Compare SQL Server Reporting Services & Crystal Reports

To date, many organizations have relied on Crystal Reports for production reporting of data stored in SQL Server. But with the release of SQL Server 2005, Microsoft offers a version of Reporting Services that is an excellent alternative to Crystal Reports, so many organizations are migrating away from Business Objects licensing to the Microsoft platform.

The following article compares the two reporting applications and provides migration 'How To' detail and resources:

Migrating from Business Objects Crystal Reports to SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services

In summary, here are some reasons to migrate:

Avoid paying for unneccessary licenses

- since Reporting Services is included with SQL Server license, paying for Crystal Report licenses is redundant and doesn't make fiscal sense

Single platform

- in addition to production reporting, SQL Server provides a market-leading platform for data warehouse development, OLAP (ad hoc) analysis, and data integration

- strategic and cohesive approach to technology optimization conveys how IT is a proactive asset to the organization, not a reactive cost center that constantly has to piece together and fix disparate systems

Unified development model

- by using the Visual Studio framework for report development, developers apply a consistent development methodology for different applications

Familiar user interfaces

- through the Microsoft Office System (including SharePoint & PerformancePoint), business users benefit from greater accessibility to the applications and key functions they use everyday


- SQL Server integrates multiple data sources into single 'warehouse' or application to report information effectively

- Microsoft Office System integrates reports and BI capabilities with other key business processes such as collaboration, workflow, search, document management and planning

Documentation & Resources

- the collection of available resources online and in print for the Microsoft platform is more extensive and more readily available than what Business Objects offers

New hires and contractors

- easier to find affordable staff and consultants who are familiar with SQL Server and Microsoft Office for reporting and Business Intelligence

Use of XML schema for Report Definition Language (RDL)

- promotes an open report document format that can be easily shared between applications

Greater extensibility

- application developers can create new custom data sources, new delivery capabilities, new rendering options, or new security

- Web Services can be used as data sources and custom report controls can be easily created and used in reports

Top new features of SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services:

- Author reports with any structure using the Tablix data format

- Enhanced performance and scalability

- Render reports to Microsoft Office Word 2007

- Enhanced visualizations (including new Dundas charting)