SSIS Features: Connections, Event Handlers, Parameters, Precedence Constraints, Tasks, Variables

There are a number of important features included as part of SQL Server Integration Services, and understanding the main capabilities that this tool brings to the table can help you appreciate why it is so potent.

To bring you up to speed, here is a quick explanation of just a handful of the top tier SSIS features, outlined in a way that newcomers should be able to comprehend.


Within SSIS the connection manager will function as the go-between, allowing you to take data from the source server and translate it to the required endpoint.

Connections can operate at either the package or project level, giving you more flexibility and control. The prefix used will let you see which category a given connection falls into within Microsoft Visual Studio, for example.

Event Handlers

As the name suggests, event handlers will only kick in when a particular set of circumstances arises. This might be an error encountered by the package, or whatever other event you feel it is relevant to have a contingency plan in place to address.

Be aware that the more event handlers you put in place, the more complex the logic of the process, so be sparing with this tool wherever possible.


Parameters are similar to variables in an SSIS context, although they actually go further in terms of giving you control over the way that a project is managed and can even be encrypted to improve security and avoid exploitation.

In addition to applying to packages, parameters can also operate at a project level. This sets them apart from variables, which are restricted to only influencing packages, as you will find out below.

Precedence Constraints

Precedence constraints are incredibly potent in terms of defining how SSIS is orchestrated. Specifically, they allow you to choose the order in which tasks are executed, which might be vital to the smooth ordering and initiation of operations.

You can implement multiple constraints if you wish, and even determine how a task behaves in the event that not all of these constraints are met for a given operation. Once again the complexity at play here is entirely in your hands; the workflow can be simplified if necessary, or allowed to sprawl to encompass as many variables as makes sense, with precedence constraints manning the tiller throughout.


Although seemingly simple on a superficial level, a task in an SSIS context is undeniably vital and there are a number of different varieties to consider.

Tasks are definable as an individual operation that is specified as part of a package, and this can include data flow tasks which aid with data transformation, SQL execution tasks that allow the code of the database itself to be put into practice, as well as more than a dozen other examples.

The more you familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of SSIS, the better equipped you will be to understand the multitude of tasks that exist and the impact that they have upon packages.


Variables let you set package-level limitations on given tasks that let you do things like storing specific file names along with configuration and operational values. They consist of a name, a scope, a data type, a value and an optional expression that is either static or dynamic, according to your needs.

Variables have constraints within which they operate according to the data type, so if packages are failing it may be due to an issue with the wrong value being used.

No doubt these features will seem overwhelming at first, but with a little experience and training you can make the most of SSIS.

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