics of it as like the editions and the licensing details in a more detailed manner.
With this article, we have tried to provide as many details as possible. We hope that this article should provide all the details that you would require if you are interested in the whole feature of SSRS. Please provide us the feedback on this article in the form of comments or suggestions. Though we have put in lots of effort in providing the most accurate details possible, we would still request you to please contact the Microsoft documentation as well, if you are willing to make any purchase decisions.
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Ravindra Savaram is a Content Lead at Mindmajix.com. His passion lies in writing articles on the most popular IT platforms including Machine learning, DevOps, Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, RPA, Deep Learning, and so on. You can stay up to date on all these technologies by following him on LinkedIn and Twitter.