Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Integration Services – A Review

The latest book I’ve been reading is Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Integration Services.The authors are Wee Hyong Tok, Rakesh Parida, Matt Masson, Xiaoning Ding, and  Kaarthik Sivashanmugam, and the publisher is Microsoft Press. This post is my review.

This is not a book for beginners. You should have a solid understanding of SSIS before  reading it. It would also be helpful to know T-SQL, .NET and PowerShell as there are plenty of code examples in each language. This is also not a walkthrough type of book, where you’ll follow along in creating SSIS packages. But the book does come with plenty of projects where you can follow along chapter by chapter.

The chapters are broken down into five parts. The first is Overview which contains Chapters 1 – 3 and is an overview of SSIS concepts. Part II has Chapters 4 – 9 and covers Development, including Change Data Capture. Part III is on Database Administration in Chapters 10 – 14 and covers configuring, deploying and executing packages. Part IV is a Deep-Dive into the components of SSIS in Chapters 15 – 19. Finally, Part V is on Troubleshooting, in Chapters 20 – 23. Here you’ll learn some best practices in designing for performance    

I’ve got three favorite chapters so far. Chapter 3 covers Upgrading to SQL 2012. There’s more to think about than just upgrading the server instance. There’s lots more to consider, and the authors do a good job of showing you not just the requirements but how to upgrade packages as well. For instance, you may have heard that the old DTS have been deprecated. That means any package that uses the also deprecated Run DTS Package transform must also be upgraded. You’ll see how to use the Upgrade Advisor on packages as well as the instance.

Chapter 5, on Team Development, is another favorite. I feel that working with objects under source control is one of the most important pieces of development, and is a topic that’s not covered very often. It’s nice to see how to store packages in Team Foundation Server here, along with some best practices. Chapter 16 is SSIS Catalog Deep Dive and you won’t want to skip this one. The new catalog has to be the biggest new feature in SSIS 2012 and you’ll want to learn all about it.

My only minor complaint about the book is the way it jumps around sometimes. For instance, when reading about running packages using PowerShell in Chapter 11, I saw one paragraph basically saying that PowerShell and SSIS was now available and referred me to Chapter 13. But the information was there. You probably don’t want to read the book cover to cover anyway. You can pick where and what you want to read based on your comfort level with SSIS.

This is a very detailed book, and one I recommend to any SSIS developer. It probably won’t be your only book on the subject but I feel it covers the internals of SSIS very well. I can see myself using this book as a reference over and over again as I work with SSIS more.