Definition

SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS)

Contributor(s): Michael Otey

SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) is a SQL Server subsystem that enables the creation of graphical, mobile and printed reports using SQL Server and other data sources. SQL Server is a relational database management system (RDBMS) that supports transaction processing, business intelligence and analytics applications.

SSRS allows businesses to provide decision making information to end users in a variety of formats based on information stored in SQL Server and other data sources. SSRS has been delivered as a part of the SQL Server Standard and Enterprise editions since the SQL Server 2005 release. 

SSRS is used by both end users and database professionals. Reports can be created by database professionals using the Report Designer in SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) as well as by end-users with the Report Builder tool. End users consume the SSRS reports and select end users can create reports. Database professionals also manage subscriptions and the SSRS Report Server.

Features of SQL Server Reporting Services

SSRS can connect to multiple data sources including SQL Server’s relational database and SQL Server Analysis Services as well as any other ADO.NET compatible data source to produce graphical, mobile and printed reports in a variety of formats including HTML, Excel, PDF, CSV, XML and TIFF. SSRS supports the ability to drill down into the data details for select report lines. Parameterized reports allow users to run the same reports with different data. For instance, a report user might select to rerun a report with different customers, products or date ranges. Users can create subscriptions to automatically run and route reports to select users. SSRS reports can be integrated with Power BI.

How SQL Server Reporting Services work

SSRS consists of four main components: The Reporting Services service, the Web Portal, the Report Designer and the Report Builder. Reports are created using the Report Designer or the Report Builder. The Report Designer is a more robust and complicated tool that is designed for data professionals. It can be run from SSDT or as an add-on to Visual Studio 2019. The Report Builder is a more straightforward tool designed to enable end-users to create reports. These SSRS report creation tools generate Report Definition Language (RDL) files that control how the reports will look and act. The Reporting Services service takes the RDL files as input and uses them to render the SSRS reports. The Web Portal takes the place of the older Report Manager and it is used to manage, secure and run SSRS reports.

This was last updated in August 2019

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