For a great career in the IT industry today, it is essential that you are ready with the SSRS interview questions to be able to get through the most challenging interview rounds.

SSRS stands for SQL Server Reporting Services. It is a SQL Server subsystem that allows the creation of mobile, graphical, and printed reports using SQL Server as well as other data sources. SQL Server is a Relational database management system (RDBMS) that offers support for business intelligence, transaction processing, and analytics applications. The main responsibility of SSRS developers is to improve SQL Server queries to proficiently retrieve data. By learning SSRS, you have the expertise to design and develop databases.

Top 30 SSRS Interview Questions and Answers for Professionals

If you are looking for a career in the field of database development, then SSRS is good to learn. Most organizations value SSRS as additional expertise along with SQL. In this article, we have collated a list of the top SSRS interview questions that you can expect in an interview. Go through the following questions to understand the kind of questions you need to be prepared for while giving an interview for a job related to anything with data science, data engineering, or data analysis.

1. Explain what SSRS is.

SQL Server Reporting Services or SSRS is a server-based reporting platform that provides detailed reporting functionality for various data sources. Reporting services comprise an entire set of tools to manage, generate and deliver reports and APIs that enables developers to coordinate data and report processes in a custom application.

2. What are the essential architecture components of SSRS?

Following are the important architecture components of SSRS:

  • Report Designer
  • Report Manager
  • Report Server
  • Report Server Database
  • Browser types supported by reporting services
  • Report Server and Command line utilities
  • Data Sources

3. Explain the term data regions and mention the different data regions.

Data regions are nothing but report items that display recurrent rows of summarized data or information from datasets. Different data regions include

  • Matrix
  • Gauge
  • Chart
  • List
  • Table

4. Explain the various stages of Report Processing

The various stages of Report Processing include:

  • Compile: It analyses the expressions in the report definitions and saves the compiled intermediate format on the server internally.
  • Process: It executes dataset queries and combines intermediate format with layout and data.
  • Render: It sends a processed report to a rendering extension to display how much information can fit on each page and then creates the page report.
  • Export: It exports reports to a different file format.

5. Explain what are parameterized reports. What are cascading parameters in SSRS reports? Do you feel that issues exist when multi-select / multi-value parameters are allowed and utilized?

Reports which accept parameters from users to fetch and report data conditionally are called parameterized reports. When there are multiple parameters available in a report and the values of the different parameters are populated dynamically depending on the value of parent parameters, then these parameters are known as cascading parameters. A tangent to cascading parameters is the multi-value parameters. In this scenario, multiple values are selected (or all values) within a parameter selector.

6. Explain how you would develop an SSRS report.

The typical development methodology for an SSRS report is to begin by developing a data source. Based on this data source, the report designer creates one or multiple datasets as required for the parameters as well as the body of the report. Next, the report designer adds required controls from the toolbox, which acts as a container for the fields available in the dataset. Subsequently, the formatting of controls needs to take place. Next, the designer should verify and validate the report and finally deploy the report. It is a good idea to follow specific best practices so that the report can convey a story and perform optimally.

7. What is a dataset and what are the different types of datasets? How do these relate to a data source?

A dataset is identical to a query definition that is executed just as the report is executed. There are two types of datasets - Embedded and Shared. An embedded dataset is exclusive to the report in which it is available and can only be used by that specific report. A shared dataset can be shared across reports. Once a dataset is shared, it has to be published to the Reporting Service Server to allow it to be used across various reports. Suitable folder permissions need to be set to be able to access shared datasets.

A dataset is the query definition of the data that is required and a data source is the "pipe" that is used to link the SSRS to the root location of the data - be it a Teradata, SQL Server, or a whole sundry of other sources. The data source typically comprises the credentials used to connect to the source.

8. Would you rather store your query in a Database server or an SSRS report? State the reasons why or why not.

SSRS has matured over the years and the answer to this question has pretty much changed too. Earlier, storing SQL queries in text format directly in the dataset was generally not recommended. However, since shared datasets have been introduced, an SSRS can store a single data set and the data set can be shared by multiple reports. However, the ideal scenario would be to access a database server to use a stored procedure. The advantage is that in a stored procedure, SQL will be available in a compiled format that offers all the benefits of using an SP as compared to using an ad-hoc query from the report. However, if you are using multi-select parameters you must understand that using a query rooted in a report or a shared dataset enables the report designer to take advantage of the multi-value parameter. 

