In January 2017, Microsoft released a Technical Preview of SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) that can host Power BI reports – if those reports are designed in a special preview version of Power BI Desktop. This SSRS Technical Preview is installed as a standalone service, separate from the usual SQL Server install process. The release of this Technical Preview is exciting for those of us who have wanted to work with on-premises Power BI solutions.
In this Technical Preview, the data source for the Power BI reports must be a live connection to Analysis Services, either tabular or multidimensional. (Click here to download the files.)
How to Use the Microsoft SSRS Technical Preview to Host Power BI Reports
After clicking on the button labeled “Download,” you’ll see this:
Select the “SQLServerReportingServices.exe” file, and the version of the “PBIDesktopRS” file that matches the platform of your machine (32-bit vs 64-bit), and download those files.
After the downloads are complete, install the SQL Server Reporting Services Technical Preview (SQLServerReportingServices.exe).
This is the first screen you should see:
This is the “Options” screen, where you can choose the install location:
This is the final screen of the install. Notice the button in the lower right corner labeled “Configure Report Server”:
Clicking that button will open the Reporting Services Configuration Manager (then click “Connect”):
If you already have SSRS installed on your machine, you can use a different port number for this special preview. Just remember that you’ll have to include that non-default port number in your URL (for example, “http://yourservername:8000/reports”).
You can modify the port number in the “Web Service URL” page of the Configuration Manager:
Click on “Database” in the left navigation area, then click on “Change Database” on the right side, and set up a new database, or connect to an existing database:
The “Database” page shows the proper database name, and you can click “Exit” in the bottom right corner:
Now it’s time to install the Power BI special preview (PBIDesktopRS_x64.msi). This special preview can be installed side-by-side with the “regular” Power BI Desktop application:
The shortcut that appears on the desktop is different than the “regular” Power BI Desktop shortcut, as it contains the words “SQL Server Reporting Services”:
When you open the special preview Power BI Desktop application, you’ll see the same description in the title bar:
Important Point: As mentioned above, at this time (for Power BI reports that will be uploaded to SSRS) the data source must be a live connection to Analysis Services, either tabular or multidimensional.
After you create your Power BI report, you can upload that PBIX file to the special preview of SSRS.
When there are PBIX reports in SSRS, you can open them – and edit them – directly through the Power BI Desktop special preview:
If you select the RS choice here, you are prompted to connect to your server:
Thanks for tuning in for our tutorial on Microsoft’s SSRS Technical Preview. We hope you found this information helpful. If you have any more questions about SQL server reporting or Microsoft enterprise technology in general, feel free to contact our Microsoft gold-certified experts.
Related reading: Power BI – Turn a Slicer into a Drop-Down List