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  • Hello, can you just send me all your data please?

    - by fatherjack
    LiveJournal Tags: Security,SQL Server Our house phone rang on Saturday night and Mrs Fatherjack answered. I was in the other room but I heard her trying to explain to the caller that they were in some way mistaken. Eventually, as she got more irate with the caller, I went out and started to catch up with the events so far. The caller was trying to convince my wife that our computer was infected with a virus. She was confident that it wasn't. Her patience expired after almost 10 minutes...(read more)

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  • Working With Extended Events

    - by Fatherjack
    SQL Server 2012 has made working with Extended Events (XE) pretty simple when it comes to what sessions you have on your servers and what options you have selected and so forth but if you are like me then you still have some SQL Server instances that are 2008 or 2008 R2. For those servers there is no built-in way to view the Extended Event sessions in SSMS. I keep coming up against the same situations – Where are the xel log files? What events, actions or predicates are set for the events on the server? What sessions are there on the server already? I got tired of this being a perpetual question and wrote some TSQL to save as a snippet in SQL Prompt so that these details are permanently only a couple of clicks away. First, some history. If you just came here for the code skip down a few paragraphs and it’s all there. If you want a little time to reminisce about SQL Server then stick with me through the next paragraph or two. We are in a bit of a cross-over period currently, there are many versions of SQL Server but I would guess that SQL Server 2008, 2008 R2 and 2012 comprise the majority of installations. With each of these comes a set of management tools, of which SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) is one. In 2008 and 2008 R2 Extended Events made their first appearance and there was no way to work with them in the SSMS interface. At some point the Extended Events guru Jonathan Kehayias (http://www.sqlskills.com/blogs/jonathan/) created the SQL Server 2008 Extended Events SSMS Addin which is really an excellent tool to ease XE session administration. This addin will install in SSMS 2008 or 2008R2 but not SSMS 2012. If you use a compatible version of SSMS then I wholly recommend downloading and using it to make your work with XE much easier. If you have SSMS 2012 installed, and there is no reason not to as it will let you work with all versions of SQL Server, then you cannot install this addin. If you are working with SQL Server 2012 then SSMS 2012 has built in functionality to manage XE sessions – this functionality does not apply for 2008 or 2008 R2 instances though. This means you are somewhat restricted and have to use TSQL to manage XE sessions on older versions of SQL Server. OK, those of you that skipped ahead for the code, you need to start from here: So, you are working with SSMS 2012 but have a SQL Server that is an earlier version that needs an XE session created or you think there is a session created but you aren’t sure, or you know it’s there but can’t remember if it is running and where the output is going. How do you find out? Well, none of the information is hidden as such but it is a bit of a wrangle to locate it and it isn’t a lot of code that is unlikely to remain in your memory. I have created two pieces of code. The first examines the SYS.Server_Event_… management views in combination with the SYS.DM_XE_… management views to give the name of all sessions that exist on the server, regardless of whether they are running or not and two pieces of TSQL code. One piece will alter the state of the session: if the session is running then the code will stop the session if executed and vice versa. The other piece of code will drop the selected session. If the session is running then the code will stop it first. Do not execute the DROP code unless you are sure you have the Create code to hand. It will be dropped from the server without a second chance to change your mind. /**************************************************************/ /***   To locate and describe event sessions on a server    ***/ /***                                                        ***/ /***   Generates TSQL to start/stop/drop sessions           ***/ /***                                                        ***/ /***        Jonathan Allen - @fatherjack                    ***/ /***                 June 2013                                ***/ /***                                                        ***/ /**************************************************************/ SELECT  [EES].[name] AS [Session Name - all sessions] ,         CASE WHEN [MXS].