McGraw-Hill - Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services (2008)02

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McGraw-Hill - Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services (2008)02

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  1. 18 Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services This is known as deploying or publishing the report. Let me assure you, reports pass through deployment much easier than you and I passed through adolescence! Report Server The Report Server is the piece of the puzzle that makes Reporting Services the product it is. This is the software environment that enables you to share your report with the masses—at least, those masses who have rights to your server. Figure 1-5 shows the basic structure of the Report Server. Report Catalog When a report is deployed to a Report Server, a copy of the report’s RDL definition is put in that server’s Report Catalog. The Report Catalog is a set of databases used to store the definitions for all of the reports available on a particular Report Server. It also stores the configuration, security, and caching information necessary for the operation of that Report Server. Even though you may use any ODBC- or OLE DB-compliant data source to supply data to your reports, the Report Catalog database can only exist in SQL Server 2005 Figure 1-5 Report Server architecture
  2. C h a p t e r 1 : L e t ’s S t a r t a t t h e V e r y B e g i n n i n g 19 or SQL Server 2008. The Report Catalog database is created as part of the Reporting Services installation process. Except for creating regular backups of any Report Catalog databases, it is probably a good idea to leave the Report Catalog alone. Report Processor When a report needs to be executed, the report processor component of the Report Server directs the show. The report processor retrieves the report from the Report Catalog and orchestrates the operation of the other components of the Report Server as the report is produced. It takes the output from each of the other components and combines them to create the completed report. Data Providers As the report processor encounters dataset definitions in the report RDL, it retrieves the data to populate that dataset. It does this by first following the instructions in the report’s data source for connecting to the database server or file that contains the data. The report processor selects a data provider that knows how to retrieve information from this type of data source. The data provider then connects to the source of the data and selects the information required for the report. The data provider returns this information to the report processor, where it is turned into a dataset for use by the report. Renderers Once all the data for the report has been collected, the report processor is ready to begin processing the report’s layout. To do this, the report processor looks at the format requested. This might be HTML, PDF, TIFF, or one of several other possible formats. The report processor then uses the renderer that knows how to produce that format. You will learn more about the capabilities of each of these report formats in Chapter 9. The renderer works with the report processor to read through the report layout. The report layout is combined with the dataset, and any repeating sections of the report are duplicated for each row in the dataset. This expanded report layout is then translated into the requested output format. The result is a report ready to be sent to the user. Request Handler The request handler is responsible for receiving requests for reports and passing those requests on to the report processor. Once the report processor has created the requested report, the request handler is also responsible for delivering the completed report. In the next section, you will learn about the various methods the request handler uses for delivering reports.
  3. 20 Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services Report Delivery We have discussed how a report is created by the Report Server. What we have not discussed is where that report is going after it is created. The report may be sent to a user through the Report Manager website. It may be sent in response to a web service request that came, not from a user, but from another program. It may also be e-mailed to a user who has a subscription to that report. Report Manager Website One way for users to request a report from the Report Server is through the Report Manager website. This website is created for you when you install Reporting Services. Figure 1-6 shows a screen from the Report Manager website. The Report Manager website organizes reports into folders. Users can browse through these folders to find the report they need. They can also search the report titles and descriptions to locate a report. The Report Manager also includes security that can be applied to folders and reports. With this security, the site administrator can create security roles for the users who will be accessing the site. These security roles control which folders and reports a user is allowed to access. You will learn about security when we look at the Report Manager in Chapter 10. In the Report Manager, reports are always displayed using the HTML format. Once a report has been displayed as an HTML page, the user can then export the report into any of the other available formats. Figure 1-6 The Report Manager website
  4. C h a p t e r 1 : L e t ’s S t a r t a t t h e V e r y B e g i n n i n g 21 SharePoint/Office Server SharePoint may also be set up to serve as a means for users to request reports. This can be done in two ways. The first uses the Report Explorer and Report Viewer web parts. These web parts can be used in a SharePoint web application to allow users to navigate report folders and to view reports on a Reporting Services report server. The Report Explorer and Report Viewer web parts were originally made available as part of SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services Service Pack 2. They were part of SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services as well. The web parts continue to be available in the 2008 release, but their functionality has not been upgraded to take advantage of new features and functionality. The second means of utilizing Reporting Services through SharePoint involves a tight integration of the two products. In this configuration, a Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 or Office SharePoint Server 2007 installation will actually become the host for the report server’s Report Catalog. In addition, the SharePoint user interface replaces the Report Manager website as the user interface for locating and viewing reports, as well as for managing the report server. Accessing reports through SharePoint integration is as easy and intuitive as accessing any other document on the SharePoint site. Subscription Delivery If the users do not want to go to the report, the request handler can make the report go to them. In other words, users do not necessarily need to come to the Report Manager website to receive a report. They can have the report delivered to them through a subscription service. The Report Manager enables users to locate a report on the site and then subscribe to it so it will be delivered to them in the future. When users subscribe to a report, they provide an e-mail address to which the report will be delivered, either as the body of the e-mail or as an e-mail attachment, depending on the requested format. Users can specify the format for the report at the time they create their subscription. The site administrator can also set up report subscriptions. These function like a mass mailing, using a list of e-mail addresses. Rather than requiring each user to access the Report Manager to create their own subscription, the site administrator can create one subscription that is delivered to every user in the list. Web Service Interface In addition to delivering reports to humans, either at their request or on a subscription basis, the request handler can deliver reports to other software applications. This is done through a series of web services. A web service is a mechanism that allows programs to communicate with each other over the Internet.
