Connecting to Report Data
Report data can come from a variety of external data sources, including relational databases, multidimensional databases, SharePoint lists, report models, and XML data. To include data in a report, you must have a data connection that provides information about where the external data source is and the credentials that you need to access it. You can create your own data connections or use those that have been provided for you. A data connection is saved in a report as a data source or on a report server as a shared data source. To specify which data you want from a data source, you create a dataset or use shared datasets that others have created.
A data source that is published to a report server is a data source definition. The data source definition specifies the data source type, a connection string, and the type of credentials to use. Each type of data source requires different connection information. Data source definitions can be saved to a report server and managed as separate files or embedded in the report definition. Credentials can be managed separately from the connection information.
After you create a data source, you must create at least one dataset. A dataset specifies the fields from the data source that you plan to use in the report, as well as calculated fields that you create. A dataset contains the query and field information, a pointer to the data source definition, query parameters, and data options that include character sensitivities including case, kana type, width, accent, and collation information. You can create an embedded dataset for use in one report or a shared dataset that can be used by multiple reports.