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Q. What is SSIS?

SSIS was first introduced with SQL Server 2005, which was the next generation of SQL Server software after SQL Server 2000.  SSIS is an ETL tool that handles data Extraction, Transformation and load. In addition, it can handle more tasks besides the ETL tasks such as data profiling, file system manipulation etc….  If you know C#.net or VB.net, you can use the script task to perform much more efficient batch operations.

Q. What is SSIS control flow integration?

SSIS control flow allows you to program graphically how the tasks will run by using the logical connectors between tasks.  there are three basic logical connectors that you can use: success, failure, or complete.  Furthermore, you can use the FX (expression) to handle more complex conditions in your control flow.

Q. What is Data Transformation?

The data transformation stage applies a series of rules or functions to the extracted data from the source to derive the data for loading into the end target.

Q. What kind of variables can you create?

You can create global variables and task level variables in SSIS. For programmers, these variables are the same as global and function level variables. A global variable is available to all tasks across the entire job. Variables created in tasks are only available within that task.

Q. What kind of containers can you use with SSIS packages?

There are three types of containers: sequence, for loops and for each loops.

A sequence container is a simple way to group similar tasks together. Think of a sequence container as an organization container for more complex SSIS packages.

A for loop container is what you can use to execute your tasks to a certain number of times. For example, you need to update records ten times, you can place the task that updates the records inside this for loop container and specifies 10 as the end of the loops.  by using the for loop container, you don't have to create either ten different packages to do the same task or have to run the whole package ten times when you schedule your job.

A for each loop container will be useful when you don’t know a head of time how many times a task should perform. for instance, let’s say that you want to delete all the files inside a folder, but you don’t know how many files are there at any particular time, by using for each loop, it can go through the collection of files and delete them for you, after the collection is emptied out, it knows that when it should stop.

Q. How to create the deployment utility?

Deployment is the process in which packages converts from development mode into executables mode. For deploying the SSIS package, you can directly deploy the package by right-clicking Integration Services project and build it.

This will save the package.dtsx file on the projectbin folder.  Also, you can create the deployment utility using which the package can be deployed at either SQL Server or as a file on any location.

Q. What is Manifest file in SSIS?

Manifiest file is the utility which can be used to deploy the package using wizard on file system and SQL Server database.

Q. What is File system deployment?

File system deployment means to save package file on local or network drive. Then you can use SQL Agent job to schedule when the packages will run.

Q. How to back up or retrieve the SSIS packages?

If your package is deployed on SQL Server then you can back up the MSDB database as all the package on SQL server deploys at MSDB.

Q. What is data flow task in SSIS?

Data flow task is the pumping mechanism that moves data from source to destination. However, in the case of SSIS, you have much more control of what happens from start to finish.  In fact, you have a set of out of the box transformation components that you snap together to clean and manipulate the data while it is in the data pipeline.

Just as the control flow handles the main workflow of the package, the Data Flow handles the transformation of data. Almost anything that manipulates data falls into the Data Flow Category.

Q. What is data Profiling task?

Data profiling is the process of analyzing the source data to better understand what condition the data is in, in terms of cleanliness, patterns, numbers or nulls, and so on. data profiling task usually be used at the beginning of the development cycle to support the design of the destination database schema. Note that this task is not used when you develop the normal recurring ETL packages.

Q. What is the multicast Transformation in SSIS?

The Multicast transform, as the name implies, can send single data input to multiple output paths easily. You may want to use this transformation to send a path to multiple destinations sliced in different ways.  The multicast transformation is similar to the Split Transformation because both send data to multiple outputs. However, you can not specify the conditions for which part of the data will be in which output in the Multicast transformation.

Q. Difference between Merge and Union All?

The Merge transformation can merge data from two paths into a single output.  The Transform is usefull when you wish to break out your Data Flow into a path that handles certain errors and then merge it back into the main Data Flow downstream after the errors have been handled.  it’s also useful if you wish to merge data from two Data Sources.

Note that the data must be sorted before using the Merge Transformation. you can do this by using the sort transformation prior to the merge or by specifying an ORDER By clause in the source connection.  Also, the metadata must be the same for both paths. For example, CustomerID column cannot be a numeric column in one path and a character column in the other path.

