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Showing posts from June, 2008

Thoughts on Mentoring

I just finished the book The Elements of Mentoring by W. Brad Johnson and Charles R. Ridley at the suggestion of Andy Warren in his blog series on mentoring . While I’ve been fortunate enough in my career to have many people have advised, taught, and coached me, I’ve never been involved in a formal mentor-protégé relationship. After reading all of the work involved, I’m surprised anyone would want to! That statement is partly tongue-in-cheek because it is apparent after reading this book that a successful pairing can be mutually beneficial. Here are just a few thoughts on the book. The Elements of Mentoring starts by discussing how to be a good mentor, namely that it is important to have both the right personality and the right skill set. It struck me as I read that for most of the advice, I could replace mentor/protégé with any relationship pair, i.e. parent/child, person/spouse, etc. For example, the important of bolstering the protégé’s confidence is a pillar of good parenti

VanPASS User Group

I'm excited to be making the trip up to Vancouver on June 26 to speak at the Vancouver PASS User Group on the new features of SSIS 2008. Also speaking will be Smruti Parab on SQL Server 2008 SSAS and Scott Stauffer on the new features of SSRS 2008. In my presentation, we'll take a look at the data profiler task, the new lookup transformation functionality, and whatever else strikes me before that time. :) If you're in the area, I hope to see you there!

File Path Expression Tip

Expressions in SQL Server Integration Services packages allow you to dynamically change values during the execution of a package. Each time you create an expression, it's as though you're creating a little program to retrieve the desired value. One use of an expression is to split a value into chunks that can be configured and used in multiple places. A common example is separating out file information into a file path and a file name, where the file path is the reusable piece. The file path can then be managed through a configuration and modified at any time. The expression usually looks similar to this:      @[User::FilePath] + @[User::FileName] or maybe this:      @[User::FilePath] + "\\" + @[User::FileName] The obvious problem is that you need to remember to add (or not add) the back slash on the file path. By extending our "little program", we can handle either situation at the same time, like so:      @[User::FilePath] +      (RIGHT(@[User::FilePath],

Small Pleasures

As well as adding new components and performance improvements to SQL Server Integration Services 2008, the team made some UI changes to the existing components to help increase developer productivity. It's the small things that can really make a difference when you're building your packages! Here are a few examples of the additions: Script Transformation The "Script" menu is now the first/default menu that opens up when you select Edit. So rather than pushing two buttons to actually get to the meat, you only have to push one. Gone are the days of having to remember the exact name, spelling, case, and namespace of your variables. Now there is a window that allows you to select which variables you want to lock for reading or writing. Row Count Transformation Another variable drop-down! OLE DB Source When using the Data Access mode: "SQL Command from variable", the value of the variable is now displayed beneath the variable name. No more digging in the Variable

Pipeline Parallelization

One of the new features of SQL Server Integration Services 2008 is the parallelization of the pipeline. This is implemented by creating multiple execution threads that can be run on different processors, increasing the performance of the package. In SSIS 2005, this separation of threads could be emulated by using a Union All transformation to create a new buffer. If you turn on logging in the data flow, you can see these separate execution trees in the events PipelineExecutionPlan and PipelineExecutionTrees. I created a simple package that creates a row set of integers, multicasts to a conditional split (as a terminator) and a flat file destination. Here are the messages from those events: User:PipelineExecutionTrees Begin Path 0 output "Output 0" (32); component "Script Component" (29)   input "Multicast Input 1" (53); component "Multicast" (52)   Begin Subpath 0     output "Multicast Output 1" (54); component "Multicast"