SQL Server Reporting Services – Native Mode or SharePoint Integrated Mode?
I get this question a lot when working on the SQL Server Reporting Services platform. I think from experience I have boiled this down to some direct (albeit high level) guidance to answer this question.
Use SSRS in SharePoint integrated Mode when….. (We already love SharePoint at my organization)
If your organization or company is already taking advantage of SharePoint, then plan on installing your SQL Reporting Services instance in SharePoint integrated mode. The reason? If your organization recognizes SharePoint as a one stop shop for content management, document management, collaboration, team sites, search…..on and on….then the natural place for your report consumers and business analysts to access their reports is within SharePoint.
Use SSRS in SharePoint integrated Mode when…..(We are pretty sure we are going to love SharePoint at my organization)
If your organization or company has a strong direction to either start utilizing SharePoint in the future, or extend its uses in your enterprise in the future, then install SSRS in SharePoint integrated mode for all the reasons mentioned in the last paragraph.
Use SSRS in Native Mode when…..(There is no way we are going to use SharePoint at our organization)
If your organization or company is simply never going to use SharePoint and all its glory, then there probably isn’t a compelling enough reason to incur the software cost and additional infrastructure of standing up SharePoint simply for reports. In addition, there is overhead (performance) cost of running SQL Server Reporting Services in SharePoint integrated mode (see resources section below).
Analyze SharePoint Integrated vs. Native Mode when…..(We think we want SharePoint integrated mode, but we have tons of reports, tons of users, and tons of complex reports)
If your reporting requirements are overly complex, it does not necessarily mean you should shy away from implementing SQL Server Reporting Services in SharePoint integrated mode. You just may want to analyze the performance overhead involved as well as do more initial testing. In addition, there are usually more than one way to skin a performance cat, so be sure to consider your report design and look for opportunities to improve performance. Some resources on this topic are listed below.