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Read Data from Source in SQL Server Integration Services SSIS


In this section, we’ll get our hands dirty in the data flow. We’ll read data from our sample database and look at tools on how we can inspect this data.

Reading Data with SSIS

Let’s start with an empty data flow. From the SSIS Toolbox, drag the source assistant to the canvas. This is a wizard-like dialog that helps you create a source component.

SSIS Source Assistant - Add New Source

In the assistant, double click on New… to create a new connection manager, while SQL Server is still selected as the source type. In the connection manager editor, enter the server name and select the WideWorldImporters database. Click OK.

create connection manager in SSIS

The assistant will now put an OLE DB Source component on the data flow and create a connection manager. If you want to re-use the same connection manager across different packages, you can right-click the connection manager and choose “Convert to Project Connection”. This will upgrade the connection manager to the project level, where it is shared between all packages of the project.

convert to project connection in SSIS

Double click on the OLE DB Source to open its editor. There are different options to read data from the database:

select sql command for the data access mode in SSIS

However, it’s almost always better to write a SQL statement instead of using the dropdown (table or view option) to select a table. With the dropdown, you select all rows and all columns and you do not have the option to do some transformations using the SQL language (such as grouping, sorting and aggregating the data). Change the option to SQL command. This will give you a text box where you can enter your T-SQL statement. If you want, you can use a graphical query builder to construct your statement, but most of the time it’s easier to just write it in Management Studio and copy paste it in the source component. You can use the following SQL statement:

FROM [WideWorldImporters].[Application].[Cities];

This selects all the cities from the WideWorldImporters database. The source table is a system-versioned table, so we get the latest data when we execute this statement. When you copy and paste the SQL statement into the source component, you can hit preview to take a look at the data:

preview data from the OLE DB Connection Manager in SSIS

In the columns tab, you can inspect all the columns returned by the query defined in the first tab. You can deselect columns to remove them from the output and you can rename columns as well. Although it’s better to do these manipulations in the query directly.

column metadata options in SSIS

Every column has a data type associated with it. The data flow expects that this metadata doesn’t change. If you would change the data type in the source table (for example change cityID to a date if that were possible), the data flow would throw an error. Sometimes SSIS doesn’t realize though metadata has changed. In that case, you can just deselect all columns and select them again (using the checkbox right next to Name) to quickly refresh the metadata of all columns.

Click OK to close the editor. To be able to run the data flow and see the data flowing through, you need to add one more transformation. Let’s use the Multicast as a dummy. Connect the source component to the Multicast with the blue arrow.

add multicast as dummy target in SSIS

The arrows are not exactly precedence constraints like in the control flow. They tell the data flow in which direction the data flows. You have two types: the normal output error and the red arrow. The red arrow is the error output of the transformation. If some rows have an error (for example data type mismatch in the source), you can redirect them to another destination so you can inspect them later. If you would click on the source again you can see the red arrow.

error output in SSIS

You can find more information about error handling in the tip How to serialize error logging in SSIS.

Finally, right-click on the blue error and choose “Enable Data Viewer”.

enable data viewer for the SSIS Data Flow

This will add some sort of “debug” window on your output path. When the data flow runs, you can inspect the rows in the current memory buffer. Let’s start the package. The first buffer contains 9,637 rows and they are shown in the data viewer.

Click the play button for the data viewer

You can copy the data to inspect them in another tool, such as Excel for example. To fetch the next buffer, click on the little green arrow in the data viewer. When you close the data viewer, the data flow will run till all the rows have been fetched from the source. In total, 37,940 rows are read from the source:

data flow finished in SSIS

In the next chapter, we’ll add some transformations to enrich the data.

Last Update: 8/31/2017

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Thursday, April 25, 2019 - 1:18:05 PM - Koen Verbeeck Back To Top

Hi Ken,

the control flow is for executing and orchestrating tasks. Tasks can be: sending an email, deleting a file, executing a SQL script, and so on. A "special" task is the data flow task: this task is used for moving and transformating data. Since it's special, it gets its own editor screen.

Executing a SQL script in the control flow is typically SQL that doesn't return data. Such as truncating a table, creating a table, taking a backup etc. In the OLE DB Source (in the dataflow), the SQL script must return a result set. This data is then imported into the dataflow where it can be transformed and written to a destination. Both use SQL scripts, but their purpose is different.

To conclude: there is one control flow with at least one task. It's perfectly possible to have no data flow tasks. It's also possible to have multiple data flow tasks.


Thursday, April 25, 2019 - 12:31:32 PM - Ken Back To Top

This page of your tutorial (titled Reading Data with SSIS) is very confusing.  Thus far you have taken us through creating "Execute SQL Task" under the Control Flow tab.  On this page we are creating a Data Flow Task which requires us to enter a completely, seemingly unrelated SQL statement in the OLD DB Source properties.

Is there no connection between the Control Flow Tab and the Data Flow Tab.  I am conpletely confused by this.  Where is the relationship or is it an either/or option here?

Friday, December 21, 2018 - 8:10:48 AM - Salam Back To Top

 Hi, nice tutorial, when I execute the dataflow (for the cities), it executes correctly, everything is green but in the progress tab, I have several warnings like this (why those warnings?)

[SSIS.Pipeline] Warning: Warning: Could not open global shared memory to communicate with performance DLL; data flow performance counters are not available.  To resolve, run this package as an administrator, or on the system's console.
[SSIS.Pipeline] Warning: The output column "CityID" (17) on output "OLE DB Source Output" (16) and component "OLE DB Source" (5) is not subsequently used in the Data Flow task. Removing this unused output column can increase Data Flow task performance.
[SSIS.Pipeline] Warning: The output column "CityName" (18) on output "OLE DB Source Output" (16) and component "OLE DB Source" (5) is not subsequently used in the Data Flow task. Removing this unused output column can increase Data Flow task performance.
[SSIS.Pipeline] Warning: The output column "StateProvinceID" (19) on output "OLE DB Source Output" (16) and component "OLE DB Source" (5) is not subsequently used in the Data Flow task. Removing this unused output column can increase Data Flow task performance.
[SSIS.Pipeline] Warning: The output column "LatestRecordedPopulation" (20) on output "OLE DB Source Output" (16) and component "OLE DB Source" (5) is not subsequently used in the Data Flow task. Removing this unused output column can increase Data Flow task performance.

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