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Differences Between Data Processing Extensions and Standard .NET Data Providers

New: 12 December 2006

A Reporting Services data processing extension (DPE) is a component installed with Reporting Services, designed to retrieve data from a specific type of data source and to provide extra functionality to support report design and report processing. A .NET Framework data provider (DP) is a component available from Microsoft or third-party sources that supports System.Data interfaces that allow you to retrieve and to modify data from a specific type of data source. A DP does not necessarily provide extra functionality to support report processing. Using a DP, you will not be able to use all report design functionality. To retrieve data from a DP, you need to install and register it on both the report authoring client and the report server. DPs can be used when there are no DPEs available for a specific type of data source.

A Reporting Services DPE supports a subset of the System.Data interfaces. Data processing extensions require only read-only access to a data source. In addition, the extension provides extra features needed to process reports. The type of data source determines the functionality supported by an extension. Examples of the types of functionality affected by the extension include how to hide credentials in a connection string or specify aggregates, whether you can define multivalue parameters, and which extended properties you can use.

Because Reporting Services has an extensible data provider architecture, you can build a custom data processing extension to include the extra functionality supplied by Reporting Services data processing extensions. For more information, see Implementing a Data Processing Extension. For third-party data processing extensions, see the documentation that comes with the third-party DPE.

However, you can report from a standard .NET Framework data provider that implements the required interfaces for System.Data. Full reporting functionality is not supported by these data providers. To take advantage of the full range of reporting functionality, you must use a data processing extension.

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A .NET Framework data provider or custom data processing extension needs to be installed and registered before it can be used to access data from a data source. For more information, see How to: Register a Standard .NET Framework Data Provider.and Deploying a Data Processing Extension.

Many third-party standard .NET Framework data providers are available. For more information about available DPs, search the third-party Web sites or forums.

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