What is SSRS?
SSRS or SQL Server Reporting Services is one of the tools available in Microsoft SQL Server Data Tools. It is used for generating, accessing and maintaining the reports in any form or shape, such as a pie chart, a bar chart, a table, graphs and images. For a person to work on SSRS, it important to download and install the supporting applications, including the SQL Server Data Tools, SQL Server Database Engine and a sample database from Microsoft that is ‘Adventure Works 2014’.
In order to work with it, below are the pre-requisites that you should be having as a part of the software:
- SSDT – SQL Server Data Tools
- SQL Server Database Engine
- AdventureWorks2014 Database
In order to install SSDT, please follow the below link:
Link for AdventureWorks2014 Database can be found here:
Working and Architecture
The main components of SSRS are the following:
- Report Builder – This component is basically used as a drag and drop utility which can be used to pick any functionality or tables and drag it as per usage. It runs on the client computer.
- Report Designer – This component is used to develop reports. Complex reports can be developed with ease using this component. It is a publishing tool which is hosted in SSDT (SQL Server Data Tools) or visual studio.
- Report Manager – To access any web-based reports, we can make use of Report Manager.
- Report Server – This component is used to store SQL server Engine metadata.
- Server Database Report – This component is used to store security settings, report definitions, metadata, delivery data, etc.
- Data Sources – The reporting service components retrieve data from data sources like multidimensional, relational or traditional data sources.
Downloads and Installation
SSDT with Visual Studio 2017
- Follow below link to install Visual studio:
- Now in order to install SSDT (and hence SSRS), go ahead and run the Visual Studio installer, on the coming screen please select the Data Storage and Processing Workload and then from the summary, please checkbox “SQL Server Data Tools”.
SSDT Standalone Installation
- You can also install SSDT as a standalone installation by downloading from below link:
- Also before you install SSDT for VS 2017, please uninstall Analysis and Reporting Services project extensions.
Various Types of SSRS Reports
The various types of reports creation that are available through SSRS are:
- Parameterized Report – This report is based on the input values. The parameterized reports are frequently used for creating reports like drill-down reports, linking, subreports and filtering.
- Linked Reports – This report provides access to an existing report and is a report server item. It is derived from an existing report.
- Cached Reports – In order to create a copy of processed reports, cached reports can be used. By creating a copy, we can enhance performance by reducing the number of processing requests.
- Snapshot Reports – These reports contain the query results that were executed and the layout information. The reports are not saved anywhere but instead are rendered in a viewing format (like HTML) as and when a user or an application requests it.
- Sub Reports – A report within a report. A subreport presents you another report within the body of the main report. For a subreport, one can use a number of data sources than the main report.
- Drilldown Reports – Drilldown reports allow control by the user and enable them to see the data that they would like to see. This way, it handles the complexity of the report.
- Drillthrough Reports – Drillthrough reports are those ones which are being accessed via a hyperlink through the original report.
Export Options for SSRS Reports
There are a number of options available for report rendering in SSRS:
- As an image
1. Faster and cheaper report generation on relational as well as cube data.
2. It comes free with MySQL server.
3. It is server based, hence it can build and distribute the reports through the web.
4. Users are having access to enterprise-level features. For example, connecting to many data sources, connectivity to MS SQL, Excel, Oracle, etc.
5. It is having a huge support community.
6. It is easy to deploy centralized reporting using it.
7. Not much of specialized skillset is needed to get started with it.
8. It enabled faster delivery of reports to the businesses.
9. It allows XML based report definition where you can render your reports directly. Apart from XML, there are other rendering options as well like HTML, CSV, etc.
10. Also, the security is very effectively managed and is based on the role-based method which can be implemented for folders and reports.
11. The application and reports can be created within the same environment as the report designer is integrated with visual studio.NET.
1. It is resource consuming if you ARE RUNNING LARGE REPORTS. It may consume much of your server resources.
2. It runs only on windows which thereby causes some limitations to its usage.
3. Its interface is becoming outdated.
4. Upgrading SSRS poses a difficult task.
5. Parameters are needed by reports in order to be accepted by the user.
6. Power BI, yet another reporting tool from Microsoft is taking over SSRS.
7. Some features are disabled based on the output you want. As an example, if you output HTML, there would not be any pagination available. Similarly, drill down options are not provided for XML and CSV.
8. It will not allow adding page number in the body of the report.
This has been a guide to What is SSRS?. Here we have discussed the meaning, components, types of reports, download and installation process of SSRS. You may also look at the following articles to learn more –