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SSIS is a platform for data integration and workflow applications. It features a fast and flexible data warehousing tool used for data extraction, transformation, and loading (ETL). The tool may also be used to automate maintenance of SQL Server databases and updates to multidimensional cube data.
First released with Microsoft SQL Server 2005, SSIS replaced Data Transformation Services, which had 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.
The SSIS Import/Export Wizard lets the user create packages that move data from a single data source to a destination with no transformations. The Wizard can quickly move data from a variety of source types to a variety of destination types, including text files and other SQL Server instances.
Developers tasked with creating or maintaining SSIS packages use a visual development tool based on Microsoft Visual Studio called the SQL Server Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS). It allows users to edit SSIS packages using a drag-and-drop user interface. A scripting environment in which to write programming code is also available in the tool. A package holds a variety of elements that define a workflow. Upon package execution, the tool provides color-coded, real-time monitoring.
A package may be saved to a file or to a store with a hierarchical namespace within a SQL Server instance. In either case, the package content is persisted in XML.
Once completed, the designer also allows the user to start the package's execution. Once started, the package may be readily debugged or monitored.
SSIS provides the following built-in transformations:
The Conditional Split transformation is used to conditionally route rows to other transformation objects based on a particular condition. It is similar to the "if..else" construct in the C language.
Aside from the Import/Export Wizard and the designer, the product includes a few other notable tools.
DTEXEC executes a package from the command line wherever it may be stored. Before running the package, the tool may be instructed to apply configuration information, which will allow the same package to be reused with slightly different parameters, including different connection strings for its endpoints.
DTUTIL provides the ability to manage packages from the command prompt. The tool can copy or move a package from a file into the server store, or back out again. Among a few other sundry functions,it can be used to delete, rename, encrypt, or decrypt packages.
SSIS features a programmable object model that allows developers to write their own hosts for package execution. Such a host can respond to events, start and stop packages, and so on. The object model also allows developers to create, store, and load packages, as well as create, destroy, and modify any of the contained objects.