Using the Relational Engine

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What’s In This Topic?

  • Using the relational engine to facilitate SSIS data extraction
  • Loading data with SSIS and the relational engine
  • Understanding when to use the relational engine versus SSIS

An old adage says that when you’re holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail. When you use SSIS to build a solution, make sure that you use the right tool for each problem you tackle. SSIS will be excellent for some jobs, and SQL Server will shine at other tasks. When used in concert, the combination of the two can be powerful.

This Topic discusses other features in the SQL Server arsenal that can help you build robust and high-performance ETL solutions. The SQL Server relational database engine has many features that were designed with data loading in mind, and as such the engine and SSIS form a perfect marriage to extract, load, and transform your data.

This Topic assumes you are using SQL Server 2014 as the source system, though many of the same principles will apply to earlier versions of SQL Server and to other relational database systems too. You should also have the SQL Server 2014 versions of AdventureWorks and AdventureWorksDW installed; these are available from www.wrox.com.

The easiest way to understand how the relational database engine can help you design ETL solutions is to segment the topic into the three basic stages of ETL: extraction, transformation, and loading. Because the domain of transformation is mostly within SSIS itself, there is not much to say there about the relational database engine, so our scope of interest here is narrowed down to extraction and loading.

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