Monday, October 29, 2012

Understanding the SQL Server Reporting Services

History of Reporting Services:
Initial development began in 2000. Below Figure-1 tracks in chronological order the major events that have shaped Reporting Services. The black milestones represent the reporting technologies that Microsoft acquired to enhance Reporting Services.
Figure-1 : The Reporting Services history
Components of Reporting Servies:
  • Report Server : At the heart of the Reporting Services architecture is the report server, a web-based middle-tier layer that receives incoming report requests and generates reports. The Figure-2 shows a simplified logical view of the report server. To facilitate integration with external client applications, the report server provides two communication interfaces: URL access and a Web service. Consequently, both off-the-shelf and custom tools can communicate with the report server via HTTP or SOAP. The Report Processor component of the report server is responsible for processing the reports at run time.
Figure-2 : The major Reporting Services components
  • Report Server Database : In Reporting Services, report definitions and properties are saved in the report server database. The report server database is implemented as two SQL Server databases that get installed when you configure the report server. The report server database is a logical term for two physical databases: ReportServer and ReportServerTempDB. The ReportServer database hosts the report catalog. It stores the report definitions and management settings. The ReportServerTempDB stores temporary information about the report execution.
Reporting Services supports two deployment modes.
  • Native mode (default) : The report server as a stand-alone application server that provides all processing and management capability exclusively through Reporting Services components.
  • SharePoint mode : The report server is integrated with Windows SharePoint Services or Microsoft Office SharePoint Server. Report viewing and management happens inside the SharePoint portal.
Report Definition Language (RDL) is an XML-based schema for defining reports. RDL is an open standard proposed by Microsoft to promote interoperability of commercial reporting products.
Reporting Services Architecture:
Figure-3 : The Reporting Services Service hosts the three report server applications: Report Manager, Report Server Web Service, and Background Processor
  • Report Manager : Report Manager is an ASP.NET web application that provides report management and viewing capabilities for a Reporting Services instance configured in native mode. You can view Report Manager as a client application that integrates with the report server.
  • Report Server Web Service : The Report Server Web service handles on-demand report processing. The Report Server Web service is the primary programmatic interface for custom applications that integrate with Reporting Services. The Report Server Web service provides four Web service endpoints that expose the Reporting Services feature set to external clients.
  • Background Processor : The Background Processor application is responsible for handling all tasks that run in an unattended mode.

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