With SQL Server 2012 Reporting Services, we introduced a new feature called Data Alerts. Data Alert is a data driven alerting mechanism, where in you can get automated responses if the data associated with a particular report changes. These alerts are send by email, with the user having control on the frequency of these emails and the rules (conditions) on which these alerts are fired.
Data Alerts work only with reports which are deployed in a SharePoint library. This means if your Reporting Services is configured for Native Mode, you cannot configure Data Alerts. SSRS 2012, unlike earlier versions of SSRS does not allow changing an existing Native Mode installation to SharePoint Integrated mode using the Reporting Services configuration manager. You need to install a new instance of reporting services in SharePoint mode to use it.
How Data Alerts work
Data Alerts work flow can be divided into two sections, configuration and processing of alerts. During the configuration phase, the user needs to be first run the report. Data Alerts can only be configured if the Report has data. Data Alerts can be configured for any report (containing any item type) as long as it has some data. In order to configure Data Alerts, the report data source must use Stored Credentials or no credentials (would use the SSRS execution account).
Power View reports cannot be configured for Data Alerts.
Once the Data Alert has been configured, it is put in the Alerting database. This database is automatically created when we install SSRS in SharePoint integrated mode. By default the name of the database is ReportingServices<GUID>_Alerting. This also creates a SQL Agent job, to automatically processes the data alert based on the schedule defined, while creating the alert.
When the SQL Agent Job starts at its schedule, it starts the processing of the data Alert. During processing, the Report is run and the data feed for the report is refreshed. Then the rules defined for the alert are applied to the data feed. It a data value matches the rules applied in the alert, it is included in the results for the Alert. An email messages is composed with all the data value which match the rules and sent to the recipients (specified during alert creation).
The email messages being sent, typically contains the following
- From email address, is the email address configured in your SSRS Email Settings.
- To addresses are the emails provided during Alert creation.
- The Email body consists of the following, but is not limited to
- Data Values in the result set.
- A link to the report on which the alert is built.
- The name of the person who configured the alert.
- The parameters and values used in the report during the time of alert creation.
In another post, I will talk about installing data alerts and using the data alert designer.