Power BI Report Server Released

Ginger Grant notes that Power BI Report Server is now generally available:

The most glaring change from what was announced earlier, is Power BI Report Server can only connect to analysis services data sources, both tabular and multidimensional.  If you want to connect to SQL Server, Oracle or Excel or all three, use the Power BI Web Service.  Only going to the cloud version will users be able to create a data mashup or connect to anything but SQL Server.

Connecting to one data source is not what was promised when the Power BI Report Server was announced in May.  Various Power BI Product members held a session at the Microsoft Data Summit where attendees were able to ask questions.  I asked “When are we going to be able to use Power BI Report Server with data sources other than analysis services?”  In a room full of people, I was assured that it was a top priority of the team to release the same data connectivity functionality for Power BI Report Server that currently exists for Power BI Services and the current plan was to release this functionality the next release.

This is the most glaring flaw with Power BI Report Server at the moment.  Unfortunately, that probably makes it DOA for my purposes, at least until they introduce SQL Server relational as a valid data source.

Reporting Services Report Schedules

Jason Brimhall has a doozy of a query for figuring out SQL Server Reporting Services report schedules:

In pulling the data together from the two sources, I opted to return two result sets. Not just two disparate result sets, but rather two result sets that each pertained to both the agent job information as well as the ReportServer scheduling data. For instance, I took all of the subscriptions in the ReportServer and joined that data to the job system to glean information from there into one result set. And I did the reverse as well. You will see when looking at the query and data. One of the reasons for doing it this way was to make this easier to assimilate into an SSRS style report.

There’s a 680-line script ahead.

Installing Power BI Report Server

Adam Saxton has a video showing how to install and configure Power BI Report Server:

In this video, I look at how to install and configure the May 2017 Preview of Power BI Report Server. Power BI Report Server has a new standalone install experience and this product allows for Power BI reports to be rendered in the web portal along with paginated reports.

This will get you started with the new version.

I was really excited about this preview until I realized that, for now, it only works for Analysis Services data sources.

Installing Multiple SSRS Instances

Dave Mason explains how to set up multiple SQL Server Reporting Services installations to run against a single SQL Server instance:

Have you ever needed to install multiple instances of SSRS, with each instance “connected” to the same instance of the SQL Server database engine? (By “connected”, I mean that the pair of [ReportServer] databases for each SSRS instance would all reside on the same instance of SQL Server. And each SSRS instance would be reporting on data from one or more databases that also resided on the same instance of SQL Server.)

To my surprise, I don’t see much guidance for this scenario on the internet. TechNet has an article. It’s consistently one of the first search results I get back for variations of “Install multiple instances of SSRS”. That article (and a few others) omit a simple installation step/requirement that was a blind spot for me. (More on that towards the end.) I finally figured out what I was doing wrong and eventually succeeded with my task. Let’s walk through the steps.

I’m not quite positive what problem this best solves, but that could just be a lack of vision on my part.

Deploying Reports With Powershell

Jana Sattainathan has created a few Powershell functions to automate dealing with SQL Server Reporting Services report deployment:

In this post, I want to publish a few functions that I created around SSRS. They are related to and depend on each other.

  • Get-SSRS – Given the SSRS URI returns the WSDL endpoint

  • Get-SSRSReport – Returns one or more reports based on inputs

  • Get-SSRSSharedDataSource – Returns one or more shared data sources based on inputs

  • Get-SSRSReportDataSource – Returns the data source information on a report by report basis based on inputs

  • Set-SSRSReportDataSource – Sets the data source of a report to the given data source.

  • Install-SSRS – Deploys an SSRS report to a specific folder and also optionally sets the datasource for the deployed report

Very useful.

Advanced Report Design

Paul Turley excerpts a chapter from his new Reporting Services book:

With respect to page layout, reports have two sizing modes: interactive and printable. When users run a report in their web browser and use it interactively, they typically don’t care that much about the page size. This is particularly true with reports that have wide content like a matrix region that can dynamically grow horizontally with the data. When a report is printed or rendered to a print- able format like a PDF or Word file, we need to be mindful about fitting the content on pages.

The report designer does not make page sizing and dimensions particularly obvious so it’s an easy thing to miss. Fortunately, the science behind page sizing is pretty simple. Page dimension properties are grouped into two objects that you can select in the designer; these are shown in Figure 7-1. With the Properties window visible, click outside the report body to show properties for the report. Here you will see the InteractiveSize and PageSize properties. Expand these to see the individual Width and Height properties for each group.

Read on to get the better part of a full chapter’s worth of material.

SSRS Mobile Report Drillthrough

Patrick LeBlanc shows how to drill from a mobile SQL Server Reporting Services report to a paginated report (built on Analysis Services):

17. The report appears but does not execute because the parameters are not set. Why not?

Well, after inspecting the URL (http://localhost/ReportServer/Pages/ReportViewer.aspx?%2fHigher+Education+Solution%2fReports%2fAnnual+Enrollment+Details&DateSchoolYear=2007&Term=Spring), it passed the values as expected. What is the problem? Remember, the parameters are populated from and SSAS model, so that means we need to send the values formatted as such. This format is:

[TableName].[Attribute].&[Value]

No problem, just build that string as part of the URL. Guess what, that doesn’t work either. What you need to do encode certain characters in the URL. For example, to pass year it needs to look like this [Date].[School Year].&[{{SelectionList.SelectedItem}}].

Click through for a step-by-step guide.

SSRS: SendGrid Without Encryption

Denny Cherry shows how to configure Reporting Services to use SendGrid (sans encryption) to send e-mails:

We setup our nice new SQL 2016 SSRS servers to authenticate using the new SQL 2016 GUI which just supports it now. One problem with the GUI is that it requires that you use encryption. No big deal, SendGrid supports encrypted SMTP.

The problem with SendGrids encrypted SMTP is that it has a funky certificate chain which isn’t trusted by default. And it’s a convoluted process to get the correct certificate chain installed on a few servers (we have an SSRS farm as there’s thousands of reports being delivered every morning).

Click through for the solution.

SSRS Category Charts & Ints

Kathi Kellenberger notices an oddity with SSRS Mobile Report category charts:

Notice that OrderYear displays decimal points. I switched the dataset in the Series field name property, and found that neither of the columns in the dataset can be used.

Numeric columns cannot be set as a Series name field. To work around this, I modified the dataset, casting OrderYear as a CHAR(4).

That’s not a great situation, but at least there’s a workaround.

SSRS With Natural Earth Geospatial Data

Jeff Pries shows how to use the Natural Earth data set in a SQL Server Reporting Services report:

After proceeding through the New Layer Wizard three times to add three layers to the map, we have all of our data present.  We now just need to do a little housekeeping to make the map more presentable.  We’ll go through each layer and make slight tweaks to each.

Before adjusting the layers, first notice that we essentially have two legends.  The Legend box and the Map Scale box.  They both give us the same information.  Since the Legend is using more real estate, delete it.

There are a lot of steps involved, but the end result is a nice report.

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