Data Transformation Services, or DTS, is a set of objects and utilities to allow the automation of extract, transform and load operations to or from a database. The objects are DTS packages and their components, and the utilities are called DTS tools. DTS was included with earlier versions of Microsoft SQL Server, and was almost always used with SQL Server databases, although it could be used independently with other databases.
DTS allows data to be transformed and loaded from heterogeneous sources using OLE DB, ODBC, or text-only files, into any supported database. DTS can also allow automation of data import or transformation on a scheduled basis, and can perform additional functions such as FTPing files and executing external programs. In addition, DTS provides an alternative method of version control and backup for packages when used in conjunction with a version control system, such as Microsoft Visual SourceSafe.
The DTS package is the fundamental logical component of DTS; every DTS object is a child component of the package. Packages are used whenever one modifies data using DTS. All the metadata about the data transformation is contained within the package. Packages can be saved directly in a SQL Server, or can be saved in the Microsoft Repository or in COM files. SQL Server 2000 also allows a programmer to save packages in a Visual Basic or other language file. (When stored to a VB file, the package is actually scripted -- that is, a VB script is executed to dynamically create the package objects and its component objects.)
A package can contain any number of connection objects, but does not have to contain any. These allow the package to read data from any OLE DB-compliant data source, and can be expanded to handle other sorts of data. The functionality of a package is organized into tasks and steps.
A DTS Task is a discrete set of functionalities executed as a single step in a DTS package. Each task defines a work item to be performed as part of the data movement and data transformation process or as a job to be executed.
Data Transformation Services supplies a number of tasks that are part of the DTS object model and that can be accessed graphically through the DTS Designer or accessed programmatically. These tasks, which can be configured individually, cover a wide variety of data copying, data transformation and notification situations. For example, the following types of tasks represent some actions that you can perform by using DTS: executing a single SQL statement, sending an email, and transferring a file with FTP.
A step within a DTS package describes the order in which tasks are run and the precedence constraints that describe what to do in the case of failure. These steps can be executed sequentially or in parallel.
Packages can also contain global variables which can be used throughout the package. SQL Server 2000 allows input and output parameters for tasks, greatly expanding the usefulness of global variables. DTS packages can be edited, password protected, scheduled for execution, and retrieved by version.