Microsoft's SQL Server offers analytic reporting

Microsoft is preparing its SQL Server to deliver analytical reporting capabilities which, it claimed, will help users across a...

Microsoft is preparing its SQL Server to deliver analytical reporting capabilities which, it claimed, will help users across a company make better business decisions.

This week Microsoft announced that it would embed a reporting engine - called Reporting Services - in the upcoming 64-bit Yukon version of the SQL Server database.

Microsoft software partners and in-house corporate developers will be able to take the technology and use it to craft reporting processes.

At present, Microsoft offers only the ability to launch an online analytical processing query and do analysis. This change will permit its database users to create, develop and distribute analytical business reports across an enterprise, said SQL Server product manager Sheryl Tullis.

While the reporting engine is aimed primarily at developers, end users will be able set up their own parameters.

The technology will come with a web services hook to craft companywide applications using the Microsoft Visual Studio .net toolkit and .net Framework programming model. The engine can also work with any data repository that has OLE DB and Open Database Connectivity interfaces, and it can publish to Web browser and Microsoft Office desktop applications.

Microsoft executives acknowledged that there would be some overlap with the Reporting Services engine and offerings from partners such as Crystal Decisions. However, Microsoft said it would continue to provide partnership opportunities for companies such as Crystal Decisions and other vendors of business intelligence technologies.

"We will provide these partners with a robust, scalable platform for business intelligence and reporting and, in many cases, will have complementary technology," Microsoft said.

Microsoft's move makes sense as reporting becomes more of a commodity that vendors embed into their product lineup, said Enterprise Applications Consulting analyst Joshua Greenbaum. While Microsoft will have no problem convincing users that it can produce a product that is technically sound, it may be harder for the company to prove it has "domain expertise with any individual vertical market" for reporting, he said.

Reporting Services will be out in beta sometime before June as part of Yukon.

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