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  • Why I don't use SSIS checkpoint files

    - by jamiet
    In a recent discussion in regard to general ETL best practises the subject of checkpoint files as a means for package restartability came up and I stated that I was dead against using them. For anyone that may care, here is why: Configuring them is distinctly unintuitive (that's a matter of opinion but if you follow the link I'll wager that you will agree) they don't make any allowance for loop iterations they cannot store variables of type Object they are limited in ability. There are many scenarios where you may want to execute certain containers regardless of whether the package is started from a checkpoint file but the current usage model does not allow for this. they are ignored by eventhandlers, which wouldn't be so bad if there were a way to toggle this behaviour in certain scenarios they dont work properly I'll expand on the last bullet point. I have encountered situations where the behaviour for tasks executing concurrently is unpredictable. That is, sometimes the completion of a task that executes concurrently with a failed/failing task will make it into the checkpoint file and sometimes it won't. This is near-impossible to reproduce but it does happen as my good friend John Welch will hopefully concur (if he is reading). Is anyone out there making successful use of checkpoint files within SSIS? I would be interested in knowing about that if so. @Jamiet

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  • sp_ssiscatalog v1.0.1.0 now available for download

    - by jamiet
    13 days ago I wrote a blog post entitled Introducing sp_ssiscatalog (v1.0.0.0) in which I first made mention of sp_ssiscatalog, an open source stored procedure intended to make it easy to query the SSIS Catalog. I have been working on some enhancements since then and hence v1.0.1.0 is now available for download from Codeplex. What’s new in this release This release includes the following enhancements: [execution_id] now gets returned in a call to EXEC [dbo].[sp_ssiscatalog] @operation_type='exec'; Filter events by specifying packages to ignore EXEC [dbo].[sp_ssiscatalog] @operation_type='exec',@exec_events_packagesexcluded='SomePackage.dtsx,AnotherPackage.dtsx'; [event_message_id] is now returned in a list of events List of executions can now be filtered via a minimum and maximum execution_id EXEC [dbo].[sp_ssiscatalog] @operation_type='execs',@execs_minimum_execution_id=198,@execs_maximum_execution_id=201 Events resultsets now have a field, [event_message_context_xml] that contains an XML document containing all [event_message_context] info (if any exists) Installation instructions Download the zip file at DB v1.0.1.0. It contains two files, SsisReportingPack.dacpac & SSISDB.dacpac Unzip to a folder of your choosing Open a command prompt and change to the directory into which you unzipped the files Execute: "%PROGRAMFILES(x86)%\Microsoft SQL Server\110\DAC\bin\sqlpackage.exe" /a:Publish /tdn:SsisReportingPack /sf:SSISReportingPack.dacpac /v:SSISDB=SSISDB /tsn:(local) (/tsn specifies the target server. Change as appropriate.) If everything works OK you’ll see something like the following: or depending on whether the target database already exists or not This will create a database called [SsisReportingPack] which contains [dbo].[sp_ssiscatalog] Feedback is welcomed! @Jamiet

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  • The current state of a MERGE Destination for SSIS

    - by jamiet
    Hugo Tap asked me on Twitter earlier today whether or not there existed a SSIS Dataflow Destination component that enabled one to MERGE data into a table rather than INSERT it. Its a common request so I thought it might be useful to summarise the current state of play as regards a MERGE destination for SSIS. Firstly, there is no MERGE destination component in the box; that is, when you install SSIS no MERGE Destination will be available. That being said the SSIS team have made available a MERGE destination component via Codeplex which you can get from http://sqlsrvintegrationsrv.codeplex.com/releases/view/19048. I have never used it so cannot vouch for its usefulness although judging by some of the reviews you might not want to set your expectations too high. Your mileage may vary.   In the past it has occurred to me that a built-in way to provide MERGE from the SSIS pipeline would be highly valuable. I assume that this would have to be provided by the database into which you were merging hence in March 2010 I submitted the following two requests to Connect: BULK MERGE (111 votes at the time of writing) [SSIS] BULK MERGE Destination (15 votes) If you think these would be useful feel free to vote them up and add a comment. Lastly, this one is nothing to do with SSIS but if you want to perform a minimally logged MERGE using T-SQL Sunil Agarwal has explained how at Minimal logging and MERGE statement. @Jamiet

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  • ODBC in SSIS 2012

    - by jamiet
    In August 2011 the SQL Server client team published a blog post entitled Microsoft is Aligning with ODBC for Native Relational Data Access in which they basically said "OLE DB is the past, ODBC is the future. Deal with it.". From that blog post:We encourage you to adopt ODBC in the development of your new and future versions of your application. You don’t need to change your existing applications using OLE DB, as they will continue to be supported on Denali throughout its lifecycle. While this gives you a large window of opportunity for changing your applications before the deprecation goes into effect, you may want to consider migrating those applications to ODBC as a part of your future roadmap.I recently undertook a project using SSIS2012 and heeded that advice by opting to use ODBC Connection Managers rather than OLE DB Connection Managers. Unfortunately my finding was that the ODBC Connection Manager is not yet ready for primetime use in SSIS 2012. The main issue I found was that you can't populate an Object variable with a recordset when using an Execute SQL Task connecting to an ODBC data source; any attempt to do so will result in an error:"Disconnected recordsets are not available from ODBC connections." I have filed a bug on Connect at ODBC Connection Manager does not have same funcitonality as OLE DB. For this reason I strongly recommend that you don't make the move to ODBC Connection Managers in SSIS just yet - best to wait for the next version of SSIS before doing that.I found another couple of issues with the ODBC Connection Manager that are worth keeping in mind:It doesn't recognise System Data Source Names (DSNs), only User DSNs (bug filed at ODBC System DSNs are not available in the ODBC Connection Manager)  UPDATE: According to a comment on that Connect item this may only be a problem on 64bit.In the OLE DB Connection Manager parameter ordinals are 0-based, in the ODBC Connection Manager they are 1-based (oh I just can't wait for the upgrade mess that ensues from this one!!!)You have been [email protected]

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  • Is DQS-in-the-cloud on its way?

