10 SSIS Error Logging Best Practices

SSIS error logging is essential to the success of any ETL process. Here are 10 best practices for logging errors in SSIS.

Error logging is an important part of any software development process, and it’s especially important for SSIS packages. SSIS is a complex tool that can be used to automate a wide variety of tasks, and it’s important to be able to quickly identify and troubleshoot any errors that may occur.

In this article, we’ll discuss 10 best practices for SSIS error logging. We’ll look at how to log errors, how to store them, and how to use them to identify and fix problems quickly. We’ll also discuss how to use SSIS logging to improve performance and ensure that your packages are running smoothly.

1. Use the SSIS Logging Mechanism

The SSIS Logging Mechanism is a built-in feature of the SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) platform that allows users to capture and store data about their ETL processes. This includes information such as package execution start/end times, task success/failure status, variable values, and error messages. By using this logging mechanism, users can easily track down errors in their packages and quickly identify any issues that may arise during the ETL process.

To use the SSIS Logging Mechanism, users must first enable it by selecting the “Enable Logging” option from the SSIS menu. Once enabled, users can then select which events they want to log by choosing from a list of predefined categories such as OnError, OnWarning, OnInformation, etc. Additionally, users can also create custom log providers to capture additional details about their ETL processes. After configuring the logging settings, users can then specify where the logs should be stored, such as a text file or an SQL Server table.

2. Use Event Handlers to Capture Errors and Warnings

Event Handlers are a powerful tool in SSIS that allow you to define tasks that will be executed when certain events occur. This means that if an error or warning occurs, the Event Handler can be used to capture it and log it for further analysis.

The first step is to create an OnError event handler on the package level. This will ensure that any errors encountered during execution of the package will be captured by the event handler. The next step is to add a Script Task inside the OnError event handler. This task should contain code that captures the error information from the system variables and writes them to a log file. This allows you to easily track down the source of the error and take corrective action.

Using Event Handlers also makes it easy to capture warnings as well. You can set up an OnWarning event handler at the package level and then use a similar Script Task to capture the warning information and write it to a log file. This way, you can keep track of all warnings that occurred during package execution and address them accordingly.

3. Enable Verbose Logging in Your Packages

Verbose logging is a type of logging that records detailed information about the execution of an SSIS package. This includes data flow row counts, variable values, and other details that can be used to troubleshoot errors or performance issues. Enabling verbose logging in packages allows for more comprehensive error logging, which makes it easier to identify the root cause of any problems that may arise during package execution.

To enable verbose logging in your packages, you must first set up a log provider. Log providers are responsible for writing log entries to a destination such as a text file, SQL Server table, Windows Event Log, etc. Once you have configured a log provider, you can then add tasks to your package that will write log entries when certain events occur. For example, you could configure a task to write a log entry whenever a data flow component fails. You can also specify what types of information should be included in each log entry, such as the name of the failed component, the time of failure, and the error message. By configuring these tasks, you can ensure that all relevant information is logged when errors occur, making it much easier to diagnose and resolve them.

4. Use Custom Messages for Error Handling

Using custom messages allows for more detailed and specific error logging. This is beneficial because it helps to pinpoint the exact cause of an issue, which can save time in troubleshooting and debugging. Custom messages also provide context around the errors that are logged, making them easier to interpret and understand.

To use custom messages for error handling, SSIS provides a number of built-in functions such as GetErrorDescription(), GetErrorColumnName(), and GetErrorCode(). These functions allow developers to create custom messages with information about the source of the error, the column name, and the error code. Additionally, developers can use expressions to concatenate strings together to form custom messages.

5. Utilize the OnError Event Handler

The OnError Event Handler is a control flow task that allows you to capture errors and respond accordingly. It can be used to log the error, send an email notification, or even execute another package in response to the error. This provides more flexibility than using the built-in logging capabilities of SSIS, as it allows for custom logic to be executed when an error occurs. To use the OnError Event Handler, simply add it to your control flow and configure it with the appropriate actions. You can then set up the event handler to fire whenever an error occurs within the scope of the container it’s attached to. By utilizing the OnError Event Handler, you can ensure that any errors encountered during execution are properly logged and handled in a timely manner.

6. Create an Error Log Table

Creating an Error Log Table allows for a centralized location to store all errors that occur during the ETL process. This makes it easier to review and analyze errors, as well as identify patterns or trends in the data. Additionally, having a single table dedicated to error logging helps ensure that errors are not lost due to other processes overwriting log files.

To create an Error Log Table, first define the columns needed to capture relevant information about each error. Commonly used columns include: ErrorCode, ErrorDescription, SourceName, SourceID, PackageName, TaskName, ExecutionTime, MachineName, UserName, etc. Once the columns have been defined, create the table in the database where SSIS packages will be running. Then, within the package, add an Execute SQL task to insert records into the Error Log Table whenever an error occurs. The Execute SQL task should use parameters to pass values from the package variables into the query.

7. Leverage Data Flow Components for Error Logging

Data Flow Components are designed to be used in the Data Flow task, which is a container for data flow operations. This makes them ideal for error logging because they can easily capture errors that occur during the execution of the Data Flow task. Additionally, Data Flow Components provide an easy way to log detailed information about each error, such as the source and destination of the data, the column name, and the row number where the error occurred.

To leverage Data Flow Components for error logging, you need to add an Error Output to your component. The Error Output will capture any errors that occur while the component is running and store them in an SSIS package variable or table. You can then use this variable or table to display the errors in a report or send out notifications when errors occur.

8. Implement Centralized Error Logging

Centralized error logging allows for the collection of errors from multiple SSIS packages into a single repository. This makes it easier to identify and troubleshoot issues, as well as track trends in errors over time.

Centralizing error logs can be done by using an external database such as SQL Server or Oracle, or by using a third-party log management tool like Splunk or Loggly. To implement centralized error logging with SSIS, you need to configure each package to write its errors to the same central location. This is done by setting up an OnError event handler on each package that will capture any errors and write them to the central repository. You can also use the built-in logging capabilities of SSIS to log events to the Windows Event Log, which can then be collected centrally.

9. Make use of System Variables to Store Error Information

System Variables are a set of predefined variables that can be used to store information about the system, such as the package name, user name, and server name. This makes it easy to capture error information in an organized way without having to manually create custom variables for each piece of data. Additionally, System Variables provide access to more detailed information than what is available from the built-in logging features, which allows for more comprehensive error logging. To use System Variables for error logging, they must first be added to the SSIS package. This can be done by right-clicking on the Control Flow tab and selecting Variables. Then, select the appropriate System Variable from the list and add it to the package. Once this is done, the variable can be used within the package to capture any errors that occur during execution.

10. Include Package Level Error Counts in your Logging

When logging errors, it is important to capture the number of errors that occurred at each level. This allows you to quickly identify which packages are failing and how many times they have failed. It also helps you determine if a package has been running successfully for some time or if there is an issue with the package itself.

To include package level error counts in your logging, you can use the Event Handlers feature in SSIS. Event Handlers allow you to create custom tasks that will be executed when certain events occur within the package. For example, you can create an event handler that will execute whenever an error occurs. Within this event handler, you can add a script task that will increment a counter variable every time an error occurs. You can then log this counter variable along with other information about the package execution.


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