Installing SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services 32-bit on a Windows Server 2003 64-bit

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Installing a 32-bit version of SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services on a Windows Server 2003 64-bit could be a bit of a challenge, as it requires IIS. I have seen several customers who purchased servers with Windows Server 2003 64-bit pre-loaded while they only have a license for a 32-bit SQL Server 2005.

It is always recommended to have a 64-bit application running on a 64-bit OS to take full advantage of the 64-bit platform. IIS, by default, runs 64-bit on a 64-bit Windows Server system. SQL Server Reporting Services requires ASP.NET which can be manually installed on top of IIS.

When you install the .NET Framework on a 64-bit machine, you have both the 32- and 64-bit versions. Nonetheless, you will not be able to install ASP.NET 32-bit version on a 64-bit IIS, which will be needed by SQL Server Reporting Services.

To be able to install ASP.NET 32-bit on a 64-bit IIS, you need to configure IIS to run 32-bit web applications. With Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1, IIS can be enabled to run 32-bit applications on a 64-bit Windows using the Windows32-On-Windows64(WoW64) compatibility layer. This makes it possible to run ASP.NET 32-bit and other 32-bit web applications as well as allow creation of 32-bit worker processes.

To enable IIS 6.0 to run 32-bit web applications on a 64-bit Windows, navigate to the %windir%\Inetpub\AdminScripts directory. Run the adsutil.vbs script with the following parameters:

csript.exe adsutil.vbs set W3SVC/AppPools/Enable32BitAppOnWin64 "true"

This will enable IIS to run 32-bit web applications. You can then install SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services 32-bit which will install the corresponding ASP.NET version as part of the .NET Framework.

If, however, you already have the .NET Framework installed on the server, you will need to manually install ASP.NET 2.0 32-bit on IIS after it has been configured. Doing so before configuring IIS will throw an exception stating that you cannot run 32-bit ASP.NET on 64-bit IIS. Navigate to the %WINDIR%\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727 folder (the 64-bit version of the .NET Framework will be at the %WINDIR%\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\ folder). Run the aspnet_regiis.exe utility on the command line.

aspnet_regiis -i

Now that all the groundwork has been prepared, you are ready to run SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services 32-bit on a Windows Server 2003 64-bit.

If, however, you decide to install it on a Windows Server 2008 64-bit, there’s more groundwork to do. By default, IIS 7 as well as ASP.NET are not installed. You have to add the web server role and further configure IIS. SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services is dependent on the IIS 6 or earlier metabase, and thus requires installation of the IIS 6 Metabase Compatibility and IIS 6 WMI Compatibility. Installing these two would also configure the IIS Default Application Pool to run on 32-bit similar to running the adsutil.vbs script for Windows Server 2003.

A Microsoft KB outlines the detailed steps in preparing IIS7 to run SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services on Windows Vista, but the steps work pretty well in Windows Server 2008. In case you still see the installation error on required 32-bit ASP.NET, you can switch the configuration of the Default Application Pool to Enable 32-bit applications. You don’t really need to do this once all the IIS 7 groundwork has been completed but, then again, you’ll never know. It might come in handy.

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About the Author

I'm a SQL Server DBA for The Pythian Group

1 Comment. Leave new

Perfect, thanks. Do you use any other MS softwares? My company used Microsoft software until about 2008 and then moven to UNIX. It took a while to (3 years!) to get right and function to everyone’s needs but now it’s fine. Saved thousands on MSO licensing! Thanks, Maya.


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