RealTime IT News

Reporting Tool Keys SQL Server 2005 Preview

Business intelligence highlights the third Community Technology Preview (CTP) for Microsoft SQL Server 2005, which includes a tool that allows business users with little technical experience to create reports on the fly.

The third SQL Server 2005 CTP boasts Report Builder, an advanced, ad-hoc reporting tool Microsoft integrated from its ActiveViews acquisition last year. Report Builder will be a key utility in SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition.

The release also features 64-bit support for Reporting Services and Notification Services; tighter integration with Visual Studio 2005; performance improvements in Management Studio; and a tool to help upgrade from SQL Server 2000 to SQL Server 2005.

Something of an incremental beta test, a CTP allows developers to better test and keep up with how a developing product is coming along, which allows them greater control over how the finished product will look. The new CTP is available now to MSDN subscribers and participants of the SQL Server 2005 beta program.

Microsoft began offering CTPs for SQL Server 2005 last year after garnering great support for the unofficial betas for its Visual Studio product line. CTP 2 appeared in December, and the first CTP launched in October.

Pricing and packaging for SQL Server 2005 was announced last week, with the finished product due this summer.

Microsoft officials have said SQL Server 2005 is expected to match IBM's DB2 database and Oracle's 10g database in performance and reliability at a fraction of the cost.

Continuing in the reporting features and business intelligence vein, Microsoft also improved reporting features in SQL Server 2000, including the release of SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services Service Pack 2 (SP2).

SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services, downloaded more than 153,000 times since it launched in January 2004, provides business managers real-time information from any data source to any device. SP2 for the product includes SharePoint Web Parts, which will make it possible for users to view reports through Windows SharePoint Services or SharePoint Portal Server.

Such close interaction between the reporting services and collaboration software will allow users to access reported and other information through one interface, courtesy of the SharePoint portal.

Also, Microsoft announced the upcoming release of SQL Server Report Packs for Microsoft Great Plains 8.0 and SQL Server Report Pack for IIS Logs.

Both Report Packs, available for free later this month, will make report development easier by providing users with templates of reports to modify for their own custom reports.