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Microsoft enhancing business intelligence in SQL Server

Microsoft enhancing business intelligence in SQL Server

Microsoft on Tuesday released the first service pack for the SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services business intelligence platform.

Reporting Services is intended to boost business insight by offering real-time information from any data source to any device, Microsoft said. Available free to SQL Server 2000 customers, Reporting Services SP1 enables exporting of reports to Excel 97 and 2000, which are older versions of the spreadsheet. The service pack also adds improvements in PDF rendering for pagination and matrix performance. Other highlights are greater control over series and data point styles in charts and enabling single sign-on authentication to systems not based on Windows authentication technology.

"Basically, what this [service pack] is, is it's a rollup of bug fixes as well as adding new functionality and performance improvements," said Alex Payne, senior product manager for SQL Server at Microsoft. Reporting Services requires SQL Server but can access data from other platforms as well.

A user of Reporting Services was pleased with the performance increase on data exports in SP1.

"In the first version [of Reporting Services], there were definitely some hits and misses around the exporting and it's certainly better in this one," said James Faith, lead Web engineer at copper producer Phelps Dodge.

"We'd start having problems with exports. We haven't seen that since [installing SP1]," Faith said. Phelps Dodge uses Reporting Services to report on Internet business applications based on SQL Server.

Another user of Reporting Services said enhancements in the service pack such as improved charting could be useful in the future.

"A lot of the new features don't affect any of the reports we currently offer but we do plan on using them in the future," said Rod Bautista, senior database administrator at financial services firm Allianz Dresdner Asset Management of America LP. The company uses Reporting Services for presenting information such as financial compliance data, which is culled from five SQL Server databases.

Reporting services features report generation and manageability functions. There have been more than 75,000 downloads of Reporting Services since its launch in January, according to Microsoft. Visual Studio serves as Microsoft's authoring environment for Reporting Services, although third-party authoring tools also can be used.

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