[name] IS NULL THEN ISNULL([MXS].[name], 'Stopped')              ELSE 'Running'         END AS SessionState ,         CASE WHEN [MXS].[name] IS NULL              THEN ISNULL([MXS].[name],                          'ALTER EVENT SESSION [' + [EES].[name]                          + '] ON SERVER STATE = START;')              ELSE 'ALTER EVENT SESSION [' + [EES].[name]                   + '] ON SERVER STATE = STOP;'         END AS ALTER_SessionState ,         CASE WHEN [MXS].[name] IS NULL              THEN ISNULL([MXS].[name],                          'DROP EVENT SESSION [' + [EES].[name]                          + '] ON SERVER; -- This WILL drop the session. It will no longer exist. Don't do it unless you are certain you can recreate it if you need it.')              ELSE 'ALTER EVENT SESSION [' + [EES].[name]                   + '] ON SERVER STATE = STOP; ' + CHAR(10)                   + '-- DROP EVENT SESSION [' + [EES].[name]                   + '] ON SERVER; -- This WILL stop and drop the session. It will no longer exist. Don't do it unless you are certain you can recreate it if you need it.'         END AS DROP_Session FROM    [sys].[server_event_sessions] AS EES         LEFT JOIN [sys].[dm_xe_sessions] AS MXS ON [EES].[name] = [MXS].[name] WHERE   [EES].[name] NOT IN ( 'system_health', 'AlwaysOn_health' ) ORDER BY SessionState GO I have excluded the system_health and AlwaysOn sessions as I don’t want to accidentally execute the drop script for these sessions that are created as part of the SQL Server installation. It is possible to recreate the sessions but that is a whole lot of aggravation I’d rather avoid. The second piece of code gathers details of running XE sessions only and provides information on the Events being collected, any predicates that are set on those events, the actions that are set to be collected, where the collected information is being logged and if that logging is to a file target, where that file is located. /**********************************************/ /***    Running Session summary                ***/ /***                                        ***/ /***    Details key values of XE sessions     ***/ /***    that are in a running state            ***/ /***                                        ***/ /***        Jonathan Allen - @fatherjack    ***/ /***        June 2013                        ***/ /***                                        ***/ /**********************************************/ SELECT  [EES].[name] AS [Session Name - running sessions] ,         [EESE].[name] AS [Event Name] ,         COALESCE([EESE].[predicate], 'unfiltered') AS [Event Predicate Filter(s)] ,         [EESA].[Action] AS [Event Action(s)] ,         [EEST].[Target] AS [Session Target(s)] ,         ISNULL([EESF].[value], 'No file target in use') AS [File_Target_UNC] -- select * FROM    [sys].[server_event_sessions] AS EES         INNER JOIN [sys].[dm_xe_sessions] AS MXS ON [EES].[name] = [MXS].[name]         INNER JOIN [sys].[server_event_session_events] AS [EESE] ON [EES].[event_session_id] = [EESE].[event_session_id]         LEFT JOIN [sys].[server_event_session_fields] AS EESF ON ( [EES].[event_session_id] = [EESF].[event_session_id]                                                               AND [EESF].[name] = 'filename'                                                               )         CROSS APPLY ( SELECT    STUFF(( SELECT  ', ' + sest.name                                         FROM    [sys].[server_event_session_targets]                                                 AS SEST                                         WHERE   [EES].[event_session_id] = [SEST].[event_session_id]                                       FOR                                         XML PATH('')                                       ), 1, 2, '') AS [Target]                     ) AS EEST         CROSS APPLY ( SELECT    STUFF(( SELECT  ', ' + [sesa].NAME                                         FROM    [sys].[server_event_session_actions]                                                 AS sesa                                         WHERE   [sesa].[event_session_id] = [EES].[event_session_id]                                       FOR                                         XML PATH('')                                       ), 1, 2, '') AS [Action]                     ) AS EESA WHERE   [EES].[name] NOT IN ( 'system_health', 'AlwaysOn_health' ) /*Optional to exclude 'out-of-the-box' traces*/ I hope that these scripts are useful to you and I would be obliged if you would keep my name in the script comments. I have no problem with you using it in production or personal circumstances, however it has no warranty or guarantee. Don’t use it unless you understand it and are happy with what it is going to do. I am not ever responsible for the consequences of executing this script on your servers.