    - by jamiet
    LinkedIn profiles are always a useful place to find out what's really going on in Microsoft. Today I stumbled upon this little nugget from former SSIS product team member Matt Carroll: March 2012 – December 2012 (10 months)Redmond, WA Took ownership of the SQL 2012 Data Quality Services box product and re-architected and extended it to become a cloud service. Led team and managed product to add dynamic scale, security, multi-tenancy, deployment, logging, monitoring, and telemetry as well as creating new Excel add-in and new ecosystem experience around easily sharing and finding cleansing agents. Personally designed, coded, and unit tested in-memory trigram matching algorithm core to better performance, scale and maintainability. Delivered and supported successful private preview of the new service prior to SQL wide reorganization.  http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=9657184  Sounds as though a Data-Quality-Services-in-the-cloud (which I spoke of as being a useful addition to Microsoft's BI portfolio in my previous blog post Thoughts on Power BI for Office 365 ) might be on its way some time in the future. And what's this SQL wide reorganization? Interesting stuff. @Jamiet  

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  • Messages do not always appear in [catalog].[event_messages] in the order that they occur [SSIS]

    - by jamiet
    This is a simple heads up for anyone doing SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) development using SSIS 2012. Be aware that messages do not always appear in [catalog].[event_messages] in the order that they occur, observe… In the following query I am looking at a subset of messages in [catalog].[event_messages] and ordering them by [event_message_id]: SELECT [event_message_id],[event_name],[message_time],[message_source_name]FROM   [catalog].[event_messages] emWHERE  [event_message_id] BETWEEN 290972 AND 290982ORDER  BY [event_message_id] ASC--ORDER BY [message_time] ASC Take a look at the two rows that I have highlighted, note how the OnPostExecute event for “Utility GetTargetLoadDatesPerETLIfcName” appears after the OnPreExecute event for “FELC Loop over TargetLoadDates”, I happen to know that this is incorrect because “Utility GetTargetLoadDatesPerETLIfcName” is a package that gets executed by an Execute Package Task prior to the For Each Loop “FELC Loop over TargetLoadDates”: If we order instead by [message_time] then we see something that makes more sense: SELECT [event_message_id],[event_name],[message_time],[message_source_name]FROM   [catalog].[event_messages] emWHERE  [event_message_id] BETWEEN 290972 AND 290982--ORDER BY [event_message_id] ASCORDER  BY [message_time] ASC We can see that the OnPostExecute for “Utility GetTargetLoadDatesPerETLIfcName” did indeed occur before the OnPreExecute event for “FELC Loop over TargetLoadDates”, they just did not get assigned an [event_message_id] in chronological order. We can speculate as to why that might be (I suspect the explanation is something to do with the two executables appearing in different packages) but the reason is not the important thing here, just be aware that you should be ordering by [message_time] rather than [event_message_id] if you want to get 100% accurate insights into your executions. @Jamiet

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  • Query for server DefaultData & DefaultLog folders

    - by jamiet
    Do you ever need to query for the DefaultData & DefaultLog folders for your SQL Server instance? Well, I just did and the following script enabled me to do that: DECLARE @HkeyLocal NVARCHAR(18),@MSSqlServerRegPath NVARCHAR(31),@InstanceRegPath SYSNAME; SELECT @HkeyLocal=N'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE' SELECT @MSSqlServerRegPath=N'SOFTWARE\Microsoft\MSSQLServer' SELECT @[email protected] + N'\MSSQLServer' DECLARE @SmoDefaultFile NVARCHAR(512) EXEC MASTER.dbo.xp_instance_regread @HkeyLocal, @InstanceRegPath, N'DefaultData', @SmoDefaultFile OUTPUT DECLARE @SmoDefaultLog NVARCHAR(512) EXEC MASTER.dbo.xp_instance_regread @HkeyLocal, @InstanceRegPath, N'DefaultLog', @SmoDefaultLog OUTPUT SELECT ISNULL(@SmoDefaultFile,N'') AS [DefaultFile],ISNULL(@SmoDefaultLog,N'') AS [DefaultLog]' I haven’t done any rigorous testing or anything like that, all I can say is…it worked for me (on SQL Server 2012). Use as you see fit. Doubtless this information exists in a multitude of other places but nevertheless I’m putting it here so I know where to find it in the future. Just for fun I thought I’d try this out against SQL Azure Windows Azure SQL Database. Unsurprisingly it didn’t work there: Msg 40515, Level 15, State 1, Line 16 Reference to database and/or server name in 'MASTER.dbo.xp_instance_regread' is not supported in this version of SQL Server. @Jamiet

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  • Did you know documentation is built-in to usp_ssiscatalog?

    - by jamiet
    I am still working apace on updates to my open source project SSISReportingPack, specifically I am working on improvements to usp_ssiscatalog which is a stored procedure that eases the querying and exploration of the data in the SSIS Catalog. In this blog post I want to share a titbit of information about usp_ssiscatalog, that all the actions that you can take when you execute usp_ssiscatalog are documented within the stored procedure itself. For example if you simply execute EXEC usp_ssiscatalog @action='exec' in SSMS then switch over to the messages tab you will see some information about the action: OK, that’s kinda cool. But what if you only want to see the documentation and don’t actually want any action to take place. Well you can do that too using the @show_docs_only parameter like so: EXEC dbo.usp_ssiscatalog @a='exec',@show_docs_only=1; That will only show the documentation. Wanna read all of the documentation? That’s simply: EXEC dbo.usp_ssiscatalog @a='exec',@show_docs_only=1; EXEC dbo.usp_ssiscatalog @a='execs',@show_docs_only=1; EXEC dbo.usp_ssiscatalog @a='configure',@show_docs_only=1; EXEC dbo.usp_ssiscatalog @a='exec_created',@show_docs_only=1; EXEC dbo.usp_ssiscatalog @a='exec_running',@show_docs_only=1; EXEC dbo.usp_ssiscatalog @a='exec_canceled',@show_docs_only=1; EXEC dbo.usp_ssiscatalog @a='exec_failed',@show_docs_only=1; EXEC dbo.usp_ssiscatalog @a='exec_pending',@show_docs_only=1; EXEC dbo.usp_ssiscatalog @a='exec_ended_unexpectedly',@show_docs_only=1; EXEC dbo.usp_ssiscatalog @a='exec_succeeded',@show_docs_only=1; EXEC dbo.usp_ssiscatalog @a='exec_stopping',@show_docs_only=1; EXEC dbo.usp_ssiscatalog @a='exec_completed',@show_docs_only=1; I hope that comes in useful for you sometime. Have fun exploring the documentation on usp_ssiscatalog. If you think the documentation can be improved please do let me know. @jamiet

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  • Did you know documentation is built-in to usp_ssiscatalog?

