Monday, April 10, 2017

Adding Power BI Reports to Reporting Services

The integration between Reporting Services and Power BI was started with Reporting Services 2016, allowing us to pin SSRS Reports to Power BI Dashboards. Not only that, we can have Power BI files hosted in Reporting Services but Reporting Services does not support opening them inside the portal.

This integration has been extended and it will be available with the next version of SQL Server. With this, we can create reports using Power BI and add them directly to Reporting Services. Not only that, Reporting Services Portal supports opening Power BI Reports inside the portal. Can we see it now? Yes, Technical Preview is available for testing this.

In order to test this, you need to download two files; Power BI Desktop For SSRS (PBIDesktopRS_x64) and SQLServerReportingServices.

Power BI Desktop for SSRS is a separate Power BI instance and it can be installed side by side without removing existing Power BI installation. SQLServerReportingServices is the latest installation for SQL Server which is a standalone installation. It installs Reporting Services and allows us to configure just like the way we do with Reporting Services 2016.

Installing Reporting Services
Let's start it with Reporting Services installation. Just like the way you install any other software, double-click on SQLServerReportingServices.exe and start the installation. You will get the usual agreement window, accept it and continue.

And you should see the final output within less than one minute;

This works without any issue even if you have SQL Server 2016 installation in your machine. The configuration of newly installed Reporting Services can be started by either clicking the button in the last window or searching and opening the right Configuration Manager. If you search for it, you will see two with the exact name (if you have already installed 2016), need to pick the right one.

When you open the Configuration Manager for the one you installed, you should get a similar screen, note the instance name: RSServer.

If you remember the 2016 installation, you know that you get an option for configuring Reporting Services during the installation: Install and Configure or Install Only. Since we did not get anything like that with this installation, we need to configure everything manually. First thing is creating the database.

Go to Database page and click on Change Database.

It starts the wizard, make sure that you select Create a new report server database. This requires a SQL Server database engine. If you have not installed SQL Server, then you need to install it before configuring the report server database. If you have already installed Reporting Services 2016, then you have a Report Server database that is for 2016 instance. If you have, DO NOT OVERWRITE THE EXISTING ReportServer DATABASE. Make sure you give a different name for it. As you see below, I have named my Report Server database as ReportServer_2017.

You can accept the default values for other pages in the wizard unless you need to change it.

Once it is configured, you need to configure Web Portal URL and Web Service URL. Again, make sure it does not conflict with your existing Reporting Services URLs. As you see, I have set the Virtual Directory for Web Portal as Reports_2017.

You need to do the same for Web Service URL as well. Once done, you should be able to browse the Reporting Server with the configured URL.

Installing Power BI
No difference between this installation and standard Power BI Desktop installation.

Once the installation is completed, open it (Note that if you had previous Power BI Desktop installation, now you have two Power BI instances). You should see SQL Server Reporting Services tag when opening Power BI. That confirms that you open the right instance.

Creating Reports and Publishing to Reporting Services
Note that this can be used for creating standard Power BI reports as well. However, if you create a report for Reporting Services, you need to make sure the following;
  • Source is Analysis Services
  • Connection type is Live Connection

At the moment, it supports only Analysis Services but we will surely see all other types with future releases.

Connect with your Analysis Services database and create a report as you need. This is what I created.

In order to publish this to Reporting Services, you can either save this directly to Reporting Services or save as a local file and upload it using Reporting Services Upload File menu. Let's save it directly to Reporting Services.

You should see new saving option as SQL Server Reporting Services.

Select it and enter the URL configured for the portal.

Name it and click OK.

You should see the success message if it can connect with your Reporting Services. Once saved, go to the portal and see it. You should see the added Power BI report. With the previous version of Reporting Services, if you click on added Power BI file, it downloads the file. But with this version, if you click on it, it opens the report and all functionalities works just like the way it works with Power BI online service.

Good thing is, it allows you to edit the report using Power BI;

Once you modified, you do not need to upload the file again because Power BI can directly save it to Reporting Services. The changes will be immediately appear in Reporting Services.

See, how easy it is. Try and see, you will see a lot more options with future releases.

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