Hi, welcome to today's presentation introducing alerting and reporting pack ARP 1.0 with Dell Site Administrator 5.x for SharePoint. My name is Chris McNulty. I'm the chief technology officer for SharePoint and other collaboration solutions here at Dell software.
Today, we have a number of topics I want to get through-- principally, what is the alerting and reporting package, and how does it relate to Site Administrator, Microsoft business intelligence, and SQL Server Reporting Services? There are other topics in this video series that you can see outlined here.
Next, we'll be covering how to set up reporting services, install and configure the ARP. In our third act, we'll go through reports and alerts. And finally, we'll show you how to get through external data integration. Each of those will be a separate video in this series.
Today, let's take a look at ARP. Questions that we've had as we've been introducing this over the last few months-- what is ARP, what is this SASP thing you keep asking me about, and finally, what's SSRS?
Let's turn to each of those in reverse sequence. As we announced on our blog earlier in July, ARP 1.0 is the alerting and reporting pack for Dell Site Administrator. It's available free as an add-in to anyone who's running Dell Site Administrator. And it's intended to enhance and extend their alerting and reporting capabilities that we're already providing through the rich dashboards for SharePoint that we've been supplying as part of Site Administrator for a number of years. I encourage you to visit the URL listed here on the screen at dell.to/-- you can read that yourselves-- which you can reach through our blog at sharepointforall.com.
So the ARP was designed to solve these four issues. First, we know that many of our customers love the data and reports and dashboards that we're able to build for them in easily delegated, easy to administer interfaces. But that usually leads to the next question. Since you're already aggregating such great information, can I get alerts off of these data feeds? Absolutely, and we'll show you how to use the native capabilities of SQL Server Reporting Services to do that.
Secondly, we have been hearing for a while that users would like us to be able to extend the ability of the data that we aggregate there to other line of business systems. So we're using the ARP to illustrate how you could use SQL reporting to reach back into the site admin databases and collect that information and customize it further using tools like SQL Report Builder. Obviously, if you're using other systems like Oracle or other providers, there'd be a different means of integration.
Third, because these data sources are open, you're going to be relatively gratified to learn that you can integrate external data sources, line of business data, directly into Site Administrator for SharePoint. And finally, although we know the best user experience is to connect directly to our dashboards through the Info Portal, some of you do want to have a way of taking selective subsets of that data and line it up directly inside of SharePoint. And using SSRS web parts, you're going to be able to do that right now.
So let's turn first to the tool set upon which the ARP is built. For a long while, we know that there are two principal goals to designing any business intelligence system. And certainly, Site Administrator qualifies as one of those.
The first, the obvious one, is answering the questions that we know we need answered about our business. How many orders did we sell this year? How many orders were placed last year? And what are the trends there?
When we're looking at SharePoint, we know that you want to see information about usage. We know you need information about the infrastructure, about security, and about activities that are going on in the system. The second goal for any system, though, is being able to allow users to answer questions that we didn't know they were going to ask when we first set up the system.
So that self-service, self-discovery, has been a promise for a number of years. And we know that the Microsoft tool set is bringing us closer year by year to executing on that vision.
Microsoft will talk to you about three major flavors of business intelligence. On the left, personal BI, which is usually centered on Excel, that a user builds data inside of a workbook and is using the widgets, the slicers, the charts, and the other intrinsic capabilities of Excel to provide a richer experience of that data.
Self-service-- that workbook is published through SharePoint for more people to be able to access the information that's in there. And finally, corporate business intelligence-- corporate BI is usually professionally built. And it may be hosted through SharePoint, but it's using tools like Performance Point or SQL Reporting Services.
The goal for a while, though, has been to move BI away from the right-hand side and get closer to this middle ground, to self-service. So how do we use the power and ease of use of Excel with the flexibility and capacity of the corporate tools?
Microsoft's been closing the gap for a while. And we think that by bringing the reporting services to bear with data that we're gathering on the back end, we're much closer to that self-service BI vision of Microsoft.
The key platform here is SQL Server Reporting Services, or SSRS. This is a code-free solution. It's been around in a variety of forms for over 10 years. But for the past two or three, ever since the R2 release, the SQL 2008, it's been a code-free solution that users can use to write reports directly in the browser against data sources.
It is much easier to integrate in SharePoint than ever before, and there has been SharePoint integration offered as a pack for a while. In earlier releases of SharePoint and earlier releases of SQL, that was a little bit more challenging. But in any version of SharePoint greater than 2010, and any version of SQL since the 2008 R2 release, you'll have a very easy time getting reporting services up and running. And we're going to show you how in the second video of the series.
