Thursday, November 18, 2010

What’s New in R2 Report Server

SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services introduces new report server architecture and revised tools for deploying and managing a report server instance.
New Feature List

New Report Server Architecture
This release features a redesigned server architecture that removes the dependency on Internet Information Services (IIS) while retaining all the server functionality of earlier versions. To replace the functionality previously provided by IIS, Reporting Services now includes native support for HTTP.SYS and ASP.NET, URL management for site and virtual directory names, a new authentication layer, and health monitoring through new memory management features. In addition, the new architecture consolidates the Report Server Web service, Report Server Windows service, and Report Manager into a single service. In SQL Server 2008, you only have to define and manage one service account for all report server applications.

Enhanced Toolset for Report Server Configuration and Management
This release includes changes to the server tools. A report server is configured and managed through a combination of tools that include the Reporting Services Configuration tool, SQL Server Management Studio, Report Manager for a native mode report server, and SharePoint application pages for SharePoint integrated mode. In this release, each tool supports a specific purpose and focus. Support for specific tasks have been added to some tools and removed from others.

New Support for Data-driven Subscriptions and Job Management in SharePoint Integrated Mode
This release adds support for data-driven subscriptions and job management on report servers configured for SharePoint integrated mode.

New Report Server Architecture
Report server architecture is fundamentally changed in SQL Server 2008 by the removal of Internet Information Services (IIS) dependencies and the consolidation of applications into a single service. The new architecture embeds HTTP server capabilities into the report server itself, allowing you to run a report server as a true a middle-tier application, separate from Web front-end applications used to access it. The report server also includes a new hosting layer to authenticate users, manage memory and internal processes, and support end-to-end tracing and logging.

Native support for HTTP.SYS and ASP.NET

Reporting Services no longer uses Internet Information Services (IIS) to gain access to ASP.NET functionality, the Report Manager application, or the Report Server Web service endpoint. In SQL Server 2008, Reporting Services does the following:
• Hosts the ASP.NET and Microsoft .NET Framework technologies that are built into SQL Server CLR.
• Leverages the HTTP.SYS capabilities of the operating system.

Native support for URL reservations and registration of the report server endpoints
The report server includes an HTTP listener that accepts requests that are directed to a URL and port that you define during server configuration. URL reservations and registration is now managed directly by the report server through HTTP.SYS.

Consolidated services and applications
This release combines the Reporting Services server applications into a single service. The following server applications run within a single service: the Report Server Web service for interactive report processing, the Report Manager front-end component, and the Scheduling and Delivery processor (a background processing application for scheduled operations).
Consolidating the server applications into a single service reduces configuration and maintenance tasks, and provides a better platform for integrating custom functionality. Although consolidation simplifies deployment, it does not reduce the Reporting Services features you are accustomed to using or affect how you access the applications. All functionality continues to be available. Both Report Manager and the Report Server Web service run interact within the single service. Both applications continue to be available through URLs that provide HTTP access to each one.

Authentication layer
In the previous release, authentication was handled through IIS. In this release, Reporting Services handles all authentication requests through a new authentication subsystem that supports Windows-based and custom authentication.

Memory configuration
New memory management features enable you to set a memory threshold for report processing. In previous releases, the report server used all available memory. In this release, you can configure a maximum limit on memory as well as interim thresholds that determine how the report server responds to changes in memory pressure.

End-to-end logging
New HTTP logging keeps a record of all HTTP requests handled by the report server. It is equivalent to the log file that is generated by IIS.
Trace log files are consolidated into a single ReportServerService_.log file. All trace information for the Report Server Web service, Report Manager, and the background processing application can be found in this file. Application logs and the report server execution log are unchanged in this release.

Enhanced Toolset for Report Server Configuration and Management
Reporting Services includes a complete set of tools for configuring and managing a report server installation. The tools have been redesigned to support a distinct set of tasks that no longer overlap in functionality. New capabilities are added to some tools, whereas other capabilities have been removed to eliminate redundant tasks.

SQL Server Management Studio
For report servers that run in native mode or in SharePoint integrated mode, this tool is used to enable features, set server properties and defaults, create shared schedules, configure role definitions (or view permission levels on a SharePoint site), and manage scheduled jobs that are currently in progress on the report server.
This tool is no longer used to manage the folder hierarchy or report server content. You cannot use this tool to assign permissions, nor can you manage reports, models, resources, shared data sources, or data-driven subscriptions. All content management is through Report Manager or a SharePoint site.

Report Manager
For a native mode report server, Report Manager is now the only tool that you use to view and manage report server content.
Assigning permissions, creating and managing report server items, scheduling report and subscription processing, managing report delivery, and generating and managing models are handled exclusively through this tool. New pages are provided for generating models, setting model item security, and associating clickthrough reports to entities in a model.
To use Report Manager, you must define a URL to the application. You can effectively disable Report Manager by not creating the URL in the first place. If you installed Reporting Services in the default configuration, the URL is already created and you must delete it if you decide to turn the application off.
If you configure the report server to run in SharePoint integrated mode, Report Manager is turned off. You cannot use Report Manager on a report server that runs in SharePoint integrated mode, even if you previously configured the URL.
Reporting Services Configuration tool
The Reporting Services Configuration tool is used to set the service account, create or manage the report server database, configure URLs, set the unattended execution account, configure report server e-mail, and manages encryption keys. The tool includes new pages for defining URLs and a revised workflow for creating and configuring a report server database or updating a service account.

New Support for Data-driven Subscriptions and Job Management in SharePoint Integrated Mode
This release of Reporting Services introduces data-driven subscriptions and job management for report servers running in SharePoint integrated mode. You can define data-driven subscriptions for reports that you have deployed to a SharePoint library by using the new subscription definition pages that are provided by the Reporting Services Add-in for SharePoint Technologies. The add-in also provides new job management pages at the site level to view and cancel reports that are in progress. Note that you must install or upgrade to the Reporting Services Add-in to access the new report server functionality from your SharePoint site.