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Report Deployment Checklist

Reporting Services provides tools and features that you can use to view and manage the reports that you publish to a report server. The primary tool for viewing reports is Report Manager, but other tools and approaches are available depending on whether you are using custom Web applications or SharePoint products and technologies. If you are using Report Manager, you can configure role assignments to support view-only access to reports. Administration features that are typically available in Report Manager can be hidden from users who do not have permission to use them.

Reports that have been published to a report server can also be accessed through a URL address. You can place URLs to published reports on any Web site. When the user clicks a link to a report URL, the report is processed on the report server and then returned to the client browser. An HTML viewer provides a report toolbar and supports interactive report features, so you can open a report through a URL address without having to install a client component or configure the portal in any special way. For best results, you should open the report in a new browser window. You can set parameters in the report URL to select a specific rendering format or hide the report toolbar. For more information, see URL Access.

When deploying reports, it is recommended that you create a separate folder on the report server where report authors can place completed reports for testing and configuration. When the report is ready to be published, the report server administrator can move the report to a deployment folder. Set the permissions on the staging folder to allow report author access, and restrict access to the deployment folder so that only report server administrators have permission to add and remove content. For more information about folders, see Creating, Modifying, and Deleting Folders and Securing Folders. For more information on moving reports on a report server, see How to: Move an Item (Report Manager).

Use the following checklist to guide you through the tasks necessary for making a report available to users in you organization.

Task

Description

Choose the tool or approach for viewing reports.

Reporting Services provides several ways to make reports available for general use.

  • You can use Report Manager, the viewing and report management tool included with Reporting Services.

  • You can embed URLs to published reports on an existing portal.

  • You can use a SharePoint site if you configure the report server to run in SharePoint integrated mode and you publish report server items to a SharePoint library.

  • You can use SharePoint Web parts to explore the report server folder hierarchy and run reports.

Publish the report. Also publish any shared data sources or report models.

The easiest way to publish multiple reports, models, and shared data sources is to publish them from a report authoring tool.

If a report authoring tool is not available, you can publish individual files by using Report Manager to upload them to a report server.

For more information about publishing and deploying reports through Report Designer, see Publishing Models. For more information about using Report Manager to upload finished reports to a report server, see Uploading Files to a Folder.

Set or verify permissions by reviewing the role assignments that determine which users have permission to view, manage, and subscribe to a report.

If role assignments are already configured, review them now to ensure that only authorized users have access to reports and report data.

Set or verify data source connection information.

If you have shared data sources defined for the report data source, configure the report to use it now. Shared data sources are recommended over embedded report-specific data sources because you can update credentials and connection information once, and because you can turn off the data source connection to prevent data processing on a report if the database is not available.

If users will subscribe to reports or if the report runs on a schedule rather than on demand, configure the data source properties to use stored credentials.

After a report is published to a report server, you can configure its data source with connection information and credentials. If the report supports subscriptions or scheduled report history, or if it runs as a report execution snapshot, you must configure the data source to use stored credentials or no credentials. For more information about data source properties, see Managing Report Data Sources.

Because a report server never writes back to an external data source, you do not need to be concerned about data corruption from a report server user. However, a report server does run queries against external data sources that might contain sensitive data. For this reason, unauthorized access to sensitive data is a security risk that you must address. To mitigate this threat, do one of the following to ensure that only authorized users have access to the external data sources used by reports:

  • Require user authentication to external data sources. You can configure a report to prompt users for credentials before the data is retrieved for the report. For more information, see Specifying Credential and Connection Information for Report Data Sources.

  • Create least-privilege user accounts for the database server. For example, if you are using a SQL Server database, you can create a logon named data reader that has only the db_datareader role assigned to it. You can then specify credentials for data reader in the Data Source properties page of a report.

Set or verify report execution settings that determine whether the report runs on demand or from a schedule.

Reports are configured by default to run on demand. This means that the queries that are defined for the report are executed against the data source each time a user selects a report. If you do not want a report to run on demand, you can set report execution properties to control when and how the report is run. For more information, see Setting Properties on a Published Report.

Set or verify report history settings.

To store a history of a report, save snapshots of the report. You can schedule when a snapshot is added to report history, or you can add a snapshot manually. For more information, see Managing Report History.

Set or verify report parameter settings.

Depending on your report, you might need to set parameter properties on the published report to support unattended report processing. For more information, see Setting Parameter Properties for a Published Report.

Create data-driven subscriptions on the report if you want to automate report delivery. Or, allow users to subscribe to reports as needed.

As part of report deployment, you can create subscriptions that distribute reports to a file share or to users through e-mail notifications. You can also configure role assignments to allow other users to create individual subscriptions. For more information about report distribution strategies, see Subscription and Delivery (Reporting Services) and Creating, Modifying, and Deleting Standard Subscriptions.

Test the report, preferably by asking report users to open the report from a browser on their workstations.

If you staged the reports in a folder that contains only the reports you are testing, move them to the folder that contains reports generally available to users. For more information, see How to: Move an Item (Report Manager).

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