In-House Power BI

Paul Turley reports that the bits to publish a Power BI report to SSRS are in the latest vNext preview:

“Power BI reports in SQL Server Reporting Services: January 2017 Technical Preview now available”  This feature addition will allow Power BI reports to be published to a local SQL Server Reporting Services server, entirely-on-premises without using the Power BI cloud service.

The January 2017 Technical Preview can be downloaded from: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=54610

Reza Rad shows us installation and deployment:

We are in a world that rapidly running towards cloud. Your files are in Dropbox, or OneDrive these days, Your photos uploaded to a cloud storage, your emails are all backed up in a cloud backup media, and I’m in this thinking that in next few years, we might eat our food from a cloud kitchen! However there are still businesses and companies who require some on-premises solutions, and as long as a requirement exists, there should be an answer for it. Power BI for On-Premises bring the power of self-service, interactive reports of Power BI to these businesses. Power BI for On-premises is a great big step towards utilizing better data insight in all environments.

This will probably help more companies than you might think—Power BI is really useful as a reporting tool, but it can be hard getting sign-off to go to Azure.

Upgrading SSRS From 2008R2 To 2014

Dave Turpin needed to perform an upgrade of a Reporting Services installation:

So let me share with you my biggest take away from this project:  EVERYTHING ABOUT USER CREATED REPORTS IS STORED IN THE SQL Server Reporting databases.  So if you are reading this post you probably are about to move an instance of SSRS, and may be concerned about the many, many reports involved.

Based on my one experience with this, there is need to move individual reports.  If you follow the process carefully, all of the existing reports will be re-created on the new machine.  It’s not quite magic, but it sure feels like it when everything shows up on the new system.

Read on for the solution Dave came up with.

Reporting Services Mobile Reports

Kathi Kellenberger shows off mobile reports in SQL Server Reporting Services:

Mobile Reports are dashboards that will run on most modern mobile devices as well as within the web portal. They are supported on IOS 9 and later, Android 4.4 or better, and Windows 10. To run Mobile Reports on these devices, the mobile Power BI application must be installed.

At first glance, they are simple to create. There is a new tool to use, the SQL Server Mobile Report Publisher. The tool will look familiar to you if you have worked with Datazen in the past. Microsoft purchased Datazen in 2015.

This is the first major Reporting Services update since 2008 (unless you consider sparkline support in R2 a major update), and could be a good business justification for upgrading to SQL Server 2016.

SSRS Data Preview

Kathi Kellenberger points out a potential risk with the new Data Preview functionality in SQL Server Reporting Services 2016:

One of the features that took me by surprise is the ability to view data directly from a shared dataset. This feature is called Data Preview, and is available to anyone who has permission to view the dataset and the security at the data source works out. I’m not sure how often shared datasets have been used in previous versions of SSRS. They were not actually needed in many cases, and I generally recommended them for datasets that would be frequently reused such as common parameter lists. This advice will have to change with 2016, because shared datasets are required for the new KPI reports and Mobile Reports.  Stored credentials will be used in the data sources in many cases, because Kerberos delegation is not supported yet with Mobile Reports.

This is a potential data leakage scenario, so if you have potentially sensitive data sets, you’ll want to read this post.

Power BI On-Prem In 2017

Paul Turley points out a blog post from the Reporting Services team:

When will we have this next Technical Preview?

We’re targeting January 2017 to release this next Technical Preview.

What’s the release vehicle for a production-ready version?

We plan to release the production-ready version in the next SQL Server release wave. We won’t be releasing it in a Service Pack, Cumulative Update, or other form of update for SSRS 2016.

When will we have a production-ready version?

We’re targeting availability in mid-2017.

That makes it sound like they’re pushing it to coincide with the vNext release.

Parameterized Visibility In SSRS Reports

Monica Rathbun shows how to show or hide clusters of columns in Reporting Services reports:

Ever had users come to you and request another version of a report just to add another field and group data differently? Today, was such the day for me. I really don’t like have multiple versions of the same report out there. So, I got a little fancy with the current version of the report and added a parameter then used expressions to group the data differently and hide columns. For those new to SSRS I’ve embedded some links to MSDN to help you along the way.

This is an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide.

Displaying SSRS Indicators Horizontally

Derik Hammer shows how to display a set of indicators horizontally instead of vertically in a Reporting Services report:

If you are looking for a tabular report you can stop here. This does not look very nice on a dashboard, however. Now I will show you how to convert this into a grouping of colorful indicators.

Remove the [Rating] field from the bottom row and create an indicator by right-clicking on the placeholder and selecting Insert > Indicator. Then select the type you would like.

There are several steps, but Derik lays it all out nicely with screenshots.

SSRS + Power BI Desktop

Andrew Peterson walks through the steps to check out the SSRS 2016 preview which supports Power BI Desktop:

SSRS 2016 supporting Power BI Desktop reports is now in preview on Azure. But for many of us, we’d rather be able to review this in our own virtual environment, and more specifically – VirtualBox. We’ll now you can.

Our starting point was a blog posting my Microsoft employee Christopher Finlan outlining the steps needed to setup this preview in a Hyper-V environment. A great start, but what we wanted was the ability to run it Virtual Box. Fortunately for us, running the downloaded VHD in VirtualBox is much easier than Hyper-V.

Click through for the instructions.

Powershell Cmdlets For SSRS

Aaron Nelson reports that there are now Powershell cmdlets for SQL Server Reporting Services:

I have been testing these commands for several weeks and so far my favorite command is Write-RsFolderContent because it will allows you to write the .RDL & .RSD files from a directory on your machine to your SSRS folder. Like the whole thing. You don’t have to throw it into a loop or anything. Try it out!

This is a wonderful replacement for the old RSScripter app (of which I still have a copy squirreled away somewhere).

On-Prem Power BI

Koen Verbeeck looks at the preview of Power BI integration inside Reporting Services:

  • one thing that I am missing, is when you are rendering the report that there is an “edit report” button that takes you to Power BI Desktop. A bit like in PowerBI.com, where you can also go to edit mode if you have the correct permissions.

  • by the way, if you truly want to test it locally, you can download the .vhd file (the virtual hard disk) and run it in your own HyperV environment.

All in all it looks very nice for a first preview. Currently only SSAS is supported and custom visualizations are not, but I guess the SSRS team will surprise us with more features soon. Great job SSRS team!

Lots of interesting thoughts here, so check it out.

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