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  • Where did I hide my TSQL mojo?

    - by fatherjack
    LiveJournal Tags: How To,SQL Server,Tips and Tricks,TSQL,Reporting Services A little while ago I wrote a piece about finding database objects that rely on other objects that no longer exist - OK, I have my database ready, now what's missing? . This is linked to that sort of process. Many SQL Server installations are associated in some way with a Reporting Services installation, it's a very logical way to distribute your database contents to system users so they can work effectively. Databases,...(read more)

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  • Using LogParser - part 2

    - by fatherjack
    PersonAddress.csv SalesOrderDetail.tsv In part 1 of this series we downloaded and installed LogParser and used it to list data from a csv file. That was a good start and in this article we are going to see the different ways we can stream data and choose whether a whole file is selected. We are also going to take a brief look at what file types we can interrogate. If we take the query from part 1 and add a value for the output parameter as -o:datagrid so that the query becomes LOGPARSER "SELECT top 15 * FROM C:\LP\person_address.csv" -o:datagrid and run that we get a different result. A pop-up dialog that lets us view the results in a resizable grid. Notice that because we didn't specify the columns we wanted returned by LogParser (we used SELECT *) is has added two columns to the recordset - filename and rownumber. This behaviour can be very useful as we will see in future parts of this series. You can click Next 10 rows or All rows or close the datagrid once you are finished reviewing the data. You may have noticed that the files that I am working with are different file types - one is a csv (comma separated values) and the other is a tsv (tab separated values). If you want to convert a file from one to another then LogParser makes it incredibly simple. Rather than using 'datagrid' as the value for the output parameter, use 'csv': logparser "SELECT SalesOrderID, SalesOrderDetailID, CarrierTrackingNumber, OrderQty, ProductID, SpecialOfferID, UnitPrice, UnitPriceDiscount, LineTotal, rowguid, ModifiedDate into C:\Sales_SalesOrderDetail.csv FROM C:\Sales_SalesOrderDetail.tsv" -i:tsv -o:csv Those familiar with SQL will not have to make a very big leap of faith to making adjustments to the above query to filter in/out records from the source file. Lets get all the records from the same file where the Order Quantity (OrderQty) is more than 25: logparser "SELECT SalesOrderID, SalesOrderDetailID, CarrierTrackingNumber, OrderQty, ProductID, SpecialOfferID, UnitPrice, UnitPriceDiscount, LineTotal, rowguid, ModifiedDate into C:\LP\Sales_SalesOrderDetailOver25.csv FROM C:\LP\Sales_SalesOrderDetail.tsv WHERE orderqty > 25" -i:tsv -o:csv Or we could find all those records where the Order Quantity is equal to 25 and output it to an xml file: logparser "SELECT SalesOrderID, SalesOrderDetailID, CarrierTrackingNumber, OrderQty, ProductID, SpecialOfferID, UnitPrice, UnitPriceDiscount, LineTotal, rowguid, ModifiedDate into C:\LP\Sales_SalesOrderDetailEq25.xml FROM C:\LP\Sales_SalesOrderDetail.tsv WHERE orderqty = 25" -i:tsv -o:xml All the standard comparison operators are to be found in LogParser; >, <, =, LIKE, BETWEEN, OR, NOT, AND. Input and Output file formats. LogParser has a pretty impressive list of file formats that it can parse and a good selection of output formats that will let you generate output in a format that is useable for whatever process or application you may be using. From any of these To any of these IISW3C: parses IIS log files in the W3C Extended Log File Format.   NAT: formats output records as readable tabulated columns. IIS: parses IIS log files in the Microsoft IIS Log File Format. CSV: formats output records as comma-separated values text. BIN: parses IIS log files in the Centralized Binary Log File Format. TSV: formats output records as tab-separated or space-separated values text. IISODBC: returns database records from the tables logged to by IIS when configured to log in the ODBC Log Format. XML: formats output records as XML documents. HTTPERR: parses HTTP error log files generated by Http.sys. W3C: formats output records in the W3C Extended Log File Format. URLSCAN: parses log files generated by the URLScan IIS filter. TPL: formats output records following user-defined templates. CSV: parses comma-separated values text files. IIS: formats output records in the Microsoft IIS Log File Format. TSV: parses tab-separated and space-separated values text files. SQL: uploads output records to a table in a SQL database. XML: parses XML text files. SYSLOG: sends output records to a Syslog server. W3C: parses text files in the W3C Extended Log File Format. DATAGRID: displays output records in a graphical user interface. NCSA: parses web server log files in the NCSA Common, Combined, and Extended Log File Formats. CHART: creates image files containing charts. TEXTLINE: returns lines from generic text files. TEXTWORD: returns words from generic text files. EVT: returns events from the Windows Event Log and from Event Log backup files (.evt files). FS: returns information on files and directories. REG: returns information on registry values. ADS: returns information on Active Directory objects. NETMON: parses network capture files created by NetMon. ETW: parses Enterprise Tracing for Windows trace log files and live sessions. COM: provides an interface to Custom Input Format COM Plugins. So, you can query data from any of the types on the left and really easily get it into a format where it is ready for analysis by other tools. To a DBA or network Administrator with an enquiring mind this is a treasure trove. In part 3 we will look at working with multiple sources and specifically outputting to SQL format. See you there!

