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Extracting Data from a Flat File with SQL Server 2005 Integration Services
by Web Team at ORCS Web
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What happened to DTS?

SQL Server Integration Services (formerly Data Transformation Services) provides a comprehensive solution for transferring and transforming data between diverse data sources.  The architecture of SSIS has been redesigned to separate package-control flow from data flow.  Two engines have been introduced to handle these aspects of data transformation: the SSIS Run-Time engine and the SSIS Data-Flow engine.

The SSIS Designer is hosted in Business Intelligence Development Studio, making it possible to develop SSIS projects while disconnected from the server.  You can also develop SSIS solutions using SQL Server Management Studio.


SSIS provides the following built-in transformations:

·         Conditional Split transformation

·         Multicast transformation

·         Union-All, Merge, and Merge Join transformations

·         Sort transformation

·         Fuzzy Grouping transformation

·         Lookup and Fuzzy Lookup transformations

·         Percentage Sampling and Row Sampling transformations

·         Copy/Map, Data Conversion, and Derived Column transformations

·         Aggregation transformation

·         Data Mining Model Training, Data Mining Query, Partition Processing, and Dimension Processing transformations

·         Pivot and UnPivot transformations

For this example I am importing sample customer contact information from a flat file into the "charlestest" database on a SQL 2005 server.

To create a new Integration Services package to extract data from a flat file:

1.     Choose Start > All Programs > Microsoft SQL Server 2005 > SQL Server Business Intelligence Development Studio.

2.     On the File menu, choose New > Project to create a new Integration Services project.

3.     In the New Project dialog box, select Integration Services Project.

4.     In the Name box, change the default name to Importing Flat Text File.

5.     Click OK.

Figure 1

ORCS Web, Managed Complex Hosting - Support 

An empty package called Package.dtsx will be created and added to your project.  We can rename this package in the Solution Explorer toolbar; right-click on Package.dtsx and click Rename.  Then rename the default package to importingcustomerdata.dtsx.

Next, we must add a Flat File connection manager to the package that we just created.  A Flat File connection manager allows a package to extract data from a flat file.

To add a Flat File connection manager:

1. Right-click anywhere in the Connection Managers area and then click New Flat File Connection. 

2. On the Flat File Connection Manager Editor screen, for Connection manager name, type Extract Customer Info

3. Click Browse

4. In the Open dialog box, browse to the flat text file you intend to extract data from. 

5. To rename columns in the Flat File connection manager, click Advanced, and in the property pane change the "Name" property for each column.

Figure 2

ORCS Web, Managed Complex Hosting - Support 

Next, we need to add an OLE DB Connection Manager to connect to the destination database.  An OLE DB Connection Manager allows a package to extract data from or upload data into any OLE DB data source (SQL Database for our purposes).  Using the OLE DB Connection Manager, you can specify the server, the authentication method and the default database for the connection.

To add and configure an OLE DB Connection Manager:

1. Right-click in the Connection Managers area and then click New OLE DB Connection.

2. On the Configure OLE DB Connection Manager screen, click New.

3. For Server name, enter (or the appropriate server name).

4. In the Log on to the server group, verify that Use SQL Sever Authentication is selected and enter the appropriate username and password. 

5. In the Connect to a database group, choose Select or enter a database name box, and then select "charlestest."

6. Choose Test Connection to verify that the connection settings you have specified are valid.

7. Click OK.

8. Click OK.

9. In the Data Connections pane of the Server Explorer Configure OLE DB Connection Manager screen, verify that is selected.

10. Click OK.

You can also specify "localhost" as the server name and the connection manager will connect to the default instance of local computer.

Figure 3

ORCS Web, Managed Complex Hosting - Support 

Now that we have created the connection managers for the source and destination data, we now need to add a Data Flow task to our package.  The Data Flow task encapsulates the data flow engine that moves data between sources and destinations, and provides the functionality for transforming, cleaning, and modifying data as it is moved.  The Data Flow task is where most of the work of an extract, transform and load (ETL) process actually occurs.

To add a Data Flow task:

1. Click the Control Flow tab. 

2. In the Toolbox, expand Control Flow Items and drag a Data Flow Task onto the design surface of the Control Flow tab.

3. On the Control Flow design surface, right-click the newly added Data Flow Task, click Rename, and change the name to Export Customer info.

Figure 4

ORCS Web, Managed Complex Hosting - Support 

Next, you will add and configure a Flat File source for your package.  A Flat File source is a data flow component that uses metadata defined by a Flat File connection manager to specify the format and structure of the data to be extracted from the flat file by a transform process.  The Flat File source can be configured to extract data from a single flat file by using the file format definition provided by the Flat File connection manager.

To add a Flat File Source component:

1. Click on the Data flow tab.  In the Toolbox, expand Data Flow Sources, and then drag a Flat File Source onto the design surface of the Data Flow tab.

2. On the Data Flow design surface, right-click the newly added Flat File Source, click Rename, and change the name to Customer Info*.

3. Double-click the Flat File source to open the Flat File Source Editor box.

4. In the Flat file connection manager box, select Importing Customer Info.

5. Click Columns and verify that the names of the columns are correct.

6. Click OK.

*Alternatively, if the data source file has a header row, it will automatically name the columns for you with the proper names from the header row.

Figure 5

ORCS Web, Managed Complex Hosting - Support 

This package now can extract data from the flat file source and transform that data into a format that is compatible with the destination.  The next task is to actually load the transformed data into the destination.  To load the data, we must add an OLE DB destination to the data flow.  The OLE DB destination can use a database table, view, or an SQL command to load data into a variety of OLE DB-compliant databases.

To add and configure the OLE DB destination:

1. Double-click on OLE DB Destination under DataFlow Destinations in the Toolbox on the right.  Then Drag the green arrow from the Flat file source to the OLE DB Destination as shown below:

Figure 6
ORCS Web, Managed Complex Hosting - Support

2. Then double-click on the OLE DB Destination and in the OLE DB Destination Editor box ensure that is selected in the OLE DB Connection manager box.

3. In the Name of the table or the view box select the name of the table that you are importing the data into.

Figure 7
ORCS Web, Managed Complex Hosting - Support

4. Click Mappings.

5. Verify that the input columns are mapped correctly to the destination columns.

6. Click OK.

Figure 8
ORCS Web, Managed Complex Hosting - Support

Your package is now complete and should look something like this:

Figure 9

ORCS Web, Managed Complex Hosting - Support

It is time to test your package.

To run this package:

1. Click on the Debug menu and click Start Debugging.

2. After the package has completed running, on the Debug menu click Stop Debugging.

3. The data in your flat text file has now been imported.  Celebrate

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