The Future of Datazen – SSRS

There were a number of presentations where the next versions of software were discussed at PASS Summit. Among the more interesting was the conversions about the Future of DataZen. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the product, Microsoft bought Datazen on April 14, 2015, as their on-premise Mobile Solution. For more information on Datazen, please check out my previous posts on it here. In July of this year when I talked to someone from Microsoft about how Datazen fit into the product offering, he told me that it was going to be the non-cloud application to provide visualizations to mobile phones. Now with the latest series of product announcements, I fully understand what he meant. Datazen is going to be merged into SQL Server Reporting Services [SSRS]. The Datazen server is going to be combined into SSRS. SSRS is the new Datazen.

SSRS Updates Include Adding Datazen

For anyone who has looked at the product releases notes of the last three versions of SQL Server, you won’t find much about SSRS. The picture perfect reporting system was left alone. I was not surprised to hear from one of the Microsoft Employee’s at their booth at PASS Summit that they were told not even to mention SSRS as a reporting solution a few years ago. Everything was all about Power BI. Power BI is a neat visualization tool, but it doesn’t fit the needs of all users, primarily because it is a cloud based application, and let’s face it. Some people are just not going to go to the cloud.

On Premise Solutions Are No Longer Forgotten

Anyone who has perused by Microsoft’s product offerings in the past few years saw lots of things about the cloud.

Microsoft shows support for cloud and on premise software

Microsoft shows support for cloud and on premise software

Applications like Power BI and Azure ML are only available there. It seemed like Microsoft was abandoning people who wanted to maintain their own servers. They are looking to change this impression. I have included the graphic that Microsoft included in a number of their presentations. They are trying to show love for the box, which is the representation of on premises software.

Datazen SSRS Integration

Datazen is going to maintain the client features that people like, including designing using the grid view and picking the form factor. The server which manages Datazen is no longer going to be a separate server but will be included in the SSRS Server in SQL Server 2016. The idea is that Datazen will inherit some of the features people like about SSRS, such as the subscription model. The details regarding exactly how all of this will work were not made exactly clear, but I imagine that in the very near future more details of the Datazen/SSRS integration will be available soon. One of the things that I wondered is if the name Datazen was going to go away entirely and the application was going to be called SSRS mobile? I heard differing answers to this question, so I am not sure it has been determined yet. What I was assured of is the features that made Datazen a very good mobile solution are not going away. Microsoft hopes that having the ability to publish from SSRS to the phone may be a big reasons people decide to upgrade to SQL Server 2016 next year when this functionality is released.

Yours Always

Ginger Grant

Data aficionado et SQL Raconteur


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