Way too often, we hear many misconceptions about what the Integration Services Service actually does. Some think it is required to execute packages. Others think it is used for checkpoint restarts. Others think it speeds up execution. So, which group is correct?
The answer is none of them. The SSIS Service, quite simply, is responsible for managing the Integration Services interface in SQL Server Management Studio. It enables the ability to import/export packages, view running packages, and view stored packages. It really doesn’t do anything more than that.
Disabling the service will not affect:
- package development (you can develop packages without the service)
- the ability to execute packages (DTEXEC and other executables are responsible for this)
- checkpoint restarts of failed SSIS packages
- the ability for users to query the msdb database for stored packages via SQL
- package execution speed
- SQL Server Agent’s ability to execute packages
The SSIS Service is not cluster-aware, and is in fact not recommended. http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms345193.aspx
EDIT – See Michael Entin’s comment below. The SSIS Service will also cache component/task metadata so that the SSIS runtime engine can poll the cache to see what is installed, which may help speed up package load times however small those gains may be.