  5. 22 Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services A program calls a web service on the Report Server, requesting a particular report in a particular format. The request handler relays this request to the report processor, just like any other request for a report. The completed report is returned to the program that originated the request as the response to the web service request. Web services use a standard called Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP). SOAP is supported by both Windows and non-Windows environments, so a program running on a non-Windows computer that supports SOAP can receive a report created by Reporting Services. Diving In Now that you have been introduced to all of the capabilities of Reporting Services, I hope you are ready to dive in and make it work for you. In the next chapter, you will learn about the installation and setup of Reporting Services. If Reporting Services has already been installed, you can skip ahead to Chapter 3. In Chapter 3, we make sure you have a firm understanding of database basics before getting to the actual building of reports in Chapter 4. Chapter 3 also introduces you to Galactic Delivery Services (GDS), the company we use as a case study throughout the remainder of the book. Even if your database skills are tip-top, you should spend a few minutes in Chapter 3 to get to know GDS.
  6. Chapter 2 Putting the Pieces in Place: Installing Reporting Services In This Chapter Preparing for the Spending Some Time in Installation Basic Training The Installation Process Common Installation Issues Copyright © 2009 by The McGraw-Hill Companies. Click here for terms of use.
  7. 24 Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services B efore you can begin to enjoy all the benefits of Reporting Services discussed in Chapter 1, you of course have to install the Reporting Services software. Reporting Services installs as part of the SQL Server 2008 installation. Before you begin the installation process, however, it is important to understand the structure of Reporting Services. In this chapter, you will learn about the components that make up Reporting Services and the three licensed editions of Reporting Services offered by Microsoft. Next, you will find out how the components are combined in different types of Reporting Services installations and see how to plan for each installation type. As part of that planning, you will learn about the software that must be in place prior to installing Reporting Services. After considering these preliminaries, we will walk you through the installation process. Preparing for the Installation The most important part of the Reporting Services installation is not what you do as you run the setup program, but what you do before you begin. In this section, we discuss the knowledge you need and the steps you should take to prepare for installation. With the proper plan in place, your Reporting Services installation should go smoothly and you can create reports in no time. The Parts of the Whole Reporting Services is not a single program that runs on a computer to produce reports. Instead, it is a number of applications, utilities, and databases that work together to create a report management environment. As you plan your Reporting Services installation, it is important that you understand a little bit about each piece of the puzzle and how all these pieces work together to create a complete system. Figure 2-1 shows all the parts that make up a complete Reporting Services installation. Each part has a specific role to play in the development, management, and delivery of reports, or in the management of the Reporting Services environment itself. All of these items can be installed as part of the SQL Server 2008 installation process. Let’s take a look at each part and see how it fits into the whole. NOTE Not all Reporting Services installations include all of the items shown in Figure 2-1. The following sections of this chapter discuss the various types of installations and which components they include.
