One of the drawbacks of the initial releases of SQL Server Reporting Services was the dependency on Internet Information Services (IIS). IIS was needed to host the ASP.NET web applications, namely Report Server and Report Manager. IIS has had a history of security vulnerabilities and performance bottlenecks and although the latest releases are better in both regards, DBAs still would prefer not to see IIS anywhere near their databases. Now in SQL Server 2008, these dependencies have been removed.
First of all, the Reporting Services applications have been rewritten to use the HTTP.sys listener that is present within Windows Server 2003 and 2008. So IIS is not needed for HTTP requests. Also an authentication layer has been introduced into Reporting Services itself so IIS is not needed for that either.
Another issue was one of confusion over service accounts for multiple services. In SSRS 2008, the web service, the Windows service and Report Manager have been consolidated into a single service so we only need a single service account. No more confusion there.
All in all, the new architecture is a welcome relief, making SSRS 2008 a true middle-tier application in its own right, reducing maintenance while increasing security and performance. That’s got to be good news.