Microsoft Integration Services
Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) is a part of the Microsoft's database product - Microsoft SQL Server. SQL Server Integration Services first appeared in this implementation of SQL in the 2005 and has been continued through to SQL Server 2008. The main purpose of adding this component to the product was to make data integration in the database easy, uncomplicated and fast.
The first question that should be asked is why do we need data integration in a SQL database. Data in regular databases is not very complicated, and accessing it is easy, because data accessing system is often a part of the database itself. The answer is that Microsoft SQL Server is a solution not only for transactional databases, but also for large data warehouses as a company's business intelligence solution. As we know, the data in a data warehouse has to be integrated in order to make it accessible data easy, and as fast as possible.
Like many others professional data warehousing solutions, Microsoft SQL Server has its own data integration tool – called SQL Server Integration Services.
Unique features and components of Microsoft SQL Server:
- Connection monitoring. The application can manage many connections to data sources, so that the data is stored properly.
- Tasks managing component, other part of the Integration Services, controls actions like copying and moving data, collecting the data from sources and others.
- Precedence Constraints which job is to control tasks, monitor their status, check if the tasks are finished and start new tasks.
- Event handlers are very important in some situations when some uexpected things happen to the data warehouse. This component allows the administrator to define what should be done in some abnormal situations. It's a great way to make our system dependable and safe.
Thanks to the components mentioned earlier, Integration Serveces provides many ways to manipulate data in the warehouse. There is a posibility to split the data into groups under some conditions, sort it, merge and many other operations making the Microsoft SQL Server very flexible solution for data warehousing.
There is also a possibility to create some scripts to manipulate with the data. Unfortunately, these scripts can only be created under the .NET enviroment using C# programming language (Windows environments only). There is no support for other programming languages, which is a big disadvantage, because administrator cannot decide how to program the server. From the other hand, there is a great number of online forums, tutorials and support materials for Microsoft programming products like C# or Visual C#.
In the SQL Server 2008 version, a development environment is available for creating data integration procedures. Thanks to the interface of this application, it is easy to use for inexperienced users, but as we all know, user friendly solutions are not always as effective as expert tools.
Integration Services is a great tool not only for companies keeping data warehouses, but also for administrators of small databases. List of its features is impressing, but there are some things that should be changed. Thanks to Integration Services Microsoft SQL Server is a very interesting solution for ETL Data Integration and data warehousing in business intelligence.