    - by jamiet
    I am still working apace on updates to my open source project SSISReportingPack, specifically I am working on improvements to usp_ssiscatalog which is a stored procedure that eases the querying and exploration of the data in the SSIS Catalog. In this blog post I want to share a titbit of information about usp_ssiscatalog, that all the actions that you can take when you execute usp_ssiscatalog are documented within the stored procedure itself. For example if you simply execute EXEC usp_ssiscatalog @action='exec' in SSMS then switch over to the messages tab you will see some information about the action: OK, that’s kinda cool. But what if you only want to see the documentation and don’t actually want any action to take place. Well you can do that too using the @show_docs_only parameter like so: EXEC dbo.usp_ssiscatalog @a='exec',@show_docs_only=1; That will only show the documentation. Wanna read all of the documentation? That’s simply: EXEC dbo.usp_ssiscatalog @a='exec',@show_docs_only=1; EXEC dbo.usp_ssiscatalog @a='execs',@show_docs_only=1; EXEC dbo.usp_ssiscatalog @a='configure',@show_docs_only=1; EXEC dbo.usp_ssiscatalog @a='exec_created',@show_docs_only=1; EXEC dbo.usp_ssiscatalog @a='exec_running',@show_docs_only=1; EXEC dbo.usp_ssiscatalog @a='exec_canceled',@show_docs_only=1; EXEC dbo.usp_ssiscatalog @a='exec_failed',@show_docs_only=1; EXEC dbo.usp_ssiscatalog @a='exec_pending',@show_docs_only=1; EXEC dbo.usp_ssiscatalog @a='exec_ended_unexpectedly',@show_docs_only=1; EXEC dbo.usp_ssiscatalog @a='exec_succeeded',@show_docs_only=1; EXEC dbo.usp_ssiscatalog @a='exec_stopping',@show_docs_only=1; EXEC dbo.usp_ssiscatalog @a='exec_completed',@show_docs_only=1; I hope that comes in useful for you sometime. Have fun exploring the documentation on usp_ssiscatalog. If you think the documentation can be improved please do let me know. @jamiet

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  • SSIS code smell – Unused columns in the dataflow

    - by jamiet
    A code smell is defined on Wikipedia as being a “symptom in the source code of a program that possibly indicates a deeper problem”. It’s a term commonly used by our code-writing brethren to describe sub-optimal code but I think the term can be applied equally well to SSIS packages too as I shall now explain One of my pet hates about SSIS development is packages that throw warnings of the form: The output column "ColumnName" (1358) on output "OLE DB Source Output" (1289) and component "OLE_SRC Name" (1279) is not subsequently used in the Data Flow task. Removing this unused output column can increase Data Flow task performance.  The warning is fairly self-explanatory – any column that appears in the data flow but doesn’t get used will throw this warning when the data flow is executed. Its not the negligible performance degradation that they cause that bothers me though, it’s the clutter that they cause in your log file/table. Take a look at the following screenshot if you don’t believe me: There are 231409 such warnings in the system that I took this screenshot from, that is 231409 log records that should not be there. The most infuriating thing about this warning is that it is so easily avoidable; eliminating such columns is a very quick and easy thing to do in the SSIS Designer. The only problem I see is that the warnings don’t occur until you execute the package – it would be preferable for the designer to have an unobtrusive way of informing you of them as well. Anyway, I digress… I consider such warnings to be a code smell because, to me, they’re symptomatic of a lack of due care and attention; a lack of developer discipline if you will. What other code smells can you think of when building SSIS packages? If I get a good list in the comments maybe I’ll compile them into a later blog post. @Jamiet Share this post: email it! | bookmark it! | digg it! | reddit! | kick it! | live it!

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  • Dynamic Unpivot : SSIS Nugget

    - by jamiet
    A question on the SSIS forum earlier today asked: I need to dynamically unpivot some set of columns in my source file. Every month there is one new column and its set of Values. I want to unpivot it without editing my SSIS packages that is deployed Let’s be clear about what we mean by Unpivot. It is a normalisation technique that basically converts columns into rows. By way of example it converts something like this: AccountCode Jan Feb Mar AC1 100.00 150.00 125.00 AC2 45.00 75.50 90.00 into something like this: AccountCode Month Amount AC1 Jan 100.00 AC1 Feb 150.00 AC1 Mar 125.00 AC2 Jan 45.00 AC2 Feb 75.50 AC2 Mar 90.00 The Unpivot transformation in SSIS is perfectly capable of carrying out the operation defined in this example however in the case outlined in the aforementioned forum thread the problem was a little bit different. I interpreted it to mean that the number of columns could change and in that scenario the Unpivot transformation (and indeed the SSIS dataflow in general) is rendered useless because it expects that the number of columns will not change from what is specified at design-time. There is a workaround however. Assuming all of the columns that CAN exist will appear at the end of the rows, we can (1) import all of the columns in the file as just a single column, (2) use a script component to loop over all the values in that “column” and (3) output each one as a column all of its own. Let’s go over that in a bit more detail.   I’ve prepared a data file that shows some data that we want to unpivot which shows some customers and their mythical shopping lists (it has column names in the first row): We use a Flat File Connection Manager to specify the format of our data file to SSIS: and a Flat File Source Adapter to put it into the dataflow (no need a for a screenshot of that one – its very basic). Notice that the values that we want to unpivot all exist in a column called [Groceries]. Now onto the script component where the real work goes on, although the code is pretty simple: Here I show a screenshot of this executing along with some data viewers. As you can see we have successfully pulled out all of the values into a row all of their own thus accomplishing the Dynamic Unpivot that the forum poster was after. If you want to run the demo for yourself then I have uploaded the demo package and source file up to my SkyDrive: http://cid-550f681dad532637.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Public/BlogShare/20100529/Dynamic%20Unpivot.zip Simply extract the two files into a folder, make sure the Connection Manager is pointing to the file, and execute! Hope this is useful. @Jamiet Share this post: email it! | bookmark it! | digg it! | reddit! | kick it! | live it!

