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SSIS – Process files in Sequence

May 10 2011 9:09AM by Sudeep Raj   

I got a very interesting scenario in Ask Sudeep section of Let me share the scenario first and then will explain how to go about it.


There is a folder which contains a number of files. The file name follows the following naming convention <Alphanumeric>.<Number> Alphanumeric could be any valid alphanumeric characters and the Number part would have just numeric values and both would be separated by a period [.]. Examples of file name file1Name.1, file1Name.2, file2Name.5 etc. Now the requirement says that for a given group of Alphanumeric part which are same we need to start processing the files from the file having the minimum numeric part and keep on processing the file till we get the numeric part incrementing by one for the files. Then move to the next set of files with another Alphanumeric part. Better to see an example, will give a clear picture.

List of files in the folder:


There can be 2 sets of files based on the alphanumeric part once with a and the other with b. From the above list we need to process just the following files:


As there is a break in the sequence for the file group “a” as a.3 is missing and similarly b.12 is missing so no files with larger numeric part will be processed.



Before starting the work on the Package we need to create 2 tables.

CREATE TABLE [dbo].[FileName1](
    [FileName] [varchar](200) NOT NULL,
    [SeqNum] [int] NOT NULL,
    [FQDN] [varchar](200) NOT NULL


CREATE TABLE [dbo].[FileName](
    [FileName] [varchar](200) NOT NULL,
    [SeqNum] [int] NOT NULL

Here is the snapshot of the package.




The first Execute SQL task just truncates the table FileName1

Next in the Foreach loop we set it to loop through each files in the folder containing the above files. Here we map the Fully Qualified file name to a variable strFQDN. Next based on this variable and using expressions extract the Alphanumeric and the numeric parts of the file name and save them respectively to the variables: strFileName & intSeqNo. Now in the Execute SQL Task in this Foreach Loop I just insert the value of these 3 variables: strFileName, intSeqNo & strFQDN to the table FileName1 created by the above query. On completion of this loop there will be one record for each file in the folder in the table FileName1.

Next we come to the next Execute SQL Query. What this does is fetches the full file path of each record saved in it. The records are grouped by the fileName and ordered by the SeqNum. This is the query used here:

FROM FileName1
GROUP BY FileName, seqNum, FQDN
Order BY seqNum

The outcome of this query(full result set) is saved to an object variable objFQDN.

Now comes the place where we do the file selection. The last for each loop that you see in the flow is the core. The enumerator for this is set to “Foreach ADO Enumerator” and the ADO object source variable is mapped to the variable objFQDN. So this loop will run for each file in the folder above but in a ordered manner as we are using the above query to get the grouped and ordered file paths. In the variable mapping I again map it to the variable strFQDN and the other 2 variables(strFileNae & intSeqNo) are getting computed using expressions.

If we look into the foreach loop the first task we have is an Execute SQL task. This task check for 3 things in the 2nd table FileName:

  1. Is this the first entry to the table?
  2. Is the Alphanumeric part of the filename (strFileName) new in the table?
  3. Is there another record in the table with SeqNum just one less than the numeric part (variable intSeqNo) of current file being processed? This implies that the current files numeric part is one greater than the maximum value in the table hence this file follows the sequence.

In case any of the above condition is true we need to process the file. So the query I have used is as follows(T-SQL gurus could enhance this as this may not be the most efficient way, but yes it does manage some incorrect entries in the table FileName)

Declare @FName varchar(50)
DECLARE @SeqNum int

SET @FName = ?
SET @SeqNum = ?

	SELECT COUNT(1) AS CNT, 'a' as col
	FROM FileName tbl1 
	LEFT OUTER JOIN FileName tbl2
		on tbl1.FileName=tbl2.FileName
		AND tbl1.SeqNum = tbl2.SeqNum-1
	WHERE tbl2.SeqNum IS NULL AND tbl1.SeqNum+1 = @SeqNum
	HAVING MIN(tbl1.SeqNum+1)=@SeqNum)


	SELECT COUNT(1) AS CNT, 'a' AS col 
	FROM FileName 
	WHERE FileName <> @FName
	SELECT 1 AS CNT, 'a' AS col  
	from FileName

) a GROUP BY  col

This query returns a numeric value. If it is >0 it means that the above conditions have been satisfied and we can process the file. We save the value of this Execute SQL Task to an integer variable intCount.

We now need to process the file if the above variable has value greater than 0. I have used a Script task next which can be replaced by any task that you want to process the file. You could use a Data flow task or a file system task or FTP task etc here. But keep in mind we need to connect what ever task after the Execute SQL Task with precedence constraint set to EXPRESSION and the expression needs to be:


After this I have a File system task which puts the file processed above to an archive location so that the file is not processed(Initial part of the package as later the above query will not process it any further) again and the performance will be better as the files will keep growing in production environment.

Lastly in the foreach loop I have a last Execute SQL task :) which inserts the Alphanumeric part of the processed file and the numeric part of the file to the table FileName so that we can do the above condition check on for the next file in the queue.


The expressions that I used to extract the alphanumeric part and the numeric part from the fully qualified file name are listed below.

strFileName =

SUBSTRING ( RIGHT(@[User::strFQDN],FINDSTRING(REVERSE(@[User::strFQDN]),"\\",1)-1) ,
FINDSTRING( RIGHT(@[User::strFQDN],FINDSTRING(REVERSE(@[User::strFQDN]),"\\",1)-1) , ".",1 ) -1

intSeqNum :

(DT_I4) SUBSTRING( @[User::strFQDN] , FINDSTRING( @[User::strFQDN] ,".", 1) +1, LEN(@[User::strFQDN] ) - FINDSTRING( @[User::strFQDN] , ".", 1) +1)


That’s it. Hope this helps. Would like to hear from you or any other approach that you would take to solve this.

Tags: SSIS, MSBI, BRH, File Handling,

Sudeep Raj
12 · 13% · 4306



  • Sudeep... A good article.. but i could not configure First ForEach Loop properly... can u plz elaborate it in Steps to follow (Like Step 1, Step2...),..... Thanks

    commented on Sep 11 2011 4:31PM
    294 · 0% · 148
  • Thanks Vishal, Have a look at this blog of mine where I put the details of Foreach loop in another example.

    commented on Sep 15 2011 11:51AM
    Sudeep Raj
    12 · 13% · 4306
  • Hi Sudeep,

    Thanks for the nice article..I created the package as per your article and it ran successfully. I did some changes in your SQL code. as per your code the first group only work perfectly (a1,a2) but for the other groups it will process all the files (b10,b11,b14,15). Please see below SQL code which I modified.

    The Original code :

    ( SELECT COUNT(1) AS CNT, 'a' AS col FROM FileName WHERE FileName <> @FName )

    Modified code :

    ( SELECT COUNT(1) AS CNT, 'a' AS col FROM FileName WHERE not exists (select * from FileName where FileName = @FName) )


    Praveen Gundeti

    commented on Jun 14 2013 7:45AM
    2827 · 0% · 4
  • Thanks Praveen for pointing that out. I will check it and update the code.


    commented on Jun 27 2013 3:41PM
    Sudeep Raj
    12 · 13% · 4306

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