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Category: Reporting Services

RSExecRole Already Exists

Dave Mason troubleshoots an annoying error:

When migrating an instance of SSRS, I performed a backup of the [ReportServer] and [ReportServerTemp] SSRS databases from a SQL Server 2008 R2 instance and restored them to a SQL Server 2017 instance. After installing SSRS 2017 on the target machine, I ran SSRS configuration and attempted to set the Current Report Server Database to the existing [ReportServer] database I had already restored:

Read on to see the error and Dave’s fix. As I get older and more cantankerous, I realize even further the benefit of rerunnable scripts and repeatable processes. They prevent so many errors of this sort.

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Reporting Services and SPNs

Greg Dodd shares a couple tips on creating SPNs for SQL Server Reporting Services:

Reporting Services often requires an SPN assigned to the account running the Reporting Services Service. You’ll know that you need to set this up when you try connecting to your Reporting Services instance from within the same domain and you are prompted for credentials. If SPN’s are setup correctly then your browser will work out the authentication for you and your users won’t need to login again.

Read on for an example, but also a pitfall and how to avoid it.

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Power BI and SSRS Drillthrough

Paul Turley continues a series on drillthrough. First, from a paginated report into Power BI:

In the recipe titled “Drillthrough from Power BI to Paginated Report” I demonstrate how to use report parameters and a dynamic URL address to navigate between reports and pass parameter values in the URL from a Power BI report to detailed data in an SSRS paginated report. Using a similar technique, we can navigate from a paginated report to a Power BI report.

Power BI is very flexible and does not require you to define parameters like you would in a paginated report. You can literally filter a report using any field in the dataset.

After that, Paul posted a follow-up on the wherefore:

I recently published two blog posts to share some of my work-in-progress for the recipe book: Drillthrough from Power BI to an SSRS Paginated Report, and: Drillthrough from Paginated Report to Power BI. Both of these posts demonstrate navigation from one of the report tools to the other, essentially allowing users to work with these two capable tools in a full circle.  As the newer and more modern data analysis tool, Power BI fills and important gap but it is not a replacement for the type of multi-page grouped and repeated style of reporting that SSRS is optimized for. Likewise, Power BI excels as an interactive tool for data discovery and self-service analysis. SSRS and Power BI were borne from the same platform and and have common architectures but also many differences. Used together, the realm of possibilities is expansive.

It is important to understand that the techniques used to navigate and pass filter context between these report tools is limited to the capabilities of web query string parameterization. In my experience, this is rarely a show-stopper but I do occasionally encounter folks pushing the limits – both practically and technically.

It’s good to see interoperability between these two tools.

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Drillthrough from Power BI to SSRS

Paul Turley shows how you can drill through from a Power BI dashboard into an SSRS report:

This recipe primarily involves Power BI report design techniques. I’m not going to get into the details of Power BI report design but will cover the basics with a partially-completed report to get you started. If you are less-experienced with Power BI you can use this as an example for future report projects.

The sample database and files will be available in the forthcoming book: SQL Server Reporting Services Paginated Report Recipes, 2nd Edition (working title).

These instructions are provided as an example but refer to files that will be available when the book is published. Please contact me in the comments with questions and feedback.

You can’t get the files just yet, but you can see what Paul does to get this working.

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Sort Descending in SSRS

Nate Johnson fixes an annoying problem with SSRS:

But you know what’s kinda annoying? You can’t dictate a “first sort direction” — it just assumes that the first time you click the sort-arrows, you want ‘Ascending’ (lowest first). Then you can switch to ‘DEscending’ (highest first). This makes perfect sense for alpha values (strings), but not always for numeric values — at least not when you’re dealing with money, when generally the highest dollar amount is the most important!

So let’s make it real simple for the end-user to get the ‘best’ behavior by default. Let’s try to make it sort by our ‘Revenue’ column in DEscending order first. Ready?

It’s an unintuitive and easy solution to the problem.

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SSIS Catalog Dashboard

Tim Mitchell has a new GitHub repo:

The SSIS Catalog Dashboard is a simple collection of reports that provide insight into the activity within the SSIS catalog. The first of these is the Dashboard report. This report shows a summary of the number of packages that are running or have run in the recent past.

The dashboard repo, a Reporting Services project, is available on GitHub and is licensed under GPL version 3.

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Generating SSRS Subscription Agent Job Commands

Craig Porteous has a quick script to generate T-SQL commands to start and stop SQL Agent jobs tied to Reporting Services subscriptions:

This is a query I would run when I needed to quickly make bulk changes to Reporting Services subscriptions. It’s part of an “emergency fix” toolkit. 

Maybe a DB has went down and I have to quickly suspend specific subscriptions or locate Agent jobs for subscriptions. This was always a quick starting point.

I could take the generated StartEnable and Disable commands and record these in tickets or email threads to demonstrate actions taken. There are other ways to make bulk changes to SSRS subscriptions involving custom queries but this can be run immediately, I don’t have to tailor a WHERE clause first. I also wrote previously on managing subscription failures.

Click through for the script.

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Reporting Services Scale-Out With Docker

Paul Stanton architects out a scenario using Windocks to create cloned Reporting Services containers in order to scale out Reporting Services:

Database cloning is a key aspect of the SSRS scale out architecture, with database clones providing each container a complete set of databases.  Two or more VMs operated behind a load balancer delivers a highly available and scalable reporting service.  This article focuses on Windows SQL Server containers and Windows Virtual Hard Drive (VHD) based cloning, but the same architecture can support SQL Server Linux containers or conventional instances (Windows or Linux).   Redgate SQL Clone, for example would support SQL Server instances.   Other options include the use of storage arrays instead of Windows VHD based clones.   The trade-offs between SQL containers and instances, and between VHDs and storage arrays are covered in separate sections below. 

The combination of SSRS containers with database cloning is appealing for simplicity and operational savings.  SSRS containers are also drawing interest as part of public cloud strategies, as SSRS containers can be integrated with AWS RDS or SQL Azure databases to provide a horizontally scalable reporting solution.

This is a bit more complex than Reporting Services scale-out with Enterprise Edition, but if you’re on Standard Edition and can’t use scale-out, it’s an interesting alternative.

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Getting Reporting Services Installation Details With Powershell

Josh Smith wants to find every installation of SQL Server Reporting Services on a machine:

This is one of those posts so I never have to google this again (one hopes). Here is the PS code to pull back a set of details about every SSRS instance installed on a server including the SSRS instance name, & the first URL port it is running on, the service name and the name of the report server database etc.

Click through for the Powershell script.

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When Using SSRS Makes Sense

Eugene Meidinger lays out the scenarios in which it makes sense to use SQL Server Reporting Services over Power BI, Excel, or other tooling:

SSRS makes it easy to control who has access to your reports and data. It is possible to specify permissions on the whole server, specific folders of reports or on a single report. Permissions inherit down, like a regular file system, unless you explicitly break inheritance to specify custom permissions.
In addition to permissions, you have a central server to house and control your reports. This is critical when you need an authoritative source of truth for your reporting. Users can trust that they are reading the latest version of any given report.
In addition to the administrative side of things, SSRS provides a powerful development environment with SSDT. SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) is based on Visual Studio, a very popular Integrated Developer Environment or IDE. SSDT makes it incredibly easy to store your reports in source control since your reporting artefacts are just XML files. Source control makes it possible to collaborate on a team or rollback to earlier versions of a report. This is a capability that is not available with Excel or Power BI reports.  

Read the whole thing.

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