Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of the latest Community Technology Preview (CTP) for Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2005 and new reporting features for SQL Server 2000. This CTP is the third in a series of releases leading up to the launch of the next version of the company’s flagship data management and analysis platform, and it includes significant new features such as Report Builder, Management Studio improvements and additional 64-bit support. Based on the success of SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services, Microsoft also announced reporting enhancements for that product, including the release of SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services Service Pack 2 (SP2) and new Report Packs for Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains® 8.0 and Internet Information Services (IIS) log files.
“Our goal since we introduced BI capabilities in SQL Server was to give as many people as possible greater insight into their business and the market to make better, more-informed decisions, and Reporting Services is a major component in delivering on that vision,” said Bill Baker, general manager for SQL Server Business Intelligence at Microsoft. “As part of this goal, we want to make our customers more efficient, and the new Report Builder in SQL Server 2005, new Web Parts and printing functionality in SQL Server 2000, and additional Report Packs are all examples of how we are listening to customers’ pain points and delivering reporting tools that provide relief.”
Third SQL Server 2005 CTP Includes Advanced Reporting Functionality
Microsoft today released the third SQL Server 2005 CTP, an incremental release for the database community that enables it to gradually test, experiment with and provide feedback on the newest features rather than wait for larger beta releases. The latest CTP includes new features such as enhanced integration with Visual Studio® 2005; performance improvements in Management Studio; a SQL Server 2000 to SQL Server 2005 upgrade tool; and 64-bit support for Reporting Services, Notification Services and the management, development and configuration tools. These latest enhancements are critical additions helping make SQL Server 2005 the scalable and easy-to-manage database solution customers expect from SQL Server.
Perhaps the most significant addition to this CTP is Report Builder, a new component of SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition, which is based on the technology acquired from ActiveViews Inc. in spring 2004. Because the new self-service, ad hoc report building client is built on SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services, the tool will make enterprise reporting easy, scalable and reliable for end users all on a new user interface that provides a familiar Microsoft look and feel. With the addition of the easy-to-use Report Builder, many more business users will be able to create their own reports, enabling more flexibility in report development. The new CTP is available today to all MSDN® subscribers and SQL Server 2005 beta program participants.
“Our company has been an avid SQL Server 2005 beta tester, and the new CTP releases are making the process even easier,” said Alexander Fischer, chief of the IT Basics department at Koehler Paper. “Testing and providing feedback more regularly has helped us accurately and continually plan our deployments around the new features in these incremental releases. Since we are also a Reporting Services customer, this CTP is especially exciting to us because we are able to start testing the Report Builder feature.”
SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services SP2 Enables Increased Report Interaction
Microsoft also announced the upcoming release of the second service pack for SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services, an open and extensible reporting platform that can increase business insight by providing real-time information from any data source to any device. Along with security and product enhancements, SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services SP2 will include two SharePoint® Web Parts, which enable users to explore and view reports located on a report server through Windows® SharePoint Services or SharePoint Portal Server. The Web Parts will make it easy for customers to build business intelligence (BI) portals with SharePoint that include Reporting Services reports. This, in turn, will give their end users access to their enterprise information from one seamless interface. SP2 also will support a rich client-side report printing experience directly from Microsoft Internet Explorer, so customers can quickly print their reports by clicking on a single button.
Since the product’s launch in January 2004, customers who want an easy way to deliver critical business information have downloaded more than 153,000 copies of SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services, plus an additional 116,000 copies of Service Pack 1. As demonstrated by the number of downloads, SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services continues to deliver an enterprise-level reporting solution that helps customers enjoy flexible and dynamic reporting options and exceptional ease of use at no additional cost.
“We are running 100 reports that allow 30 concurrent users, so having a reliable and powerful reporting solution is crucial to the way we run our business,” said Damien Georges of Summit Partners, a private equity and venture-capital firm in Boston. “We took a risk by investing in a version-one product, but SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services has met our challenges every step of the way. With the Web Parts and printing functionality, our options and room for growth have expanded even further.”
New SQL Server 2000 Report Packs Ease Report Development
Following the September 2004 release of SQL Server Report Packs for Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft Business Solutions CRM, for which there have been more than 50,000 downloads, Microsoft announced the upcoming release of SQL Server Report Packs for Microsoft Great Plains 8.0 and SQL Server Report Pack for IIS Logs. Both Report Packs will ease customer report development by providing users with templates of commonly used reports that they can easily modify for their own custom reports. The Report Packs will be available later this month free via Web download and will provide customers with templates of commonly used SQL Server Reporting Services reports that users can easily modify for their own reporting needs. Additional Microsoft SQL Server Report Packs will be released in the near future for Microsoft Business Solutions Axapta®, Microsoft Office Project 2003 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003.
The Microsoft SQL Server Report Pack for Microsoft Great Plains 8.0 is a set of eight predefined report definition files and a Microsoft Great Plains 8.0 sample database. These sample reports allow users to manage customer profitability, inventory values and sales commissions. In addition, users can upload and view each report separately and use the sample reports as templates for designing new reports. With minor configuration changes, these reports enable users to take the report definition files and have them work against existing Microsoft Great Plains environments.
The Microsoft SQL Server Report Pack for IIS Logs is a set of 12 predefined report definition files that work with a sample database of information extracted from Microsoft IIS log files. The SQL Server Report Pack for IIS Logs allows users to monitor Web site statistics including visitors, page views and bandwidth for various time periods and geographic regions, to get more insight into their Web site usage. Users also can leverage the 12 sample reports as templates for designing new reports, and the database can be populated with individual data using the Log Parser included with the IIS 6.0 Resource Kit.