September 27, 2007

Cake, frosting and SSIS 2008

After getting an overview of the ‘What is new …’ in the next Katmai CTP at the PASS Summit, I was greatly surprised with the good stuff that is coming up. But then I started weighting the improvements each of the products is getting, I got the impression that SSIS was treated as a second class citizen in this new release. Why do I think so? Well, you just have to look at the number and scale of the changes and enhancements that the other products of the suite are getting, to get to that conclusion. After all, it may not be a coincidence that the MSFT session devoted to SSIS 2008 was the only one that had analogies between ‘cake and frosting’ and the type of changes introduced in SSIS 2008. It looks like the SSIS team had to make some choices, and decided to concentrate in getting a better ‘cake’ by improving the core of the product, and in exchange, putting just little frosting to add extra functionality. For instance, It would have been nicer to see SSIS getting as much ‘frosting’ as SSAS or the Relational DB engine got; and I am pretty sure that would have helped to start changing the perception some people have about SSIS of being the tool that ‘comes for free’ when you buy the DB product toward one of being an enterprise data integration tool.

Anyway, don’t take me wrong, I really think SSIS is a great product that is going in the right direction. Actually, I had the opportunity to talk to Denise Draper, head of the SSIS team, and I was glad to hear that they are really listening to the users, and that upcoming enhancements would be aligned with that feedback; but the fact that the SSIS team is the smallest in size (and budget) in the SQL Server product team seems to be making the difference.

I will be one among many of you missing some improvements that probably won’t make this release (most of them requested at SQL Server Connect site), such as component re-usability and better package templates behavior.

Will we get more frosting anytime soon? I hope so.

BTW, if you want to see a brief summary of the SSIS’s changes MSFT presented at PASS, please visit John’s blog.

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