Stephen A. Fuqua (SAF) is a Bahá'í, software developer, and conservation and interfaith advocate in the DFW area of Texas.

Ignoring SSIS Data Conversion Failures

August 17, 2007

Problem: In SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS), you're trying to import from a data dump from another database system that has different data types from SQL Server. While the conversions look pretty straigh forward, you get failures of the type "The value could not be converted because of a potential loss of data.". But despite the mismatch data types, you can't see anything wrong.

Background: In my case I am converting from a Paradox dump. Paradox has an integer type whose length comes out to 11 digits, whereas SQL Server's int type is 4 bytes (max 10 digits). However, inspecting the data, all of the numbers I wanted to convert where less than 10 digits. But in spite of this I get errors when implicitly converting (copying directly from my file source to my OLE DB destination) or explicitly converting (using the Data Conversion or Derived Column tasks).

Solution: Ignore the errors! I'm an OO programmer, not an SSIS guru, so I can't say this is the ideal solution. But it works for me. I know — without doubt — that my data will convert cleanly. So I converted my fields with the Data Conversion task, and set the Error OUtput to "Ignore failure" for both Errors and Truncation (not sufficient to just do Truncation).

data conversion transformation editor

configure error output


this is a bad solution as the error is not ignored, the entire row will be ignored! you will lose entire rows of data

I appreciate the comment... however, that is not my experience. I just fired up SSIS and tested this out. As I expected, when I actually did have an error, that row was still output -- but with that particular value nulled. In my particular case, I know that the business rules indicate that this is not expected to ever occur; I don't advocate it for everyone.

Furthermore, Microsoft's documentation says of Ignore failure: "The error or the truncation is ignored and the data row is directed to the output of the transformation or source."