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  • SSIS Catalog, Windows updates and deployment failures due to System.Core mismatch

    - by jamiet
    This is a heads-up for anyone doing development on SSIS. On my current project where we are implementing a SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) 2012 solution we recently encountered a situation where we were unable to deploy any of our projects even though we had successfully deployed in the past. Any attempt to use the deployment wizard resulted in this error dialog: The text of the error (for all you search engine crawlers out there) was: A .NET Framework error occurred during execution of user-defined routine or aggregate "create_key_information": System.IO.FileLoadException: Could not load file or assembly 'System.Core, Version=4.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089' or one of its dependencies. The located assembly's manifest definition does not match the assembly reference. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x80131040) ---> System.IO.FileLoadException: The located assembly's manifest definition does not match the assembly reference. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x80131040) System.IO.FileLoadException: System.IO.FileLoadException:     at Microsoft.SqlServer.IntegrationServices.Server.Security.CryptoGraphy.CreateSymmetricKey(String algorithm)    at Microsoft.SqlServer.IntegrationServices.Server.Security.CryptoGraphy.CreateKeyInformation(SqlString algorithmName, SqlBytes& key, SqlBytes& IV) . (Microsoft SQL Server, Error: 6522) After some investigation and a bit of back and forth with some very helpful members of the SSIS product team (hey Matt, Wee Hyong) it transpired that this was due to a .Net Framework fix that had been delivered via Windows Update. I took a look at the server update history and indeed there have been some recently applied .Net Framework updates: This fix had (in the words of Matt Masson) “somehow caused a mismatch on System.Core for SQLCLR” and, as you may know, SQLCLR is used heavily within the SSIS Catalog. The fix was pretty simple – restart SQL Server. This causes the assemblies to be upgraded automatically. If you are using Data Quality Services (DQS) you may have experienced similar problems which are documented at Upgrade SQLCLR Assemblies After .NET Framework Update. I am hoping the SSIS team will follow-up with a more thorough explanation on their blog soon. You DBAs out there may be questioning why Windows Update is set to automatically apply updates on our production servers. We’re checking that out with our hosting provider right now You have been warned! @Jamiet

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  • SSDT - What's in a name?

    - by jamiet
    SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) recently got released as part of SQL Server 2012 and depending on who you believe it can be described as either: a suite of tools for building SQL Server database solutions or a suite of tools for building SQL Server database, Integration Services, Analysis Services & Reporting Services solutions Certainly the SQL Server 2012 installer seems to think it is the latter because it describes SQL Server Data Tools as "the SQL server development environment, including the tool formerly named Business Intelligence Development Studio. Also installs the business intelligence tools and references to the web installers for database development tools" as you can see here: Strange then that, seemingly, there is no consensus within Microsoft about what SSDT actually is. On yesterday's blog post First Release of SSDT Power Tools reader Simon Lampen asked the quite legitimate question:I understand (rightly or wrongly) that SSDT is the replacement for BIDS for SQL 2012 and have just installed this. If this is the case can you please point me to how I can edit rdl and rdlc files from within Visual Studio 2010 and import MS Access reports.To which came the following reply:SSDT doesn't include any BIDs (sic) components. Following up with the appropriate team (Analysis Services, Reporting Services, Integration Services) via their forum or msdn page would be the best way to answer you questions about these kinds of services. That's from a Microsoft employee by the way. Simon is even more confused by this and replies with:I have done some more digging and am more confused than ever. This documentation (and many others) : msdn.microsoft.com/.../ms156280.aspx expressly states that SSDT is where report editing tools are to be foundAnd on it goes....You can see where Simon's confusion stems from. He has official documentation stating that SSDT includes all the stuff for building SSIS/SSAS/SSRS solutions (this is confirmed in the installer, remember) yet someone from Microsoft tells him "SSDT doesn't include any BIDs components".I have been close to this for a long time (all the way through the CTPs) so I can kind of understand where the confusion stems from. To my understanding SSDT was originally the name of the database dev stuff but eventually that got expanded to include all of the dev tools - I guess not everyone in Microsoft got the memo.Does this sound familiar? Have we not been down this road before? The database dev tools have had upteen names over the years (do any of datadude, TSData, VSTS for DB Pros, DBPro, VS2010 Database Projects sound familiar) and I was hoping that the SSDT moniker would put all confusion to bed - evidently its as complicated now as it has ever been.Forgive me for whinging but putting meaningful, descriptive, accurate, well-defined and easily-communicated names onto a product doesn't seem like a difficult thing to do. I guess I'm mistaken!Onwards and [email protected]

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  • SSIS Reporting Pack update

    - by jamiet
    Its been a while since I last posted anything in regard to SSIS Reporting Pack, the most recent release being on 27th May 2012, so here is a short update. There is still lots of work to do on SSIS Reporting Pack; lots more features to add, lots of performance work to be done, and a few bug fixes too. I have also been (fairly) hard at work on a framework to be used in conjunction with SSIS 2012 that I refer to as the Restart Framework (currently residing at http://ssisrestartframework.codeplex.com/). There is still much work to be done on the Restart Framework (not least some useful documentation on how to use it) which is why I haven’t mentioned it publicly before now although I am actively checking in changes. One thing I am considering is amalgamating the two projects into one; this would mean I could build a suite of reports that both work against the SSIS Catalog (what you currently know as “SSIS Reporting Pack”) and also against this Restart Framework thing. No decision has been made as yet though. There have been a number of bug reports and feature suggestions for SSIS Reporting Pack added to the Issue Tracker. Thank you to everyone that has submitted something, rest assured I am not going to ignore them forever; my time is at a premium right now unfortunately due to … well … life… so working on these items isn’t near the top of my priority list. Lastly, I am actively using SSIS Reporting Pack in a production environment right now and I’m happy to report that it is proving to be very useful. One of the reports that I have put a lot of time into is execution executable duration.rdl and its proving very adept at easily identifying bottlenecks in our SSIS 2012 executions: The report allows you to browse through the hierarchy of executables in each execution and each bar represents the duration of each executable in relation to all the other executables; longer bars being a good indication of where problems might lie. The colour of the bar indicates whether it was successful or not (green=success). Hovering over a bar brings up a tooltip showing more information about that executable. Clicking on a bar allows you to compare this particular instance of the executable against other executions. Please do let me know if you are using SSIS Reporting Pack. I would like to hear any anecdotes you might have, good or bad. @Jamiet

