SQL Server Reporting Services Aims to Bring Simplicity to Building, Managing, Distributing Reports

Stan Sorensen, Director of Product Management, Microsoft SQL Server.

REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 10, 2003 — While reporting is a critical part of a company, it has historically not been an easy task. Reporting mechanisms are rarely a part of the database package, which means organizations must purchase them from a third party. These frequently did not integrate with applications common throughout the rest of the organization, making development and sharing of reports challenging and laborious.

To help companies more easily build and distribute reports, Microsoft has created SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services, which is beginning Beta 2 testing today. SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services makes flexible, customized reports available to a broad base of information workers, as well as to executives and analysts. Information workers can subscribe to reports and receive them via a Web browser, through any Microsoft Office System application, or embedded within line-of-business applications enabling better, faster, more relevant decisions at a lower cost than competing solutions.

Stan Sorensen , director of product management for SQL Server, told PressPass that excitement is high among SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services Beta 1 testers so much so that he expects double the requests for Beta 2 products. One reason is the simplicity and ease-of-use enabled by Reporting Services.
“Reporting is a fundamental requirement for a lot of customers,”
Sorensen says.
“One of the barriers to entry has been the complexity of the reporting products available. This is compounded by the fact that they dont always integrate seamlessly with the rest of the organizations environment. With SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services, were able to provide the simplicity and cost-effectiveness that medium-sized and smaller companies look for, and the flexibility that large enterprises need.”

PressPass: What is it about SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services that makes a beta test attract such interest?

Sorensen: Reporting Services is another step toward achieving Microsofts vision of providing business intelligence to the entire organization, in a couple of ways. First, it delivers on our commitment to provide more baseline business intelligence functionality in our core SQL Server product. Second, it allows customers to create, distribute and manage reports without going to more expensive or complicated reporting applications that may or may not fully integrate with the products that are already in the organization. These require additional resources to deploy and manage, and require customers to run different client applications on their desktops and different applications on the back end. We hope to streamline that by building Reporting Services from the ground up to integrate with Microsoft products.

PressPass: How was the Beta 1 product received?

Sorenson: We had about 5,000 requests for Beta 1 and were expecting at least twice that many people will jump onto Beta 2. We say that because of the fact that we continue to take requests for Beta 1 even though its been closed now for a couple months. Plus, we know of organizations going into full production with Beta 1 today The enthusiasm has been very high. Were seeing that around the world.

PressPass: What changes or improvements were made in the Beta 2 version?

Sorensen: We have a few new things in Beta 2. For one, we have included a new charting control, which allows you to embed charts directly within reports, Also, weve enabled customers to deploy Reporting Services as a Web farm. This means they distribute the work load across a lot of servers, rather than having a single, centrally located reporting server. Then there was a lot of fit-and-finish done, to lock down stability and get it closer to reaching performance goals.

PressPass: What kinds of companies are participating as beta testers?

Sorensen: Were hearing from all kinds of companies, from very, very large organizations like one of the nations largest cable providers, to small to medium-sized businesses. Reporting is a fundamental requirement for a lot of customers. One of the barriers to entry has been the complexity of the reporting products out there. With SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services, were able to provide the simplicity and cost-effectiveness that medium-sized and smaller companies look for, and the flexibility that large enterprises need.

PressPass: How do you see Reporting Services as fitting into the evolution of SQL Server?

Sorensen: We made a commitment to customers that we would continue to add value to SQL Server 2000 we did it over a year ago by introducing SQL Server 2000 Notification Services, last year by introducing a 64-bit version, and this year with Reporting Services. SQL Server enjoys a very large install base its the No. 1 database for the Windows operating system today. People ask us to continue improving and building on the product, and we intend to do so.

PressPass: How will Reporting Services be priced?

Sorensen: Reporting Services will be available in Standard and Enterprise editions. Pricing will be identical to SQL Server 2000. Customers must have a valid SQL Server license for any machine on which Reporting Services is running.

Companies interested in testing SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services Beta 2 can visit www.microsoft.com/sql for more information.

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