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SSRS Vs. Crystal Reports — Some Key Differences

Many companies are moving towards developing system reports in SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) vs. Crystal Reports. Here are some key differences between the two systems and a few compelling reasons for why this shift is happening:

  • With Crystal Reports, reports exist as files on your PC or network location. To run the report, you need Crystal Reports runtime objects or a Crystal viewer. With SSRS, the reports exist on the server and can be accessed from any web browser.

  • The Crystal Reports designer requires an additional software purchase. The SSRS designer (BIDS or Developer Studio) is included with the SQL server database engine.

  • The SSRS data connections (data sources) are separate from the report and can be shared. This makes for a much simpler deployment between environments. In Crystal, the Open Database Connectivty (ODBC) or ActiveX Data Objects (ADO) data connection is embedded in the report.

  • SSRS allows users to put multiple items on a page that work independently of each other. Crystal reports uses embedded sub-reports; some users find creating those to be intimidating.

  • Crystal Reports uses the traditional banded report design. SSRS has moved away from that concept and replaced it with the tablix object. 

  • For larger companies, SSRS provides easier scalability. By balancing loads across multiple SSRS servers you can deliver smooth performance for hundreds and thousands of users simultaneously building heavy reports.

  • Different users will offer that one is more user friendly than the other. My own sense of it is that SSRS is more friendly for database admin users, while Crystal is a tool that’s easier for non-technical users to master.  

Have additional questions about SSRS vs. Crystal Reports? Let us know!

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