MSSQL Server Reporting Services: Black Belt Administration: Prepare the Execution Log for Reporting
January 18, 2005
About the Series ...
This article is a member of the series MSSQL Server 2000 Reporting Services. The series is designed to introduce MSSQL Server 2000 Reporting Services ("Reporting Services"), with the objective of presenting an overview of its features, together with many tips and techniques for real-world use. For more information on the series, as well as the hardware / software requirements to prepare for the exercises we will undertake, please see my initial Database Journal article, A New Paradigm for Enterprise Reporting.
Basic assumptions underlying the series are that you have correctly installed Reporting Services, including Service Pack 1, along with the applications upon which it relies, and that you have access and the other rights / privileges required to complete the steps we undertake in my articles. For details on the specifics of the adjustments necessary to quickly allow full freedom to complete the exercises in this and subsequent articles, as well as important assumptions regarding rights and privileges in general, please see earlier articles in the series, as well as the Reporting Services Books Online.
This article also relies upon sample files that are installed along with Reporting Services in a "typical" scenario. If the samples have not been installed in, or were removed from, your environment, the samples can be found on the Reporting Services installation CD.
About the BlackBelt Articles ...
As we have stated in earlier BlackBelt articles, one of the greatest challenges in writing tutorial / procedural articles is creating each article to be a freestanding document that is complete unto itself. This is important, because it means that readers can complete the lesson without reference to previous articles or access to objects created elsewhere. When our objective is the coverage of a specific technique surrounding one or more components of a report, a given administrative function surrounding all reports, and other scenarios where the focus of the session is not the creation of reports, per se, can be challenging because a report or reports often has to be in place before we can begin to cover the material with which the article concerns itself.
The BlackBelt articles represent an attempt to minimize the setup required in simply getting to a point within an article where we can actually perform hands-on practice with the component(s) under consideration. We will attempt to use existing report samples or other "prefabricated" objects that either come along as part of the installation of the applications involved, or that are readily accessible to virtually any organization that has installed the application. While we will often have to make modifications to the sample involved (we will actually create a copy, to allow the original sample to remain intact), to refine it to provide the backdrop we need to proceed with the object or procedure upon which we wish to concentrate, we will still save a great deal of time and distraction in getting to our objective. In some cases, we will have to start from scratch with preparation, but my intention with the BlackBelt articles will be to avoid this, if at all possible.
For more information about the BlackBelt articles, see the section entitled "About the BlackBelt Articles" in BlackBelt Components: Manage Nulls in OLAP Reports.
General optimization of RS' performance is, beyond argument, one of the more important functions of the Administrator. In evaluating performance from various perspectives at the Administrative level, one readily useful source of information is the data we can obtain from the logs created by the system itself. Reporting Services generates a number of log files to capture information about server operations, status, and so forth. Within this group of logs, which we will explore individually within prospective articles within our series, the Report Server Execution Log is a great place to start in setting up a basic performance and auditing analysis capability.
The Execution Log captures data specific to individual reports, including when a given report was run, identification of the user who ran it, where the report was delivered, and which rendering format was used.
In this session, we will: