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Subscriptions and Delivery (Reporting Services)

A subscription is a standing request to deliver a report at a specific time or in response to an event, and in an application file format that you specify in the subscription. Subscriptions provide an alternative to running a report on demand. On-demand reporting requires that you actively select the report each time you want to view the report. In contrast, subscriptions can be used to schedule and then automate the delivery of a report.

Subscriptions are processed on the report server and are distributed through delivery extensions that are deployed on the server. By default, you can create subscriptions that send reports to a shared folder or to an e-mail address. If the report server is configured for SharePoint integrated mode, you can also send a report to a SharePoint library.

To create a subscription, the report must use stored credentials. You must have permission to view the report and create individual subscriptions. Scheduled Events and Report Delivery must be enabled on the report server. For more information, see Manage Subscriptions (Native Mode).

You can create multiple subscriptions for a single report to vary the subscription options; for example, you can specify different parameter values to produce two versions of a report, such as a Western region sales report and an Eastern region sales report. However, the reverse is not true; you cannot use a single standard subscription to produce multiple versions of a report. If you want to generate multiple versions of a report from the same subscription, you must use a data-driven subscription.

For each subscription that you create, you must specify delivery options. Delivery options are determined by the delivery extension you choose. A delivery extension is a module that supports some manner of distribution. Reporting Services includes several delivery extensions. Additional delivery extension may be available through third-party vendors.

Note Note

Subscriptions are not available in every edition of SQL Server. For a list of features that are supported by the editions of SQL Server, see Features Supported by the Editions of SQL Server 2012 (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=232473).

In this topic:

The following table describes scenarios for using the subscription and delivery functionality that installs with Reporting Services. If you are a developer, you can create custom delivery extensions to support additional scenarios. For more information, see Implementing a Delivery Extension.

Scenario

Description

E-mail Reports

E-mail reports to individual users and groups. Create a subscription and specify a group alias or e-mail alias to receive a report that you want to distribute. You can have Reporting Services determine the subscription data at run time. If you want to send the same report to a group that has a changing list of members, you can use a query to derive the subscription list at run time.

View Reports off-line

Users can select PDF, Microsoft Excel, or Web archive formats in a subscription. These formats are recommended for viewing reports offline. Reports that you want to archive can be sent directly to a shared folder that you back up on a nightly schedule. Large reports that take too long to load in a browser can be sent to a shared folder in a format that can be viewed in a desktop application.

Pre-load cache

If you have multiple instances of a parameterized report or a large number of report viewers, you can preload reports in the cache to reduce processing time used to display the report.

Data-driven reports

Use data-driven subscriptions to customize report output, delivery options, and report parameter settings at run time. The subscription uses a query to get input values from a data source at run time. You can use data-driven subscriptions to perform a mail-merge operation that sends a report to a list of subscribers that is determined at the time the subscription is processed.

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Reporting Services supports two kinds of subscriptions: standard and data-driven. Standard subscriptions are created and managed by individual users. A standard subscription consists of static values that cannot be varied during subscription processing. For each standard subscription, there is exactly one set of report presentation options, delivery options, and report parameters.

Data-driven subscriptions get subscription information at run time by querying an external data source that provides values used to specify a recipient, report parameters, or application format. You might use data-driven subscriptions if you have a very large recipient list or if you want to vary report output for each recipient. To use data-driven subscriptions, you must have expertise in building queries and an understanding of how parameters are used. Report server administrators typically create and manage these subscriptions. For more information, see Data-Driven Subscriptions.

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Before you can create a subscription to a report, the following prerequisites must be met:

Requirement

Description

Permissions

You must have access to the report. Before you can subscribe to a report, you must have permission to view it.

Your role assignment must include the "Manage individual subscriptions" task.

Stored credentials

The report must use stored credentials or no credentials to retrieve data at run time. You cannot subscribe to a report that is configured to use the impersonated or delegated credentials of the current user to connect to an external data source. The stored credentials can be a Windows account or a database user account. For more information, see Specify Credential and Connection Information for Report Data Sources

User dependent values in a report

For standard subscriptions only, you can create subscriptions to reports that incorporate user account information in a filter or as text that appears on the report. In the report, the user account name is specified through a User!UserID expression that resolves to the current user. When you create a subscription, the user who creates the subscription is the considered the current user.

No model item security

You cannot subscribe to a Report Builder report that uses a model as a data source if the model contains model item security settings. Only reports that use model item security are included in this restriction.

Parameter values

If the report uses parameters, a parameter value must be specified with the report itself, or in the subscription you define. If default values have been defined in the report, you can set the parameter value to use the default.

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Subscriptions use delivery extensions to determine how to distribute a report and in what format. When a user creates a subscription, he or she can choose one of the available delivery extensions to determine how the report is delivered. Reporting Services includes the following delivery extensions. Developers can create additional delivery extensions to route reports to other locations.

Delivery Extension

Description

Windows File Share

Delivers a report as a static application file to a shared folder that is accessible on the network.

E-mail

Delivers a notification or a report as an e-mail attachment or URL link.

SharePoint library

Delivers a report as a static application file to a SharePoint library that is accessible from a SharePoint site. The site must be integrated with a report server that runs in SharePoint integrated mode.

Null

The null delivery provider is a highly specialized delivery extension that is used to preload a cache with ready-to-view parameterized reports This method is not available to users in individual subscriptions. Null delivery is used by administrators in data-driven subscriptions to improve report server performance by preloading the cache.

Note Note

Report delivery is an extensible part of Reporting Services architecture. Third-party vendors can create custom delivery extensions to route reports to different locations or devices. For more information about custom delivery extensions, see Implementing a Delivery Extension.

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A subscription definition consists of the following parts:

  • A pointer to a report that can run unattended (that is, a report that uses stored credentials or no credentials).

  • A delivery method (for example, e-mail) and settings for the mode of delivery (such as an e-mail address).

  • A rendering extension to present the report in a specific format.

  • Conditions for processing the subscription, which is expressed as an event.

    Usually, the conditions for running a report are time-based. For example, you may want to run a particular report every Tuesday at 3:00 P.M. UTC. However, if the report runs as a snapshot, you can specify that the subscription runs whenever the snapshot is refreshed.

  • Parameters used when running the report.

    Parameters are optional and are specified only for reports that accept parameter values. Because a subscription is typically user-owned, the parameter values that are specified vary from subscription to subscription. For example, sales managers for different divisions will use parameters that return data for their division. All parameters must have a value explicitly defined, or have a valid default value.

Subscription information is stored with individual reports in a report server database. You cannot manage subscriptions separately from the report to which they are associated. Note that subscriptions cannot be extended to include descriptions, other custom text, or other elements. Subscriptions can contain only the items listed earlier.

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Data-Driven Subscriptions

Provides information about using data-driven subscriptions to customize report output at run time.

E-Mail Delivery in Reporting Services

Describes report server e-mail delivery operation and configuration.

File Share Delivery in Reporting Services

Describes report server file share delivery operation and configuration.

SharePoint Library Delivery in Reporting Services

Describes subscription delivery to a SharePoint library.

Create, Modify, and Delete Standard Subscriptions (Reporting Services in Native Mode)

Provides an overview and links to detailed topics about subscription definition.

Create, Modify, and Delete Data-Driven Subscriptions

Provides an overview and links to detailed topics about subscription definition.

Manage Subscriptions (Native Mode)

Contains information about subscription processing, oversight, and control.

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