9. Name the various types of reports that can be created while using the features of SSRS?

Following are the different types of the report such as;

  • Snapshot reports
  • Parameterized reports
  • Click through reports
  • Drill through reports
  • Drill down reports
  • Ad-hoc reports
  • Cached reports
  • Subreports
  • Linked reports

10. Explain the key features of SSRS.

Following are the key features of SSRS:

  • SSRS is cheaper and faster than other software
  • SSRS allows you to generate different data reporting types
  • No extra skill or training is required to learn SSRS
  • Provides a quick and secure data integration
  • SSRS is used to create a user interface and is available to access various parameters

11. Shed some light on the important highlights of SSRS.

Following are the most noticeable features of SSRS:

  • You can work on the reports generated by using XML, Excel, or other multi-dimensional sources and can recuperate information from OLEDB and ODBC association suppliers.
  • In SSRS, clients can create reports in different structures, such as freestyle, even, diagrams, graphical, and framework structure 
  • SSRS strengthens online highlights; anyone can interact and collaborate with the report server available on the web legitimately and can view reports in electronic applications. 
  • Any number of unplanned reports can be created by using pictures, illustrations, or outer substances and can be stored on a server. 
  • All the reports created in SSRS can be sent out in multiple arrangements such as CSV, XML, PDF, TIFF, HTML, and Excel. 
  • SSRS has the automated choice for transferring the reports to the client's letter drop, movable and shared area. 
  • It supports the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP).

12. Explain what benefits you get after using the SSRS Services.

Following is the list of advantages you get by using the SSRS Service of Microsoft-

  • SSRS can easily be utilized on your existing hardware, as reports are housed in one brought-together web server from where clients can execute a report from one single spot. 
  • As SSRS enables the cross-trading of reports in different organizations, it is quite simple to perform an additional examination of reports with multiple document groups. 
  • Conclusive reports can be created quickly on social or multi-dimensional information. 
  • Data can be delivered quickly to a business association.
  • There is no requirement for an expert to oversee SSRS, thus, you save on the cost of hiring pro aptitudes. 
  • Business clients can access the data without the help of IT experts. 
  • Security can be applied to folders just as we do to reports and can be overseen in a determined job order manner.

13. What is Tablix in SSRS?

The Tablix is a sum of the tables with matrices in SSRS. Each report that we create using the SSRS technology is based on the Tablix data region. In other words, a Tablix can be managed with the collective capabilities of a matrix and a table.

14. Explain the reporting life cycle of SSRS.

The reporting life cycle of SSRS comprises the following phases mainly:

  • Development of Reports (Developer): It states that we need to develop a report, something that the report developer primarily does.
  • Management of Reports (DBA): It states that DBA should ensure that the report is being created.
  • Security: It states that only an authorized user can access the report.
  • Execution: It states how the report will be run to improve the performance of the data sources.
  • Scheduling of reports: This is required so that the report can be executed on the timings as scheduled.
  • Report Delivery (DBA + Developer): It states that once the report is created and executed, the report should reach the final recipients (business users), who then need to understand and analyze the data of the report. If there are any changes, we need to go back to the development stage again.

15. In which programming language are the RDL files written?

RDL files are written in XML (Extensible Markup Language). These files are an extension of XML used for SSRS reporting services. 

16. What are the different stages of Report Processing in SSRS?

The different stages of Report Processing in SSRS are:

  • Compile: It internally analyses expressions in the report definitions and the compiled intermediate format on the server.
  • Process: It executes dataset queries and combines the intermediate format with the data and layout.
  • Render: It sends the processed report to a rendering extension to specify how much information fits on each page. It also creates the page report.
  • Export: It is used to export the reports to a different file format.

17. What is the Reporting Services Configuration file name in SSRS, and where does it exist?

The name of the Reporting Services Configuration file is "Rsreportserver.config" in SSRS. It is available in the settings in the Report Manager used in the Report Server Web Service and background processes.

