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Thoughts on working with SSIS 2008 and SSIS 2012
Some thoughts and advice to those who have to shuffle between versions 2012 and 2008 of Integration Services.

Posted by Andy Brown on 12 March 2014

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Working with Integration Services 2008 and 2012 (SSIS)

Following a recent course, I thought I'd share answers to some questions with the wider world!

You can see a list of what's new in SSIS 2012 here.

Can you import SSIS 2012 packages into SSIS 2008?

Alas, I think not.  If you're in 2008 R2, you can import packages as follows.  First choose to add an existing package:

Adding existing package

First choose to add a package to a project.


Choose where it's coming from:

Choosing File System

Choose to get the package from your computer's hard disk.

You can now choose a package file:

Browsing to a package file

Click on the button shown to find and choose the package you want to import.

So far, so good, but now's when it all goes pear-shaped (a strange saying to describe things going wrong, as pears are reasonably well-formed ...):

Error message importing package

Part of the error message which appears.

After some Googling, it appears that not many people want to move packages from a later version of SSIS to an older one, but I did find this Microsoft site which suggests it's not possible:

Exporting not possible message

Although this is talking about packages stored in SQL Server, I assume the same thing applies to all packages - it looks like exporting is not downwardly compatible.

This StackOverflow article also suggests that it can't be done.

Can you use parameters in SSIS 2008 R2?

No - the concept doesn't exist. 

What a parameter allows you to do is to pass information to a package at the time that you run it.  In older versions of SSIS (ie before 2012) the only way to do this is by setting the value of package variables in a configuration file.

Deploying SSIS 2012 versus earlier versions

There are two main approaches to deploying an SSIS package - project deployment and package deployment

Switching deployment methods

Switching deployment methods in SSIS 2012 (in earlier versions of SSIS project deployment doesn't exist as a concept).

Here is a quick comparison of the two methods:

Method Notes
Project Introduced in SSIS 2012 - use by preference, as it's much simpler and more powerful.  Projects are deployed to the SSIS catalog, which you can manage in Management Studio.  You can use parameters to pass information to packages when you execute them, and group parameters together using environments.
Package Works in all versions of SSIS.  You tell SSIS to create a deployment manifest when you build a package, and then send the manifest file created to anyone who wants to deploy your package. 

A final recommendation - screen design differences

Finally, if anyone reading this is wondering whether they should upgrade, the answer is emphatically yes!  If not for any of the above reasons, then because the user interface is so much nicer in 2012:

SSIS 2008 SSIS 2012
A 2008 package running The same, but in 2012

Which would you rather see on your screen? 

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