Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services
Reporting Services is the component in SQL Server that delivers formatted reporting.
Reporting Services was introduced in between the releases of SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2005. The main reason not to wait for the next release of SQL Server was that Microsoft realized that bringing their own reporting solution to market was long overdue. So instead of waiting another year, SQL Server Reporting Services was launched in 2004. No surprises of course that there weren't any major changes in the SQL Server 2005 release. That version was more a Service Pack release of Reporting Services.
With Reporting Services 2005 and later with 2008, 2008 R2 and 2012, Microsoft finally has a solid reporting solution that enabled developers to start creating reports as they probably did with tools like Crystal Reports before. The biggest feature Reporting Services is missing in comparison to competitive vendors is probably the ability to have business users create reports themselves.
Reporting Services is a solution for developers who understand writing queries and are able to write .NET syntax for custom formatting. With the Report Builder and the Report Model, Microsoft further tried to extend Reporting Services to close the gap with the business user.
Reporting Services -albeit a developer product- also has a lot of advantages:
- Writing the queries yourself, as a developer you have complete control
- Writing queries yourself you can ensure optimal query performance
- Custom formatting can be applied to almost all components
In other words, Reporting Services being a developer product gives you more control during the creation of your report and the way data is fetched from the data warehouse.