Hello world and yes, I am alive. I have finally caught up enough to begin regularly blogging about SQL Server again. It is good to be back!
As you may know, I will be giving a talk at this year's Heartland Developers' Conference. (http://www.heartlanddc.com) My presentation in entitled "What the SSIS Masters Know." I picked this topic since I feel that many developers are not aware of power that the SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) offers them. I have also seen many developers struggle with learning curve. As with any powerful tool, there is bound to be a fair amount of complexity. In upgrading a number of SQL Server 2000 DTS packages to SSIS and reading the major books available on the topic I came to realize just how amazing this tool really can be.
A few months ago, I was having dinner with a friend. She asked, "So what do the SSIS masters know that the rest of us don't?" No answer came immediately to mind so I told her I would have to think about that. She smiled and asked me just to talk. About an hour later -- after our meals had come and gone -- she had written down these bullet points for me:
- The Zen of SSIS: ELT vs. ETL
- Understanding Control Flows and Data Flows
- Static pipeline, dynamic flow
- Understanding asynchronous vs. synchronous components
- How to Optimize Data Flows
- Duct-Tape Scripting
- Using Configurations
She asked a few more questions, not really wanting to know the answers for herself, but because she knew it would get me thinking about this list. What did I mean by "Zen?" Why does the difference in the types of flows really matter? What problems does the design of the Data Flow present? Where do performance problems come from? Is there a technique for analyzing A Data Flow for potential issues? Why did I get so exciting about scripting? What do the developers ignore but the Database Administrators fret about most?
Thankfully, she is very attentive. And incredibly patient when I go rambling off.
The next day I sent this list in with a little garnish describing the talk as topic submission. The talk got the green light and started thinking about how to present these topics to that audience.
The problem here is that these topics can be abstract. I loathe giving talks like that. Like good writing, a good presentation should show, not tell. It should demonstrate in concrete terms why these things mater to the SSIS developer. In the next post, we will talk about data set and database design that will help us put the seven things that master SSIS developers know into context.
Since many of you will not be able to join us that that conference, I thought I would write a series of blog posts covering the essential parts of that presentation. At the end of this series, I will post a URL where you can down load the presentation and the demo files.