SQL Server codename "Denali" CTP3, including Project "Crescent" is now publically available

This morning, Satya Nadella, President of Server and Tools Business group, announced during his keynote the public availability of the CTP3 of Microsoft SQL Server Code Name “Denali”.


One of the key scenarios for Microsoft SQL Server Code Name “Denali” is the continuation of our self Service BI story which we introduced in SQL Server 2008 R2 with the introduction of PowerPivot for Excel and SharePoint.

If you haven’t had a chance to attend or view it live, I recommend you review Satya’s keynote: http://sessions.digitalwpc.com/topic/list?keyword=VIS03

With Microsoft SQL Server Code Name “Denali”, we are proud to announce the availability of Self Service Alerting and Self Service Reporting (Project Crescent).


Self Service Alerting:

Alerting is a new capability that we are adding to Reporting Services. As soon as the report server is upgraded to Microsoft SQL Server Code Name “Denali”, it will enable any user that can access reports previously built with SSRS 2005, SSRS 2008 or SSRS 2008 R2 whether in Report Builder or BIDS, to setup alert rules and be alerted when report data changes occur that match a set of rules.  No changes are required to the existing reports. You’ll need to have SSRS integrated with SharePoint in order to take advantage of this new capability (the reports must also use stored credentials data sources, similar to subscriptions).  Management of alerts is also enabled through SharePoint through a common interface.

Project “Crescent”:

Project Crescent is not the final name of this capability, but is the current code name used to refer to the new Self Service Reporting capability.

Project Crescent is part of Reporting Services toolset and is an extension to the existing IT Professional and Power User tools.

Project Crescent is Reporting Services’ new reporting tool targeted at data consumers to visually explore their data and answer ad-hoc questions with ease. It complements our existing set of at IT Professionals, BI Developers and power users Report design tools (Report Builder 3.0 and BIDS), which are optimized for operational and pixel perfect report design scenarios.

Project Crescent is replacing Report Builder 1.0, which had been our initial entry in the Adhoc reporting space back in SQL Server 2005. Report Builder 1.0 shall subsequently stop shipping in the box starting with Microsoft SQL Server Code Name “Denali” release.

Report Builder 3.0 is now renamed Report Builder. Report Designer is still the name of the report design experience available in BI development studio and Visual Studio.

Project Crescent is an ad-hoc reporting and visual exploration experience for casual and experienced users alike, to collaborate and present with others within a SharePoint environment. 

Project Crescent runs in the browser and is working against a BI Semantic Model (BISM). BI Semantic Model is available on the client through the Excel based Power pivot modeling tool or on the server through Analysis Services Tabular project with SQL Server Denali. For more information on BI Semantic Model, please consult the Analysis Services team blog at: http://blogs.msdn.com/analysisservices

Unlike Report Builder 3.0 or BIDS, which are tools optimized for report printing and report design by Power users and IT pros to publish for End users to consume, Project Crescent is optimized for design and online screen consumption and interactivity by End users for End users…



But beyond Self Service Reporting (Crescent) and Self Service Alerting, SQL Server codename Denali has many more enhancements for our other Reporting scenarios….

The team has worked hard over the last 2 years to provide new benefits to customers in the area of Self-Service BI (with Crescent and Alerting), Corporate BI, Embedded BI and the new rising Cloud BI space:

Corporate BI:

  • With CTP3, new Excel and Word 2007/2010 renderers are introduced. They provide a means to export directly to these Open XML Office format and take advantage of some of the new Office capabilities (like Export up to a 1 million rows in Excel)
  • SharePoint Shared Service: One of the most common requests is a better (meaning easier) integration with SharePoint for the Administrator. Starting with Microsoft SQL Server Code Name “Denali”, SSRS SharePoint mode runs as a SharePoint shared service. This means that it now fully benefits from being a SharePoint service application that supports Claims, built-in Scale with load balancing, PowerShell commandlets, and cross-farm report consumption. Additionally, Configuration, Deployment, Monitoring, Backup – Restore, and Management tasks are now done entirely through the SharePoint Central Administration like any other Shared Service application.  Furthermore, the report viewing performance in SharePoint has been improved significantly. Last but not least, this forms the platform for “Denali” Self-Service BI comprising Alerting and Crescent, which are available in SharePoint mode only.
  • BI Development Studio moved to Visual Studio 2010. During this release cycle we not only moved our BI development studio to the Visual Studio 2010 environment and shell but we also re-architected our Visual Studio integration so that we can almost sim-ship features in SQL Server Box and Visual Studio Box. For example we expect BI development Studio to be available in future versions of Visual Studio, weeks after the availability of the release, instead of having to wait for the next release of SQL server to update it. This was one of the most requested capabilities by our developer community.

Embedded BI

  • RDLC Designer and Report Viewer Control: Have been upgraded with Reporting Services “DENALI” code base (Including support for DOCX, XLSX Export, Map functionality, RDL 2010 schema support…). Starting with the next release of Visual Studio, RDLC and Report Viewer will ship with the same level of functionality of the most current release of SQL Server.

Cloud BI

  • SQL Azure Reporting: While not technically part of the Microsoft SQL Server Code Name “Denali” product installation, most of the work for our Reporting Services Corporate scenarios in Denali will eventually find their way into our Cloud BI offerings as well as appropriate. For now, you can test SQL Azure Reporting at http://connect.microsoft.com/sqlazurectps.


How can you learn more about Crescent and SSRS in Microsoft SQL Server Code Name “Denali”?

Over the next 2 to 3 months we will make a lot of information available around Crescent (including sample models and reports), Self Service Alerting, Reporting SharePoint Share services and Office renderers so stay tuned….

  • How to get started with Denali CTP3 Crescent and Alerting
  • Crescent sample Models
  • How to best provide feedback on the Product to the Product team
  • How to make your Crescent report look great? Top 10 tricks…
  • Step by step to embellish your reports with Pictures?
  • Making your reports more insightful by using Play axis and Chart Multiples
  • Taking full advantage of the new Denali Alerting capabilities


If you have questions on Microsoft SQL Server Code Name “Denali” Reporting Services new features, you can find some answers and help at…


If you are encountering an issue, please follow the regular support channel as they full support and assist with issues in Microsoft SQL Server Code Name “Denali” CTP3.

For peer discussion and exchange of information, all discussion around Reporting Services in Denali should now be posted on our Reporting Services forums:



Or use your local Reporting Services forum if you are in a different geographical region and locale.

Call to action:

  • Install and try the CTP,
  • provide us feedback through the Microsoft Connect site,
  • And let us know what you think of the release…

And do not hesitate to leave us a comment here in this blog. Be assured that it will be seen, responded to if needed and incorporated in our planning cycle for Reporting Services V.Next….

Enjoy this CTP…


Thierry D’Hers (Group Program Manager, SQL Server Reporting Services)