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What's New in Report Server Architecture and Tools

SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services (SSRS) introduces a new report server architecture and revised tools for deploying and managing a report server instance.

New Report Server Architecture

This release features a redesigned server architecture that removes the dependency on Internet Information Services (IIS) while retaining all the server functionality of earlier versions. To replace the functionality previously provided by IIS, Reporting Services now includes native support for HTTP.SYS and ASP.NET, URL management for site and virtual directory names, a new authentication layer, and health monitoring through new memory management features. In addition, the new architecture consolidates the Report Server Web service, Report Server Windows service, and Report Manager into a single service. In SQL Server 2008, you only have to define and manage one service account for all report server applications.

Enhanced Toolset for Report Server Configuration and Management

This release includes changes to the server tools. A report server is configured and managed through a combination of tools that include the Reporting Services Configuration tool, SQL Server Management Studio, Report Manager for a native mode report server, and SharePoint application pages for SharePoint integrated mode. In this release, each tool supports a specific purpose and focus. Support for specific tasks have been added to some tools and removed from others.

New Support for Data-driven Subscriptions and Job Management in SharePoint Integrated Mode

This release adds support for data-driven subscriptions and job management on report servers configured for SharePoint integrated mode.

Report server architecture is fundamentally changed in SQL Server 2008 by the removal of Internet Information Services (IIS) dependencies and the consolidation of applications into a single service. The new architecture embeds HTTP server capabilities into the report server itself, allowing you to run a report server as a true a middle-tier application, separate from Web front-end applications used to access it. The report server also includes a new hosting layer to authenticate users, manage memory and internal processes, and support end-to-end tracing and logging.

Native support for HTTP.SYS and ASP.NET 

Reporting Services no longer uses Internet Information Services (IIS) to gain access to ASP.NET functionality, the Report Manager application, or the Report Server Web service endpoint. In SQL Server 2008, Reporting Services does the following:

  • Hosts the ASP.NET and Microsoft .NET Framework technologies that are built into SQL Server CLR.

  • Leverages the HTTP.SYS capabilities of the operating system.

For more information about these enhancements, see Service Architecture (Reporting Services).

Native support for URL reservations and registration of the report server endpoints

The report server includes an HTTP listener that accepts requests that are directed to a URL and port that you define during server configuration. URL reservations and registration is now managed directly by the report server through HTTP.SYS. For more information, see Configuring Report Server URLs.

Consolidated services and applications

This release combines the Reporting Services server applications into a single service. The following server applications run within a single service: the Report Server Web service for interactive report processing, the Report Manager front-end component, and the Scheduling and Delivery processor (a background processing application for scheduled operations).

Consolidating the server applications into a single service reduces configuration and maintenance tasks, and provides a better platform for integrating custom functionality. Although consolidation simplifies deployment, it does not reduce the Reporting Services features you are accustomed to using or affect how you access the applications. All functionality continues to be available. Both Report Manager and the Report Server Web service run intact within the single service. Both applications continue to be available through URLs that provide HTTP access to each one. For more information about these enhancements, see Service Architecture (Reporting Services).

Authentication layer

In the previous release, authentication was handled through IIS. In this release, Reporting Services handles all authentication requests through a new authentication subsystem that supports Windows-based and custom authentication. For more information about authentication support and configuration options, see Configuring Authentication in Reporting Services.

Memory configuration

New memory management features enable you to set a memory threshold for report processing. In previous releases, the report server used all available memory. In this release, you can configure a maximum limit on memory as well as interim thresholds that determine how the report server responds to changes in memory pressure. For more information, see Configuring Available Memory for Report Server Applications and Application Domains for Report Server Applications.

End-to-end logging

New HTTP logging keeps a record of all HTTP requests handled by the report server. It is equivalent to the log file that is generated by IIS.

Trace log files are consolidated into a single ReportServerService_<timestamp>.log file. All trace information for the Report Server Web service, Report Manager, and the background processing application can be found in this file. Application logs and the report server execution log are unchanged in this release. For more information about Reporting Services log files, see Reporting Services Log Files.

Return to New Feature table

Reporting Services includes a complete set of tools for configuring and managing a report server installation. The tools have been redesigned to support a distinct set of tasks that no longer overlap in functionality. New capabilities are added to some tools, whereas other capabilities have been removed to eliminate redundant tasks. If you are already familiar with report server tools and want to know how the tools changed from the previous release, see Reporting Services Backward Compatibility and Behavior Changes in SQL Server Reporting Services.

SQL Server Management Studio

For report servers that run in native mode or in SharePoint integrated mode, this tool is used to enable features, set server properties and defaults, create shared schedules, configure role definitions (or view permission levels on a SharePoint site), and manage scheduled jobs that are currently in progress on the report server.

This tool is no longer used to manage the folder hierarchy or report server content. You cannot use this tool to assign permissions, nor can you manage reports, models, resources, shared data sources, or data-driven subscriptions. All content management is through Report Manager or a SharePoint site. For more information about this tool, see SQL Server Tools for Report Server Administration.

Report Manager

For a native mode report server, Report Manager is now the only tool that you use to view and manage report server content.

Assigning permissions, creating and managing report server items, scheduling report and subscription processing, managing report delivery, and generating and managing models are handled exclusively through this tool. New pages are provided for generating models, setting model item security, and associating clickthrough reports to entities in a model. For more information about this tool, see Report Manager.

Reporting Services Configuration tool

The Reporting Services Configuration tool is used to set the service account, create or manage the report server database, configure URLs, set the unattended execution account, configure report server e-mail, and manage encryption keys. The tool includes new pages for defining URLs and a revised workflow for creating and configuring a report server database or updating a service account. For more information about this tool, see Reporting Services Configuration Tool.

Return to New Feature table

This release of Reporting Services introduces data-driven subscriptions and job management for report servers running in SharePoint integrated mode. You can define data-driven subscriptions for reports that you have deployed to a SharePoint library by using the new subscription definition pages that are provided by the Reporting Services Add-in for SharePoint Technologies. The add-in also provides new job management pages at the site level to view and cancel reports that are in progress. Note that you must install or upgrade to the Reporting Services Add-in to access the new report server functionality from your SharePoint site. The add-in installs the application pages that provide the graphical user interface to the SQL Server 2008 report server that supports data-driven subscriptions and job management for SharePoint users.

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