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  • ObjectStorageHelper<T> now available for Windows 8 RTM

    - by jamiet
    In October 2011 I wrote a blog post entitled ObjectStorageHelper<T> – A WinRT utility for Windows 8 where I introduced a little utility class called ObjectStorageHelper<T> that I had been working on while noodling around on the Developer Preview of Windows 8. ObjectStorageHelper<T> makes it easy for anyone building apps for Windows 8 to save data to files. How easy? As easy as this: var myPoco = new Poco() { IntProp = 1, StringProp = "one" }; var objectStorageHelper = new ObjectStorageHelper<Poco>(StorageType.Local); await objectStorageHelper.SaveAsync(myPoco); Compare that to the plumbing code that you would have to write otherwise: var Obj = new Poco() { IntProp = 1, StringProp = "one" }; StorageFile file = null; StorageFolder folder = GetFolder(storageType); file = await folder.CreateFileAsync(FileName(Obj), CreationCollisionOption.ReplaceExisting); IRandomAccessStream writeStream = await file.OpenAsync(FileAccessMode.ReadWrite); using (Stream outStream = Task.Run(() => writeStream.AsStreamForWrite()).Result) {     serializer.Serialize(outStream, Obj);     await outStream.FlushAsync(); } and you can see how ObjectStorageHelper<T> can help save a Windows 8 developer quite a few headaches. ObjectStorageHelper<T> simply requires you to pass it an object to be saved, tell it where to save it (Roaming, Local or Temporary), and you’re done. Retrieving an object from storage is equally as simple: var objectStorageHelper = new ObjectStorageHelper<Poco>(StorageType.Local); var myPoco = await objectStorageHelper.LoadAsync(); Please check the homepage for the project at http://winrtstoragehelper.codeplex.com/ for (much) more info. A number of people have used and tested ObjectStorageHelper<T> since those early days and one of those folks in particular, David Burela, was good enough to report a couple of bugs: Saving Asynchronously Save fails when class is in another project As a result of David’s bug reports and some more extensive testing on my side I have overhauled the initial code that I wrote last October and am confident that it is now much more robust and ready for primetime (check the commit history if you’re interested). The source code (which, again, you can find on Codeplex at http://winrtstoragehelper.codeplex.com/) includes a suite of unit tests to test all of the basic use cases (if you can think of any more please let me know). If you use this in any of your Windows 8 projects then please let me know. I love getting feedback and I’d also love to know if this is actually being used anywhere. @Jamiet

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  • Thoughts on Nexus in SQL Server PDW

    - by jamiet
    I have been on a SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse (aka PDW) training course this week and was interested to learn that you can't (yet) use SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) against PDW, instead they ship a 3rd party tool called Nexus Chameleon. This was a bit of a disappointment at the beginning of the week (I'd prefer parity across SQL Server editions) but actually, having used Nexus for 3 days, I'm rather getting used to it. Some of it is a bit clunky (e.g. everything goes via an ODBC DSN) but once you get into using it its the epitome of "it just works". For example, over the past few years I have come to rely on intellisense in SSMS and have learnt to cope with its nuances. There is no intellisense in Nexus but you know what....I don't really miss it that much. In a sense its a breath of fresh air not having to hope that you've crossed the line into that will it work/won't it work grey area with SSMS intellisense. And I don't end up with writing @@CONNECTIONS instead of FROM anymore (anyone else suffer from this?) :) Moreover, Nexus is a standalone tool. Its not a bunch of features shoehorned into something else (Visual Studio). Another thing I like about Nexus is that you can actually do something with your resultset client-side. Take a look at the screenshots below:   You can see Nexus allows you to group a resultest by a column or set of columns. Nice touch. I know that many people have submitted Connect requests asking for the ability to do similar things in SSMS that would mean we don't have to copy resultsets into Excel (I know I have) - Nexus is a step in that direction. Its refreshing to use a tool that just gets out of the way yet still has some really useful features. How ironic that it gets shipped inside an edition of SQL Server! If I had the option of using Nexus in my day job I suspect that over time I would probably gravitate back to SSMS because as yet I haven’t really stretched Nexus’ capabilities, overall SSMS *does* have more features and up until now I've never really had any objections to it ... but its been an interesting awakening into the nuances that plague SSMS. Anyone else used Nexus? Any thoughts on it? @Jamiet

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  • Clone an Azure VM using Powershell

    - by jamiet
    In a few months time I will, in association with Technitrain, be running a training course entitled Introduction to SQL Server Data Tools. I am currently working on putting together some hands-on lab material for the course delegates and have decided that in order to save time in asking people to install software during the course I am simply going to prepare a virtual machine (VM) containing all the software and lab material for each delegate to use. Given that I am an MSDN subscriber it makes sense to use Windows Azure to host those VMs given that it will be close to, if not completely, free to do so. What I don’t want to do however is separately build a VM for each delegate, I would much rather build one VM and clone it for each delegate. I’ve spent a bit of time figuring out how to do this using Powershell and in this blog post I am sharing a script that will: Prompt for some information (Azure credentials, Azure subscription name, VM name, username & password, etc…) Create a VM on Azure using that information Prompt you to sysprep the VM and image it (this part can’t be done with Powershell so has to be done manually, a link to instructions is provided in the script output) Create three new VMs based on the image Remove those three VMs Simply download the script and execute it within Powershell, assuming you have an Azure account it should take about 20minutes to execute (spinning up VMs and shutting the down isn’t instantaneous). If you experience any issues please do let me know. There are additional notes below. Hope this is useful! @Jamiet  Notes: Obviously there isn’t a lot of point in creating some new VMs and then instantly deleting them. However, this demo script does provide everything you need should you want to do any of these operations in isolation. The names of the three VMs that get created will be suffixed with 001, 002, 003 but you can edit the script to call them whatever you like. The script doesn’t totally clean up after itself. If you specify a service name & storage account name that don’t already exist then it will create them however it won’t remove them when everything is complete. The created image file will also not be deleted. Removing these items can be done by visiting http://manage.windowsazure.com. When creating the image, ensure you use the correct name (the script output tells you what name to use): Here are some screenshots taken from running the script: When the third and final VM gets removed you are asked to confirm via this dialog: Select ‘Yes’

