For me, one of the great pleasures of working at Microsoft was shepherding new products from concept to release. However, it was even more fulfilling to witness the birth and growth of new communities of users, for what is a product without a user? Just bits and bytes on a disk. In my role as Group Product Manager of the SQL Server Integration Services team, it was my privilege to watch the evolution of both the SSIS application and the social network of users.
The Integration Services team, under the exceptional leadership of Kamal Hathi, delivered a product in 2005– SQL Server Integration Services– that was intended to be not only a powerful application in its own right, but a platform for customers and partners to extend and expand as their data integration needs changed and grew over time. Over the years (and through several versions of the product) SQL Server Integration Services has grown to become an industry-leading technology.
When we started developing what users now call SSIS, anyone building a data warehouse had only two choices: expensive, highly specialized tools for Extraction Transformation and Loading (ETL), or tedious, difficult-to-maintain, custom coding. With SSIS we wanted to break through those traditional restrictions: to deliver a truly scalable tool, simple enough for the beginner, but with the extensibility and programmability of a platform for the expert.
Little did we anticipate how eagerly the SQL Server user community would embrace this tool! Our user base grew quickly, and, as in any group endeavor, natural leaders emerged. The authors of this splendid book are, quite simply, among the most outstanding contributors to the SSIS social network. They are leaders not only because of their skills, but because of their tireless support and commitment to helping others. This book distills that learning, and that community focus, into a volume to keep by your keyboard for years.
The challenge with a tool such as SSIS is that there are simply so many possibilities facing the user. If I can choose a prebuilt component, which one do I choose? If I can extend the capabilities with script, when should I do that? How do I choose between the many ways to load a slowly-changing-dimension table, or for handling XML?
SQL Server 2012 Integration Services Design Patterns not only provides solutions to such problems; even more usefully, this book channels the authors’ extensive experience into patterns. In recent years, design patterns have proved their value to software developers as flexible templates for addressing recurring problems that still need specific implementation details. SQL Server 2012 Integration Services Design Patterns takes this approach, quite uniquely, into the world of data warehousing and ETL.
The result is a collaborative work by experts, suitable for beginners and advanced users alike.
Even though I moved on from the SSIS team, and from Microsoft, some years ago now, it is a pleasure for me to remain in touch with the user community I admire so much. And it is a honor for me to introduce you to this much-anticipated and valuable book.