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What is Dataflow Discoverer?
Dataflow Discoverer (DFLD) is a command-line discovery utility that detects and writes the metadata of SSIS dataflow columns to a SQL Server lookup table. DFLD detects Dataflows nested within containers up to any level of nesting.

Why use Dataflow Discoverer?
SSIS dataflow column metadata generated by DFLD utility could be used to enhance the error reporting capability of your SSIS package. For example, to get the name of ErrorColumn from the Error Outputs which is not available by default in SSIS yet.

What are the minimum system requirements to use Dataflow Discoverer?
  1. .NET framework 4 or above
  2. SQL Server Database (any version)
How to install Dataflow Discoverer?
Verify that your system meets minimum requirements, then
  1. Download sql script from Downloads page. Execute the script on your SQL Server. By default the sql script will create a SQL Server database - ETLMetadata and a lookup table – DFLMetadata. You could also create the table DFLMetadata in any other SQL Server database, in that case just comment out the database creation segment of the sql script.
  2. Download DFLD executable from Downloads page. Copy the executable to a local folder. It is recommended to add the executable path to System Path environment variable.
How to use Dataflow Discoverer?
From the command prompt, type:
dfld /param1:value1 /param2:value2 /param3:value3 ... /paramN:valueN

List of Parameters:
Parameter Shorthand Mandatory Description
/package /p Y Fully qualified path of SSIS Package in File System. If the path contains spaces, enclose in double quotes.
/server /s Y IP Address/Name of Database Server hosting the DFLMetadata table. If Instance Name is applicable, then specify as Database Server\Instance Name.
/database /d Y Database Name hosting the DFLMetadata table. This is usually ETLMetadata, unless you have deployed the table DFLMetadata to a different database.
/user /u N Database User Name for SQL authentication. This parameter is not required for Windows authentication.
/pwd /pwd N Password of Database User required for SQL authentication. This parameter is not required for Windows authentication.

If any parameter contains space, then enclose in double quotes. From command prompt, type dfld /? for more help options.
  • Database uses windows authentication
dfld /p:C:\users\eagle\populateDim.dtsx /s:localhost /d:ETLmetadata
  • Database uses SQL server authentication
dfld /p:C:\users\eagle\populateRef.dtsx /s:localhost /d:ETLmetadata /u:userxyz /pwd:XXXXXXX
  • Package Name contains space
dfld /p:"C:\users\eagle\populate fact.dtsx" /s:localhost /d:ETLmetadata

On successful completion, your console will display statistics similar to the one shown in this screen capture

What metadata is captured by Dataflow Discoverer?

Metadata Data Type Description
PackageID Varchar(38) Unique GUID of the package
PackageName Varchar(200) Recommended to keep package name under 200 characters
DataflowID Varchar(38) GUID of the Dataflow
DataflowName Varchar(200) Recommended to keep dataflow name under 200 characters
IOType Char(1) Flag to indicate whether the collection is Input or Output. I= Input Collection, O= Output Collection
IOName Varchar(200) Name of Input/output collection
IOID Int ID of Input/output collection
ColumnName Varchar(200) Recommended to keep Column name under 200 characters
ColumnDesc Varchar(500)
LineageID Int It’s an integer value which identifies the column in the buffer
ColumnID Int Unique value that identifies a column within a Dataflow in the package.
ColumnDataType Varchar(30)
ColumnPrecision Int
ColumnScale Int
UpstreamComponentName Varchar(200)
SortKeyPosition Int
ColumnCodePage Int
MappedColumnID Int
UsageType Int
ColumnType Int

How to get name of ErrorColumn from the Error Outputs in my SSIS Package?
From your SSIS Dataflow, lookup DFLMetadata table to fetch the name of ErrorColumn. Check-out this post which demonstrates how this is done SSIS: How to get name of ErrorColumn from Error Output?

At what stage in my ETL development cycle should I use Dataflow Discoverer?
You can generate the dataflow column metadata using DFLD at any stage in your SSIS package development cycle. It is recommended to refresh your dataflow column metadata just before deployment when your package is ready to go.

How to capture/refresh Dataflow column metadata from multiple packages using Dataflow Discoverer?
It’s a typical ops requirement to keep the DFLMetadata up to date. This can be automated by creating a SSIS package that scans your deployment folder for package (* .dtsx) files. For each package found, execute the DFLD using an Execute Process Task in the control flow. Check-out this post which demonstrates how this is done DFLD: How to capture/refresh Dataflow column metadata from multiple packages using Dataflow Discoverer?

Where could I find the documentation for the source code of Dataflow Discoverer?
Download the source code from Downloads page. The source code is adequately documented to be self-explanatory.

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Last edited Apr 9, 2013 at 3:57 PM by BennyAustin, version 34