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Benefits of using Windows Azure SQL Reporting

ImportantImportant
SQL Reporting will discontinue service on October 31, 2014. See this FAQ for details. For reporting on Windows Azure, visit Virtual Machines on WindowsAzure.com.

Microsoft Windows Azure SQL Reporting is a cloud-based reporting service built on Windows Azure and SQL Server Reporting Services technologies. You can publish, view, and manage operational reports that display data from SQL Database data sources.

By using SQL Reporting, you can easily provision and deploy reporting solutions to the cloud, and take advantage of a distributed data center that provides enterprise-class availability, scalability, and security with the benefits of built-in data protection and self-healing.

Developers can use SQL Reporting to add a rich reporting experience to their applications running on-premise or in the cloud. They can author reports using familiar SQL Server Reporting Services tools and then use these reports in their applications.

Key Benefits of the Service

Using Windows Azure SQL Reporting provides the following benefits:

Rich Reporting Experience

There are two ways to view reports in SQL Reporting:

  • View reports in on-premise or Windows Azure applications have embedded ReportViewer controls that point to hosted reports.

  • Use a Web browser to view hosted reports.

Like the on premises version of Reporting Services, SQL Reporting makes it easy to host highly visual, interactive reports that use a variety of layouts including tabular, matrix, chart, and free-form and provide a rich reporting experience for your SQL Database data in reports hosted in the cloud. These reports can be rendered in a variety of formats like PDF, MHTML, EXCEL, XML, CSV, TIFF, and, WORD.

Some Reporting Services features are not supported in SQL Reporting. For more information, see Guidelines and Limitations for Windows Azure SQL Reporting.

Manageability

Reporting Services, delivered as a service on the Windows Azure Platform, removes administrative overhead. There is no need to procure, license, install or maintain server hardware and software, which allows you to focus on developing and delivering reporting solutions for your users and less on infrastructure. In Windows Azure SQL Reporting, creating a new report server is a simple point-and-click operation. The report server is instantly up and running and available for use.

In SQL Reporting, common administrative tasks such as managing report server content, configuring shared data sources, creating users and setting permissions can be performed programmatically by using report server Web service API, or graphically by using the Windows Azure Management Portal user interface for SQL Reporting. For more information, see Using the management portal (Windows Azure SQL Reporting).

Familiar Development Tools

Although SQL Reporting will change how you host reports, all other workflows are largely the same as the on premises experience. Report authoring, query tuning, and solution development are performed using the same tools and applications you already use for on premises SQL Server Reporting.

  1. Author and publish reports by using familiar tools such as Report Designer in SQL Server Data Tools BI (SSDT BI) or Report Builder 3.0, and use Management Studio to develop queries.

  2. Develop applications with the Report Viewer control by using familiar tools such as Visual Studio.

Whether you create reports in Report Designer or in Visual Studio as part of a Report Viewer application, you can use almost all of the rich features that are available in a Reporting Services report. One notable exception is the use of linked external images. You cannot use linked content in a report hosted in SQL Reporting.

To learn more about report features or the development experience, see the following topics:

Scalability and High-Availability

Remove the overhead of managing scalability and high availability of your reporting infrastructure. Like SQL Database, SQL Reporting is based on the Windows Azure Platform and uses the same architecture for scalability and high availability for report servers. For more information, see Introducing SQL Database and SQL Database Architecture.

By using SQL Reporting, you can create or delete your report servers in minutes, as needed by your business cycle. To further support scalability, you can choose from one of the globally distributed data centers.

Cost-effectiveness

Like other services on the Windows Azure Platform, SQL Reporting is designed to support elastic scale. You only pay for what you use and can add or release excess capacity, depending on your needs. Based on your day-to-day, month-to-month, or seasonal requirements, you can easily and quickly add subscriptions and report servers to extend the capacity of your SQL Reporting environment and delete subscriptions and servers to decrease it.

Useful Links for SQL Reporting

Use the following links to provide feedback, find more information, or find peer-to-peer support:

 

Location Description

SQL Azure Developer Portal

Visit this Web page for general information and updates on SQL Database and SQL Reporting. Click the Library tab to view MSDN topics.

Windows Azure Developer Portal

Visit this Web page for general information and updates on Windows Azure.

Windows Azure and SQL Azure Developer Center

Visit this Web page to view and manage your Windows Azure and SQL Database subscriptions after you login by using your Windows Live ID credentials. For more information, see SQL Azure Portal.

Getting Started with Windows Azure SQL Reporting

Read this article to get started using the SQL Reporting service.

Known Issues (Windows Azure SQL Reporting)

Read this article to learn about known issues for SQL Reporting. Information is updated as we encounter new issues or learn more about existing ones.

TechNet Wiki

Visit these articles that are provided by contributors from Microsoft and the community that uses SQL Database and SQL Reporting. This site is frequently updated, so be sure to check back regularly for new content. For example:

SQL Azure Team Blog

Visit this site for latest information from the SQL Database development team.

Windows Azure SQL Reporting Samples

Visit this site for the latest information on samples that you can download and deploy to your Windows Azure, SQL Database, and Windows Azure SQL Reporting subscription.

Microsoft Reports

Visit this site for more information about ReportViewer controls that you can use to develop embedded reporting applications built in Visual Studio.

Microsoft Connect: SQL Azure and SQL Server

Use this site to report issues and provide feedback.

MSDN Forums for Windows Azure

Use this site to post questions and view contributions from Microsoft and the community that uses SQL Database and SQL Reporting.

See Also

Other Resources

Windows Azure SQL Reporting

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