on 7 July 2014
I have written a detailed chapter-by-chapter review of this book on www DOT i-programmer DOT info, the first and last parts of this review follow:
A popular SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) book receives an upgrade for 2014 – how does it fare?
This is a revised version of a popular SSIS book, updated for SQL Server 2014. SSIS allows you to extract, transform and load (ETL) data. The tool can be used by a variety of users (developers, DBAs, and casual users) and at various levels of expertise.
The introduction highlights the importance of SSIS in transforming and moving data, in a speedy manner. Compared with other related products (e.g. Informatica and DataStage), SSIS is cheap, in that it comes free with SQL Server – similar products can cost many thousands of dollars. The book’s initial chapters are aimed at developers that are new to SSIS, while the later chapters contain patterns and practices targeted at more experienced developers.
Chapter 1 Welcome to SQL Server Integration Services
The chapter starts with a short history of SSIS, with its roots in Data Transformation Services (DTS), evolving into SSIS in SQL Server 2005. Each successive new version of SQL Server typically adding new features and enhanced functionality, this was especially so of SQL Server 2012.
The Import and Export Wizard is introduced as an entry point into SSIS, allowing simple movement and transformation of data. For more complex solutions, SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) is used, this is where most SSIS work is done.
The architecture of SSIS is outlined, with the major components being:
*Packages (comparable to executables, containing workflow and business logic)
*Control Flow (the brain of the package, orchestrating workflow)
*Data Flow (heart/pump, moving and transforming data from source to destination)
*Variables (allow dynamic evaluation of expressions and decision making)
*Parameters (like variables, allow package to be dynamic)
*Error Handling and Logging (useful for troubleshooting and auditing)
An outline of the common Control Flow tasks is given, together with common sources, destinations, and transformations used by the Data Flow component. Finally, an overview of the various editions of SQL Server is given.
This chapter puts SSIS into context, and provides an overview of what to expect in the rest of the book. The summary list of Control Flow tasks, together with the summary list of Data Flow sources, destinations and transformations, are useful for getting an early understanding of the potential functionality of SSIS. The chapter contains useful links to more detailed chapters. Helpful examples are provided, together with plenty of screenshots and an easy reading style (as it is throughout the book).
This book aims to take you to a professional level of understanding of SSIS, and I think it succeeds admirably. The book is an easy read, the authors have taken the time to explain things in a clear yet concise manner. The book assumes no previous knowledge of SSIS, and will take your level of understanding to around level 8 (out of 10). The book as a whole has a good flow between chapters.
The book is replete with step-by-step examples, with good use of screenshots to further aid understanding. Most of the examples are based on the sample Microsoft databases, allowing you follow along, any additional files can be downloaded from the publisher. There’s a helpful (if short) summary at the end of each chapter, and useful links between the chapters. There are plenty of incidental tips introduced during the discussions (e.g. use the Union All transform as a dummy destination).
As the authors admit in Chapter 1, SSIS in SQL Server 2014 is very similar to SSIS in SQL Server 2012, very little has changed. Indeed, perhaps 95% of this book is the ‘same’ as the SQL Server 2012 version of this book. I would suggest if you have the 2012 version of the book you don’t need this version. Similarly, if you deal with SQL Server 2012 and don’t have an SSIS book, you could use this 2014 version of the book. Perhaps publishers should produce a book(let) of changes that exist between the two book versions too.
However joyous it may be for the authors, I found the religious references in the acknowledgments both comical and disconcerting (e.g. I want to thank god). If you swap ‘god’ with Huitzilopochtli or Zeus you’ll understand what I mean.
This book is suitable for both developers that are new to SSIS development, and experienced developers looking for a more complete understanding. I highly recommend it.