Tim Mitchell
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Electronic Health Records

Electronic Health Records – What’s the Big Deal? (Part 1)

Last week, I had lunch with an old friend who is, by his own definition, technologically ignorant.  While we caught up, he asked me to explain in terms he could understand what I do for a living.  I went through one of my spiels (the one usually reserved for relatives who only know that I work “with computers”), delivering a…


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Do You Blog? The FTC May Be Watching

If you are a blogger and you post product reviews on your blog, you may have to answer to the FTC starting in December.  An article in the New York Times earlier this week outlines a new Federal Trade Commission regulation currently under review which, if approved, would tighten the rules of disclosure that must be followed by those who…


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Eliminating Empty Output Files in SSIS

So you’ve got some packages that regularly extract data to one or more text files, but you know that from time to time some of the queries will not return any data. However, you find in SSIS that, in a flat file export package, the output file is created regardless of whether any rows are written to the file, and…


Space Sensitivity in SSIS Lookups

Space Sensitivity in SSIS Lookups

It has been well-documented through myriad blogs and forum posts about the case sensitivity of the comparisons in the SSIS lookup transformation (a good review can be found here). In a nutshell, a comparison using the lookup transformation is case sensitive when using the default setting of Full Cache, even if the values in the database are stored in a case…


Skipping Items in a Foreach Loop

Skipping Items in a Foreach Loop

Recently, my friend Jack Corbett asked a question on Twitter: In a nutshell, the SSIS foreach loop will enumerate a given list of items (files in a directory, nodes in an XML file, static list of values, etc.) and will perform some operation for each of the items in the collection. This behavior is similar to foreach loop constructs that…


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Getting Into the Biz, Part 3

In a couple of previous posts (Part One and Part Two), I shared some thoughts about starting a career path as a database professional, including some notes from my own journey.  In this final segment, I’ll share a few discrete tips that will hopefully be useful to those interested in this field. Build Your Foundation: You’re going to need some…


Updating Data with SSIS

Updating Data with SSIS

Working with an ETL design that does a straight insert operation is the most simple, but often ETL processes are required to update data as well. There are several ways to go about updating data with SSIS, one of which (the staging table method) requires a bit more setup but can also perform significantly better. Updating Data with SSIS I…


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Don’t Use USE (in SSIS, at least)

I ran into a situation this week that brought to light a subtle syntactical error I’d made in creating an SSIS package.  I’ve got a client that has given me access to their development server to create some complex extraction queries, which will eventually be rolled into SSIS packages.  Since I’m working with read-only access and cannot create stored procedures…


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SSIS Documentation suggestions on Microsoft Connect

For SSIS developers, the need for proper documentation is crucial.  However, the built-in object for documentation, the annotation, is difficult to use.  It doesn’t wrap text, doesn’t support varying font styles in a single instance, and doesn’t offer spell checking.  Further, all annotations are “at large” and are not attached to a particular object – they are associated with a…


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Getting Into the Biz, Part 2

In a previous blog post, I began writing about how one might start a career as a database professional, and agreed to share my own experience in doing so.  Since every person and every situation is different, I don’t declare my experience to be a recipe for success, but I’m happy to share it in hopes that someone can learn…