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For SQL Data Collector:

Do you need SSIS (SQL Server Integration Services) installed on the server that you are collecting data from. Or can the packages be run from another server -- like the one that the MDW database is on.

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    This is probably a question for the DBA site (I've voted to move it). I have no personal experience of this feature but the documentation implies that SSIS is only required on the collector, which would fit with the general SSIS model: you only need to install SSIS on the server where you actually execute the package. Have you just tried it?
    – Pondlife
    Feb 20 '13 at 14:38
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Nope, you don't need SSIS on the server you are collecting data from, bits of SSIS are installed anyway when you install SQL server and this is enough for the data collector to work. All the system data collector sets work out of the box once you have set up the management data warehouse and enabled them.

The actual SSIS packages for data collector are stored within MSDB, rather than SSISDB as with a full SSIS server and they are executed by a process called Dcexec.exe.

The full architecture for how data collector works is detailed here:

Data Collector Architecture

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