How to Add SQL Server Integration Services Projects to Azure Devops for Version Control

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We are working on an Integration Services project with multiple developers. Some team members work remotely, so it's not always easy to see which package someone is working on. We'd like to use a git repository as a source control repository. This way we can also manage the code using branches. Is it possible to use git in Visual Studio?


Git is free and open-source distributed version control system which has become very popular in the last years (one of the reasons is Github, a free online repository which was acquired by Microsoft). Git is distributed in the sense that every developer has a local copy of the repository on his machine. When a developer makes changes, he/she first commits those against the local repository, then pushes the changes to the remote repository (on the server). If you're new to the world of Git, these tips might help you get started:

Visual Studio supports git for quite some time now. To follow along with this tip, you need Visual Studio (you can use the free community edition if needed) and the SSIS extension. The screenshots in this tip are taken with Visual Studio 2019 and version 3.5 of the extension. In the past, Microsoft offered online source control through Team Foundation Services, which was renamed to Visual Studio Online, which is now renamed to Azure Devops (the on-premises Team Foundation Services is now rebranded as Azure Devops Server). Azure Devops not only provides version control, but also CI/CD pipelines, agile boards and test plans.

In this tip, we'll focus on using Azure Devops to manage an Integration Services (SSIS) project. Azure Devops is free for the first 5 users. You can find more information about pricing here. To use Azure Devops, you need a Microsoft account.

Azure Devops and SSIS

Creating an Organization and Repository

The first step in Azure Devops is to create an organization, which acts as a container for all your different projects. I already had an organization, but you can easily create a new one:

add new organization

You have to specify a name and the location for the organization:

specify organization name and location

Once the organization is created, you'll be asked to create a new project.

create new project

This will result in a project without any code repositories:

how to add integration services projects to azure devops for version control 004

Let's switch to Visual Studio and see if we can connect to this new project. In the Team Explorer window, click on the green plug to manage your connections. There you can choose to connect to a project.

manage connections

A new window will pop-up, where you can select the repositories linked to your account. At the top, you can switch between accounts. At the bottom, you can configure the location on your hard drive where you want to sync the files to. Choose the repo we just created and click on Clone.

clone project

When clicking clone, you can choose between the following options:

clone options

Simply click Connect to finish the set-up. The repo is then copied to your local machine:

cloning repo

It's possible you'll get the following message when cloning or syncing the project:

install git message

Visual Studio uses the Git command line behind the scenes, which means of course Git needs to be installed on your machine. Click on the Install link. This will give you the following explanation:

install git from VS

Click on the Install button to proceed. This will take you to the Git website where you can download the necessary components:

git download site

The installation is your typical "next-next-finish" set-up. When Git is installed, restart Visual Studio. When trying to clone or sync, you might have to enter your credentials into the Git credential manager:

git credential manager

The value you enter in the Name box will be used when you commit changes.

Add a New SSIS Project to the Repository

Once the project is cloned into Visual Studio, we can start by adding a new Integration Services project to it. Create a new project and make sure the location is inside the repository folder where you cloned the project to.

create new project with default location

This means you need to change the default location into the following one:

updated location

When the project is created, you can see all the git commands at the bottom-right of your screen, along with the different statuses. Creating the project resulted in 7 changes to the repository:

7 changes are ready to commit

In the team explorer window, you can see those changes in the Changes submenu. You can also commit those changes along with a commit message. By clicking Commit All, the 7 changes will be committed locally against the master branch, which is the default branch for a new project.

commit changes locally

After the changes have been committed, you'll get a message you need to sync the commit to the server (or push the changes in git jargon).

commit succeeded

In the bottom-right corner, you can see one commit is waiting to be pushed to the server:

one commit waiting to be pushed

You can click on the arrow to go to the sync window and push the commit to the server.

pushed commit to server

In the local folder, you can see Visual Studio added the folder for the SSIS project:

local folder

The same folder can now be found on the Azure Devops site:

remote folder

You can now continue to work on the SSIS project, add packages and commit those to the remote server.

Add an Existing Project to Azure Devops

Not all projects are brand new. Sometimes you will need to add existing SSIS projects to your new Azure Devops infrastructure. The easiest option would be to just copy the project/solution files to the folder (…\source\repos\ssis_test) in your local repository. However, it would be cleaner to create a new repository for your existing project. Let's open an existing project in Visual Studio. Right-click on the solution and choose Add Solution to Source Control…

add solution to source control

Go to the changes menu to sync (or click on the upwards arrow in the bottom-right corner). You will be prompted with the following options:

choose remote server

Choose Publish Git Repo. In the following menu, choose the organization and specify a name for the repository:

create new repo

After syncing, you can see a new project was added to Azure Devops:

new project in Azure Devops

There's also a new repo, along with the files of your SSIS project:

new remote repo
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About the author
MSSQLTips author Koen Verbeeck Koen Verbeeck is a seasoned business intelligence consultant at AE. He has over a decade of experience with the Microsoft Data Platform in numerous industries. He holds several certifications and is a prolific writer contributing content about SSIS, ADF, SSAS, SSRS, MDS, Power BI, Snowflake and Azure services. He has spoken at PASS, SQLBits, dataMinds Connect and delivers webinars on Koen has been awarded the Microsoft MVP data platform award for many years.

This author pledges the content of this article is based on professional experience and not AI generated.

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