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  • Generate DROP statements for all extended properties

    - by jamiet
    This evening I have been attempting to migrate an existing on-premise database to SQL Azure using the wizard that is built-in to SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). When I did so I received the following error: The following objects are not supported = [MS_Description] = Extended Property Evidently databases containing extended properties can not be migrated using this particular wizard so I set about removing all of the extended properties – unfortunately there were over a thousand of them so I needed a better way than simply deleting each and every one of them manually. I found a couple of resources online that went some way toward this: Drop all extended properties in a MSSQL database by Angelo Hongens Modifying and deleting extended properties by Adam Aspin Unfortunately neither provided a script that exactly suited my needs. Angelo’s covered extended properties on tables and columns however I had other objects that had extended properties on them. Adam’s looked more complete but when I ran it I got an error: Msg 468, Level 16, State 9, Line 78 Cannot resolve the collation conflict between "Latin1_General_100_CS_AS" and "Latin1_General_CI_AS" in the equal to operation. So, both great resources but I wasn’t able to use either on their own to get rid of all of my extended properties. Hence, I combined the excellent work that Angelo and Adam had provided in order to manufacture my own script which did successfully manage to generate calls to sp_dropextendedproperty for all of my extended properties. If you think you might be able to make use of such a script then feel free to download it from https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=550f681dad532637&resid=550F681DAD532637!16707&parid=550F681DAD532637!16706&authkey=!APxPIQCatzC7BQ8. This script will remove extended properties on tables, columns, check constraints, default constraints, views, sprocs, foreign keys, primary keys, table triggers, UDF parameters, sproc parameters, databases, schemas, database files and filegroups. If you have any object types with extended properties on them that are not in that list then consult Adam’s aforementioned article – it should prove very useful. I repeat here the message that I have placed at the top of the script: /* This script will generate calls to sp_dropextendedproperty for every extended property that exists in your database. Actually, a caveat: I don't promise that it will catch each and every extended property that exists, but I'm confident it will catch most of them! It is based on this: http://blog.hongens.nl/2010/02/25/drop-all-extended-properties-in-a-mssql-database/ by Angelo Hongens. Also had lots of help from this: http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/Metadata/72609/ by Adam Aspin Adam actually provides a script at that link to do something very similar but when I ran it I got an error: Msg 468, Level 16, State 9, Line 78 Cannot resolve the collation conflict between "Latin1_General_100_CS_AS" and "Latin1_General_CI_AS" in the equal to operation. So I put together this version instead. Use at your own risk. Jamie Thomson 2012-03-25 */ Hope this is useful to someone! @Jamiet

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  • Merge Join component sorted outputs [SSIS]

    - by jamiet
    One question that I have been asked a few times of late in regard to performance tuning SSIS data flows is this: Why isn’t the Merge Join output sorted (i.e.IsSorted=True)? This is a fair question. After all both of the Merge Join inputs are sorted, hence why wouldn’t the output be sorted as well? Well here’s a little secret, the Merge Join output IS sorted! There’s a caveat though – it is only under certain circumstances and SSIS itself doesn’t do a good job of informing you of it. Let’s take a look at an example. Here we have a dataflow that consumes data from the [AdventureWorks2008].[Sales].[SalesOrderHeader] & [AdventureWorks2008].[Sales].[SalesOrderDetail] tables then joins them using a Merge Join component: Let’s take a look inside the editor of the Merge Join: We are joining on the [SalesOrderId] field (which is what the two inputs just happen to be sorted upon). We are also putting [SalesOrderHeader].[SalesOrderId] into the output. Believe it or not the output from this Merge Join component is sorted (i.e. has IsSorted=True) but unfortunately the Merge Join component does not have an Advanced Editor hence it is hidden away from us. There are a couple of ways to prove to you that is the case; I could open up the package XML inside the .dtsx file and show you the metadata but there is an easier way than that – I can attach a Sort component to the output. Take a look: Notice that the Sort component is attempting to sort on the [SalesOrderId] column. This gives us the following warning: Validation warning. DFT Get raw data: {992B7C9A-35AD-47B9-A0B0-637F7DDF93EB}: The data is already sorted as specified so the transform can be removed. The warning proves that the output from the Merge Join is sorted! It must be noted that the Merge Join output will only have IsSorted=True if at least one of the join columns is included in the output. So there you go, the Merge Join component can indeed produce a sorted output and that’s very useful in order to avoid unnecessary expensive Sort operations downstream. Hope this is useful to someone out there! @Jamiet  P.S. Thank you to Bob Bojanic on the SSIS product team who pointed this out to me!