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  • It’s time that you ought to know what you don’t know

    - by fatherjack
    There is a famous quote about unknown unknowns and known knowns and so on but I’ll let you review that if you are interested. What I am worried about is that there are things going on in your environment that you ought to know about, indeed you have asked to be told about but you are not getting the information. When you schedule a SQL Agent job you can set it to send an email to an inbox monitored by someone who needs to know and indeed can do something about it. However, what happens if the email process isnt successful? Check your servers with this: USE [msdb] GO /* This code selects the top 10 most recent SQLAgent jobs that failed to complete successfully and where the email notification failed too. Jonathan Allen Jul 2012 */ DECLARE @Date DATETIME SELECT @Date = DATEADD(d, DATEDIFF(d, '19000101', GETDATE()) - 1, '19000101') SELECT TOP 10 [s].[name] , [sjh].[step_name] , [sjh].[sql_message_id] , [sjh].[sql_severity] , [sjh].[message] , [sjh].[run_date] , [sjh].[run_time] , [sjh].[run_duration] , [sjh].[operator_id_emailed] , [sjh].[operator_id_netsent] , [sjh].[operator_id_paged] , [sjh].[retries_attempted] FROM [dbo].[sysjobhistory] AS sjh INNER JOIN [dbo].[sysjobs] AS s ON [sjh].[job_id] = [s].[job_id] WHERE EXISTS ( SELECT * FROM [dbo].[sysjobs] AS s INNER JOIN [dbo].[sysjobhistory] AS s2 ON [s].[job_id] = [s2].[job_id] WHERE [sjh].[job_id] = [s2].[job_id] AND [s2].[message] LIKE '%failed to notify%' AND CONVERT(DATETIME, CONVERT(VARCHAR(15), [s2].[run_date])) >= @date AND [s2].[run_status] = 0 ) AND sjh.[run_status] = 0 AND sjh.[step_id] != 0 AND CONVERT(DATETIME, CONVERT(VARCHAR(15), [run_date])) >= @date ORDER BY [sjh].[run_date] DESC , [sjh].[run_time] DESC go USE [msdb] go /* This code summarises details of SQLAgent jobs that failed to complete successfully and where the email notification failed too. Jonathan Allen Jul 2012 */ DECLARE @Date DATETIME SELECT @Date = DATEADD(d, DATEDIFF(d, '19000101', GETDATE()) - 1, '19000101') SELECT [s].name , [s2].[step_id] , CONVERT(DATETIME, CONVERT(VARCHAR(15), [s2].[run_date])) AS [rundate] , COUNT(*) AS [execution count] FROM [dbo].[sysjobs] AS s INNER JOIN [dbo].[sysjobhistory] AS s2 ON [s].[job_id] = [s2].[job_id] WHERE [s2].[message] LIKE '%failed to notify%' AND CONVERT(DATETIME, CONVERT(VARCHAR(15), [s2].[run_date])) >= @date AND [s2].[run_status] = 0 GROUP BY name , [s2].[step_id] , [s2].[run_date] ORDER BY [s2].[run_dateDESC] These two result sets will show if there are any SQL Agent jobs that have run on your servers that failed and failed to successfully email about the failure. I hope it’s of use to you. Disclaimer – Jonathan is a Friend of Red Gate and as such, whenever they are discussed, will have a generally positive disposition towards Red Gate tools. Other tools are often available and you should always try others before you come back and buy the Red Gate ones. All code in this blog is provided “as is” and no guarantee, warranty or accuracy is applicable or inferred, run the code on a test server and be sure to understand it before you run it on a server that means a lot to you or your manager.

