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Developing Data Flow Components with Multiple Inputs

A data flow component with multiple inputs may consume excessive memory if its multiple inputs produce data at uneven rates. When you develop a custom data flow component that supports two or more inputs, you can manage this memory pressure by using the following members in the Microsoft.SqlServer.Dts.Pipeline namespace:

  • The DtsPipelineComponentAttribute.SupportsBackPressure property of the DtsPipelineComponentAttribute class. Set the value of this property to true if you want to implement the code that is necessary for your custom data flow component to manage data flowing at uneven rates.

  • The IsInputReady method of the PipelineComponent class. You must provide an implementation of this method if you set the SupportsBackPressure property to true. If you do not provide an implementation, the data flow engine raises an exception at run time.

  • The GetDependentInputs method of the PipelineComponent class. You must also provide an implementation of this method if you set the SupportsBackPressure property to true and your custom component supports more than two inputs. If you do not provide an implementation, the data flow engine raises an exception at run time if the user attaches more than two inputs.

Together, these members enable you to develop a solution for memory pressure that is similar to the solution that Microsoft developed for the Merge and Merge Join transformations.

The first step in implementing better memory management for a custom data flow component that supports multiple inputs is to set the value of the SupportsBackPressure property to true in the DtsPipelineComponentAttribute. When the value of SupportsBackPressure is true, the data flow engine calls the IsInputReady method and, when there are more than two inputs, also calls the GetDependentInputs method at run time.

Example

In the following example, the implementation of the DtsPipelineComponentAttribute sets the value of SupportsBackPressure to true.

[DtsPipelineComponent(ComponentType = ComponentType.Transform,
        DisplayName = "Shuffler",
        Description = "Shuffle the rows from input.",
        SupportsBackPressure = true,
        LocalizationType = typeof(Localized),
        IconResource = "Microsoft.Samples.SqlServer.Dts.MIBPComponent.ico")
]
public class Shuffler : Microsoft.SqlServer.Dts.Pipeline.PipelineComponent
        {
          ...
        }

When you set the value of the SupportsBackPressure property to true in the DtsPipelineComponentAttribute object, you must also provide an implementation for the IsInputReady method of the PipelineComponent class.

Note Note

Your implementation of the IsInputReady method should not call the implementations in the base class. The default implementation of this method in the base class simply raises a NotImplementedException.

When you implement this method, you set the status of an element in the Boolean canProcess array for each of the component's inputs. (The inputs are identified by their ID values in the inputIDs array.) When you set the value of an element in the canProcess array to true for an input, the data flow engine calls the component's ProcessInput method and provides more data for the specified input.

While more upstream data is available, the value of the canProcess array element for at least one input must always be true, or processing stops.

The data flow engine calls the IsInputReady method before sending each buffer of data to determine which inputs are waiting to receive more data. When the return value indicates that an input is blocked, the data flow engine temporarily caches additional buffers of data for that input instead of sending them to the component.

Note Note

You do not call the IsInputReady or GetDependentInputs methods in your own code. The data flow engine calls these methods, and the other methods of the PipelineComponent class that you override, when the data flow engine runs your component.

Example

In the following example, the implementation of the IsInputReady method indicates that an input is waiting to receive more data when the following conditions are true:

  • More upstream data is available for the input (!inputEOR).

  • The component does not currently have data available to process for the input in the buffers that the component has already received (inputBuffers[inputIndex].CurrentRow() == null).

If an input is waiting to receive more data, the data flow component indicates this by setting to true the value of the element in the canProcess array that corresponds to that input.

Conversely, when the component still has data available to process for the input, the example suspends the processing of the input. The example does this by setting to false the value of the element in the canProcess array that corresponds to that input.

public override void IsInputReady(int[] inputIDs, ref bool[] canProcess)
{
    for (int i = 0; i < inputIDs.Length; i++)
    {
        int inputIndex = ComponentMetaData.InputCollection.GetObjectIndexByID(inputIDs[i]);

        canProcess[i] = (inputBuffers[inputIndex].CurrentRow() == null)
            && !inputEOR[inputIndex];
    }
}

The preceding example uses the Boolean inputEOR array to indicate whether more upstream data is available for each input. EOR in the name of the array represents "end of rowset" and refers to the EndOfRowset property of data flow buffers. In a portion of the example that is not included here, the ProcessInput method checks the value of the EndOfRowset property for each buffer of data that it receives. When a value of true indicates that there is no more upstream data available for an input, the example sets the value of the inputEOR array element for that input to true. This example of the IsInputReady method sets the value of the corresponding element in the canProcess array to false for an input when the value of the inputEOR array element indicates that there is no more upstream data available for the input.

When your custom data flow component supports more than two inputs, you must also provide an implementation for the GetDependentInputs method of the PipelineComponent class.

Note Note

Your implementation of the GetDependentInputs method should not call the implementations in the base class. The default implementation of this method in the base class simply raises a NotImplementedException.

The data flow engine only calls the GetDependentInputs method when the user attaches more than two inputs to the component. When a component has only two inputs, and the IsInputReady method indicates that one input is blocked (canProcess = false), the data flow engine knows that the other input is waiting to receive more data. However, when there are more than two inputs, and the IsInputReady method indicates that one input is blocked, the additional code in the GetDependentInputs identifies which inputs are waiting to receive more data.

Note Note

You do not call the IsInputReady or GetDependentInputs methods in your own code. The data flow engine calls these methods, and the other methods of the PipelineComponent class that you override, when the data flow engine runs your component.

Example

For a specific input that is blocked, the following implementation of the GetDependentInputs method returns a collection of the inputs that are waiting to receive more data, and are therefore blocking the specified input. The component identifies the blocking inputs by checking for inputs other than the blocked input that do not currently have data available to process in the buffers that the component has already received (inputBuffers[i].CurrentRow() == null). The GetDependentInputs method then returns the collection of blocking inputs as a collection of input IDs.

        public override Collection<int> GetDependentInputs(int blockedInputID)
        {
            Collection<int> currentDependencies = new Collection<int>();
            for (int i = 0; i < ComponentMetaData.InputCollection.Count; i++)
            {
                if (ComponentMetaData.InputCollection[i].ID != blockedInputID
                    && inputBuffers[i].CurrentRow() == null)
                {
                    currentDependencies.Add(ComponentMetaData.InputCollection[i].ID);
                }
            }
            
            return currentDependencies;
        }

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