Scaling out SSRS on SQL Server Standard Edition

The ability to scale out SSRS, so that multiple report server instances can access a single report server database, is an Enterprise Edition-only feature. So when Rodney Landrum was tasked with implementing a scale-out solution, with failover, for SSRS on SQL Server Standard Edition, it required some creative thinking. This article describes his solution, its merits and drawbacks.… Read more

The Evolution of SQL Server BI

It is sometimes hard to keep up with Microsoft's direction in Business Intelligence. Over the years, we've been presented with so many ways of aggregating, processing, graphing, reporting and visualising data, that we felt it was time to take stock and present the Simple BI Timeline, and explain how BI has evolved over the years.… Read more

Getting to know your customers better – cohort analysis and RFM segmentation in R

It often pays to use a tool like R, in conjunction with a relational database, to quickly perform a range of analyses, and graphs, in order to ensure that you're answering the right question, to explore alternative hypotheses, or to provide insight into a problem. Feodor demonstrates how to quickly, and interactively, explore the ways that customers purchase goods and services using cohort analysis.… Read more

SQL Server Reporting Services Basics: Deploying Reports

Having designed and tested our reports, it's time to deploy them to the Report Server, so that our users can access them. Kathi Kellenberger demonstrates how to configure reports for native-mode deployment using Report Manager, and then deploy them from within SSDT-BI. She also explains how to use the Report Builder to provide "self-service" reporting to end users, allowing them to build custom reports based on report parts and shared datasets.… Read more

SQL Server Reporting Services Basics: The Visual Controls

The challenge of report development is to present complex data in a simple, visually compelling way. The goal is to make it as quick and easy as possible for others in the organization to use that data to make decisions, to see progress towards a business target, or spot and act on worrying trends sooner rather than later. Kathi Kellenberger demonstrates how to start adding visual flair to your SSRS reports, using its impressive set of visual controls, ranging from basic charts to gauges, indicators, sparklines, and maps.… Read more

SQL Server Reporting Services Basics: Customizing SSRS Reports

While the Reporting Wizard and basic report tables will do for prototyping, very soon we'll want to add some finesse to our reports, and allow our report users to create different views of the same data, dynamically. Kathi Kellenberger shows how to use expressions, functions, grouping, the matrix control, and other features, to add a degree of user control to the reports while maintaining visual clarity.… Read more

SQL Server Reporting Services Basics: Building SSRS Reports

SQL Server Reporting Services is one of the most popular components of SQL Server, but it has always been surprisingly difficult to get from one place all the basic facts you need to get up and running from scratch, to the point of producing reports. Here Kathi Kellenberger quickly describes the basics of SSRS before showing how to build quick, simple reports.… Read more

SSRS Reports as a Data Source in Excel 2013

DBAs are expected to know how to administer the technologies that are available with and peripheral to SQL Server. To properly administer them, it certainly helps to understand the technology from the point of view of the user. By using an existing SSRS report as a data feed for Excel, Rodney Landrum explains how these users can now take advantage of development efforts in new ways.… Read more

Using DAX to retrieve tabular data

Data Analysis Expressions (DAX), originally the formula language for PowerPivot workbooks, can also be used within the MDX query window of SSMS to directly access data from a tabular SSAS database, an in-memory database that uses the xVelocity analytics engine and compression. Robert Sheldon shows how easy it is to retrieve data from a tabular database.… Read more

Getting Started with the SSAS Tabular Model

SSAS Tabular models are in-memory databases that model data with relational constructs such as tables and relationships, in order to provide a rapid and powerful way of providing self-service BI to client applications such as Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Power View. You've deployed SSAS in tabular mode, and deployed Adventureworks into it. What next? Rob Sheldon explains all.… Read more

Developing a Report Definition Customization Extension for Multi-Language Reports

When you need to present the same SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) report in eight or more different languages, or in different formats for different recipients, and the boss demands last-minute changes, it suddenly makes sense to use the Report Definition Cusomisation Extension (RDCE) .NET class library to create the final reports automatically. But how? … Read more