The migration is simple but you may face huge problem if existing SSRS 2005 reports contain any of these features: custom code, annotations, custom legend items and/or dundas control.
I was planning to migrate our report server from SSRS 2005 to SSRS 2008. I did some Research on the cause and effect of the migration to know what problems can happen due to the migration and to be true I did not get any article explaining the experiences of the migration. That is why I am sharing my experiences so the developers can get an idea of probable effects on the reports before they do that.
Basically, we were thinking to migrate for the following reason:
- Use the improved rendering as some of our reports were heavy loaded and took time to load
- Extended reports exporting capability.
- Use tablix for the table based reports representation
- Rid-off dundas chart, gauge and other controls as these are integrated in SSRS 2008
- Moreover, we were migrating from windows server 2005 to 2008 so we thought that migration the SSRS at the same time will be the best idea.
As a total, the migration was not that easy, rather it took lots of extra unexpected efforts.
Migration is Simple but prepare yourself for problems
- I had the old reports developed in SSRS 2005.
- I installed SQL Server 2008 R2 which provided SQL Server Business Intelligence Development Studio.
- Open Business Intelligence Development Studio 2008.
- Go to File -> Open -> Project /Solution, Browse SSRS 2005 solution.
- Visual Studio Conversion wizard will open and convert all the reports.
Booom!! Huhoooo, reports are converted and ready to use.
By the way check header, footer, and page break of all the reports it can break, because the rendering has been changes in SSRS 2008.
But problem started with Dusdas control, custom code, annotations, and custom legend items. These did not converted and in some cased the conversion removed these.
Dundas Control and SQL Server Report Server
SSRS 2005 did not have strong features for custom code, annotations, custom legend items, and many other important reporting objects. But dundas control had the strength, and it was really easy to add dundas control in SSRS 2005. So many people used dundas control in SSRS 2005 reports.
Microsoft acquired Dundas Data Visualization Intellectual Property in April 2007 and integrated this technology in different Microsoft products. New Chart and Gauge report items were already released as part of SQL Reporting Services 2008.
The good thing is at the time of conversion from SSRS 2005 to SSRS 2008 all the Dundas controls had been converted automatically. But the bad thing is: reports containing custom code, annotations, and custom legend breaks or the features are not converted. Because the 2005 Dundas chart CRI features that are not being included as native 2008 report items are: custom code, annotations, and custom legend items.
The worst part is: SSRS 2008 remove these features from my reports.
Fix reports after conversion
Fix reports after conversion
If you have charts in your report, there is big chance that the legends of the series are not displaying properly, in some cases I found that the data series are not correct. that means chart is displaying wrong data. In my case, I go through every report containing chart and check the series data and legend, copy series properties and the custom legend code from old reports (SSRS 2005) to the new report (SSRS 2008).
To fix custom code and annotation
I did not find a way to fix the custom code and annotation directly from the SSRS 2008.
- So I downloaded the dundas control for SSRS 2008
- Setup the dundas control for SSRS 2008
- Copy and paste old custom code from report server 2005 to report server 2008
If your custom code contains any external assembly then you should rebuild the dll, remove it and add it again from the private assembly path of your computer.
Remember, in case of SSRS 2008 the older custom code, custom dll path will not work because you need to use private assembly directory of Visual Studio 9 instead of Visual Studio 8.
Many of the UI features have been changed so you report might look little different than the previous. Not report data but report background, asix, legend position etc. These features are really richer than than SSRS 2005. But if your clients expect the old UX you can always change it.
About report viewer conversion
If you are displaying your reports in a website it is better to convert the reportview control. We display our reports in a website so that our clients can easily login and check daily reports. In our case, after converting reports server from 2005 to 2008, I installed report viewer 10 and replace it from report viewer 9.
BTW, you cannot load ssrs 2005 in report viewer 10, it supports reports developer in ssrs 2008 and later version.
Frustration from the conversion
As my reports contained special features I had to install Dundas control for SSRS 2008 and fix the reports using Dundas control, though Dundas control is integrated in SSRS 2008.
Due to a huge number of report file, testing and fixing took long time.
Anyway everything is converted perfectly finally.
- Before conversion, be sure that you have the backup.
- Be sure your old server is up and running for testing and comparison.
- Finally test in details before you push it to production server because features may be missed.
V 1.0 - 31 Oct 2012 - First Draft of the article.