SQL Server Integration Services Another Perspective

According to Microsoft (see reference 1 below), the maker of the SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) “SSIS is a platform for building high performance integration solutions, including extraction, transformation, and load (ETL) packages for data warehousing.” SSIS is an integral part of Business Intelligence, which software is available from multiple sources, including Microsoft. SSIS is essentially a solution for automating a Structured Query Language (SQL) Server. Packages are built of tasks that can move data from place to place and alter it enroute. Visual designers, hosted within Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS), a software suite, help build these packages as well application programming interfaces (API) for programming SSIS objects from other applications. SSIS lends itself to customization. Microsoft has made the job easier by creating a simple wizard that takes care of common ETL tasks, namely, importing information to or exporting it from an SQL database. Data can be easily shuffled between SQL Server databases, Flat files, MS Access databases, MS Excel worksheets and other Object Linking and Embedding- Database (OLE DB) providers. A number of shortcuts are also provided by the wizard. Wizard apart, SSIS is a truly powerful tool, particularly when BIDS is used to build an SSIS package, i.e., a collection of SSIS objects like connections to data sources; data flows to ETL ports, sources and destinations; transformations of data and the links between them; control flows, i.e., tasks that can be organized in sequences or in loops and event handlers, workflows that are called in response to events raised by a package or a task, etc. SSIS uses connection managers to integrate different information sources into packages which are then moved from place to place. Some examples of connection managers are: a)Excel Connection Manager – Connecting to an Excel worksheet.
b)File Connection Manager- Connecting to a file or folder.
c)File Transfer Protocol (FTP) Connection Manager- Connecting to an FTP source. The SSIS is given orders using the Control Flow tab. Information is then picked up from the source, dragged and dropped at the destination and a connection established between them. Examples of tasks are maintenance plans, server integrity checks, inter-SQL transfer, etc. The Data Flow tab is used to describe details of any dataflow tasks added to the Control Flow, a method of inserting into the system. Moreover, it is possible to alter and manipulate in various ways, using transformations. SSIS packages also support all events, while saving and running the system. References: 1.http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms141263.aspx