You may not be aware of this great side of SQL Server: free Reporting Services. When I say free, I don’t even mean “comes with the SQL Server that you already paid for, so is sort of free”, I mean “any random person off the street can use it for free, as in beer” I know, the first time I heard it, I was a little skeptical too. Fortunately, it is absolutely true!
SQL Server Express Edition with Advanced Services comes with the ability to create your own reports. There are some limitations of this version; for a full list see this site. A few of the larger limitations are listed here:
- You can only display data from the SQL Server Express databases on the same server
- The Reporting Services metadata will be stored in the SQL Server Express database on the same server
- You can only run on-demand reports, which means no subscriptions
This version is a great way to try out the capabilities of Reporting Services and learn how to develop reports. And on top of that, everything you create can also be deployed to another edition of Reporting Services. You can download the Express version here: http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=25174.
If you’re interested in learning about general reporting or the capabilities of Reporting Services, I highly recommend you check it out!