SSRS Architecture – MS SQL Server Reporting Services 2008


Microsoft SQL Server 2005 or 2K5 was released in the month of November, 2010. In SSRS 2005, virtual directories were created for Report Server and Report Manager. With the feedback from SSRS 2K5 users, Microsoft launched SSRS 2008 version with a lot of enhancements in its architecture, in the month of April, 2010. Out of all the enhancements made in its architecture, the major enhancement is making SSRS independent of IIS (Internet Information Services) which makes it easier to configure. Now, it uses HTTP Listener (HTTP.SYS) which helps to reduce the attack surface of the Report server. It doesn’t require any special setup to install as SSRS comes as an install option with Microsoft SQL Server Developer, Standard and Enterprise editions.

SSRS Architecture :- The full Reporting Services architecture includes development tools, administration tools, and report viewers. It can be summarized as a 3 Tier Architecture as shown below:- SSRS 3 Tier Architecture

Tier 1:- Presentation Tier

Client applications and Built in/Custom tools constitutes the Presentation tier. The Presentation tier works on the data provided by middle tier and handles report generation and report visualization. It includes various components such as Report builder, Report designer, Model designer, Reporting services configuration and other Third party tools. Report generated can be visualized and administered by a Web browser.

Tier 2:- Middle Tier

This acts as a brain for Reporting services and known as Report server. Report server consists of various windows service components and web service components which interacts with Data tier components (Report server database and data sources). This constitutes the Middle tier.

1. Windows service components:-

  • Programmatic Interfaces is responsible to handle on-demand reports, interactive report processing.

2. Web service components:-

  • Scheduling and Delivery processor helps to deliver reports to the target destinations which are being triggered from a schedule.
  • Delivery Extension is used to deliver reports to the specified locations either by an e-mail delivery extension or by a file share delivery extension. E-mail delivery extension uses SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) to send an e-mail message to the users whereas file share delivery extension saves the reports to a shared location on the network. Delivery extension works in conjunction with Report Subscriptions.

3. Components common to Window and Web service:-

Extension Name Task Performed
Security Extension
  1. Authenticate and Authorize Users and Groups to a Report server.
  2. By default it is Windows authentication.
  3. Can be customized as per requirement but only one security extension can be used.
Report Processing Extension
  1. Provides custom processing to the special feature added to the report.
  2. By default, Report server can process tables, charts, matrices, lists, text boxes, images, line, rectangle, sub report.
Rendering Extension
  1. Reports containing data and layout information can be rendered from Report
    processor to various device specific formats like
    HTML/Excel/CSV/Image/PDF/XML/Microsoft word.
Data Processing Extension
  1. Interacts with data sources to get flattened row set by performing query on a data source.
  2. Included extensions are there for SQL Server, Analysis server, Oracle, SAP Net Weaver BI, Teradata, Hyperion Essbase, OLE DB, ODBC, ADO.NET.

Tier 3 – Data Tier

  1. Report Server Database.
  2. Data Sources like XML, Oracle, etc.

SSRS Diagram

NOTE: A Report server requires at least one Security extension, Data processing extension, and Rendering extension. Delivery and custom Report processing extensions are optional, but necessary if you want to support report distribution or custom controls.

  1. Report Server is the core engine and interacts with Report server Database. It provides services for implementation and delivery of reports.
  2. Report Manager is administered via Web browser and manages the Report Server. It provides front end access to the report server web service components
  3. Report Designer is a developer tool for creating reports.
  4. Report Builder is a simplified tool for business users to build reports on fly. It acts as a base for report creation with Report model.
  5. Report Server database stores report definitions.

NOTE: RDL stands for Report Definition Language. It is an XML file and stores Query information, Data source information, etc.

With this we complete our post on SSRS Architecture. I hope you like it. Your comments and feedbacks are welcome below.

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