Introduction: This article introduces what is SQL Server Reporting Services and how does it works in brief.

An Introduction to SSRS

SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) is a server-based report generating software system provided by Microsoft. It is a part of a suite of Microsoft SQL Server services, including SSAS (SQL Server Analysis Services) and SSIS (SQL Server Integration Services). SSRS allows to provide decision making information to end users in a variety of formats based on data stored in SQL Server and other data sources. SSRS has been provided as a part of the SQL Server Standard and Enterprise editions since the SQL Server 2005 release; however, not available in Express editions.

Reports can be created by using the Report Designer in SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) as well as by end-users with the Report Builder tool. Database administrator manages subscriptions and the SSRS Report Server as well as allows user to consume and create reports. We can connect SSRS  to multiple data sources including SQL Server’s relational database  and SQL Server Analysis Services as well as any other ADO.NET compatible data source to generate graphical, mobile and printed reports or dashboards in a variety of formats including HTML,  Excel, PDF, CSV, XML  and TIFF

SSRS can be used to prepare and deliver a variety of interactive and printable reports. It represents RDL (Report Definition Language) component to graphic icons in a GUI (Graphical User Interface). Instead of writing code, the user can drag-and-drop graphic icons into an SSRS report format.

Functionality of SSRS

Mainly, SSRS consists of four components: Reporting Services, the Web Portal, the Report Designer and the Report Builder. Generally, reports are created by the use of Report Designer or the Report Builder. On the one hand, the Report Designer is a more robust and complicated tool that is designed for data professionals. It can be run from SQL Server Data Tool (SSDT) or as an add-on to Visual Studio 2019. On the other hand, the Report Builder is a more straightforward tool designed to enable end-users to create reports. Professional with less technical knowledge of programming and data science can also design reports within short time period by the use of Report Builder. These SSRS report creation tools generate Report Definition Language (RDL) files which control how the reports will look and act. The Reporting Services service takes the RDL files as input and uses them to render the SSRS reports. The Web Portal holds the place of the older Report Manager and also it is used to manage, secure and run SSRS reports.

Prerequisites to build reports using SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services)

  1. SQL Server
  2. SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services)
  3. MS Report Builder/SQL Server Data Tool


This article has described what is SSRS reports, it’s purpose, how does it works and what are prerequisites in short. I believe, reader will get clear information about SSRS after going through this write up and it can help them to decide whether to implement this technology in their reporting project or not.

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