Knight’s 24-Hour Trainer, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Integration Services – Book Review

As part of a recent job transition, I found myself needing to quickly come up to speed with the basics of SSIS 2008.  In searching out a good tutorial to help me get back up to speed with the current technology, I quickly settled on Knight’s 24 Hour Trainer as a book that would meet my needs for a few different reasons.

  1. I was already familiar with Brian & Devin Knight from, well, everywhere.  Seriously, if you are at all interested in learning SSIS or the SQL Server BI stack, you can’t avoid these guys – not that you’d want too.  From BIDN to SQLServerCentral to PragmaticWorks these two are everywhere and well respected.
  2. The book seemed to cover all the basics of SSIS from A to Z in a thorough manner without overkill.
  3. Training videos are included on DVD for each lesson in the book.
  4. At $30 bucks on Amazon, the price is right.

What this Book is

If you are looking for a basic introduction to SSIS, this is your book.  It will walk you through the steps of installing Microsoft Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) and take you all the way to creating, configuring, and deploying SSIS packages for a data warehouse.  The book touches on most all of the major transformations, sources, and destinations within SSIS.  The book also helps guide you towards best practices and using the correct tool for the correct purpose. 

Along with all of this, the book is able to guide you in a very systematic, structured approach to learning.  If you start at the beginning of the book and work your way through it, you will find that each lesson builds on prior lessons.  Additionally, the projects get more and more complex and involved as you progress.  While this is not a revolutionary learning model, it is well executed in this book and serves its purpose well.

What this Book is NOT

Do not buy this book if you are looking for an all inclusive reference for SSIS.  While it covers most of the major topics for SSIS, it would not serve you well as a development reference book. If you are looking for a solid SSIS reference, you’d be much better served buying a book like Professional Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Integration Services also co-authored by Brian Knight.

Finally, the end

I would highly recommend this book as a quick alternative to a basic  SSIS course.  There are loads of hands on examples, it’s laid out very well, and it does a great job of covering the fundamentals of SSIS.  If you are new to the Microsoft BI stack, looking to quickly study up on SSIS, you will enjoy this great resource.

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