Create data connection strings - Report Builder & SSRS

APPLIES TO: YesSQL Server 2016 Reporting Services and later YesPower BI Report Server YesSharePoint

To include data in Report Builder and Reporting Services paginated reports, you must first create a connection string to your data source. This article explains how to create data connection strings and important information related to data source credentials. A data source includes the data source type, connection information, and the type of credentials to use. For more background, see Intro to Report Data in SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS).

Built-in data extensions

Default data extensions in Reporting Services include Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Azure SQL Database, and Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services. For a full list of data sources and versions Reporting Services supports, see Data Sources Supported by Reporting Services (SSRS).

Common connection string examples

Connection strings are the text representation of connection properties for a data provider. The following table lists examples of connections strings for various data connection types.

Note

Connectionstrings.com is another resource to get examples for connection strings.

Data source Example Description
SQL Server database on the local server data source="(local)";initial catalog=AdventureWorks Set data source type to Microsoft SQL Server. For more information, see SQL Server Connection Type (SSRS).
SQL Server Instance

database
Data Source=localhost\MSSQL13.<InstanceName>; Initial Catalog=AdventureWorks Set data source type to Microsoft SQL Server.
Azure SQL Database Data Source=<host>;Initial Catalog=AdventureWorks; Encrypt=True Set data source type to Microsoft Azure SQL Database. For more information, see Azure SQL Connection Type (SSRS).
SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse HOST=<IP address>;database= AdventureWorks; port=<port> Set data source type to Microsoft SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse. For more information, see SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse Connection Type (SSRS).
Analysis Services database on the local server data source=localhost;initial catalog=Adventure Works DW Set data source type to Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services. For more information, see Analysis Services Connection Type for MDX (SSRS) or Analysis Services Connection Type for DMX (SSRS).
Analysis Services tabular model database with Sales perspective Data source=<servername>;initial catalog= Adventure Works DW;cube='Sales' Set data source type to Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services. Specify perspective name in cube= setting. For more information, see Perspectives (SSAS Tabular).
Oracle server data source=myserver Set the data source type to Oracle. The Oracle client tools must be installed on the Report Designer computer and on the report server. For more information, see Oracle Connection Type (SSRS).
SAP NetWeaver BI data source DataSource=https://mySAPNetWeaverBIServer:8000/sap/bw/xml/soap/xmla Set the data source type to SAP NetWeaver BI. For more information, see SAP NetWeaver BI Connection Type (SSRS).
Hyperion Essbase data source Data Source=https://localhost:13080/aps/XMLA; Initial Catalog=Sample Set the data source type to Hyperion Essbase. For more information, see Hyperion Essbase Connection Type (SSRS).
Teradata data source data source=<NNN>.<NNN>.<NNN>.<NNN>; Set the data source type to Teradata. The connection string is an Internet Protocol (IP) address in the form of four fields, where each field can be from one to three digits. For more information, see Teradata Connection Type (SSRS).
Teradata data source Database= <database name> ; data source= <NNN*>.<NNN>.<NNN>.<NNN>*;Use X Views=False;Restrict to Default Database=True Set the data source type to Teradata, similar to the previous example. Only use the default database that is specified in the Database tag, and do not automatically discover data relationships.
XML data source, Web service data source=https://adventure-works.com/results.aspx Set the data source type to XML. The connection string is a URL for a web service that supports Web Services Definition Language (WSDL). For more information, see XML Connection Type (SSRS).
XML data source, XML document https://localhost/XML/Customers.xml Set the data source type to XML. The connection string is a URL to the XML document.
XML data source, embedded XML document Empty Set the data source type to XML. The XML data is embedded in the report definition.
SharePoint List data source=https://MySharePointWeb/MySharePointSite/ Set data source type to SharePoint List.
Power BI Premium dataset (Starting with Reporting Services 2019 and Power BI Report Server January 2020) Data Source=powerbi://api.powerbi.com/v1.0/myorg/<workspacename>;Initial Catalog=<datasetname> Set data source type to Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services.

If you fail to connect to a report server using localhost, check that the network protocol for TCP/IP protocol is enabled. For more information, see Configure Client Protocols.

For more information about the configurations needed to connect to these data source types, see the specific data connection article under Add Data from External Data Sources (SSRS) or Data Sources Supported by Reporting Services (SSRS).

Special characters in a password

If you configure your ODBC or SQL data source to prompt for a password or to include the password in the connection string, and a user enters the password with special characters like punctuation marks, some underlying data source drivers cannot validate the special characters. When you process the report, the message "Not a valid password" may indicate this problem. If changing the password is impractical, you can work with your database administrator to store the appropriate credentials on the server as part of a system ODBC data source name (DSN). For more information, see OdbcConnection.ConnectionString" in the .NET Framework documentation.

Expression-based connection strings

Expression-based connection strings are evaluated at run time. For example, you can specify the data source as a parameter, include the parameter reference in the connection string, and allow the user to choose a data source for the report. For example, suppose a multinational firm has data servers in several countries. With an expression-based connection string, a user who is running a sales report can select a data source for a particular country before running the report.

The following example illustrates the use of a data source expression in a SQL Server connection string. The example assumes you have created a report parameter named ServerName:

="data source=" & Parameters!ServerName.Value & ";initial catalog=AdventureWorks"  

Data source expressions are processed at run time or when a report is previewed. The expression must be written in Visual Basic. Use the following guidelines when defining a data source expression:

  • Design the report using a static connection string. A static connection string refers to a connection string that is not set through an expression (for example, when you follow the steps for creating a report-specific or shared data source, you are defining a static connection string). Using a static connection string allows you to connect to the data source in Report Designer so that you can get the query results you need to create the report.

  • When defining the data source connection, do not use a shared data source. You cannot use a data source expression in a shared data source. You must define an embedded data source for the report.

  • Specify credentials separately from the connection string. You can use stored credentials, prompted credentials, or integrated security.

  • Add a report parameter to specify a data source. For parameter values, you can either provide a static list of available values (in this case, the available values should be data sources you can use with the report) or define a query that retrieves a list of data sources at run time.

  • Be sure that the list of data sources shares the same database schema. All report design begins with schema information. If there is a mismatch between the schema used to define the report and the actual schema used by the report at run time, the report might not run.

  • Before publishing the report, replace the static connection string with an expression. Wait until you are finished designing the report before you replace the static connection string with an expression. Once you use an expression, you cannot execute the query in Report Designer. Furthermore, the field list in the Report Data pane and the Parameters list will not update automatically.

Next steps

Intro to Report Data in SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) Create and Modify Shared Data Sources
Create and Modify Embedded Data Sources
Set Deployment Properties
Specify Credential and Connection Information for Report Data Sources

More questions? Try asking the Reporting Services forum