The Union All Transformation works much the same way as the Merge Transformation, but it does not require the data to be sorted. It takes the outputs from multiple sources or transforms and combines them into a single result set.

Q. OLE DB Command Transform?

The OLE DB Command Transform is a component designed to execute a SQL Statement for each row in an input stream. This task is analogous to an ADO Command Object being created, prepared, and executed for each row of a result set. The input stream provides that data for parameters that can be set into the SQL Statement that is either an In – line statement or a stored procedure call.

Q. Execute package task?

The Execute Package Task enables you to build SSIS solutions called parent packages that execute other packages called “Child Packages”.  You’ll find this capability an indispensable part of your SSIS development as your packages begin to grow.

Separating packages into discrete functional workflows makes for shorter development and testing cycles and facilitates best development practices. in SSIS, the child package is aware of the parent package parameters and can reach out and access those parameters – level configuration values.  The majority of the configurable properties are in the Package tab of the Executable package Task Editor.

The first option is to provide the location of the child package.  The options here are either File system and SQL Server.  You can deploy SSIS package in the FIle system task as an .dtsx file, or within the msdb database of a SQL Server instance.  if you select file system, you must first create a new connection manager connection to the child package.

If the child package is located in a SQL Server, you’ll need to provide the OLE DB Connection Manager for the SQL Server that holds your packages.  In either case, browse to and then select the child package within the connection to set the package to execute in the task.

Q. What is a transaction in SSIS package and how to implement it?

Packages use transactions to bind the database actions that tasks perform into atomic units. and by doing this maintain data integrity.  Al MS IS container types – packages the For loop, For each loop, and Sequence containers, and the task hosts that encapsulate each task can be configured to use transactions. IS provides three options for configuring transactions: Not supported, Supported, and Required.

Require indicates that the container start a transaction, unless one is already started by its parent container. if a transaction already exists, the containter joins the transaction For example, if a package that is not configured to support transactions includes a Sequence container that uses the Required option, the Sequence Container would start its own transaction. If the package were configured to use the Required option, the Sequence containter would join the package transaction.

Supported indicates that the container does not start a transaction, but joins any transaction started by its parent container. For example, if a package with four Executable SQL tasks starts a transaction and all four tasks use the Supported option, the database updates performed by the Execute SQL tasks are rolled back if any taks fails.  if the package does not start a transaction, the four execute SQL tasks are not bound by a transaction, and no database updates except the ones performed by the failed task are rolled back.

Not Supported indicates that the container does not start a transaction or join an existing transaction. A transaction started by a parent container does not affect child containers that have been configured to Not Support transactions. For instance, if a package is configured to start a transaction and a For Loop Container in the package uses the NotSupported option, none of the tasks in the For Loop can roll back if they fail.

Q. Difference between Execute TSQL Task and Execute SQL Task

In SSIS there is one tasks Execute TSQL task which is similar to Execute SQL task. Will see what is the difference between two.

Execute TSQL Task:  

  • Pros: Takes less memory, faster perfomance
  • Cons: Output into variable not supported, Only supports ADO.net connection

Execute SQL Task:

  • Pros: Support output into variables and multiple types of connection, parameterized query possible.
  • Cons: Takes more memory, slower performance compared to TSQL task.

Q. Precedence Constraints

A task will only execute if the condition that is set by the precedence constraint preceding the task is met.  By using these constraints, it will choose different execution paths depending on the success or failure of other tasks.

  • Success – Workflow will proceed when the preceding containter executes successfully. Indicated in control flow by a solid green line.
  • Failure – Workflow will proceed when the preceding container’s execution results in a failure. Indicated in control flow by a solid red line.
  • Completion – Workflow will proceed when the preceding container’s execution completes, regardless of success or failure. Indicated in control flow by a solid blue line.

Expression/Constraint with logical AND – workflow will proceed when specified expression and constraints evaluate to true. Indicated in control flow by a solid color line along with a small ‘fx’ icon next to it.  Color of line depends on logical constraint chosen (e.g. success = green, completion = blue).

Q. What is the use of config file in SSIS?

Config file in SSIS is used to provide inputs to connection manager different properties which package use to assign values at runtime dynamically.

