SQL Server Reporting Services is sort of an add on to Microsoft SQL Server. It allows you to develop reports within Visual Studio (or any other editor that can create report definition language files (RDL))
and then the reporting services talk to IIS with web services to publish reports. You can also set up subscriptions to reports, etc.
At first glance it looks like a panacea for anyone who has ever had to write reports. It allows you to go through some wizards, and create some very complex reports, and then publish them in html, xls, xml, pdf, text, etc. This is all great, but where it starts to break down is with the security.
If your organization is set up in a perfect world (which I am sure it isn’t) then reporting services will probably work for you. The main way to set up security is with NT authentication, and that just doesn’t work for some organizations. Also, parameters are passed through the querystring, so they are easily manipulated, so you can’t force a report to be ran the exact way you want to.
Overall, reporting services is pretty cool, but I just don’t think I would use it in what I do. If I was making an application for one organization where every user had the same level of rights/viewabilty, then I think it would work well.
I also saw a presentation on reporting servers at the SQL Users Group in the Twin Cities a few months back where they went into more detail then the MSDN event, and I still came to the same conclusion. I just don’t think it would work for me, but It is still a cool product, that will (hopefully) squash Crystal Reports 😉