That title could actually be longer….
SQL Server 2012 brings with it a number of key Business Intelligence features that apply directly to SharePoint environments. One of the major improvements is the way that Reporting Services installs. Prior to version 2012, when running in SharePoint integrated mode, it installed along side of SharePoint, and connected through an add-in. With 2012, it is now a full SharePoint Service application, with all of the associated benefits that brings.
It is simple enough to set this up on a new farm, but what about organizations that are already using SSRS in integrated mode? Since I was unable to find any prescriptive guidance on the upgrade process, I ran through it on a test farm, and below are my findings. This describes the process of upgrading from SSRS 2008 R2 to the RTM version of SSRS 2012.
SQL Server 2012 has some relatively strict operating system requirements. First and foremost, you need to be running at least Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1, or Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2. If not, you’ll get the following message immediately.
In addition, depending on what you’re upgrading, it’s pretty fussy about your source environment as well. For example, if you’re upgrading management tools or BIDS, and you already have Visual Studio 2010 installed, it will need to be at least at the Service Pack 1 level. Your source SQL Server also has specific service pack requirements. The complete supported upgrade matrix can be found here. Unfortunately, if these requirements are not met, the installation will fail much further along in the process, and you’ll need to repeat several steps after correcting.
Once the SQL Server Installation Center launches, you’ll want to pick the Installation tab, and then the Upgrade option.
After a few steps, you’ll encounter one of the new screens pertaining to Reporting Services.
Previously, the installer was totally unaware of Integrated Mode Reporting Services. You would use SSRS configuration to set it up, but now the upgrade wizard, as well as the full product installer, is fully aware of Integrated Mode.
When performing the upgrade, the installer will go ahead and create the SharePoint service application for you. This is different than when you perform a fresh install – in that case you manually create the service application after installation. However, in order to do so, it needs to create an application pool for the service application, and you will be prompted for the credentials of that pool.
After several more standard screens, the upgrade rules will be run. This is where you will find out if you are missing a prerequisite, or it is not at the required patch level. However, if all is good, all of the rules should show as Passed, with the exception of “Direct Browsing to Report Server”, which will show a warning.
Previously, if you knew the correct URL, you could navigate directly to Reporting Services and the reports stored within SharePoint through a very rudimentary interface. This warning is simply alerting you to the fact that this is no longer an option with 2012.
The remainder of the installation is straightforward. When done (and if successful), you can navigate to the Service Applications section of Central Administration. There, you should see the new SSRS application.
I’m not a big fan of the name that the default upgrade uses for the application, but that’s simple enough to change. The important thing to note is that all of your subscriptions, snapshots, etc, will have migrated over. The upgrade upgrades the two Reporting Services databases (ReportServer, and ReportServerTempDB by default), and adds a new one, ReportServer_Alerting, which are all used by the service application.
In order to enable data alerts and subscriptions, a number of security modifications need to be made to the SQL Server. In addition, the SQL Server Agent must be running to use these features. Editing the Service Application shows a screen that has a link to Provision Subscriptions an alerts. Clicking through it reveals the following screen:
The View Status section simply gives you an indication of whether or not the Agent is running on the server, but clicking the “Download Script” button will give you a SQL script that will set up the required roles and permissions on your SQL Server. This script must be run on the SQL Server that holds the Reporting Services databases. In order to run it, simply open up SQL Server Management Studio, connect to the server, and click the New Query button. Once the query window opens, paste the query in, and run it (the Execute button).
Finally, enter the credentials for SharePoint to connect to your SQL Server Agent, and click OK. Once done, you’ll be in a position to use the new features available in Reporting Services, and all of your existing investments in reports should continue to operate as before.
For a major architectural change, this is actually a pretty smooth transition.
As I post this, it’s quite early in the life of 2012, so I would be quite interested to hear of any other experiences or gotchas. If there’s something that I should add to this post, please post a comment, I’d love to hear about it.