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Data Warehouse Reporting: Full Speed Ahead (But with Overhead)

Although shipment of SQL 2005 remains a mere blip on Microsoft's radar screen, Morimoto is already moving full speed ahead on integrated reporting for data warehousing.

Through a production deployment of Microsoft's new SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services, he has managed to eliminate a menagerie of several previously used tools, including Crystal Reports, Cognos' reporting products, and the reporting functions in PeopleSoft Enterprise Portal.

"We're now using Microsoft's Reporting Services to serve up around 50 reports to 10,000 end users. We've invested quite a few resources into that. We didn't have a single unified reporting solution before," he elaborates.

Due to added overhead, however, Long & Foster now needs to run two hardware servers just for reporting, instead of the one server originally required. "We experienced some performance problems running Reporting Services on a single server," he acknowledges.

He's also discovering that some existing third-party software, including Crystal, runs more smoothly than Microsoft's first try at reporting tools. "SQL Reporting Services doesn't necessarily crash, but it's still a little bit buggy. If you set a property in a certain way, for instance, it doesn't always work the way it's supposed to work. This is just the first version of Microsoft's product, though. Crystal's been out there for a lot longer."

Long & Foster is still using a pre-beta version of Reporting Services, in conjunction with the existing SQL Server 2000 database. Morimoto expects to see improvements when the final version of Reporting Services ships, plus further enhancements when Microsoft integrates its reporting tools into SQL 2005.

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