Once those reports are there and built, you can use them intrinsically. You can export data into Excel, to Word, to PDF, and you can connect those to other parts of the Microsoft BI tool set such as Performance Point. And lastly, SSRS is well-suited when you need close control of formats for things like printed reports.
The second major piece upon which this is all built is, of course, Dell Software's own Site Administrator for SharePoint. Site Administrator for SharePoint offers a wide range of capabilities. It is an extremely simple tool to download, install, and get up and running. We built the whole SharePoint Site Administrator experience around the Info Portal.
The Info Portal is a set of websites that live alongside SharePoint. They provide secure delegated access to information around security, activity, content, and infrastructure. Each of these dashboards allows further drill-down or drill-back into additional reports. And users only get access to the reports they have privileges to see through Site Administrator.
Finally, our reports are all action-aware, i.e. if you're taking a look at a security report, and you see security that needs to be changed, if you've got the right permissions to change security, you're going to be able to go in directly and copy permissions, back them up, clone them, or revoke them as appropriate.
Just a little bit of the word and the architecture for Site Administrator-- Site Administrator was built to be an incredibly lean and mean system. We do not write directly into the SharePoint core. We know that you want to keep SharePoint relatively pristine. We take our management objects, and we put them on a non-SharePoint website that lives just alongside your environment. And we keep our data outside of the SharePoint content databases.
This allows us to get really fast performance by taking that sort of lightweight approach in a manner that's fully supported by Microsoft. It's quick to install, easy to learn, and easy to get up and running with. And it doesn't require you to add onto your SharePoint footprint with additional service accounts or databases.
The final result here is high performance. We are able in testing to sustain a large number of simultaneous administrative users over many, many tens of thousands of active production users simultaneously with no real expansion of the infrastructure core, which is a great goal.
So let's take a quick look at what the Info Portal is for those of you who haven't seen it. So this is the home page of Site Administrator Info Portal. If we look, for example, at the IT Infrastructure dashboard, you'll see here an attractive screen with some tiles here where I can see how much information is out there. What servers do I have environment? And my demo environment that we're looking at today is relatively small.
I can get some additional information over here on the right in this tab motif where I can see which servers are out there, which version of SharePoints are on there, what roles, what web apps are out there, what content databases are out there, site collections, and finally, a list of all the sites that might be out there.
I can also drill through these tiles to get to further reports. Here's the server report. And again, a single server environment is relatively uninteresting. But it does show us how much free space is left on my disk, how much memory is on my server, what roles are played by there.
And this is enterprise-wide. You can use any of these dashboards to look at information on activity, on security. For example, if I wanted to see what's happening from a content perspective in my environment, I can jump over here, take a look at my site.
Here's the homepage of my site. Lo and behold, here's what's happening from a content perspective. I can see how much content is consumed here.
All the information is real-time. So I can see I have a gig of content out there. It's in 1,300 documents. These are the sites, if they're using them. Most of them seem to be tied up in PowerPoint files. If I look over my document type, I'll see that I have 71 PowerPoint files, which chew up nearly a gigabyte of data, which is relatively tiny for SharePoint, but good enough for us to demo right here.
And lastly, I can go from any of these dashboards. I can navigate to any of these reports over here or anything within the enterprise. Let's just take a look at one of these reports. I'm going to take a look at the content database report.
So here, I'll show you how many sites are in the database, how much content's out there, how big is the database, how many sites and the like are associated there. I want to point out two features that are here that are documented, but in case you haven't seen them before, about exporting these reports. You've always been able to export these reports to text formats, to CSV. But starting in Site Admin 5, we've given the ability to export these reports to SQL Server.
And you can come here and say, I want this report to run weekly, monthly, quarterly, or on a custom schedule. And that custom report isn't going to run for another week. But once I do that, this data, although it's real-time when I'm viewing it here, can be maintained, archived, and persisted.
And the advantage of this is once I'm saving this data out to SQL, I can then jump in directly to SQL Server and pump that data to other systems or look at the rich information I have there and report on it directly inside of SQL Server and join it with some other information. We're going to be able to take a look at exactly how that works a little bit later in the series.
So the ARP-- and we'll talk more about this-- provides information on each of these major reports delivered through the Info Portal. So for servers, we see we've documented the underlying SQL table where that data is cached and provided a report that ties out to match the information that you would get from the server's report through Info Portal.
We've also included a typical data source file to use in configuring reporting services. And finally, there's a sample data integration report that's showing you how to take typical usage activity information and pair it with a line of business source, of billing information, to generate a monthly chargeback report.
Because we know that chargeback is one of the key things that users are looking for when they do data integration. And there are many, many other line of business systems that we've been asked to integrate. But we're just providing a template for how such a thing is possible now using the ARP with Site Admin.