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Understanding the Report Server (Report Builder)

When you open Report Builder, or run your report, you are working with the report server. The report server is the main component of Reporting Services and consists of two parts: a Web service and a Windows service. The Web service provides Report Builder with access to the report server. The Windows service provides report scheduling and delivery services. You use both services when designing, saving, running, managing, and publishing your reports. The report server processes report requests and retrieves report properties, formatting information, and data. The report server merges the formatting information with the data and renders the final report.

The report server stores files and folders similar to a file system. However, items managed and stored by a report server are different than files on a file system. Report definitions can exist both as files on a file system and as report items on a report server. On a file system, the report definition that you create has a file extension of .rdl. When you create your Report Builder report, you are creating an .rdl file. When you save a report to the report server, you are publishing it, where it becomes an item stored on a report server. Once the report is published on a report server, your report can be retrieved from a report server database and presented to other users and applications as items in a report server folder. For more information about saving and sharing reports, see Saving a Report (Report Builder).

A report server can also be integrated with an instance of a SharePoint product or technology. When you configure a report server to run in SharePoint integrated mode, you can create, save, modify, view, and manage your reports from within a SharePoint library. When you modify your reports in a library, the change is stored in a SharePoint database and then copied to a report server database. The report server continues to process the report requests and retrieve report properties, formatting information, and data. The report server periodically synchronizes with Windows SharePoint Services and tracks information about the files it processes.

For more information about running a report server in SharePoint integrated mode, see the "Reporting Services and SharePoint Technology Integration" and "Deploying Reports, Models, and Shared Data Sources to a SharePoint Site" topics in SQL Server Books Online.

Report Builder functionality is the same, regardless of whether the report server is run in native mode or SharePoint integrated mode.

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