18. What are the three different parts of the RDL file in SSRS?

The three different parts of the RDL file in SSRS are:

  • Data: It includes the dataset on which the query is written and the data set is linked to the data source.
  • Design: You can design reports in the design reports and create matrix reports and tables. It also helps us to drag column values from the source.
  • Preview: This part is used to check the preview once the report is executed.

19. Explain what you understand by the term sub-report in SSRS?

In SSRS, sub-reports are the subpart of the main reports. These reports can be inserted into the main part and queries and parameters can be passed to subreports just like the main report. A sub-report can be thought of as an extension to the main report, but it includes a different data set. For example, if you prepare a report for students, you can also use a sub-report to show the marks associated with each student.

20. Do you think it is possible to implement data mining within SSRS? If yes, tell us how.

Yes, it is possible to implement data mining in SSRS. You can execute the implementation using a DMX designer and develop data mining queries needed for SSRS reports. SSRS allows us to create an exclusive custom data mining report that comprises images and text, which can be exported HTML.

21. Explain what are Cache results of the SSRS reports.

Cache results are based on the format of the report. SSRS enables cache reports on the reporting server, and it also offers built-in caching capability. However, the server only caches one instance of the report in most cases. It also allows users to access and view reports quickly.

22. What are the different rendering extensions available in SSRS?

Following are the top six rendering extensions available in SSRS:

  • PDF
  • Word
  • XML
  • HTML
  • CSV or Text
  • PDF

23. Which tool do the Business Users use to create their reports?

Typically, business developers use the Report Builder tool to generate reports, and this is the best choice for creating reports.

24. What is the role of a report manager in SSRS?

In SSRS, a report manager is a web application in SSRS that can be accessed by a URL. The report manager interface depends on the user permissions. This means that the user must be allocated a role to access any functionality or execute any task. A user assigned the role of full permission can manage all the menus and features of the report. A URL must be defined to configure the report manager.

25. What are the open-source software that can be used as an alternative to SSRS?

Following are some open-source software that can be used as an alternative to SSRS:

  • DataVision Reports
  • JFree Reports
  • BIRT (Business Intelligence Reporting Tool)
  • Jasper Reports
  • OpenReport

26. What are the core components of SSRS?

The core components of SSRS are:

  • SSRS needs a set of tools to Create, View and Manage reports.
  • A report server component hosts and processes reports in different formats such as HTML, PDF, Excel, and CSV.
  • Developers integrating with custom applications or creating custom tools can use APIs to manage or build reports.

27. How can we fine-tune reports in SSRS?

Following are the steps to fine-tune the reports in SSRS:

  1. Create a big server or you can utilize the reporting services of other database servers.
  2. Store the duplicate copy of the data for the advanced installation of the logic, report contents, and characteristics of the report's application.
  3. You can solve the locking issues by adopting no lock. It can also improvise the query of the performance.

28. Explain what are the data types used to develop Radio Button Parameter Type in an SSRS Report.

The Radio Button Parameter Type in SSRS Reports is created with the help of a Boolean data type. Ensure to set the data type to Boolean while using the bit-type column to add a query for the report.

29. What are the different reporting service components in SSRS?

The different reporting service components in SSRS are:

  • Report Server: Used for services such as the delivery of implementations and reports.
  • Report Designer: Specifies where the report is designed or created.
  • Report Manager: A web-based administration tool used to manage the report server.

30. What are the different ways to deploy an SSRS report?

SSRS reports can be deployed through:

  • Visual Studio 
  • Report servers
  • By creating the utility

31. List out what other servers you can use with SSRS?

SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) can be used with the following servers:

  1. Microsoft SQL Server
  2. SharePoint Server
  3. Microsoft Azure SQL Database and Azure Synapse Analytics (formerly SQL Data Warehouse)
  4. Oracle Database

32. Mention what the different types of SSRS reports are?

  • Tabular Report: A tabular report is the most basic type of SSRS report that displays data in a tabular format, similar to a spreadsheet. It is used for displaying data in a simple, organized manner.
  • Matrix Report: A matrix report, also known as a crosstab report, displays data in a grid format. It is useful for comparing data across multiple dimensions and categories.
  • Chart Report: A chart report displays data in a graphical format, such as a bar chart, line chart, or pie chart. This type of report is useful for visualizing trends and patterns in data.

