The (un)official guide to SQL Reporting Services 2000 & 2005 interop

I’ve seen tons of questions around if you can use various components of SRS 2000 with SSRS 2005 (and vice-versa), so I’m attempting to document them all in once place. This will hopefully become a good FAQ on the subject…feel free to ask/add more to this list via the comments section


Q. Can you use the 2005 Report Viewer controls against SSRS 2000?


A. No, you can’t.



Q. Can you use a 2000 RDL with the 2005 Report Viewer control? 


A. No, you must first upgrade the report to 2005.



Q. How do I upgrade a 2000 report?


A. To upgrade an SSRS 2000 report to 2005, open it with the 2005 designer, or upload it to SSRS 2005 and it will be dynamically updated.



Q. Can you publish a report from VS 2005 to SSRS 2000?


A. No, you can’t the RDL schema has been updated since 2000, and your 2000 server won’t understand the 2005 schema.



Q. Can I use VS 2005 to create 2000 reports?


A. No, we generate 2005 RDL, which SSRS 2000 won’t understand.



Q. Can I run SSRS 2000 and 2005 side-by-side?


A. Yes, you can. You must install 2000 as the default instance and 2005 as a named instance. See BOL for more information.



Q. Can I publish my SSRS 2000 RDL document to 2005?


A. Yes, you can. You can upload the document via Report Manager, publish directly via Report Designer 2000, or use the SOAP API.



Q. Can you install the 2000 and 2005 designer on the same machine?                     


A. I haven’t tried it myself, but supposedly, yes…this should work.



Q. Can I host the 2000 Report Designer inside VS 2005?


A. No, you can’t.



Q. I want my SSRS 2005 instance’s ReportServer (system) database to be hosted on SQL 2000. Is this possible?


A. Yes, it is.


Update: I’ve added a seperate post on this:



Q. I published my 2000 report to SSRS 2005 via Report Manager. Can I export it and use it in SSRS 2000 again?


A. Yes, you can. (Thanks to Brian Hartman). If you use Report Manager and choose “edit” you get the original RDL you published right back. However, if you opened the 2000 report in VS 2005 and *then* published it to SSRS 2005 via the designer, you won’t be able to “roll back”, as VS 2005 upgrades the RDL schema.


Q. I have SSRS 2005 SP1 installed and I’ve deployed my reports to this machine. Can I re-publish these reports to a SSRS 2005 RTM box?


A. Yes, SSRS 2005 reports can be moved back and forth between RTM and SP1 instances with no problems.

Comments (28)

  1. LeeB says:

    We currently use SQL2K and I’m investigating the best reporting solution to use for an upcoming project (either Crystal or SSRS).

    Obviosuly as we have a SQL2K license, we are entitled to use SQL2K Reporting Services.

    The project will be developed with VS2005 so from the info above it is not possible to use VS2005 against SQL2K RS. Is it possible (from a technical and licensing perspective) to use SQL2005 RS with only an SQL2K database server? If so, is there any documentation on this?


  2. Hi Lee —

    Sorry, but I don’t understand your question. Can you be more specific (maybe includes "steps" of what you’d want to do)?

  3. LeeB says:

    Hi Russell,

    Basically I’d like to use VS2005 to design reports for use with SQL2K. I’m a little confused as to whether SSRS2005 is tied into the SQL Server 2005 DB product or whether its fully compatible with SQL2K.

    Is SSRS2005 tied to SQL Server 2005 or can it be used in a purely SQL2K environment? We already have an investment in SQL2K and at the moment we have no plans to upgrade to SQL2005.

    So I’m wondering if it’s possible to obtain and install the SSRS20005 package and use it in a purely SQL2K environment or must one use SQL2005 Server to use SSRS2005? Are there any licensing issues? – I believe anyone with an SQL2K Server license is granted a license to use SSSRS2000, is this also true for SSRS2005?

    I hope I’ve managed to be a bit more clear!