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  • Merge Join component sorted outputs [SSIS]

    - by jamiet
    One question that I have been asked a few times of late in regard to performance tuning SSIS data flows is this: Why isn’t the Merge Join output sorted (i.e.IsSorted=True)? This is a fair question. After all both of the Merge Join inputs are sorted, hence why wouldn’t the output be sorted as well? Well here’s a little secret, the Merge Join output IS sorted! There’s a caveat though – it is only under certain circumstances and SSIS itself doesn’t do a good job of informing you of it. Let’s take a look at an example. Here we have a dataflow that consumes data from the [AdventureWorks2008].[Sales].[SalesOrderHeader] & [AdventureWorks2008].[Sales].[SalesOrderDetail] tables then joins them using a Merge Join component: Let’s take a look inside the editor of the Merge Join: We are joining on the [SalesOrderId] field (which is what the two inputs just happen to be sorted upon). We are also putting [SalesOrderHeader].[SalesOrderId] into the output. Believe it or not the output from this Merge Join component is sorted (i.e. has IsSorted=True) but unfortunately the Merge Join component does not have an Advanced Editor hence it is hidden away from us. There are a couple of ways to prove to you that is the case; I could open up the package XML inside the .dtsx file and show you the metadata but there is an easier way than that – I can attach a Sort component to the output. Take a look: Notice that the Sort component is attempting to sort on the [SalesOrderId] column. This gives us the following warning: Validation warning. DFT Get raw data: {992B7C9A-35AD-47B9-A0B0-637F7DDF93EB}: The data is already sorted as specified so the transform can be removed. The warning proves that the output from the Merge Join is sorted! It must be noted that the Merge Join output will only have IsSorted=True if at least one of the join columns is included in the output. So there you go, the Merge Join component can indeed produce a sorted output and that’s very useful in order to avoid unnecessary expensive Sort operations downstream. Hope this is useful to someone out there! @Jamiet  P.S. Thank you to Bob Bojanic on the SSIS product team who pointed this out to me!

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  • Five things SSIS should drop

    - by jamiet
    There’s a current SQL Server meme going round entitled Five things SQL Server should drop and, whilst no-one tagged me to write anything, I couldn’t resist doing the same for SQL Server Integration Services. So, without further ado, here are five things that I think should be dropped from SSIS.Data source connectionsSeriously, does anyone use these? I know why they’re there. Someone sat in a meeting back in the early part of the last decade and said “Ooo, Reporting Services and Analysis Services have these things called Data Sources. If we used them in Integration Services then we’d have a really cool integration story.” Errr….no.Web Service TaskDitto. If you want to do anything useful against anything but the simplest of SOAP web services steer well clear of this peculiar SSIS additionActiveX Script TaskAnother task that I suspect has never seen the light of day in a SSIS package. It was billed as a way of running upgraded DTS2000 ActiveX scripts in SSIS – sounds good except for one thing. Anytime one of those scripts would try to talk to the DTS object model (which they all do – otherwise what’s the point) then they will error out. This one has always been a real head scratcher.Slow Changing Dimension wizardI suspect I may get some push back on this one but I’m mentioning it anyway. Some people like the SCD wizard; I am not one of those people! Everything that the SCD component does can easily be reproduced using other components and from a performance point of view its much more beneficial to use those alternatives.Multifile Connection ManagerImagining buying a house that came with a set of keys that didn’t open any of the doors. Sounds ridiculous right? How about a SSIS Connection Manager that doesn’t get used by any of the tasks or components. Ah, that’ll be the Multifile Connection Manager then!Comments are of course welcome. Diatribes are assumed :)@Jamiet Share this post: email it! | bookmark it! | digg it! | reddit! | kick it! | live it!

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  • Northwind now available on SQL Azure

    - by jamiet
    Two weeks ago I made available a copy of [AdventureWorks2012] on SQL Azure and published credentials so that anyone from the SQL community could connect up and experience SQL Azure, probably for the first time. One of the (somewhat) popular requests thereafter was to make the venerable Northwind database available too so I am pleased to say that as of right now, Northwind is up there too. You will notice immediately that all of the Northwind tables (and the stored procedures and views too) have been moved into a schema called [Northwind] – this was so that they could be easily differentiated from the existing [AdventureWorks2012] objects. I used an SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) project to publish the schema and data up to this SQL Azure database; if you are at all interested in poking around that SSDT project then I have made it available on Codeplex for your convenience under the MS-PL license – go and get it from https://northwindssdt.codeplex.com/. Using SSDT proved particularly useful as it alerted me to some aspects of Northwind that were not compatible with SQL Azure, namely that five of the tables did not have clustered indexes: The beauty of using SSDT is that I am alerted to these issues before I even attempt a connection to SQL Azure. Pretty cool, no? Fixing this situation was of course very easy, I simply changed the following primary keys from being nonclustered to clustered: [PK_Region] [PK_CustomerDemographics] [PK_EmployeeTerritories] [PK_Territories] [PK_CustomerCustomerDemo]   If you want to connect up then here are the credentials that you will need: Server mhknbn2kdz.database.windows.net Database AdventureWorks2012 User sqlfamily Password [email protected] You will need SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) 2008R2 installed in order to connect or alternatively simply use this handy website: https://mhknbn2kdz.database.windows.net which provides a web interface to a SQL Azure server. Do remember that hosting this database is not free so if you find that you are making use of it please help to keep it available by visiting Paypal and donating any amount at all to [email protected] To make this easy you can simply hit this link and the details will be completed for you – all you have to do is login and hit the “Send” button. If you are already a PayPal member then it should take you all of about 20 seconds! I hope this is useful to some of you folks out there. Don’t forget that we also have more data up there than in the conventional [AdventureWorks2012], read more at Big AdventureWorks2012. @Jamiet  AdventureWorks on Azure - Provided by the SQL Server community, for the SQL Server community!

