Friday, 16 September 2016

Using SAS as a source in BIML

I recently created packages with a SAS source, but now I want to use the same SAS source in my BIML Script. But I'm getting an error that the Local Provider doesn't support SQL. How can I solve this?
Error 0 : Node OLE_SRC - DIM_TIJD:
Could not execute Query on Connection PROFIT1:
The Local Provider does not currently support SQL processing.

There is NO easy solution for this. The provider doesn't support SQL Queries and that's what the BIML engine does first to get the metadata from the source table. Luckily there is a search-and-replace workaround. A lot of extra work, but still much easier then creating all packages by hand!

1) mirror database in SQL server
I used the metadata from SAS to get all tables and columns which I then used to create (empty/dummy) SQL Server tables with the same metadata as SAS (The datatype is either varchar of float). The tool to get the SAS metadata is SAS Enterprise Guide. It lets you export the metadata to for example Excel and then you can use that to create the dummy tables.
A little script created by a SAS developer to get metadata

Metadata export example in Excel

Instead of the SAS OleDB connection manager I used a temporary SQL Server OleDB connection manager, but I also kept the SAS OleDB connection manager in my BIML code and gave both the same name with a different number at the end (easier to replace later on).
BIML Connection Managers

Because the SAS OleDB connection manager isn't used in the BIML code it won't be created by the BIML engine. To enforce that, I used a second connections tag between </Tasks> and </Package>. It also lets me give them nearly the same GUID (easier to replace later on).
BIML Force create connection managers

The end result of the BIML script:
  • A whole bunch of packages that use the SQL Server database as a source (instead of SAS DB)
  • Two connection managers with nearly the same name and GUID (SAS OleDB and SQL OleDB)

3) Search and Replace
Now you must open all generated packages by using View Code (instead of View Designer). When all packages are opened you can use Search and Replace to change the name and GUID in all packages. Make sure you don't replace too much that could damage your generated packages. Then save all changes and close all packages. Next open your packages in the designer to view the result.

Tip: you can use also the same metadata (and a big if-then-else construction) to create a derived column in BIML that casts all float-columns to the correct datatypes (int, date, decimal, etc.).

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