  4. Thanks Lee, I’m with you now. This is less of an issue of SQL 2000 working with SQL 2005 and more of an issue of the updated RDL schema. SSRS 2005 uses a new RDL schema, but can "auto-upgrade" a 2000 report using the old 2000 schema. SSRS 2000 only knows the 2000 RDL schema, of course. Once a report has been stored in SSRS 2005, it uses the 2005 RDL schema, so you can’t round-trip it back to 2000

    When you create a report with VS 2005, you are leveraging the 2005 RDL schema…so you’re not going to be able to publish this report to a SRS 2000 box, regardless of what that instance uses for internal storage (If the reportserver database lives on a 2000 or 2005 box).

    The licensing is pretty much the same between 2000 and 2005 — Installing SSRS anywhere is considered "installing the SQL Server product"…So if you install SSRS and the SQL Server engine on ONE box, you’re in good shape. BUT, if you install the SQL Engine on "box1" and SSRS on "box2", you’re looking at TWO licenses.

    Clear as mud? 🙂

  5. Luis Mtz says:

    Sorry I don’t speek a good inglish, y hope understand spanish.

    Es posible desarrollar los reportes con VS2003 usando SQL 2000 y SSRS 2000 y llamar los reportes desarrollados desde una aplicacion ASP.Net realizada en VS2005, si esto se puede realizar, creo que seria una solución alterna para que conviva una aplicacion VS2005 con una BD SQL 2000 usando Reporting Services, saludos 🙂

  6. ¡Gracias, traducción de Google!

    Usted no puede exhibir un informe de SSRS 2000 en los espectadores del informe del estudio 2005 de Viusal. Usted podría exhibir los 2000 informes dentro del control del browser, sin embargo. Así pues, su respuesta es "usted puede hacer esto, pero las características no serán pues bueno como si usted tuviera un informe 2005".

  7. LeeB says:

    Thanks for the info Russell. I have to admit to not having a lot of experience of SSRS so please bare with me. I’m not sure I fully understand…

    So I currently have an SQL2K box and wish to use it to host an instance of SSRS2005. The data I will report off will be on the same box.

    Am I right to think that SSRS2005 will install on this server and make use of the SQL2K database engine? In other words I may use SSRS2005 without having a single instance of SQL Server 2005.

    Would the licensing cover this scenario? (ie. I have a full SQL2K processor license but not SQL2005 license)

    If the above is possible, I’d then be able to use VS2005 to create reports against the SSRS2005 instance (even though I’m using SQL2K as the backend report server).

    We don’t have any legacy reports in SSRS2000 format to upgrade.

    Thanks for your patience!

  8. LeeB says:

    Hi Russell,

    Further to my post above I think I may be mistaken. I’d assumed that SSRS2005 was a standalone component which could be installed against SQL2K or SQL2005.

    However, am I right to think that SSRS2005 is not a standalone component and is actually an integrated part of SQL Server 2005?

    Therefore it would not be possible to do what I’d tried to describe above.


  9. SSRS (the web service and the windows service) can be installed on a box regardless of whether SQL is also installed (and regardless of what version of SQL is installed). However, installing any part of SQL Server means you must have a license.

    You asked "Am I right to think that SSRS2005 will install on this server and make use of the SQL2K database engine? In other words I may use SSRS2005 without having a single instance of SQL Server 2005.

    Would the licensing cover this scenario? (ie. I have a full SQL2K processor license but not SQL2005 license)"

    You need a 2005 license to install SSRS 2005 anywhere. If you install SSRS 2005 on machine where you already have SQL 2005 installed, then you "leverage" the license you already have (because you needed one to install the database engine).

  10. StephenN says:

    I was doing a search on licensing for SSRS 2005 and this page came up. Russ, I know you probably don’t have anything to do with it, but I am a little disappointed in the licensing for SSRS 2000 & 2005. The focus of my disappointment is the fact that in a typical setup you have to have a minimum of two sql server licenses. By typical setup, I am refering to having a minimum of two servers one for IIS and one for sql server.

    Basically the current licensing scheme forces me to choose between best practices or doubling my cost. It would be nice if there was a price reduced license to install what is essentially a web frontend on my "web" server.

  11. Hi Rich —

    You’re not alone, and the product team is aware of the issue. If it’s any consolation, SSRS is generally still much less expensive than other reporting products, even when you take into account the licensing requirements.

    You might want to experiment with "SQL Server Express edition with Advanced Services", when it appears next year — It basically will include SQL Express and a trimmed down version of SSRS that will operate against SQL Express only…you can install it as much as you want.

