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Configuring BIDS 2008 / 2008 R2 and Visual Studio 2008 to work with Database & Business Intelligence Projects and Team Foundation Server (TFS)

Working with the SSIS, SSAS, and SSRS Business Intelligence projects along with Database projects in the same Visual Studio 2008 development environment can be challenging as there is no clear documentation how to enable both set of projects.  Database projects are supported by Visual Studio 2008 Developer, Professional and Team System Database Editions. The  SSIS, SSAS, and SSRS Business Intelligence projects are supported by the Visual Studio 2008 shell that comes with SQL Server 2008 / 2008 R2.

If you have BIDS 2008 / 2008 R2 installed by itlself and you try to open a database project you get an error saying that this type of project is not supported. You get the same error if you have Visual Studio 2008 installed by itself and try to open one of the Business Intelligence projects. The reason behind these errors is that BIDS 2008 / 2008 R2 does not come with the database project template and Visual Studio 2008 does not come with the SSIS, SSAS, and SSRS Business Intelligence project templates.

So how do you get both set of templates in a single development environment?

In order to get both set of templates in the same development environment, you need to install both Visual Studio 2008 and BIDS in the right order as described in the following steps:

  1. Uninstall all of these if you already have them installed in your environment:
    – Visual Studio 2008
    – BIDS 2008 / 2008 R2
    – Team Explorer 2008
  2. Install Visual Studio 2008
  3. Install Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=10986
  4. Install BIDS from your SQL Server 2008 / 2008 R2 installation media

At this point should have a working Visual Studio environment with both set of projects.  A quick way to verify that the installation was successful, is to take a look at the Visual Studio version in the Help|About page. It will show as Version 9.0.30729.4462 QFE as shown in the picture below. QFE stands for Quick Fix Engineering.

VS2008QFE

When you launch Visual Studio 2008 or BIDS 2008 / 2008 R2 you will be prompted to select the default environment settings. Since I work with the Business Intelligence projects most of the time, I select the Business Intelligence environment. This is an option presented only the first time you open Visual Studio. To change this setting, use the Import and Export Settings wizard, which is available on the Tools menu. For more information on choosing and changing the environment settings go to http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/6k364a7k(v=vs.90).aspx.

Connecting to TFS 2005 and 2008

To connect to TFS 2005 and 2008 you will need to download and install Team Explorer 2008 from http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=16338.

If your end goal is to be able to work with database projects, business intelligence projects and connect to TFS 2005 or TFS 20008 the complete steps are as follows:

  1. Uninstall all of these if you already have them installed in your environment:
    – Visual Studio 2008
    – BIDS 2008 / 2008 R2
    – Team Explorer 2008
  2. Install Visual Studio 2008
  3. Install Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=10986
  4. Install BIDS from your SQL Server 2008 / 2008 R2 installation media
  5.  Install Team Explorer 2008
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=16338.

Connecting to TFS 2010

In some cases, the solutions & projects are 2008 / 2008 R2 projects but the repository is TFS 2010 or TFS 2012. Even if you installed Team Explorer 2008 you will get an error when trying to connect to a TFS 2010 or TFS 2012 server. The reason for this is due to the fact that Team Explorer 2008 does not support full URL paths (i.e. https://myservername/mytfs/mycollection) in the TFS server name section.

To fix this issue you will need to download and install the Forward Compatibility Update Team Explorer 2008 SP1 for Team Foundation Server 2010 (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=10834).

Notice that this update can only be applied to Team Explorer 2008 SP1 (Service Pack 1). The curve ball here is that there is no Team Explorer 2008 SP1 available  as a download. In order to turn Team Explorer 2008 into Team Explorer 2008 SP1 is to apply the Visual Studio 2008 SP1 to it. This means that if you followed steps 1 to 4 above, you will need to repeat Step 3 (Re-install Visual Studio 2008 SP1).