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  • Export all SSIS packages from msdb using Powershell

    - by jamiet
    Have you ever wanted to dump all the SSIS packages stored in msdb out to files? Of course you have, who wouldn’t? Right? Well, at least one person does because this was the subject of a thread (save all ssis packages to file) on the SSIS forum earlier today. Some of you may have already figured out a way of doing this but for those that haven’t here is a nifty little script that will do it for you and it uses our favourite jack-of-all tools … Powershell!! Imagine I have the following package folder structure on my Integration Services server (i.e. in [msdb]): There are two packages in there called “20110111 Chaining Expression components” & “Package”, I want to export those two packages into a folder structure that mirrors that in [msdb]. Here is the Powershell script that will do that:Param($SQLInstance = "localhost") #####Add all the SQL goodies (including Invoke-Sqlcmd)##### add-pssnapin sqlserverprovidersnapin100 -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue add-pssnapin sqlservercmdletsnapin100 -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue cls $Packages = Invoke-Sqlcmd -MaxCharLength 10000000 -ServerInstance $SQLInstance -Query "WITH cte AS ( SELECT cast(foldername as varchar(max)) as folderpath, folderid FROM msdb..sysssispackagefolders WHERE parentfolderid = '00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000' UNION ALL SELECT cast(c.folderpath + '\' + f.foldername as varchar(max)), f.folderid FROM msdb..sysssispackagefolders f INNER JOIN cte c ON c.folderid = f.parentfolderid ) SELECT c.folderpath,p.name,CAST(CAST(packagedata AS VARBINARY(MAX)) AS VARCHAR(MAX)) as pkg FROM cte c INNER JOIN msdb..sysssispackages p ON c.folderid = p.folderid WHERE c.folderpath NOT LIKE 'Data Collector%'" Foreach ($pkg in $Packages) { $pkgName = $Pkg.name $folderPath = $Pkg.folderpath $fullfolderPath = "c:\temp\$folderPath\" if(!(test-path -path $fullfolderPath)) { mkdir $fullfolderPath | Out-Null } $pkg.pkg | Out-File -Force -encoding ascii -FilePath "$fullfolderPath\$pkgName.dtsx" } To run it simply change the “localhost” parameter of the server you want to connect to either by editing the script or passing it in when the script is executed. It will create the folder structure in C:\Temp (which you can also easily change if you so wish – just edit the script accordingly). Here’s the folder structure that it created for me: Notice how it is a mirror of the folder structure in [msdb]. Hope this is useful! @Jamiet UPDATE: THis post prompted Chad Miller to write a post describing his Powershell add-in that utilises a SSIS API to do exporting of packages. Go take a read here: http://sev17.com/2011/02/importing-and-exporting-ssis-packages-using-powershell/

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  • Export all SSIS packages from msdb using Powershell

    - by jamiet
    Have you ever wanted to dump all the SSIS packages stored in msdb out to files? Of course you have, who wouldn’t? Right? Well, at least one person does because this was the subject of a thread (save all ssis packages to file) on the SSIS forum earlier today. Some of you may have already figured out a way of doing this but for those that haven’t here is a nifty little script that will do it for you and it uses our favourite jack-of-all tools … Powershell!!   Imagine I have the following package folder structure on my Integration Services server (i.e. in [msdb]): There are two packages in there called “20110111 Chaining Expression components” & “Package”, I want to export those two packages into a folder structure that mirrors that in [msdb]. Here is the Powershell script that will do that:   Param($SQLInstance = "localhost") #####Add all the SQL goodies (including Invoke-Sqlcmd)##### add-pssnapin sqlserverprovidersnapin100 -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue add-pssnapin sqlservercmdletsnapin100 -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue cls $Packages = Invoke-Sqlcmd -MaxCharLength 10000000 -ServerInstance $SQLInstance -Query "WITH cte AS ( SELECT cast(foldername as varchar(max)) as folderpath, folderid FROM msdb..sysssispackagefolders WHERE parentfolderid = '00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000' UNION ALL SELECT cast(c.folderpath + '\' + f.foldername as varchar(max)), f.folderid FROM msdb..sysssispackagefolders f INNER JOIN cte c ON c.folderid = f.parentfolderid ) SELECT c.folderpath,p.name,CAST(CAST(packagedata AS VARBINARY(MAX)) AS VARCHAR(MAX)) as pkg FROM cte c INNER JOIN msdb..sysssispackages p ON c.folderid = p.folderid WHERE c.folderpath NOT LIKE 'Data Collector%'" Foreach ($pkg in $Packages) { $pkgName = $Pkg.name $folderPath = $Pkg.folderpath $fullfolderPath = "c:\temp\$folderPath\" if(!(test-path -path $fullfolderPath)) { mkdir $fullfolderPath | Out-Null } $pkg.pkg | Out-File -Force -encoding ascii -FilePath "$fullfolderPath\$pkgName.dtsx" }   To run it simply change the “localhost” parameter of the server you want to connect to either by editing the script or passing it in when the script is executed. It will create the folder structure in C:\Temp (which you can also easily change if you so wish – just edit the script accordingly). Here’s the folder structure that it created for me: Notice how it is a mirror of the folder structure in [msdb]. Hope this is useful! @Jamiet

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  • Thoughts on schemas and schema proliferation

    - by jamiet
    In SQL Server 2005 Microsoft introduced user-schema separation and since then I have seen the use of schemas increase; whereas before I would typically see databases where all objects were in the [dbo] schema I now see databases that have multiple schemas, a database I saw recently had 31 (thirty one) of them. I can’t help but wonder whether this is a good thing or not – clearly 31 is an extreme case but I question whether multiple schemas create more problems than they solve? I have been involved in many discussions that go something like this: Developer #1> “I have a new function to add to the database and I’m not sure which schema to put it in” Developer #2> “What does it do?” Developer #1> “It provides data to a report in Reporting Services” Developer #2> “Ok, so put it in the [reports] schema” Developer #1> “Well I could, but the data will only be used by our Financial reporting folks so shouldn’t I put it in the [financial] schema?” Developer #2> “Maybe, yes” Developer #1> “Mind you, the data is supposed to be used for regulatory reporting to the FSA, should I put it in [regulatory]?” Developer #2> “Err….” You get the idea!!! The more schemas that exist in your database then the more chance that their supposed usages will overlap. I’m left wondering whether the use of schemas is actually necessary. I don’t view really see them as an aid to security because I generally believe that principles should be assigned permissions on objects as-needed on a case-by-case basis (and I have a stock SQL query that deciphers them all for me) so why bother using them at all? I can envisage a use where a database is used to house objects pertaining to many different business functions (which, in itself, is an ambiguous term) and in that circumstance perhaps a schema per business function would be appropriate; hence of late I have been loosely following this edict: If some objects in a database could be moved en masse to another database without the need to remove any foreign key constraints then those objects could legitimately exist in a dedicated schema. I am interested to know what other people’s thoughts are on this. If you would like to share then please do so in the comments. @Jamiet

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