Using DAX With Reporting Services

David Stelfox gives us an example of using DAX when connecting SQL Server Reporting Services to a SQL Server Analysis Services Tabular model:

Tools like Power BI have changed reporting allowing power users to leverage tabular cubes to present information quicker and without the (perceived) need for developers. However, experience tells us many users still want data in tables with a myriad of formatting and display rules. Power BI is not quite there yet in terms of providing all this functionality in the same way that SSRS is. For me, SSRS’s great value and, at the same time its curse, is the sheer amount of customisation a developer can do. I have found that almost anything a business user demands in terms of formatting and display is possible.

But you have invested your time and money in a tabular SSAS model which plays nicely with Power BI but your users want SSRS reports so how to get to your data – using DAX, of course. Using EVALUATE, SUMMARIZECOLUMNS and SELECTCOLUMNS you can return data from a tabular model in a tabular format ready to be read as a dataset in SSRS.

It’s a good post and a good example.  The only quibble I have is in the motivating paragraph; Power BI and SQL Server Reporting Services have different end goals—Power BI isn’t (and I think never will be) a pixel-perfect report building product; it’s meant to be a dashboarding technology.  That quibble aside, the example is well worth checking out.

Reporting Services And Availability Groups

Thomas Rushton has a good rant worked up:

Yes, you may have an availability group – well done – and you may have installed SSRS on both servers. But you’ve only set up the reporting application to point to one of those? And you’ve given the link https://<<Listener_Name>>/reports out to the users? Head/desk. I told you at the time that SSRS doesn’t play nicely with AGs. [Nearly misposted as SSRS doesn’t play nicely with SSRS, which, while valid, isn’t the point here…]

Here’s what you need to do to fix this / make sure it doesn’t happen:

Click through to learn what you need to do to make sure there are no problems.

Reporting Services Templates In Visual Studio 2017

Greg Low points out an oddity in where Reporting Services templates are located in SQL Server 2017:

Templates are just report files (ie: RDL files) but placed in a special folder on your system.

If you’re starting with a blank page to create a report, you’re doing it wrong.

But where do these templates come from? In the Visual Studio 2015 version of the tools, they were here:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 14.0\
Common7\IDE\PrivateAssemblies\ProjectItems\ReportProject

I found after installing the VS2017 version of the tools though, that they weren’t there any more.

Greg has found them in two separate locations, so read on to learn more.

Securing Power BI Report Server

Steve Hughes gives some advice for securing a Power BI Report Server installation:

You have essentially three layers of access to the report file security in Power BI Report Server.

  1. The portal itself can be secured. You can and should limit access to the reports by only allowing specific users or groups access to the report portal.
  2. Folders can be used to provide more granular security over a group of assets in the report portal. In the image above, I created a folder called PBI Secure Reports. A specific AD group has access to this folder. If a user does not have permissions to the folder, the folder does not show up in the portal and they cannot access the folder or the assets, including Power BI reports, stored in this folder.
  3. Individual reports can be secured as well. I never recommend this option as it becomes administratively difficult to manage. However, the capability is there is a single asset needs to be secured in this fashion.

These options work for any asset stored in the Report Portal and are not limited to Power BI reports.

Power BI Report Server is a different animal from standard Power BI, so securing it will be a bit different as well.

Connecting To Power BI Report Server Using SSMS

Koen Verbeeck shows how to connect to a Power BI Report Server instance using SQL Server Management Studio:

Sometimes you want to connect to a report server instance using Management Studio, for example to create a new security role or modify an existing one. Recently I tried to log into our newly installed Power BI Report Server (March 2018 edition). I was greeted with the following error:

The Reporting Services instance could not be found.

Read on to see how to solve this problem.

Dynamically Showing Or Hiding Columns In SSRS With Parameters

Sander Stad shows how to show or hide columns at runtime in SQL Server Reporting Services reports using parameters:

Regularly I have reports that have an extensive amount of columns.
Because the amount of columns, reports tend to become inefficient and have too much information we don’t always need. The users may want to select certain columns and to make the report easier to read.

Hiding and showing columns in SSRS reports using parameters is a solution to make reports more dynamic and easier to use.

At the time of writing of this article, SQL Server Reporting Services did not yet have the possibility to use checkbox parameters. Instead we will be using a multi-value text parameter to show or hide our columns.

Click through to see how to do this.

Executing R Scripts In SSRS

Tomaz Kastrun shows how to include R scripts (and visuals) in SQL Server Reporting Services:

Using the privileges of R language to enrich your data, your statistical analysis or visualization is a simple task to get more out of your reports.

The best practice to embed R code into SSRS report is to create stored procedure and output the results to report. To demonstrate this, we will create two reports; one that will take two input parameters and the second one to demonstrate the usage of R visualization.

It’s nice to be able to use R to create nice visuals and then import them in your SSRS report, and Tomaz shows how.

Documenting Reporting Services Installations

Craig Porteous explains the types of things you should document in SQL Server Reporting Services:

If you’re using Kerberos authentication with Reporting Services you’ll at least have to update the rsReportServer.config file with the correct authentication mode. Beyond that you have SPNs on your SSRS domain Service account to consider. This may be managed by your domain administrators but it’s still a good plan to back these up or check that someone is backing these up. It is too easy to clear SPNs or constrained delegation settings accidentally.

Having a backup will also give you a good reference point for building new environments. You can of course easily see SPNs from the command line using this command:

SETSPN –L DOMAIN\SERVICEACCOUNT

What this boils down to is, if you lost your Reporting Services installation today, could you get things back to the way they were?

Installing SSRS 2017

Dave Mason shows how to install Reporting Services 2017:

The SSRS 2017 installation media was easy to find and download from Microsoft. When I ran it, the installation process was simple. There were very few choices to make, and none of them were terribly important or impactful. Other than clicking “Next” buttons, the only choices and input required was to choose the SSRS Edition (or enter a product key), check the box to accept license terms, and choose an installation path (if you don’t want the default). It was so easy, it almost feels like a waste of time to post the screen shots. But since I have them, here they are:

Click through for a block of screenshots and more install info.  As for Dave’s question as the end, I think the only way you can have two versions of SSRS 2017 on the same instance is if you have Reporting Services and Power BI Report Server, and they’ll show up in Reporting Services Configuration Manager as SSRS and PBIRS, respectively.

Unable To Create The Certificate Binding

Hamish Watson walks through changing an expired certificate in SQL Server Reporting Services:

This blog post is around the situation where you have SSRS setup to use HTTPS and thus using a certificate and the certificate expires (or just needs replacing). We had caught the initial error via our Continuous Monitoring of the SSRS site — basically when the certificate expired we got an exception and alerted on it.

The client installed a new certificate but the issue arose where in Reporting Service Configuration Manager we went to use the new certificate but when we chose it we got this error:

We are unable to create the certificate binding

Read on to see how to get past this.

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