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Different Versions of SSRS and What Fits Better for Business

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SQL Server Reporting Services or SSRS comes with great many features to meet the reporting needs of complex businesses. So far as creation of reports is concerned, SSRS is a full-fledged report engine. The reports can be generated against any data source which consists of OLE DB, ODBC data source or any managed code provider. This implies that data can easily be retrieved by a SQL database developer or by a user versed with SSRS from Oracle, SQL Server, Access, Essbase, Analysis Services or lots of other databases. The data can be brought forth in a number of ways.

Different Versions of SSRS and What Fits Better for Businesses

Taking feedback from SSRS 2005, Microsoft enhanced SSRS 2008 with new Chart as well as Gauge controls, along with a brand new Tablix control, that is in fact a blend of the Matrix and the Table controls from the prior release. Collectively, these fresh presentation formats offer a completely new experience that is also something innovative. Additional enhancements consist of new formats of output presentation, including Excel and Word, as well as straightaway assimilation with SharePoint. Before discussing the different version of SSRS, let us have a look at the main features of SSRS.

Prime features of SSRS

# Data Retrieval from managed providers, ODBC and OLE DB connections
# Display of Data in a number of modes, including charts, free form and tabular
# Export to a number of formats, such as PDF, HTML, CSV, XML, Word reports, TIFF and Excel
# Summarization and Aggregation of Data
# Add in report navigation
# Creation of ad-hoc reports and saving the same to the server
# Embedding images, graphics as well as external content
# Integration with SharePoint
# Offering a SOAP or Simple Object Access Protocol API (application programming interface) along with pluggable architecture
# Generation of on-demand reports and subscription-based reports
# Facilitating management and storage of custom reports by users, generated with Report Builder 2.0 of SSRS.
# URL-oriented access of report
# Availability of Gauge as well as Chart controls for the display of KPI data

As is obvious, SSRS offers an all-inclusive list of innovative features. Again, another striking aspect of SSRS is its extensible nature. This kind of extensibility empowers developers to make use of SSRS in a variety of ways, from tailor-made reporting solutions to embedded reports.

Versions of SQL Server Reporting Services
As far as SSRS is concerned, there are four versions or editions, which tend to mirror those of Visual Studio and SQL Server. These versions incorporate free starter editions as well as full-fledged Enterprise versions. Let us have a quick overview of the different editions:

# Express: This edition provides a lightweight version of SSRS for those developers who intend to understand the procedures of using SSRS.

# Workgroup: This version is meant for use within small branch offices or departmental organizations. In case there is any need, up gradation of the Workgroup Edition to the Enterprise or Standard Editions can be done.

# Standard: The edition is utilized in medium to small sized enterprises or within a single server ambience. The Standard Edition renders supports to all the available features of SSRS, with the exception of extremely specialized data-oriented subscriptions and Report Builder driven infinite drill down.

# Enterprise: The Enterprise edition is highly suitable for large organizations which work with complicated reporting needs and databases. This version is completely functional and renders support to scale-out functionality across the web farm.

# Developer: Generally speaking, the Developer version is almost similar to the Enterprise edition, but possesses distinct licensing requirements to facilitate the development of enterprise applications by people. In fact, this edition is licensed with regard to each developer within non-production or development environments.

Thus we have seen the prime features of SSRS and understood how the different editions suit organizational purposes. Each version has its own specialties that attend to particular business needs.

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