IN THIS CHAPTER
Integration Services variables and expressions
Constructing control and data flows
Package event handlers
Full list of package elements
Configuring packages for multiple environments
Integration Services is most commonly described as an extract-transform-load (ETL) tool. ETL tools are traditionally associated with preparing data for warehousing, analysis, and reporting, but Integration Services represents a step beyond the traditional role. It is really a robust programming environment that happens to be good at data and database-related tasks.
Many prospective users have been intimidated by the Integration Services learning curve, sticking to the Transact-SQL that they know instead of investigating a more powerful ETL tool. This has made traditional SQL approaches one of the largest competitors of Integration Services, but those who take the time to understand this tool will find several advantages:
Simple, fast methods for moving large quantities of data, minimizing database load, and batching data into destination tables to keep blocking and transaction log sizes down
The capability to chain together many tasks, with complete control over ordering and error and exception handling. Many tasks can be executed in parallel.
Connections to read or write most any type of data without special programming or linked server calls
Common data and database management tasks are implemented without the need ...