If your end goal is to be able to work with database projects, business intelligence projects and connect to TFS 2010 the complete steps are as follows:

  1. Uninstall all of these if you already have them installed in your environment:
    – Visual Studio 2008
    – BIDS 2008 / 2008 R2
    – Team Explorer 2008
  2. Install Visual Studio 2008
  3. Install Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=10986
  4. Install BIDS from your SQL Server 2008 / 2008 R2 installation media
  5. Install Team Explorer 2008
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=16338
  6. Re-install Visual Studio 2008 SP1
  7. Install the forward compatibility update for Team Explorer 2008 SP1 for Team Foundation Server 2010
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=10834

Connecting to TFS 2012

To connect to TFS 2012 the following update is required :

Visual Studio 2008 SP1 Compatibility GDR for Visual Studio 2012 Team Foundation Server and Team Foundation Service Preview (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=29983).

If your end goal is to be able to work with database projects, business intelligence projects and connect to TFS 2012 the complete steps are as follows:

  1. Uninstall all of these if you already have them installed in your environment:
    – Visual Studio 2008
    – BIDS 2008 / 2008 R2
    – Team Explorer 2008
  2. Install Visual Studio 2008
  3. Install Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=10986
  4. Install BIDS from your SQL Server 2008 / 2008 R2 installation media
  5. Install Team Explorer 2008
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=16338
  6. Re-install Visual Studio 2008 SP1
  7. Install Visual Studio 2008 SP1 Compatibility GDR for Visual Studio 2012 Team Foundation Server and Team Foundation Service Preview
    (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=29983

Hopefully this post helps you get your environment all squared away.

SSRS errors: (rsReportServerDatabaseUnavailable) The report server cannot open a connection to the report server database.

Sometimes you may get this error when trying to launch your report server webpage:

The report server cannot open a connection to the report server database. A connection to the database is required for all requests and processing. (rsReportServerDatabaseUnavailable)

While the error is descriptive enough to let you know that Reporting Services could not find the report server database, it may be a challenge to some who have no idea where this database is and what is it used for. To your surprise, there is more than one database involved.

Reporting Services requires two databases to run:

  • ReportServer
  • ReportServerTempDB

In short, the Report Server database is needed to store report definitions, report history and snapshots, report models, shared data sources, resources, scheduling and delivery information, metadata and several other objects. ReportServerTempDB is where Reporting Services stores session and execution data, cached reports, and work tables that are generated by the report server. For more information about Reporting Services database visit: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms156016.aspx.

To solve the error mentioned above you need the following information:

  1. What is the SQL Server Reporting Services instance you are trying to reach?
  2. Where are the SQL Server Reporting Services databases hosted?

Assuming you have the right permissions, you will need to run the Reporting Services Configuration Manager and point to the Reporting Services instance as seen on the image below. You would normally find  Reporting Services Configuration Manager under Start->Programs->Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2->Configuration Tools

Once you connect to your Reporting Services instance through Reporting Services Configuration Manager, go to the  Database tab located on the left pane to view the name of the SQL Server instance where the ReportServer database is being hosted and the name of the ReportServer database as seen in the image below.

Keep in mind that in some environments the ReportServer database may be hosted in a separate SQL Server database instance and the ReportServer database may have been renamed to other than the default “ReportServer” database name. You will usually find this type of configuration in a scale-out architecture. For more information on scale-out architecture visit: http://sqlcat.com/technicalnotes/archive/2008/06/05/reporting-services-scale-out-architecture.aspx.

Once you located the SQL Server database instance where the ReportServer and ReportServerTempDB database are hosted you need to follow this checklist:

  1. Is the SQL Server database instance running? Is the SQL Server service started?
  2. Can you verify connectivity to the SQL Server database instance?
  3. Are the ReportServer and ReportServerTempDB databases attached and online?
  4. Does the Reporting Services service account have read/write access to the ReportServer and ReportServerTempDB databases?

Once all of this is verified to be true and issues have been fixed, than the last step would be to restart the Reporting Services instance. If everything is right you should be able to access your reports. It is highly recommended to frequently backup both the ReportServer and ReportServerTempDB databases. If you lose you ReportServer database you may re-deploy reports, data sources and datasets, but you will lose all subscriptions, schedules and report parts that users may have created.

Also, keep in mind that the ReportServerTempDB database does not behave like the SQL Server TempDB. Per MSDN Books on Line:

“Reporting Services does not re-create the temporary database if it is missing, nor does it repair missing or modified tables. Although the temporary database does not contain persistent data, you should back up a copy of the database anyway so that you can avoid having to re-create it as part of a failure recovery operation.” For more details visit: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms156016.aspx

 

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