SQL SERVER – Using Package Configurations in SSIS 2012 and Beyond – Notes from the Field #079

[Notes from Pinal]: I know quite a lot of things about SSIS but every single time when I read notes from the field, I realize that there are so many small but very important features exist. A similar concept has been Using Package Configurations in SSIS 2012 and Beyond. Packages are the most critical part of the SSIS and configuring it correctly is extremely important.

If you are considering upgrading from an older version of SSIS to version 2012 or 2014 but are worried that you’ll lose the ability to use those package configurations you spent so much time developing, there is good news. Although it is not a heavily advertised feature in later versions, the classic package configuration option is still alive and well in SSIS 2012 and 2014.

The Configuration Design Pattern

Storing runtime configuration data outside of SSIS packages is a critical feature of a mature ETL process. Building a design pattern that externalizes values such as database connection strings, file paths, and other data that may change over time can reduce the amount of maintenance effort required later when those values need to be updated.

In versions of SSIS before 2012, the most common way to externalize connection strings and other runtime values was to use one or more SSIS package configurations. Although package configurations could be a little clunky at times, they provided a very effective means through which the ETL developer could avoid hard-coding variable data in packages.

This configuration, pattern evolved significantly in 2012. For new development in SSIS 2012 and later, the typical setup now involves using the SSIS catalog (which was first released with version 2012) to store and execute packages. Similarly, those designs usually include the use of package parameters and SSIS environments to supply runtime values for said parameters. As a result, the package configuration option is no longer the preferred method for variable externalization in new package development.

However, there are many organizations with significant investments in the old-style package configurations. One of the more common questions I’m asked about upgrading SSIS is whether package configurations can still be used in newer versions of SSIS. I’m happy to report that package configurations are still around (albeit a bit harder to find) and are just as usable in later versions of SSIS as they were in prior versions.

Configuring Package Parameters in SSIS 2012 and Later

In SSIS 2005 and 2008, you could access package configurations by simply right-clicking on an empty space in the package and selecting Package Configurations similar to what is shown below.

However, if you’re using SSIS 2012 or 2014 in project deployment mode (the default setting for new projects), this option no longer exists.

Even though the option no longer appears in this shortcut menu, it can still be accessed directly by using the package properties. In the package properties window, there is a collection called Configurations that will allow you to set one or more package configurations.

Clicking on the ellipsis next to this collection brings up the familiar package configurations menu, in which you can create XML, environment variable, or table storage configurations.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind on using package configurations in SSIS 2012 and beyond. First of all, you can use package configurations in addition to newer configuration methods (including package parameterization and SSIS environments). However, my recommendation is that you choose just one configuration method per project to avoid confusion or conflicting values. Also, be aware that the way package configuration values are logged differs from the way package parameter and SSIS environment values are logged in the SSIS catalog. If you do use the classic package configuration design pattern, be sure to review your execution logs to confirm that you’re getting all of the information you need to test, troubleshoot, and audit your package executions.


The old-style SSIS package configurations have largely yielded to the newer and more popular package parameters and SSIS environments. However, package configurations are still around and are fully accessible in later versions of the product.

If you want me to take a look at your server and its settings, or if your server is facing any issue we can Fix Your SQL Server.

Reference: Pinal Dave (https://blog.sqlauthority.com)

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