There are many ways to deploy Crystal Reports to users. I normally lean toward the simpler and less expensive options, like locally installed viewers, or scheduled delivery of PDF output. But there are environments where a server based option is necessary. The “official” options from SAP are Crystal (Reports) Server and BO Enterprise. You can read about these on the SAP website. But there are other, less expensive products out there that many users never see. These are third party products that allow you to centrally manage your report deployment from your server.
There is a page on my blog that lists and compares these products, and I update it every January. This year the list includes the same 7 products from last year and one new product that was just released:
Report Runner Web Portal – a traditional Web portal
Visual Access Report Server – a traditional Web portal
Ripplestone– a traditional Web portal
RVweb – a traditional Web portal
rePORTAL – a traditional Web portal
RV for Windows Pro – a server-based viewer
ReCrystallize Pro – a Web launch page generator
Report Launch – a bridge between BO server products and server based applications
The features vary and they are aimed at different types of users. The blog page mentioned above contains a brief rundown on what each product does and provides links to all of the product web sites. I have also posted a feature matrix (xls) that shows some of the specifics for comparison, including prices. If you have any feedback to share on these tools I would be happy to hear form you.