It’s the time of the year when new things are announced almost every hour. Yes – it’s SQL Pass Summit time!
Today the first technical preview of Power BI reports rendered in SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) was released. With that release the SSRS team went another way by not providing a downloadable installer package but an pre-configured VM in the Azure Marketplace. As mentioned in their announcement blog post they went the way of not waisting time with preparing installer routines.. which is really great for a first preview!
How to get the Technical Preview virtual machine?
But – How do you get access to those bits? It’s really easy. What you need is an Azure subscription – either your personal one, your Azure credits included in your MSDN subscription, your company’s subscription or you just apply for a free Azure trial!
With that, navigate to the Azure Marketplace and search for “SQL Server Reporting Services”
All you need to do is select the template and hit the “Create” button.
Now enter the name of the VM, username plus password and select if you want to work with either a tabular or multidimensional Analysis server. After that the configuration of the underlying storage accounts needs to be entered.
After that, the configuration is done and validation and system configuration starts.
Well – the timing of starting the deployment was maybe not ideal – I think almost every Power BI / SSRS developer around the world is trying to deploy his/her test instance at the same time I tried it. First attempt – failed with timeout; the second one is currently running – and FINISHED!
Connect to the Azure VM
Next – hit the “Connect” button to connect to the newly created VM. Hint: you need to use your admin-user (the info you just entered during the configuration steps).
The machine is already pre-configured and with a double click on the “SSRS Preview” link the SSRS Reporting portal opens.
The SSRS 2016 Reporting portal filled with sample reports. The Power BI reports section is the last one in the list of KPIs, Mobile Reports and Paginated reports.
In contrast to SQL Server Reporting Services 2016 RTM, a click on a Power BI report does not open Power BI Desktop but opens the report in the web browser.
Here’s the result view: Power BI native visuals rendered in an SSRS installation. According to the team, no custom visuals are supported by now – but as we know from the Power BI and the SSRS team we’ll keep updated with further enhancements.
What is missing?
In the current technical preview, no custom Power BI visuals are supported and no Power BI data model! Currently only direct access to either tabular or multidimensional AS models are supported.
What is also missing (in comparision to powerbi.com) – you cannot directly edit your Power BI reports. You’ll have to open them in Power BI Desktop, change them and upload them again.
What is hidden there?
In addition to the Power BI rendering there are some more SSRS enhancements contained in that preview version:
List View is back
Context Menu for Report items
There is a new (enhanced) context menu available for report items
Comments on Reports
You can now enter your comments (and even upload an image file) for a certain SSRS report. Just open the comments view and enter your thoughts..
With that – Thank you SSRS and Power BI team! Great work and I really like the way of distributing new versions of new technology. In that early stage of development it’s much more easier to just spin up a new virtual machine in contrast to install the new bits locally!
Have fun and happy Power BI/SSRSing,