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Posted Nov 30, 2007

Snapshot Reports II: SQL Server Management Studio Perspective - Page 3

By William Pearson

Manage Snapshot History

As we mentioned in our earlier overview of Snapshot caching (both in this article and in Part I), we can use History settings to manage the population of the History table with reports at the scheduled Snapshot times – primarily to support comparisons between the Snapshots over time. As we also noted, we can conveniently view, or even remove, the various stored Snapshot instances via the History tab at any time, as well. Let’s take a look at the steps involved in configuring Snapshots from the perspective of report history.

1.  Right-click the Sales Reason Comparisons report (or the report with which you have chosen to complete our practice session), once again.

2.  Select Properties from the context menu that appears next, as we did earlier.

The Report Properties dialog for the selected report opens, as before.

3.  Click History in the Select a page pane on the left side of the dialog.

On the History page, we are greeted with options for adding Snapshots to report history. We can check the box labeled Allow history to be created manually – which will allow us to navigate to the report involved from the Report Manager at any time, and create a new Snapshot manually, simply by clicking a button that appears after clicking the History tab atop the Report Viewer. We can simulate this action with the following simple steps:

4.  Place a check in the box atop the History page, labeled Allow history to be created manually, as shown in Illustration 10.

Illustration 10: Configuring for Manual Snapshot Creation ...

5.  Click OK in the lower right corner of the dialog, to apply our setting and to dismiss the dialog.

We will now transit to the report within the Report Manager, where we will simply execute it and so forth. We will not deal with report properties, at this level, in the sense that we did in Part I, where we performed the same steps we have been performing in this article from within the Report Manager, versus the SQL Server Management Studio.

We will leave SQL Server Management Studio open in its present position as we take the following steps.

6.  Open an instance of the web browser on the PC.

7.  Point the browser to the following URL:


NOTE: Replace <Server_Name> in the above with the name of the server hosting Report Manager in the local environment. Also, replace the default Reports directory with the appropriate virtual directory established in the local environment, if yours is different.

Report Manager’s home page next appears, somewhat similar to that depicted in Illustration 11.

Illustration 11: Accessing the Report Manager from the Web Browser

8.  Access the sample reports (mine are within the AdventureWorks Sample Reports directory shown in Illustration 11 above), by navigating into their containing folder(s) from the Home page.

9.  Click-select the Sales Reason Comparisons report from among the sample reports listed, as shown in Illustration 12.

Illustration 12: Open the Sample Sales Reason Comparisons Report ...

The report briefly executes, and then opens.

10.  Click the History tab atop the upper left corner of the report body, as depicted in Illustration 13.

Illustration 13: Click the History Tab atop the Report ...

11.  On the History page, click the New Snapshot button (seen circled in Illustration 14) in the upper left corner, to use the newly enabled option to manually generate a Snapshot report.

Illustration 14: Click the New Snapshot Button to Manually Generate a Snapshot

The History Log is enabled, and presents an entry for the Snapshot we have created.

12.  Click the New Snapshot button two more times.

The three Snapshots we have generated, along with their respective execution times and size details, appear in the History Log (where we can view any of them simply by clicking the linked “When Run” information for the chosen Snapshot), similar to those shown in Illustration 15.

Illustration 15: The Manually Generated Snapshots Appear in the History Log

We can thus see the action that is enabled by our setting within the SQL Server Management Studio to allow for manual Snapshot creation.

As we noted in Part I, the History Log, which also allows us to delete Snapshots manually, works the same if the Snapshots are added manually or automatically. We saw in the previous article how we can provide for the automatic addition of Snapshots to the report history within Report Manager. We will provide this same capability from the SQL Server Management Studio by taking the following steps:

13.  Return to the open SQL Server Management Studio.

14.  Right-click the Sales Reason Comparisons report (or the report with which you have chosen to complete our practice session), yet again.

15.  Select Properties from the context menu that appears next, as we did earlier.

The Report Properties dialog for the selected report opens, as before.

16.  Click History in the Select a page pane on the left side of the dialog, as before.

From the Properties – History page, with the appropriate selections, we can:

  • Automatically store all report execution Snapshots in history
  • Automatically add Snapshots to report history based upon a schedule:
    • Selecting a report-specific schedule (by filling in the schedule details, and selecting the start and end dates for the schedule), or
    • Selecting a shared schedule (by selecting a pre-existing schedule, as available, from the list).

We can also make settings to allow unlimited Snapshots in report history, as well as to limit their number to a preset quantity, in the lower section of the Properties page.

Our options on the Properties page appear as depicted in Illustration 16.

Illustration 16: Options for Adding Snapshots to History

17.  Be sure to turn off Snapshot generation as appropriate within the local environment, when ready.

18.  Exit SQL Server Management Studio when finished.


In this article, we continued our subseries surrounding caching options in Reporting Services 2005. We began by naming the three types of caching that Reporting Services 2005 offers, referencing the articles within which we explore each. We then began the second part of our examination of the last of these three, Snapshot caching.

As a part of our examination of Snapshot caching, we reviewed the general purpose of this third caching option. We next reviewed details about how Snapshot caching is accomplished in Reporting Services 2005. Finally we explored the settings involved in putting Snapshot caching to work within the SQL Server Management Studio interface (we addressed similar settings from a Report Manager perspective in the first half of this article, Snapshot Reports I: Report Manager Perspective), including system defaults for those settings. Throughout the various sections of the article, we discussed other information about Snapshot caching in an attempt to assist in selecting or discarding this option for use within our own business environments.

» See All Articles by Columnist William E. Pearson, III

Discuss this article in the MSSQL Server 2000 Reporting Services Forum.

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