Simple SSIS #1: Using the Data Viewer

Note: This is the first installment of what I hope turns into a series of posts highlighting very simple tasks within SSIS.  It seems like in a lot of cases there is a lot of information out there on the very complex or complicated tasks, but very little on the basics.  This is my effort to help out others that are working on learning SSIS but have not yet mastered all aspects of the tool.

The Data Viewer functionality within SSIS is a very useful feature which can be used to solve data related problems within a package.  With that, the main use and most common application of this functionality is troubleshooting data issues during the SSIS development lifecycle.

In an effort to allow developers the ability to see data as it flows through the SSIS pipeline, SSIS utilizes the Data Viewer.  The Data Viewer can be added to any path within the package data flow and it can display the data output in a variety of formats.

Setting up the Data Viewer is a Simple SSIS task – simply right click on the data path (success or failure) and select “Data Viewer” from the menu.  You can then easily add a Data Viewer to the stream, run the package, and see the data output. 

Setting Up the Grid Data Viewer and Results

The following video shows this process and the results using the Grid Data Viewer.  The grid is the most commonly used of the four types of Data Viewers and allows the developers to see raw data in columns and rows.

It is important to note that when the package is run with a data viewer in place, you can either allow the data to continue down the path to completion by clicking the “Detach” button on the data viewer window.

Showing the Histogram Data Viewer Results

Along with the Grid Data Viewer, developers can also make use of the Histogram Data Viewer.  This viewer is used for numeric columns and can help give insight as to how data is distributed across a range.  The Histogram Data Viewer can be seen in action in the following video.

Showing the Scatter Plot Data Viewer Results

Another Data Viewer that can be used with numeric data – actually two numeric columns are needed – is the Scatter Plot Data Viewer.  This viewer can help uncover relationships between the two selected numeric columns.  Once again, the following video will show the configuration and results of the Scatter Plot Data Viewer.

Showing the Column Chart Data Viewer Results

Unlike the Histogram and Scatter Plot Data Viewers, the Column Chart Data Viewer can be used with numeric or non-numeric data.  The purpose of this viewer is to show a summary of the values within a particular column in the data flow.  As in prior sections, this viewer is shown in action in the following video.

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