Solving issue with first long starting report on SSRS 2008

As I wrote in my previous blog post First report and report after specific time interval starts a long time on MS SQL 2008 Reporting Services, a first report after specific time takes very long to start.

The issue is caused by the way how SSRS works and SSRS regularly restarts application domain after specific time period. After the application domain is restarted, then upon first request to the SSRS it needs to load all the settings and it takes quite a long time.

There is no real solving to the issue except increasing the interval between the application domain restarts from default 720 minutes to other value which meets your business needs more closer.

However even after increasing the value, then after the period is reached, the application domain is restarted and again the first request will take a long time. It could be ideal to optimize the interval so the app domain restart is done out of business hours. however even then fist report will take a long time.

Here is a possible workaround solution. It rests on the scheduler and execution of a PowerShell script, which stops and starts the SSRS service (which has the same effect as the application domain restart) and after the restart it makes a request to the report manager URL which forces the reporting services to load all the configurations etc. Then all the subsequent request to SSRS are immediate.

So if we set the RecycleTime in the rsreportserver.config to a value which is over one day let’s say 1500 minutes (it is 25 hours) and schedule the execution of the PowerShell script out of the business hours, each morning we will have SSRS ready without any delays. For details about modifying the RecycleTime take a look on my previous post mentioned above.

So here is the PowerShell script:

Stop-Service "SQL Server Reporting Services (MSSQLSERVER)"
Start-Service "SQL Server Reporting Services (MSSQLSERVER)"
$wc = New-Object system.net.webClient
$cred = [System.Net.CredentialCache]::DefaultNetworkCredentials
$wc.Credentials = $cred
$src = $wc.DownloadString("http://localhost/Reports/Pages/Folder.aspx

The script above first stops the SQL Server Reporting Service of the default (MSSQLSERVER) instance and immediately starts it again (stopping and starting the service has the same effect as application domain recycling). Then an webClient object is created which is used to fetch the Report Manager page which causes the reporting services to load all the settings. The page is read as string (it doesn’t matter how we read the page. Important is to make a request to initialize the reporting services) and it will take a longer time (like the first report start).

It is also important to get the DefaultNetworkCredentials of the user account under which the script will be executed. It is necessary to assign those credentials to the web client so it can authenticate to the reporting services.

Also it is important to mention that it is necessary to execute the script with elevated administrative privileges to be able to stop and start the service.

You can create a scheduled task using the Scheduled Tasks GUI or execute a below command to create the scheduled task from within a command prompt. The command prompt needs to be running with elevated administrative privileges.

schtasks /create /tn "SSRS Recycle" /ru UserName /rl highest /np /sc daily /sd 08/01/2011 /st 02:00 /tr "powershell.exe -noprofile -executionpolicy RemoteSigned -file c:scriptsSSRSRecycle.ps1"

This command creates a new scheduled task named “SSRS Recycle”, which will be run non interactively with elevated rights as UserName. The task will be executed daily at 02:00 am starting from 1st of August 2011 and will execute a PowerShell script SSRSRecycle.ps1 located in folder C:scripts.

For details about schtasks you can take a look on MSDN Schtasks.exe.

As mentioned in the beginning, it is not real solution to the problem with recycled application domains, however it provides an acceptable work around and you will have every day reporting services ready and available without any delays.