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Reporting capabilities: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 vs. Cognos ReportNet

I'm looking for a review of Microsoft SQL Server 2005 reporting services vs. Cognos ReportNet. What are the benefits/disadvantages of both? What does one have over the other?

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SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services builds on Reporting Services' introduction in SQL Server 2000. It is a licensed component of SQL Server 2005, so you get it with the SQL Server purchase. You would not use it with any other DBMS. Cognos ReportNet, on the other hand, is compatible with many DBMS and it is separately licensed so would naturally be considered more expensive. Both are more than report design tools of the past and both store report element definitions, provide flexible report security and report distribution options. These specialized reporting tools are better at robust "reporting" than drill-down, ad-hoc query data access tools, which do a fair introductory job at reporting. You probably would make a more holistic architecture decision (Microsoft, non-Microsoft) before making this decision.

This was first published in October 2005

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