Create a SSIS Project in Visual Studio 2015

Installation:

  1. SQL Server Data Tools 2015(install a shell of Visual Studio 2015)
  2. Visual Studio 2015

What is SSIS?

SSIS stands for SQL Server Intergration Services. SSIS is to do the ETL(Extract, Transform and Load) task for data warehouse.

SSIS can also update data warehouse, clean and mine data, create ‘packages’, manipulate data, etc.

To design ETL task in Visual Studio, we use the data flow in Visual Studio.

What is data flow?

A data flow defines a flow of data from a source to a destination.

Before designing the data flow, we can try to drag a data flow and drop it in the control flow.

What is a control flow?

It is a flow we can use to control the flow for different tasks. It provides the logic for when data flow components are run and how they run.

For example:

  1. perform lopping
  2. call stored procedures
  3. move files
  4. manage error handling
  5. check a condition and call different tasks

It defines a workflow of tasks to be executed, often a particular order (assuming your included precedence constraints).

we can rename the data flow task in control flow.

For example, we can drag OLE DB Source, so we can connect to Relational Database.

Then we can follow the Microsoft official toturial to do it step by step.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sql/integration-services/lesson-1-1-creating-a-new-integration-services-project?view=sql-server-ver15

If you are interested in or have any problems with SSIS, feel free to contact me.

Or you can connect with me through my LinkedIn.

Dimensional Modelling

First of all, a concept of Data Warehouse is supposed to be clear. Data Warehouse is not a copy of source database with a name prefixed with ‘DW’.

DW is we can store data from multiple data sources to be used for historical or analysis report. Some data sources are .csv format, some are google docs, etc. So we need to aggregate them into one data source.

This is called Data Warehouse.

How to design it? The procedure is Dimensional Modelling.

What is the difference between relational and dimensional?

It is same as the difference like normalised VS denormalised.

Normalised:

  1. Minimal data redundancy
  2. Optimised for fast read and fast write
  3. Current data only
  4. Realtime data

Denormalised:

  1. Redundancy data storage for performance
  2. Fast read only
  3. Non-realtime data
  4. Current and historical data

The next part is about fact table and dimension table in dimensional design.

Fact table:

  1. Data that can be measured
  2. Contains surrogate key, linking the associated measures or facts

Dimension table:

  1. Descriptive information

Some types of dimensional models:

  1. Accumalating snapshot table
  2. Aggregate fact
  3. Fact table
  4. Factless Fact table
  5. Snapshot table

If you are interested in or have any problems with Dimensional Modelling, feel free to contact me.

Or you can connect with me through my LinkedIn.

Some Prerequisite Knowledge About Spatial Data

Spatial Data Types:

Two kinds of spatial data types:

  1. geometry: flat 2D surface with two dimensions. Supposed X = 3 and Y = 4, then our point representation will be like POINT (3 4).
  2. geography: uses the same methods but the data type reflects the fact the we live on a curved 2D surface.

However, the two kinds of spatial data types is the need for the aforementioned Spatial Reference IDs (SRID).

SRID:

Both geometry and geography data types have two parts, the coordinates of the object and the SRID number

To check the list of SRID in SQL server, we can execute query statement as belows:

Geography::Point(Latitude,Longitude,SRID); 

The SRID number is set by EPSG standard. It dictates that the SRID of any geometry data is 0 and for Geography the default of SRID is 4326.

An example:

Here is a link of my Github of stored procedure, which aims to get the nearest suburb for each public transport stop:

https://github.com/jacquiwuc/PropertyAnalysis/blob/master/SQ_StationForSuburb.sql

In this stored procedure, it can be seen that

SET @geo1=geography::Point(@stationlat,@stationlong,4326);

Which is an application of transformation of the two spatial data types.

If you are interested in or have any problems with SQL, feel free to contact me.

Or you can connect with me through my LinkedIn.

SQL Correlated Subqueries

Recently I often made some mistakes about subqueries, so I wrote this blog about correlated subqueries.

Firstly, here is a SQL practicing website: https://sqlzoo.net.

It is free and easy for SQL beginners to do SQL exercise step by step.

A correlated subquery works like a nested loop: the subquery only has access to rows related to a single record at a time in the outer query.

The technique relies on table aliases to identify two different usages of the same table, which means one usage is in the outer query and another one is in the subquery.

Here is a table called world, which is an example on the sqlzoo website:

namecontinentareapopulationgdp
Afghanistan Asia 652230 25500100 20343000000
Albania Europe 28748 2831741 12960000000
Algeria Africa 2381741 37100000 188681000000
Andorra Europe 468 78115 3712000000
Angola Africa 1246700 20609294 100990000000

Question: Find the largest country (by area) in each continent, show the continent, the name and the area.

SQL answer using subquery:

SELECT continent, name, area 
FROM world x
WHERE area >= ALL
    (SELECT area FROM world y
     WHERE y.continent=x.continent AND area>0)

One way to interpret the SQL line in the WHERE clause that references the two table is “… where the correlated values are the same”.

In this example, we can tell “select the country details from the world table where the area is larger than or equal to the area of all countries where the continent is the same”.

If you are interested in or have any problems with SQL, feel free to contact me.

Or you can connect with me through my LinkedIn.

An Introduction to Power BI (Power BI 101)

This article we will provide an introduction to Power BI.

It is a Microsoft business analytics service to provide interface to create reports and dashboards with interactive visualisations.

It has an advantage: easy to use (self service BI).

First of all, Power BI official guided learning material.

It’s very structured and good training tutorial.

As I talk in previous blog about this learning platform, it is fun to get points and badge.

