SSRS is Still Around

The other day, a friend asked me if Microsoft is discontinuing SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) now that Power BI is the premier MS reporting and dashboarding tool. It seems like more organizations are finding fewer reasons to use SSRS due to the ease of use and features of Power BI. Despite all the news about the general availability of SQL Server 2019, I had not heard any recent news about SSRS, so I could only say that I didn’t know.

SSRS has been around since 2004 and started life as an add-in for SQL Server 2000. I heard about it at Pass Summit 2003 and deployed it in my department at work as soon as I could get it. My first project involved building reports for our trouble-ticket system. The reports were originally in MS Access pointing to data in a SQL Server database. At the time, each manager had their own copy of the reports and had tweaked them over time, so the managers were getting different answers when running the same reports. Figuring out exactly what the reports should return and recreating them in SSRS turned out to be a brilliant solution to an annoying problem.

Word of the success quickly spread, and soon managers from other departments began requesting reports from their own systems. As a busy DBA, I had too much work to do to keep up with all these requests, so I created a one-day class to teach SSRS to a handful of others. After leaving that firm almost 10 years ago, I’ve only been on a couple of projects where I needed to use SSRS, but I continue to teach beginning SSRS classes and wrote a beginning SSRS book a few years ago.

While I do have quite a bit of affection for SSRS, I also understand that technology changes at a fast pace and nothing lasts forever. I did a quick search to find out if there was some news. I found an article published in late October talking about features released with SQL Server 2019 Reporting Services. They include:

  • Azure SQL Managed Instance support: This means the SSRS database catalog only. The SSRS server must be hosted in an Azure VM or on-premises.
  • Power BI Premium dataset support: Publish reports that connect to a Power BI dataset.
  • AltText (alternative text) for report elements: These are tooltips supported by screen reader technology.
  • Azure Active Directory Application Proxy support: Let Azure manage your web application proxy to allow secure access via the Power BI Mobile app.
  • Transparent Database Encryption (TDE): You can now encrypt your SSRS catalog database with TDE.
  • Microsoft Report Builder update: This version is compatible with 2016, 2017, and 2019 versions of SSRS.

While there is nothing life changing in the new features, unless you spot something that you need, this shows that  Microsoft is still investing in SSRS. SSRS is still here, at least for now.

Commentary Competition

Enjoyed the topic? Have a relevant anecdote? Disagree with the author? Leave your two cents on this post in the comments below, and our favourite response will win a $50 Amazon gift card. The competition closes two weeks from the date of publication, and the winner will be announced in the next Simple Talk newsletter.