Black Belt Administration: Reporting Services Configuration Manager

About the Series …

This
article is a member of the series MSSQL Server Reporting Services.
The series is designed to introduce MSSQL Server Reporting Services (“Reporting
Services
”), presenting an overview of its features, with tips and
techniques for real-world use. For more information on the series in general,
please see my initial Database
Journal

article, A New Paradigm for Enterprise Reporting. For the software components, samples and tools
needed to complete the hands-on portion of this article, see BlackBelt
Administration: Linked Reports in Report Manager
, another article within this
series.

Introduction

A common
attribute of enterprise reporting systems is their provision for single points
of maintenance for significant aspects of system configuration. Reporting
Services
meets the general need for centralized maintenance of reports and
their constituent components by housing them within a central “report catalog,”
facilitating easier report access and management. Reporting Services
provides multiple management options to administrators.

While
many management tasks are most conveniently handled via the Report Manager
Web interface, Reporting Services provides several specialized utilities
to complement this primary application. One of these tools, the Reporting
Services Configuration Manager
, provides a central point of Report
Server
configuration and ongoing management. In this article, we will
examine how we can use the Reporting Services Configuration Manager to
configure a report server deployment. The tool allows us to manage related
services, and to specify directories, identities, and database connections,
among other details. We will examine each of these capabilities in the
practice session that follows.

The Reporting Services Configuration Manager

The Reporting Services
Configuration Manager
provides access to tabs that allow us to work with
and / or monitor the following settings for our report servers:

  • Server Status
  • Report Server Virtual Directory
  • Report Manager Virtual Directory
  • Windows Service Identity
  • Web Service Identity
  • Database Setup
  • SharePoint Integration
  • Encryption Keys
  • Initialization
  • Email settings
  • Execution Account

As we shall see, we not only
access the various settings via these tabs, but we can also see statuses for
each at a quick glance. We will examine the details of each settings group in
the procedural steps that follow.

Overview the Settings Tabs within the Reporting Services Configuration Manager

Let’s open the Reporting
Services Configuration Manager
, to take a look at the pages involved.

1. 
Select Start
> Programs –> Microsoft SQL Server 2005 –> Configuration Tools –> Reporting Services Configuration, as shown in Illustration 1.



Illustration
1: Opening the Configuration Manager …

The Report
Server Installation Instance Selection
dialog appears.

2. 
Provide /
select the appropriate Machine Name and Instance Name for your
environment. The settings from one of my lab servers appear as depicted in Illustration 2.



Illustration
2: Report Server Installation Instance Selection

3. 
Click Connect
to open the Reporting Services Configuration
Manager
for the specified machine and
instance.

The Reporting Services Configuration
Manager
opens for
the designated server. On the top page, we see the Report Server Status
section, which sits atop the Legend. The Legend contains each of
the icons that can be displayed within the various tabs of the Configuration
Manager
in the left pane. The Legend defines the various “states”
that the icons show, to make us aware, at a glance, of whether the settings
contained within the tab are configured or not configured, and whether the respective
settings are optional or recommended, or are simply not supported within the
current mode. The Legend appears as shown in Illustration 3.



Illustration
3: Legend for the Setting Group Tabs

NOTE: Per the documentation, it is possible to configure
settings that are not valid. We should always test our local Reporting
Services
installation(s) to verify that they work as expected. Visual
indicators for configuration status, such as those displayed by the Reporting
Services Configuration Manager
, are not a substitute for tests that verify
a successful deployment. (For more information about how to verify a
deployment, see the Books Online topic “How to: Verify a Reporting
Services Installation
.”)

Because the Reporting Services Configuration Manager
can be used to configure a local or remote report server instance, you must
have local system administrator permissions on the computer that hosts the
report server you want to configure. You must have permission to create
databases on the SQL Server Database Engine used to host the report
server database.

Let’s
examine each of the tabs in turn to get a detailed understanding of the
settings they support. We will begin with the current “starter” page, Report
Server Status
.

