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Structured Query Language Server Integration Services
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ETL is an acronym for Extracting, Transforming and Loading data into a data warehouse or any other database or application that houses data. Taking the data transfer process to a higher level, Microsoft has patented its Structured Query Language (SQL) Server Integration Services (SSIS). SSIS is a platform for building high performance data integration solutions, subsuming ETL packages for data warehousing. SSIS envelopes the undermentioned functions:
1. Graphical tools for building data packages.
2. Tools and wizards for debugging any and all data packages.
3. Performing workflow functions such as File Transfer Protocol (FTP) operations.
4. Sending e-mail messages.
5. Knowledge base for data sources and destinations for extracting and loading data;
6. Transformations for cleaning, aggregating, merging, and copying data, akin to the ETL process.
7. Management of the Integration Services for administering package execution and storage.
8. Application programming interfaces (APIs) for programming the Integration Services object model.
As of 2012, Microsoft has redefined its functions as expressions (see reference 1 below), which can comprise more than one function. All tasks listed above are executed in different categories as:
a) Mathematical functions that perform calculations on numerical input values provided and output is in numerical values.
b) String functions that perform operations on string or hexadecimal input values and return a string or numeric value.
c) Date and time functions that perform operations on date and time values and return string, numeric, or date and time values.
d) System functions that return information about an expression.
In effect, the SSIS programmer creates an ETL package with certain extra facilities that include looping, configurations, error flow logic and logging. It goes without saying that the said programmer knows the data format used both at source and destination, so that he can program the transformations necessary to route the source data to its destination. The source data is often stored in flat files, using at least four columns, of which the currency key and date key are relatively important.
If the data sourced is flat file data, the programmer must know how the flat file connection manager interprets that data, as the type of source code data has default column widths. For instance, Unicode( see reference 2 below), a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) encoded Flat File data both have a default column width of 50. The programmer may have to change these defaults to match the column types in use at the destination where the data will be written to and then choose the correct type within the Flat File connection manager.
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