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This week, we have a guest post from James Wu who is responsible for our latest BI Labs: SSRS Migration Tool. James is a Senior Software Development Lead for the BI group of Business and Platform Division and has worked for Microsoft since 2002.
SSRS customers have been asking for a migration tool for a very long time. Third party tools are available but they do not migrate all data. Copying passwords in stored credentials from one server to another server is particularly tricky. Migration from native to SharePoint integrated mode has many quirks that need to be worked through.
The Microsoft SSRS product team recognized this and developed a tool to address this need. It is now in Beta and can be downloaded here. There are a number of features and restrictions and you can read the details on the download page. In this blog I want talk about some of the underlying ideas and principles that guided the development of this tool. Hopefully it will help you better understand the tool and our vision for it.
One of the founding principles we applied is that the tool should support backup and restore. Migration is basically a backup operation followed by a restore operation. The backup is a self-contained archive of scripts and data files. The archive can be restored to any server, and it can function without the migration tool. We wanted the backup to outlast a particular version of the tool from which it is created.
We chose PowerShell to be the technology for the restore operation. It is admin friendly and easier to debug than an executable. Sure it is easier for us to write an executable to perform the restore operation, however we wanted to empower the user in customizing and debugging the backup they created.
To make diagnostics easier, the restore script (Migration.ps1) is idempotent. In other words you can run it multiple times and it will overwrite the previous results when necessary. To improve robustness, the restore script does not fail when there are errors in individual operations. It will retry a few times, and if the operation still fails it will log the error and continue.
So where are we going with the tool post-Beta? One of the biggest limitations right now is the tool supports only migration from native to SharePoint integration mode. This restriction seriously limits the usefulness as a backup tool. We would like to support native to native, SharePoint to SharePoint migration and we would like to set the RDL file owners correctly in SharePoint. Finally, we would also like to improve the UI, so stay tuned for future updates!
Be sure to check out the BI Labs interview below or the SSRS Migration Tool BI Labs page on the Microsoft BI website for more information.
According to the download page, the tool only supports migration from Native mode SSRS servers to the SharePoint Server. Also a cool feature to look at from the tool perspective is also to deploy SSRS reports into SharePoint once the restore is complete.