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Learning SSIS involves a steep learning curve and if you have a software development background like I do, you might first be inclined to build your ETL program from scratch using a general purpose programming language such as C#.However, once you master SSIS you’ll be able to write very efficient ETL processes much more quickly.The figure below illustrates this process: The top level control flow in the Integration Services project may look like this: The “Extract and Transform” box is a sequence container that holds a data flow for each of the tables that will be refreshed in the data warehouse.In this example there is one fact table and there are three dimension tables.When designing the ETL process it’s good to think about the three fundamental things it needs to do: An ETL process is a program that periodically runs on a server and orchestrates the refresh of the data in the BI system.SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) is a development tool and runtime that is optimized for building ETL processes.Understanding the options will help you avoid common pitfalls. The goal of transformation is to convert raw input data to an OLAP-friendly data model. If you’re not familiar with this I highly recommend reading Ralph Kimball’s book “The Data Warehouse Toolkit: The Complete Guide to Dimensional Modeling”.Understanding dimensional modeling is essential for building BI systems.
Microsoft has a wonderful set of tools to create powerful BI solutions, nevertheless the learning curve is pretty steep.
On the Internet you find a lot of articles explaining the concepts like the data warehouse and ETL.
There is also lots of information about products and tools such as SSIS.
Of course you can work around this by having a test external database on your local development machine, but then you need to spend time creating it and filling it with a subset of the data.
· When you update an existing data flow that already is in production, you must be very careful, especially in case the data flow maintains state such as with a slowly moving dimension with historic attributes.
Once your familiar with this approach, you’ll be able to create a basic BI solutions hours instead of days.