RealTime IT News

SP Upgrade For Microsoft Reporting Services

Less than two months after acquiring ActiveViews in order to add ad-hoc reporting to its business intelligence stack, Microsoft unveiled the first service pack upgrade for its SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services software.

A key piece of the Redmond, Wash., company's SQL Server database platform, Reporting Services aims to help business performance by providing enterprises with graphical reports about the company, its products and employees.

More than 75,000 developers downloaded Reporting Services since its January 27 launch, said Alex Payne, senior product manager for SQL Server. Since that time, the company has received enough customer feedback to warrant improvements.

With that feedback, SQL Services SP1 features bug fixes and performance enhancements. Chief among these are boost to Excel spreadsheet rendering. Currently, Reporting Services can be piped out in XP and 2003, but Payne said Microsoft has extended support to Excel 97 and 2000, giving the company the ability to reach more customers.

Other improvements launched Tuesday include the software's ability to handle large matrices, as well as greater chart control and pagination. Data caching has been improved for customers previewing reports.

"This will be efficient in helping customers go about building reports," Payne told internetnews.com, noting that Phelps-Dodge, Allianz Dresdner Asset Management and the Ruby Tuesday restaurant chain are currently deploying the upgrades.

SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services SP1 is available for free download from Microsoft's Web site.

Business intelligence is a hot topic at a time when major players in the space are either building or acquiring reporting software to round out their platforms. Microsoft is banking on making a name for itself in the space, where it competes with MicroStrategy, Cognos , Actuate and others.

In a related development earlier this week, MicroStrategy released a UNIX-based version of its 7i platform, called MicroStrategy 7i Universal Edition. The upgrade is compiled to 32-bit and 64-bit modes from the same code base and can run on Microsoft Windows, IBM AIX and Sun Solaris.

IDC estimates that approximately 22 percent of the BI market is based on UNIX, making Mclean, Va.-based MicroStrategy's UNIX platform a potentially lucrative offer.

Actuate also said it has finished digesting its purchase of Nimble Technology from last summer. The San Francisco-based vendor has bundled Nimble's Enterprise Information Integration (EII) software into the new Actuate Enterprise Reporting Application Platform 8 to support the real-time integration of disparate data sources.