Settings Page: Server Status

The
default page, Report Server Status, serves as a point where we can start
or stop the Report Server Windows service. Several Instance
Properties
are presented here, including:

  • Instance
    Name
    (MSSQLSERVER
    for a default installation);
  • Instance ID (MSSQL.3 for a default installation);
  • Initialized (a simple “Yes” or “No”);
  • Service
    Status

    (“Running” or “Stopped”)

When
we start or stop the service (the extent of possible activities for this page),
a Task Status section appears in the place of the Legend (shown
in Illustration 3 above). The Report Server Status page,
with Task Status section in place for a recent service start, appears as
depicted in Illustration 4.



Illustration
4: Report Server Status Page with Task Status Section …

We can
navigate to the remaining tabs by clicking each in the left pane of the Reporting
Services Configuration Manager
application, as shown in Illustration 5.



Illustration
5: The Navigation Tabs of the Configuration Manager

4. 
Click the
related tab entry within the left pane for each of the following to follow
along in our discussion.

Settings Page: Report Server
Virtual Directory

The Report Server Virtual
Directory
page supports our specification of a virtual directory for the
report server. By clicking on this tab, we can see the virtual directory
within which the ASP.NET web service for our installation is set to run. In
addition to modifying our choice of virtual directory, we can also specify SSL
settings (including certificate identification, etc.) on this page.

An example of the Report Server
Virtual Directory
page is depicted in Illustration 6.



Illustration
6: Report Server Virtual Directory Page

Settings Page: Report Manager
Virtual Directory

We can examine (as well as modify)
the virtual directory within which the Reporting Services Manager lives
using the Report Manager Virtual Directory page. An example of the Report
Manager Virtual Directory
page is shown in Illustration 7.



Illustration
7: Report Manager Virtual Directory Page

Settings Page: Windows Service
Identity

The Windows Service Identity
page supports our specification of the service account under which the Reporting
Services Windows Service
runs. Here we can modify the settings that were
established with the initial installation. (This represents a marked
improvement over the previous version).

An example of the Windows
Service Identity
page is depicted in Illustration 8.



Illustration
8: Windows Service Identity Page

William Pearson
William Pearson
Bill has been working with computers since before becoming a "big eight" CPA, after which he carried his growing information systems knowledge into management accounting, internal auditing, and various capacities of controllership. Bill entered the world of databases and financial systems when he became a consultant for CODA-Financials, a U.K. - based software company that hired only CPA's as application consultants to implement and maintain its integrated financial database - one of the most conceptually powerful, even in his current assessment, to have emerged. At CODA Bill deployed financial databases and business intelligence systems for many global clients. Working with SQL Server, Oracle, Sybase and Informix, and focusing on MSSQL Server, Bill created Island Technologies Inc. in 1997, and has developed a large and diverse customer base over the years since. Bill's background as a CPA, Internal Auditor and Management Accountant enable him to provide value to clients as a liaison between Accounting / Finance and Information Services. Moreover, as a Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) - a Certified Public Accountant recognized for his or her unique ability to provide business insight by leveraging knowledge of information relationships and supporting technologies - Bill offers his clients the CPA's perspective and ability to understand the complicated business implications and risks associated with technology. From this perspective, he helps them to effectively manage information while ensuring the data's reliability, security, accessibility and relevance. Bill has implemented enterprise business intelligence systems over the years for many Fortune 500 companies, focusing his practice (since the advent of MSSQL Server 2000) upon the integrated Microsoft business intelligence solution. He leverages his years of experience with other enterprise OLAP and reporting applications (Cognos, Business Objects, Crystal, and others) in regular conversions of these once-dominant applications to the Microsoft BI stack. Bill believes it is easier to teach technical skills to people with non-technical training than vice-versa, and he constantly seeks ways to graft new technology into the Accounting and Finance arenas. Bill was awarded Microsoft SQL Server MVP in 2009. Hobbies include advanced literature studies and occasional lectures, with recent concentration upon the works of William Faulkner, Henry James, Marcel Proust, James Joyce, Honoré de Balzac, and Charles Dickens. Other long-time interests have included the exploration of generative music sourced from database architecture.

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