  8. Chapter 2: Putting the Pieces in Place: Installing Reporting Services 25 Figure 2-1 Reporting Services component parts The Windows Service The Reporting Services Windows service is the heart of Reporting Services and is, of course, installed as part of the Reporting Services installation. This service is responsible for the two main interfaces with the report server. First, it contains the application that implements the Report Manager website. Second, it provides a web service interface for programmatic interaction with the report server. As discussed in Chapter 1, the Report Manager website provides a user interface for requesting reports and managing the report server. The Report Server web service provides a programmatic interface for requesting reports. It also provides an interface for report server administration. In addition to these two interfaces, the Reporting Services Windows service provides the engine responsible for report rendering. This is true whether the report is requested through the Report Manager website, the report server web service, or subscription delivery. As you saw in Figure 1-5 of Chapter 1, this includes fetching the report definition, retrieving the data used in the report, and rendering the report in the desired format. Administration Utilities The administration utilities are tools for managing the Reporting Services Windows service and for making changes to its configuration. The main administration utility is the Reporting Services Configuration Manager. This tool provides a convenient method for
  9. 26 Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services examining and modifying the configuration settings of a Reporting Services installation. You learn about the Reporting Services Configuration Manager in more detail in the section “The Reporting Services Configuration Manager,” later in this chapter. The administration utilities can be run on the computer that is hosting the Reporting Services Windows service to manage the configuration on that computer. Most of the administrative utilities can also be used to manage a Reporting Services Windows service that is running on another computer. This is called remote administration. SQL Server 2005/SQL Server 2008 Either SQL Server 2005 or SQL Server 2008 is required to hold the database where Reporting Services stores its Report Catalog database. Reporting Services also uses the SQL Server Agent, which you will learn about shortly. In addition, databases in SQL Server can be used as data sources for Reporting Services reports. SQL Server Agent SQL Server Agent is part of SQL Server and is created as part of the SQL Server installation process. It is used by SQL Server to execute jobs scheduled to run at a certain time. These jobs might back up a database or transfer information from one database to another. Jobs may be scheduled to run once, or they may run on a regular basis, such as once a day or once a week. Reporting Services also uses the SQL Server Agent to execute scheduled jobs. These jobs are used to run reports and distribute the results. In Chapter 1, you learned about users who subscribe to a report. When users subscribe to a report, they ask for it to be run and delivered to them on a regular basis. When a user creates a subscription, Reporting Services creates a SQL Server Agent job to handle that subscription. For example, our production manager in Chapter 1 wanted an inventory report to be printed every four hours during the workday. He subscribes to the inventory report and creates a delivery schedule of 8:15 a.m., 12:15 p.m., and 4:15 p.m. When this subscription is created, Reporting Services creates a SQL Server Agent job scheduled to run at 8:15 a.m., 12:15 p.m., and 4:15 p.m. each day. When the job runs, it instructs the Reporting Services Windows service to run the report and e-mail it to the production manager. The Report Server and Report Server Temp DB Databases During the Reporting Services installation process, two databases are created within SQL Server: the Report Server and Report Server Temp DB databases. The Report Server database is used to store the Report Catalog. (Recall from Chapter 1 that the Report Catalog holds the information about all of the reports deployed to a Report Server.) The Report Server database also holds information about the virtual structure that contains these reports. This includes such things as the folder structure displayed by the Report Manager and the security settings for each folder and report.
  10. Chapter 2: Putting the Pieces in Place: Installing Reporting Services 27 As the name implies, the Report Server Temp DB database is used as temporary storage for Reporting Services operations. Information can be stored here to track the current users on the Report Manager website. Short-term copies of some of the most recently executed reports are also stored here in what is known as the execution cache. Sample Reports and the AdventureWorks Database In previous versions of SQL Server, the sample code and sample database could be installed as part of the SQL Server installation process. Beginning with SQL Server 2008, the samples are now downloaded from the Internet. From the Start menu, select All Programs | Microsoft SQL Server 2008 | Documentation and Tutorials | Microsoft SQL Server Sample Overview for instructions on downloading and installation. Business Intelligence Development Studio/Visual Studio/ Standalone Report Builder As discussed in Chapter 1, Reporting Services reports are created using the Business Intelligence Development Studio, Visual Studio, or the Standalone Report Builder. All of these report development environments function exactly the same. There is no difference between a report created in the Business Intelligence Development Studio, Visual Studio, or the Standalone Report Builder. If you are going to use the Business Intelligence Development Studio for creating reports, you need to install it as part of the Reporting Services installation process. The same is true with the Standalone Report Builder. If you plan to create reports using Visual Studio, you need to purchase and install it separately. Visual Studio does not come with Reporting Services. Documentation The final piece of Reporting Services is the documentation. The bulk of this documentation is found in the SQL Server Books Online. After Reporting Services is installed, you can view the SQL Server Books Online through your Start menu. You’ll find it under All Programs | Microsoft SQL Server 2008 | Documentation and Tutorials | SQL Server Books Online. There is also a set of help screens for the Report Manager interface that can be accessed through the Report Manager website. Editions of Reporting Services Reporting Services can be licensed in five different editions: Workgroup Edition, Web Edition, Standard Edition, Enterprise Edition, and Developer Edition. There is also an Evaluation Edition, which does not require a license, but it can only be used for a
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