New SSIS Features in SQL Server 2012
SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) has under-gone through some significant changes in SQL Server 2012 which I will outline in this article.
Now you have project-based connection managers which mean those connection will be available for all the packages that you are creating. This avoids recreating frequently used connections for every package. Those connections are created under Connection Manager in the Solution explorer as you can see in the below image.
As in the previous versions of SSIS, in SQL Server 2012 the connection manager will be shown in Connection Mangers region of the package. However, now there is additional text for project connections so users can easily understand and take extra care when modifying them.
By right-clicking the project connection manager and selecting Convert to Package Connection, you can demote a project connection to a package connection. Similarly, you have the option of prompting a package connection to a project connection.
Apart from the above two connection types, there are two more connection types. , namely Offline Connections and Expression Connection.
In previous versions, if a connection is invalid, every time you open the package it will hang until the connection times out to show the error. However, in SQL Server 2012, when a connection is invalid after the initial check, the connection will be set to offline and so avoid checking the connection again. When the connection is ready, you can test the connectivity and you can bring the connection online by right-clicking it. In addition, you can set the connection to offline manually. Expression Connections are simply parameters in variables.
The Execute Package Task has undergone a slight change with respect to connection managers. The Execute Package Task now has a new parameter called Reference type as shown in the below image.
Project Reference is for child packages within the project and when this is selected , you will not be shown the connections in the Connection Manager section. External reference is for the packages outside of the project.
ODBC source and ODBC destination components are available in SSIS 2012. Prefviously, there were some difficulties in connecting to MySQL because of the unavailability of the OLEDB drivers for MySQL. Users were forced to use OLEDB for ODBC drivers which was comparatively slow. With ODBC support in 2012, you can directly connect to MySQL using ODBC.
Flat File Improvements
Importing flat files are very important and very frequent task used in SSIS. However, in previous versions, you are unable to import text files with variable columns and it has to have fixed number of columns. This is what you see in in preview if you try to import text file with a variable number of columns in previous versions of SSIS.
If you want to import these types of text files, you may have to use scripting which is not an easy task.
However, in SQL Server 2012 this issue (or bug the way you prefer to call it that) is fixed as you can see from the below image.