Monday, October 25, 2010

Data Source View versus View in Data Source for SSIS , SSAS and SSRS

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There is a vast difference between data source views and views in data source. We all recognize data source views i.e. DSV as one of the means to means to implement UDM. But I am of the opinion that when views in data source are not feasible to implement, one should resort to using DSVs. By views in data source, I mean that if you are using SQL Server as your OLTP data source, create views in SQL Server instead of creating lot of named queries / calculated columns using DSVs. Some of the advantages of using views in SQL Server for ETL / Cube Design / Reporting are as below:

1) Control and Filter over metadata: Mostly in SSIS a lazy implementation involves directly reading all the columns from a table, and tons of warnings in the progress tab as most of those columns are never used. With views you can always place a filter over the required number of columns, adjust data type casting as per requirement, and manipulate the metadata as required.

2) SQL advantage: With views in your database, you have entire SQL programming power at your disposal providing you the ability to create simple to most complex calculations. Also conditional logic, default values, null checks and many other validation and configuration can be placed at this level.

3) Adaptable to change: In case if the structure of your tables (fact / dimension) in your relational data warehouse change, or the structure of your OLTP source tables have changed, views can shield your ETL / Cube data source as well as save the solution from any kind of changes which would be required in case of DSV. Views can even help you to craft your snowflake schema into a star schema.

4) Transparency and Maintainability: If a new developer steps-in to maintain and enhance your legacy solution, swimming in your DSV to figure out the calculations can be a big challenge in itself. On the other side, analyzing a SQL select query can be much easy to figure out the calculations than analyzing each calculated column / named query in a DSV. Also a view can be used as a part of metadata / dependency analysis with SQL Server or other database analysis tools.

I do not intend to mean that DSVs are useless and views are the best. But a right balance between views in a data source and data source views (DSVs) can make your solution more robust and developer friendly than blindly using DSVs.

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