SQL Reporting Newbie Question


Have been tasked with the project of creating reports from excel source and displaying to users after our DBA left in a huff. I have basic experience working on SQL mostly admin work but have not worked on the reporting aspect at all.

Our reports run on SQL Server 2005. The other reports just display data to the users through a webpage. They click on a link which asks them to select the report they want to see and it displays it. No inputs are required from user. The sources tend to be Excel files which are updated on a regular basis and this must be reflected on the reports. The DBA has a created a database for reporting and has tables in it from which reports are linked/pulled.

Where do I look for the source of these excel files through SQL Mgmt Studio? Do I need to create a linked server since the sources are on another physical server? What other information can I furnish you guys?

I am hoping to try to copy the method that he has used so that I can figure this out better till we get some additional help for Reporting. Any suggestions? TIA
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Ted BouskillConnect With a Mentor Senior Software DeveloperCommented:
I notice you mentioned you have SQL Reporting Services.  If that is true then I will answer based on that.

1) SQL Reporting Services actually runs on IIS.  There is a web management page where you can manage the Report Server and then a Reports page where reports are published.  Generally the links are:
http://<YourSQLServer>/ReportServer and http://<YourSQLServer>/Reports

2) Security is built into SQL Report Services and can be a little tricky to manage until you understand how it works.  I'd strongly suggest you find some online articles on managing security. I couldn't adequately describe it here other than to say there are really three main security categories, Administration, Report Publishing, Report Viewing

3) Reports authored in SQL Reporting Services can pull the data directly from a spreadsheet using a data source view if your staff are posting them in specific locations.  Some cool features you should be aware of with SQL Reporting Services are:
- Reports can be accessed a person accessing the web page report
- Reports can be sent using a scheduled task via email
- Reports can be saved in a variety of formats, Excel, PDF Word et al

In regard to SSIS you have to use 'SQL Server Business Intelligence Studio' to author the packages.  They can be scheduled using the 'SQL Server Agent'  Once again explaining how to do this here would be difficult.  You should do some research at the Microsoft site where there are plenty of excellent articles.
Ted BouskillSenior Software DeveloperCommented:
Each SQL Report could be using the Excel file as a data source to read it directly.

He could be using a linked server for a Excel data source but that would not be a best practice solution.

The other thing he might be doing is running an SSIS or DTS package to import the Excel data into tables in SQL then using the tables as data sources.
abhijitm00Author Commented:
Thanks for getting back tedbilly.

I figured out how to get the data from Excel using a Export/Import process on the database. I still have some questions:
1. How do I get it to show up on a webpage? Is it an IIS thing or something through SQL Mgmt Studio (Views)?
2. How can I apply security restrictions based on groups on who can see what kind of reports?
3. How can I get the reports to refereh? Currently I did not save the SSIS job that I created. Do I need to save one and set it up as a scheduled job?

abhijitm00Author Commented:
Thanks tedbilly for pointing me in the correct direction. I will post here if I need additional help.
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