A Reporting Services data processing extension is a component installed with Reporting Services, designed to retrieve data from a specific type of data source and to provide extra functionality to support report design and report processing. A .NET Framework data provider is a component available from Microsoft or third-party sources that supports System.Data interfaces that allow you to retrieve and to modify data from a specific type of data source.
Understanding a Data Processing Extension
A Reporting Services data processing extension supports a subset of the System.Data interfaces. Data processing extensions require only read-only access to a data source, so the interfaces for write and update are not implemented. Each data processing extension can provide custom features to support report processing. For example, a data processing extension might support the following types of features:
Managing credentials separately from the connection string
Supporting multivalue parameters
Retrieving server aggregates, which are calculated on the data source
Retrieving data properties as well as data values from the data source
Understanding a Data Provider
A .NET Framework data provider (sometimes known as a driver) supports a standard set of System.Data interfaces for reading, writing, and updating data on a data source. A data provider can be used when there is no data processing extension available for a specific type of data source. Many third-party standard .NET Framework data providers are available.
Because Reporting Services has an extensible data provider architecture, you can build a custom data processing extension to include the extra functionality supplied by Reporting Services data processing extensions. For more information, see Implementing a Data Processing Extension. For third-party data processing extensions, see the documentation that comes with the third-party data processing extension.
A .NET Framework data provider or custom data processing extension must be installed and registered before it can be used to access data from a data source. The data processing extension must be installed and registered both on the reporting client to author the report and on the report server to view the published report. Not all data providers are designed to work in a server environment. For more information, see Register a Standard .NET Framework Data Provider (SSRS).and Deploying a Data Processing Extension.