MSSQL Server Reporting Services: Black Belt Administration: Prepare the Execution Log for Reporting

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
.

Overview

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:

  • Discuss Execution
    Logging
    in general, and the steps involved in creating a useful data source
    for reporting purposes from the log as it appears in its native form;

  • Discuss
    potential complementary functions we can leverage from implementing Execution
    Log reporting;

  • Create a
    database to store the Execution Log data;

  • Navigate to
    the location of the files provided with Reporting Services to assist us in
    transforming Execution Log data to a useful reporting data source;

  • Open and execute the table
    creation script provided to create the schema for our new reporting database;

  • Load and
    execute the DTS package provided to transform the Execution Log
    data and to populate the new database tables.
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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