SSRS UX Changes in SQL Server 2016

SQL Server 2016 RC3 (last and feature complete RC) just came out for public review. It includes a couple of interesting UX enhancements. The first one is more of a teaser but shows you that Microsoft is committed to fulfill and go beyond its reporting roadmap. SSRS in native mode plays a central role in this roadmap as the on-premises BI reporting platform.

The new portal (the old Report Manager portal is gone BTW) now includes sections if you upload Power BI Desktop files and even Excel workbooks! For SQL Server 2016 RTM timeframe, clicking a file of these two types simply opens it on the client with the corresponding application (Power BI Desktop for PBIX files and Excel for Excel workbooks). So, no embedded web rendering yet but I guess these features won’t be there if Microsoft isn’t prepared to travel the full distance after RTM.


Second, we now have branding of the portal and mobile reports, as Chris Finlan explains in his “How to create a custom brand package for Reporting Services with SQL Server 2016” blog.


What’s New for BI in SQL Server 2016 CTP2?

The first public preview of SQL Server 2016 (CTP2) got announced yesterday. The natural question for BI pros is what’s new for BI. The “What’s New in …” topics in the SQL Server 2016 Books Online provides the detailed description of the BI features that made the CTP2 cut. To summarize the major features:


  1. Process partitions within a Tabular table in parallel. Previously, partitions within a table were processed sequentially.
  2. New DAX functions. The join-related ones, such as NATURALINNERJOIN, NATURALLEFTOUTERJOIN, UNION, will be useful.


  1. Subscription enhancements, such as Enable/disable subscriptions (New user interface options to quickly disable and enable subscriptions), change subscription owner, shared credential for file share subscriptions.
  2. Report Builder for SQL Server 2016 supports High DPI


  1. Incremental Package Deployment – ability to deploy individual packages to the SSIS catalog.
  2. AlwaysOn support – ability to host the SSIS catalog on a database configured for AlwaysOn for high-availability


  1. Improved Manageability – reuse entities across models!
  2. Improved performance – overall performance enhancements for larger models, as well as performance improvement for the Excel MDS add-in.
  3. Improved security
  4. Improved troubleshooting

More exciting features to come later on so stay tuned.