What is the workflow of Power BI?

  1. Bring data in using Power BI desktop, manipulate data and build reports.
  2. Publish it to Power BI service.
  3. Share reports and dashboards to others.

Here we go to the first step:

Download the Power BI desktop.

Power BI desktop version provides data warehouse capabilities:

  1. ETL
  2. Calculates column
  3. Measures

After we download it, we can find there are five panels in Power BI interface:

  1. Fields: where the datasets
  2. Data: view and manipulate the data
  3. Reports: place visualizations to build reports
  4. Dashboards: choose the graphs to use
  5. Relationships: view/change relationships in the dataset

Through these panels, we can manipulate data and build reports.

Once the report is completed, we can publish it onto Power BI Service on the cloud.

Reference sources:

https://www.sqlbi.com/ref/power-bi-visuals-reference/

If you are interested in or have any problems with Power BI, feel free to contact me.

Or you can connect with me through my LinkedIn.

The Simplest Way to Understand SCD in Data Warehouse

What is SCD?

SCD stands for Slowly Changing Dimensions.

It is very important in Data Warehouse.

As we know, ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) is between data sources and data warehouse.

When ETL runs, it will pick up all records and update them in the Dimension tables.

Why we need SCD?

Because we have some problems in updating data in Data Warehouse when data in data sources are changing.

In the dimension tables, if we want to keep some old records, how we can do this?

Using SCD.

Types of SCD:

Note:The types of SCD are defined on Column level, not on the table level.

There are two popular types in SCD.

Type 1: Overwrite

An old record is updated by the new record. It means covering the old records.

Type 2: Store history by creating another row

Type 2 is to add new records rather than covering the old records.

As long as we have a type 2 in tables, we must have two extra values: ‘StartDate’ and ‘EndDate’. The ‘EndDate’ is when the changes happen, as the end date of historical data.

We can have a third one, ‘IsCurrent’, to identify or mark the current record.

We don’t need to update the records, and we just need to update ‘StartDate’ and ‘EndDate’.

If you are interested in or have any problems with fact tables and dimension tables, feel free to contact me .

Rules of Creating Dimension Tables and Fact Tables

What is a dimension table? What is a fact table?

Why we need both of them in Data Warehouse?

Because Data Warehouse is used to make reports for business decisions.

Every report is made of two parts: Fact and Dimension.

Here is a picture of fact tables and dimension tables in a star schema in data warehouse.

So, this blog we will talk about what are the rules of creating dimension tables and fact tables.

First of all, we need to illustrate a definition.

What is surrogate key?

It is the primary key in demension tables.

Rules of creating dimension tables:

  1. Primary key (surrogate key, auto-increase number, only unique number in data warehouse)
  2. Business key (the key can be linked back to data source, with business meaning)
  3. Attributes (descriptive information from data source)

There are two kinds of data: Master data and transactional data.

Master data refers to the entity (e.g. employee) whereas transactional data refers to all the transactions that are carried out using that entity.

Master data is limited whereas transactional data can be billions.

In dimension tables, most data is master data.

Rules of creating fact tables:

  1. Primary key (surrogate key/alternate key, auto-increase number)
  2. Foreign key (primary key/surrogate key/alternate key from dimension tables)
  3. Measure (addictive number/semi-addictive number)

Tips: No descriptive data in Fact tables.

If you are interested in or have any problems with fact tables and dimension tables, feel free to contact me .

Or you can connect with me through my LinkedIn.

4 Reasons Why We Need Data Warehouse

Here is a basic process in Business Intelligence.

Maybe some people will be confused, why we need data warehouse?

Without data warehouse, we can also analyze the data.

We can get the data and create the report directly.

So, what the benefits of data warehouse in an organization?

Here we list 4 reasons why we need data warehouse.

Integrate data from various data sources and centralize the data into one place.

Have data loaded into data warehouse so that reporting won’t impact live system or database.

That is why we have a seperate data warehouse and the data is stored in the data warehouse.

We can make a scheduled job running at night to centralize the data from operational databases to data warehouse.

Easy access (one place of data and single source of truth).

It is easy for people to go to data warehouse to get the data, and they don’t need to worry other problems, e.g., we have so many data sources and where can I get the data?

We can trust the data warehouse where we can get the data.

Build model: choose the best design model to get the best flexibility and performance, especially for those large datasets.

We usually use kimball methodology – star schema/snowflake schema (de-normalization).

For example, we use the star schema to improve the query performance.

It is a methodology developed by Ralph Kimball which includes a set of methods, techniques and concepts for use in data warehouse design.

There are also some other methodologies we can use in data warehouse, e.g., inmon methodology, datavault methodology.

If you are interested in or have any problems with data warehouse, feel free to contact me.

Or you can connect with me through my LinkedIn.

A mind map for SQL

In this article, I make a basic SQL mind map for people who want to kick-start their career into business intelligence and data analysis industry.

Hope it can give you a basic understanding about SQL.

If you are interested in or have any problems with SQL, feel free to contact me.

Or you can connect with me through my LinkedIn.

Troubleshooting SSMS Error: 15517

If you meet with the same error as me in SSMS 2016.

Error:

“Cannot execute as the database principal because the principal “dbo” does not exist, this type of principal cannot be impersonated, or you do not have permission (Microsoft SQL Server, Error: 15517)”

Solution:

use [databasename]
GO
EXEC sp_changedbowner 'sa'
GO

Hope this solution can help you.

If you are interested in or have any problems with SQL and SSMS, feel free to contact me .

Or you can connect with me through my LinkedIn.