SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services was Microsoft’s entry into the web-based reporting arena. This first version of Reporting Services enabled you to easily share business information—what is commonly known as “business intelligence” these days—with management, coworkers, business partners, and customers throughout the world. In an interconnected workplace, it makes sense that your reporting solution should offer company-wide, nationwide, and even worldwide communication.
SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services builds on the success of the original. Where almost every other aspect of SQL Server 2005 represents a completely new platform, Reporting Services adds to the solid foundation provided by the earlier version to make a great product even better. The 2005 release provides an additional report-authoring environment, improved report-development features, and enhanced capabilities for distributing reports.
Reporting Services was code-named Rosetta during its internal development at Microsoft. This name comes from the Rosetta Stone, a stone slab found in 1799 that contains an inscription in both Egyptian hieroglyphics and Greek. This stone provided the key piece of information necessary to unlock the mystery of Egyptian hieroglyphics for the modern world. Just as the Rosetta Stone brought key information across 1,400 years of history, Rosetta, or Reporting Services, is designed to bring key information across distances to unlock the mystery of success for your business.
The Rosetta project was originally conceived as a feature of SQL Server 2005. However, as Microsoft told prospective customers about the features in Rosetta and demonstrated the first alpha versions, the reaction was strong: “We need this product and we need it now!” Because of this reaction, Microsoft decided that Rosetta would not wait for 2005, but, instead, would be made its own product to work with SQL Server 2000.
Just what are the features of Reporting Services that got everyone so excited? Reporting Services provides an environment for creating a number of different types of reports from a number of different data sources. The reports are previewed and refined using this authoring tool. Once completed, the reports are deployed to a Report Server, which makes the reports available via the Internet in a structured, secure environment. Last, but not least, the report management and distribution portion of Reporting Services is free of charge to anyone with a SQL Server 2000 or SQL Server 2005 license.
Why did this set of features generate so much excitement? When you put them all together, the result is a product that facilitates the creation, management, and timely use of business intelligence.