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More Changes for the Dimension Merge SCD?

A while back, I ran a contest to find a new name for the SCD component hosted on CodePlex.  The results were the best "lemons into lemonade" situation I could have expected.  Now I've got some other news I can share that should extend the reach and capabilities of every Data Warehouse ETL developer that uses Integration Services. 
This Time, No Lemons... Porkbellies Instead
One of the problems I'd always had with offering a component on CodePlex was that it meant some enthusiastic would-be users couldn't end up using it in their production environments.  The reasons they were unable to use the component weren't technical, they were business-related:
  • Open-source project software was avoided due to (valid) longevity concerns.
  • In-house development capabilities weren't sufficient to provide support, should a problem occur.
  • "Untrusted" vendor code wasn't permitted on production servers.
The "easy" solution?  Offer support for the component myself, building up that trust level and support network.  But I've got a very nice day job, thank you, and not nearly enough free time - not "easy" for me, I'm afraid.  The bottom line is that offering support myself doesn't make sense for me, or a good business proposition for those potential users.  I just don't have the economies of scale to work with, or the track record.
So if I can't do it, who can turn those porkbellies into tasty bacon?
Heat Up the Frying Pan
One of the component's ardent enthusiasts for a few years now has been Joe Salvatore.  He's helped with testing and has provided feedback on improvements for several releases.  Just recently, he started with a new consulting company, and apparently the guy is pretty vocal.  ;)  I don't know the whole story, but I can imagine Joe did a demonstration or two, some quick talking, and twisted someone's arm.  Questionable karaoke footage could have factored into the equation as well.
So who's attention did Joe attract that could smoke and cure a little raw porkbelly into something you can actually sink your teeth into?  Brian Knight and his crew at Pragmatic Works, that's who.  This is the Brian Knight that's written quite a few books, has a successful consulting company, has contributed voluminous amounts of time to the community by serving on the PASS board, co-founding SQL Saturdays and SQLServerCentral.com.  You know Brian's all about the bacon for the SQL community.
Soft or Crispy?
If you're looking for a dimension table loading experience in Integration Services that's fast, flexible, and maintainable, you can't look to in-the-box Microsoft tools today.  They're continuing to stand pat with what they have in that department - arguably a very servicable tool in the SCD Wizard.  But if that's not good enough for you, and you're not keen on re-inventing the wheel, you now have very viable choices.  How do you like your 3rd party components?  Open-source or commercial?  Community forums or paid support?  This partnership gets you what you need, the way you want it.
Pragmatic Works is working on improving the component in ways that work for them and their customers; they'll be including it in their Task Factory set of tools.  That's a great option for the more "conservative" organizations out there.  But if that's not you, you're not left out in the cold.  The free-to-use open-source project on CodePlex is independent, and will continue on its own - that's the beauty of open source and business working together.  Brian knows there's a real gap in the Dimension Merge SCD story today - the lack of vendor support.  Even if he didn't change a stitch of code, providing that support adds value for his customers that they're willing to pay for.  There's no need for any kind of exclusivity in this arrangement - the value is self-evident.
Order Up!
I'd like to give a hearty thanks to Brian Knight and everyone that works with him.  I'll be helping them out as much as I can to explain the spaghetti code they're trying to understand, but I'm confident they'll be providing a Dimension Merge SCD that works even better and easier than what I've made so far - and they'll stand behind it.  Brian didn't have to even talk to me to get this done - he could have freely downloaded the code and used it as he wished.  But he's a community-minded guy.  He reached out to me for my support and I really appreciate it.  Thanks, Brian!

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