Using config file user need to make changes to the config file which package will take automatically at runtime because of using it you don’t need to every time make changes in the packages in case you are deploying package on multiple servers or locations. There are multiple ways in which configuration values can be stored.

XML configuration file: Store the config file as an XML file..
Environment variable Store the config in on of the environment variables.
Registry entry Store the confi in the registry
Parent package variable Store the config as a variable in the package that contains the tasks.
SQL Server Store the config in t a table in SQL Server

Q. Different between Control Flow and Data Flow?

  • Control flow is for designing the flow of the package. Data flow is for ETL process.
  • Data Flow is the subset of control flow
  • There will be only one control flow while multiple dataflow can exists.
  • Data flow cannot work without a control flow

All process base taks are part of control flow while ETL related tasks are the part of Dataflow which is again a subset of control flow.

. Checkpoint?

A checkpoint is the property in SSIS which enables the project to restart from the point of failure. When we set the property to true package create the checkpoint file which stores the information about package execution and use to restart package from the point of failure.  If the package runs successfully, the checkpoint file is deleted, and then re-created the next time the package runs.

Q. Can I run SSIS packages with SQL Server Express or Web or Workgroup editions?

I have looked at the SQL Server 2008 feature comparison matrix and it lists the express/web and workgroup editions as having the SSIS runtime. Does this mean it is possible to develop SSIS packages using the developer edition, and then deploy and run them on a server running one of the lowly SQL Server editions such as SQL Server 2008 Express edition?

A: You need dtexec to run SSIS packages from command line.

In SQL2005 Express you got dtexec and necessary tools with SQL SERVER 2005 EXPRESS EDITION WITH ADVANCED SERVICES

MICROSOFT SQL SERVER 2005 EXPRESS EDITION TOOLKIT

However, without SQL Agent you have to use other scheduling methods.
More information: https://daron.yondem.com/default.aspx?month=2006-05
Caveat: I haven’t actually tried this and there are reports that dtexec just fails with a licence error. In my case, I just needed to run a dtsx once and did it with Developer edition with SQLExpress as data flow destination.

Q. How can I manually fail a package in Integration Services?

I am running an Execute SQL Task statement in my SSIS package. The Execute SQL Task is running sql and checking that the tables have more than 1000 rows. If they have less than 1000 rows, I want to fail the package.

Q. How do I force a fail inside of a SQL statement?

A: AFAIK, tasks in SSIS fail on error. So if your Execute SQL Task has a statment like so in it:

declare @count int
select @count = select count(*) from my_table
if @count < 1000
begin
    raiserror(‘Too few rows in my_table’,16,1)
end
else
begin
    — Process your table here
end

Q. No Process Is on the Other End of the Pipe

I receive this error when I try to connect to SQL Server 2005. I have enabled TCP/IP, Named Pipes, and restarted the server but that is not working.

A: FYI, I’ve just had the same error.

I switched to Windows authentication, disconnected, then tried to login again with SQL authentication. This time I was told my password had expired. I changed the password and it all worked again.

SSIS ETL Interview Questions

Q. What is the SSIS package and what does it do?

Can someone tell me what the SSIS package is all about?

I am totally new to data-warehousing and I am going crazy with the terms SSIS, DTL, ETL and so on. I am looking for a big picture and how it fits in the overall .NET/SQL Server architecture.

A: SSIS (SQL Server Integration Services) is an upgrade of DTS (Data Transformation Services), which is a feature of the previous version of SQL Server. SSIS packages can be created in BIDS (Business Intelligence Development Studio). These can be used to merge data from heterogeneous data sources into SQL Server. They can also be used to populate data warehouses, to clean and standardize data, and to automate administrative tasks.

SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) is a component of Microsoft SQL Server 2005. It replaces Data Transformation Services, which has been a feature of SQL Server since Version 7.0. Unlike DTS, which was included in all versions, SSIS is only available in the “Standard” and “Enterprise” editions.

Integration Services provides a platform to build data integration and workflow applications. The primary use for SSIS is data warehousing as the product features a fast and flexible tool for data extraction, transformation, and loading (ETL).). The tool may also be used to automate maintenance of SQL Server databases, update multidimensional cube data, and perform other functions.

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