The Integration Service uses the following guidelines to set initial values for variables:
Empty strings for string ports
01/01/0001 for Date/Time ports
Therefore, use variables as counters, which need an initial value. For example, you can create a numeric variable with the following expression:
VAR1 + 1
This expression counts the number of rows in the VAR1 port. If the initial value of the variable were set to NULL, the expression would always evaluate to NULL. This is why the initial value is set to zero.