33. Name some of the open-source software you can use as an alternative to SSR? 

Some open-source alternatives to SSRS include JasperReports, BIRT (Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools), and Pentaho Report Designer. 

34. Explain how you can configure a running aggregate in SSRS? 

To configure a running aggregate in SSRS, you can use the RunningValue function in a calculated field or expression. You can specify the aggregate function (such as Sum, Count, or Average) and the area to be aggregated. 

35. Mention what is the main function of a query parameter? 

The main function of a query parameter in SSRS is to allow users to filter the data that is displayed in a report. 

36. Explain how SSRS reports Cache results?

Yes, SSRS reports can cache results. Caching allows an account to store the data retrieved from the data source in memory to quickly access it without retrieving the data again. 

37. Mention what are the three command line utilities and what are their primary functions? 

SSRS's three command line utilities are RsConfig.exe, RsKeymgmt.exe, and Rs.exe. RsConfig.exe is used to configure the SSRS service and manage encryption keys. RsKeymgmt.exe is used to manage encryption keys for SSRS. Rs.exe is used to execute SSRS scripts and manage report server operations. 

38. What method can you use to reduce the overhead of Reporting Services data sources? 

 One method to reduce the overhead of Reporting Services data sources is to use shared data sources. A shared data source allows multiple reports to use the same connection information, reducing the need to duplicate connection information in numerous words. 

39. Explain what is the difference between Tabular and Matrix report? 

A tabular report is a simple, organized report that displays data in a tabular format, similar to a spreadsheet. It is useful for displaying data in a simple, organized manner. A matrix report, also known as a crosstab report, displays data in a grid format. It is useful for comparing data across multiple dimensions and categories. 

40. What is an Ad Hoc Report? 

It is designed to meet the user's specific needs and can be customized as needed. Ad Hoc reports are created using a drag-and-drop interface, allowing users to quickly create reports without needing technical expertise. 

41. What are the command prompt utilities for SSRS? List out some and explain.

The command prompt utilities for SSRS include:

  1. RS.exe: This utility is used for deploying and managing reports on the SSRS server. It can create and manage report folders, upload and download messages, and set security permissions for reports.
  2. RSCONFIG.exe: This utility configures the SSRS server, including setting up the connection to the report server database and managing the encryption keys.
  3. RSKeyMgmt.exe: This utility is used for managing the encryption keys used by the SSRS server.

42. Explain the minimum software requirements for the SSRS framework.

 The minimum software requirements for the SSRS framework include the following:

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 or later
  • SQL Server 2008 R2 or later
  • .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 or later
  • Internet Information Services (IIS) 7 or later
  • A web browser (such as Internet Explorer, Chrome, or Firefox) to access the report server

43. What is mixed-mode database security?

Mixed mode database security is a type of security that allows for both Windows and SQL Server authentication to be used in a SQL Server database. This allows Windows and SQL Server users to access the database with different permissions and access rights.

44. If you have created a report with a month name as its parameter, explain the easiest way to provide values for the parameter?

One of the easiest ways to provide values for the parameter is to use the built-in functions in SSRS to generate the list of month names dynamically. You can use the following steps:

  1. In the report design view, navigate to the "Report Data" pane and right-click on the "Parameters" folder. Select "New Parameter" to create a new parameter for the month name.
  2. In the "Parameter Properties" window, set the "Prompt" to "Month Name" and set the "Data type" to "String."

45. How to Create a Calendar Parameter in SSRS Report

To create a calendar parameter in an SSRS report, you can follow these steps:

  1. Create a new parameter in the report, giving it a name such as "CalendarDate."
  2. Set the data type of the parameter to "Date."
  3. In the "Available Values" section, select "None."
  4. In the "Default Values" section, select "Today."

46. How would you generate a Sequence Number for all the Records in the SSRS Report?

To generate a sequence number for all records in an SSRS report, you can use the ROW_NUMBER() function within the query for the dataset. 

47. How will you display data on a single Tablix extracted from two datasets in an SSRS report by joining on the single column?

To display data on a single Tablix extracted from two datasets in an SSRS report by joining on a single column, you can use the JOIN clause in the query for the primary dataset.

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This blog has provided you with the most commonly asked SSRS Interview Questions. Make sure you go through all the questions and answers provided in this article. 

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