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Upgrading Reporting Services for SQL Server 2016

Author: Pinal Dave | 3 min read | October 5, 2016

SQL Server 2005 introduced an important feature for developers: Microsoft Reporting Service. It is a SQL Server subsystem that allows developers to design, develop, and run data and graphical reports using databases from SQL Server or Analysis Services.

Since the SQL Server 2008 R2 update, reporting service users didn’t have much reason to upgrade SSRS to the new versions of SQL Server. However, SQL Server 2016 is about to change that. If you liked using SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), then the latest update comes to the market with really good news for you: it has major enhancements for SSRS.

SSRS updates in SQL Server 2016 allow reports to be viewed more consistently and accurately across a range of different browsers, as now there’s a HTML5 rendering engine built in to the reporting service too. This rendering engine also supports Microsoft .NET Framework 4. Additionally, Microsoft has given a facelift to the report builder interface, which has the same fundamental functionality but is now polished with a more streamlined look.

NOTE: This feature upgrade results in no backward compatibility for older browser versions of IE.

SSRS update for SQL Server 2016 also introduces two new chart types for its existing charts collection: Treemap and Sunburst charts. These can be useful when you want to apply grouping for multi-levels and visualize them using colors and visual boundaries.

There are significant improvements to the formatting and placement of parameters of report design. In previous versions, parameters were arranged arbitrarily in a bar at the top of the browser window. They are now placed in a grid in the parameter bar.

Alongside the report manager, you now get a web report portal which has the same look and feel and responsiveness of any other modern app offered by Microsoft. Through the report portal, you can access your mobile reports (discussed below), paginated reports, Excel, KPIs, and Power BI Desktop. (Paginated reports are the new branding for RDL reports created using SSRS). The web portal also allows an organization to modify the look and feel to reflect the company’s branding with colors and logo.

Probably the coolest feature of SSRS 2016 is the mobile reports support. With the acquisition of Datazen, Microsoft has taken steps to incorporate Datazen’s mobile reporting technology platform into SQL Server 2016. These mobile reports can run on HTML5, iOS, Android and Windows devices. Mobile reports designer comes with customizable layouts to support different form types as well as a visual drag-and-drop feature for creating stylish data visualizations. Users can also create mobile report prototypes using simulated data. To access data, mobile reports can connect to the Reporting Service.

Now you can pin your report items to the Power BI Dashboard. Gauges, pin charts, and maps can be pinned there with the capability to drill down through the original report. Using the new paging reports, you can also extract PowerPoint files, which will simplify presentations.

If you are ready to upgrade your SSRS tool to SQL Server 2016, read more about the best practices in upgrading and migration. For further information about SQL Server 2016 and upgrading, visit the Microsoft official documentation for SQL Server 2016.

If you need help upgrading your SSRS tool to SQL Server 2016, or to learn more, contact Datavail today. With more than 600 database administrators worldwide, Datavail is the largest database services provider in North America. As a reliable provider of 24×7 managed services for applications, BI & Analytics, and databases, Datavail can support your organization regardless of the build you’ve selected.

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