    I’m not 100% clear on your concern viz a local SRSS vs. remote SSRS configuration, but I’d definitely do some testing to see if you can "make do" with a single server — many (most?) workgroup solutions can. If really do need to scale, then (how to put this politely?)…you have to pay to play.

    In any case, thanks for your feedback. I’ve found the SSRS product team to be very responsive to customer suggestions / wishes, and will pass your thoughts along.

  12. Markus says:

    Hello Russell,

    First thanks for the Q&A – this helped a lot!

    Regarding the enhanced MDX-Features of the Report-Design in 2005 – will it be possible to connect to a SQL 2000 AS and use the MDX-Generator coming with VS2005?

    Or will this also be a SQL2005-only Feature?

    Thinking about the chances in MDX and the fact that I have to install a special FeaturePack t access SQL2000 AS I think the answer will be:

    "No, that is not possible"?

    Thanks in advice


  13. Hi Markus — Yes, it turns out the MDX builder WILL support SSAS 2000. A collegue mentioned that he thinks <FONT color=#000080>you will need to use the ConnectTo property in the connection string and that paramters are not supported.</FONT>

  14. Chris says:

    I am trying to install SSRS 2005 in a clustered environment and point all of the instances at a single metadata repository on a SQL 2000 server. Is this possible?

    Basically we want to start by making the SSRS portion redundant for speed and reliability first. Afterwards we will look into moving the metadata DBs into a clustered SQL 2005 environment. Any insight you have on this would be greatly appreciated.



  15. Sure. Keep in mind that SSRS is not cluster aware itself — You make it highly available by deploying a reporting farm (multiple instance of the SSRS web service on multiple IIS boxes which all point to the same SSRS reportserver database). In order to do this work (we call it "scale out"), you must be running Enterprise Edition of SSRS — Then, you use the rsactivate.exe tool to "add" new nodes to your reporting farm.

  16. Jaime Basilico says:

    I want my SSRS 2000 instance’s ReportServer (system) database to be hosted on SQL 2005. Is this possible?

  17. Terry Mc says:

    We use Windows Small Business Server 2003 (SBS)Prem which has SQLServer 2000.  We will soon have R2 which will get us SQL2005 so I will have both a 2000 and 2005 licence.  

    So am I right to believe I can use SSRS 2005 with VS2005 without installing SQLServer 2005.  We have some apps that are not supported in SqlServer 2005 yet, but I want to develop with VS2005 and SSRS 2005.  With SBS everything is on one box so running both Sql2000 and sql 2005 could be a chalange.



  18. Hi Terry — Sorry, I’m not going to be much help here. We have people at Microsoft who do nothing but "licensing", and I’m not one of ’em…I actually try to stay away from that stuff…rots the brain 🙂

  19. Curtis says:

    Is there a resource explaining how to install the RS2005 system database (metadata) on an existing SQL 2000 server?

  20. No, but I just posted one. Check the 3/29 posting.

  21. i have been a while trying to know if i can run SQL reporting services 2005 over SQL server 2000 and…

  22. Vivek443 says:

    Hello Sir/Madam,

    Can we use a SQL Server 2005 Database Engine to host a report server database for a SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services installation. And is there any article supporting this information.

    Thank you.

  23. Yes, you can do this and it is supported. There is no "official" document which lists every combination of supported versions, sorry.

  24. mark says:

    Hi Russell

    I have 2 question about user access.

    Is there a restriction on multiple users accessing the same report simultaneously? If not, do the requests get processed in a queue or are they processed concurrently?

  25. ALF says:

    I have a report created is SSBI development studio which works fine with the date parameters. I have deployed the report to the sharepoint site. When I enter the date parameters and run the report on sharepoint, I receive this message:

    ERROR:Object reference not set to an instance of an object.

    I also have this message in the

    E:Program FilesMicrosoft SQL ServerMSSQL.3Reporting ServicesLogFiles —

    w3wp!library!1!04/10/2008-08:12:16:: Call to GetSystemPropertiesAction().

    I don’t know if the logfile message has anything to do with my problem, but I cannot find anything else that gives me a clue.

    Thanks for any information that can help me out.

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