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MSSQL Server Reporting Services : Black Belt Administration: Execution Log Performance and Audit Reports - Page 2

February 22, 2005

Execution Log Performance and Audit Reports

Objective and Business Scenario

As a basis for our practice examples in both our last and current sessions, we established a Reporting Services business requirement of a group of information consumers at a hypothetical client location. The consumers expressed the need to monitor report activity, for purposes of performance and auditing evaluation, for their recently implemented Reporting Services installation. The consumers asked that we work with them to create a database that is populated and maintained with this data for many potential uses. We accepted the project, informing the group that, while we had created numerous relatively elaborate databases of this sort for clients in the past, our initial pilot in this instance would include Execution Log reporting capabilities that could be implemented rapidly and easily, using the tools that accompany the installation of Reporting Services.

We made it clear that we would likely expand the capabilities to many other measures for overall performance and auditing monitoring after our pilot. We explained that beginning with the prefabricated "starter set" would be efficient, because Reporting Services provided a script to construct a basic reporting database to house the Execution Log data that it generates. In addition to the creation script, a DTS package to transform the data, and to populate (and prospectively update) the new database, was also included. Finally, a set of basic sample reports were included in the same "extras" bundle, which we could run as soon as we had transformed data from the Execution Log to the newly created database.

We pointed out that we had found this approach to be a "quick win" with regard to getting basic functionality in place; we also indicated that this was a great time in the Reporting Services implementation to be making performance and audit analysis capabilities available - just as we were beginning to write our first enterprise reports. The sample reports would serve several complementary, value-added functions, including:

  • Provision of a means for the Administrator to immediately see who was performing what actions within the new system;
  • Provision of an excellent learning tool for new report authors, whereby they could obtain confirmation that their new reports had executed;
  • Presentation of basic report samples, upon which the ultimate users could base requests for customization. (This could save a great deal of time in obtaining the requirements from users who, although they knew they needed these reports, may not have known "where to start" in providing a useful specification for their design.)
  • Facilitation of optimization of reports and their underlying queries, both at times during and after creation, and at various points in time as a part of ongoing system upkeep and maintenance (tuning could be suggested, for example, as data sources grew in size, as the number of information consumers increased, as security needs changed, and so forth).

With the Execution Log data source now in place, we are ready to proceed with aligning and publishing the sample report set to kick off the new reporting efforts. Included on the Reporting Services installation CD is a group of sample Execution Log reports. These reports include the following titles:

  • Longest Running Reports
  • Report Parameters
  • Reports by Month
  • Reports by User
  • Reports Executed by Day
  • Report Size
  • Report Success Rate
  • Today's Reports

The sample files also include the Visual Studio project (.rptproj) and solution (.sln) files for the report set, together with a data source connection file (.rds). The reports and objects are designed to be used with the Execution Log database we created and populated in our last session. A database diagram of the database is shown in Illustration 1.


Illustration 1: Simple Database Diagram (MS Visio) of the New Reporting Database

The Execution Log Database

We discussed reasons for creating a reporting database as opposed to simply using the Execution Log in its original state in our previous session. We then opened and executed the provided table creation script, using MSSQL Server Query Analyzer, to create the schema for our new reporting database. We then loaded and executed the accompanying DTS package to transform the Execution Log data and populate the new database tables.

The information contained in the transformed data includes details that can assist us in determining report efficiency and frequency of usage, together with myriad details that assist in resource planning, monitoring the activities of users, and so forth. Specific data items that we can obtain from our Execution Log database include:

  • The name of the Report Server Instance that handled a given request;
  • The Report Identifier;
  • The User Identifier;
  • The Request Type (either User or System);
  • The Rendering Format of the report;
  • Any Parameter values used for the execution of a given report;
  • The Start and Stop times of a given report process, from which duration is derived;
  • The Percentage of Processing Duration spent retrieving the data, processing the report, and rendering the report;
  • The Source (including Live, Cache, Snapshot, or History) of report execution;
  • Status of Processing for a given report (indicating either a successful process, or the code of the first Error Condition encountered);
  • The size of each generated report.
  • The number of rows returned from query(ies) underlying each report.

Considerations and Comments

Before we can work with the sample reports, we need to take several preparatory steps to establish connectivity. As part of our setup, we will create a Data Source Connection, then upload the report files we have relocated to a convenient location, as well as performing various read, and other, actions with the sample reports. We will also be modifying a copy of a report to customize it to fit a specific consumer need, to get some practice in creating new capabilities within our report set, as well as performing other actions within Reporting Services.

To complete the procedures we will undertake, you will need to have the appropriate access and privileges, at the MSSQL Server 2000 level, and within Reporting Services, MSSQL Server Analysis Manager, and the file system, to perform the respective actions. You will also need access to the Reporting Services installation CD, from when we will be copying the sample report files to our local drive.








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