SSIS Review

A strong solution for batch processing with good community support

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution for ETL, which includes data summation and cleaning. 

This solution used in an on-premise deployment, for now.

What is most valuable?

I have used most of the standard SQL features, but the ones that stand out are the Data Flows and Bulk Import.

What needs improvement?

The synchronous processing needs to be improved. For batch processing, it works fine, but when you start to do real-time processing, I find that this solution is not strong, depending on how you use it. If you use it for short batches, micro batching, that might work, but it is not as good for queuing real-time processing. This solution needs full support for real-time processing.

The solution needs better support for XML and JSON.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for the past ten years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I use this product extensively, on a daily basis. It is stable.

Over time, I think we'll most likely start to decrease usage. This will happen as we move to more real-time processing, and we will most likely start to do more queue processing. In terms of batch processing, it will scale down considerably.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In the catalog, it's supposed to be scalable. I think that it has support for an SQL cluster.

In my opinion, I think it's a bit more limited in terms of scalability, although it scales with the database. I would say that the scalability is intermediate in terms of being able to launch multiple instances, or it could do load balancing as well. I think that would be a bit more challenging.

How are customer service and technical support?

We haven't needed to contact Microsoft technical support. When we have trouble we usually use Google to search for what we need to find out. Also, in terms of issues, there's a lot of information on SQLServerCentral and Stack Overflow.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

For the most part, we started with this solution. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of this solution is pretty much straightforward.

If you want to develop with Visual Studio then you have to install the data service add-ons afterward, so it is a bit cumbersome. Then, if you want to use the catalog on the database, with deployment there are often security issues and you have to get an SQL catalog up and running. This can also be a bit cumbersome.

I would say that it takes a day or two to deploy this solution in a new environment, and it can be completed by one or two people. A single developer may be sufficient to deploy and maintain the system.

What about the implementation team?

I implemented some of this myself and had help in terms of setting up the security. There are often security settings that require the assistance of a DBA.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

This solution was already in place. That's what is available and it's what people know. Going forward, this will most likely change.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to anybody implementing this solution is to look into whether to use it on a catalog in a database, versus using package deployment. There are pros and cons to both approaches in terms of deployment and security. I would say that's something that needs to be evaluated quite early. There are lots of benefits to the catalog, but also a bit more admin attached to it.

Another consideration is real-time processing needs. If this is a requirement then I would recommend against using this solution, unless the next version has a new set of features specifically for real-time processing.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.

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