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  • The best, in the West

    - by Fatherjack
    As many of you know, I run the SQL South West user group and we are currently in full flow preparing to stage the UK’s second SQL Saturday. The SQL Saturday spotlight is going to fall on Exeter in March 2013. We have full-day session on Friday 8th with some truly amazing speakers giving their insights and experience into some vital areas of working with SQL Server: Dave Ballantyne and Dave Morrison – TSQL and internals Christian Bolton and Gavin Payne – Mission critical data platforms on Windows Server 2012 Denny Cherry – SQL Server Security André Kamman – Powershell 3.0 for SQL Server Administrators and Developers Mladen Prajdic – From SQL Traces to Extended Events – The next big switch. A number of people have claimed that the choice is too good and they’d have trouble selecting just one session to attend. I can see how this is a problem but hope that they make their minds up quickly. The venue is a bespoke conference suite in the centre of Exeter but has limited capacity so we are working on a first-come first-served basis. All the session details and booking and travel information can be found on our user group website. The Saturday will be a day of free, 50 minute sessions on all aspects SQL Server from almost 30 different speakers. If you would like to submit a session then get a move on as submissions close on 8th January 2013 (That’s less than a month away). We are really interested in getting new speakers started so we have a lightning talk session where you can come along and give a small talk (anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes long) about anything connected with SQL Server as a way to introduce you to what it’s like to be a speaker at an event. Details on registering to attend and to submit a session (Lightning talks need to be submitted too please) can be found on our SQL Saturday pages. This is going to be the biggest and best bespoke SQL Server conference to ever take place this far South West in the UK and we aim to give everyone who comes to either day a real experience of the South West so we have a few surprises for you on the day.

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  • Resolving IIS7 HTTP Error 500.19 - Internal Server Error

    - by fatherjack
    LiveJournal Tags: RedGate Tools,SQL Server,Tips and Tricks How To The requested page cannot be accessed because the related configuration data for the page is invalid. As part of my work recently I was moving SQL Monitor from the bespoke XSP web server to be hosted on IIS instead. This didn't go smoothly. I was lucky to be helped by Red Gate's support team (http://twitter.com/kickasssupport). I had SQL Monitor installed and working fine on the XSP site but wanted to move to IIS so I reinstalled the software and chose the IIS option. This wasn't possible as IIS wasn't installed on the server. I went to Control Panel, Windows features and installed IIS and then returned to the SQL Monitor installer. Everything went as planned but when I browsed the site I got a huge error with the message "HTTP Error 500.19 - Internal Server Error The requested page cannot be accessed because the related configuration data for the page is invalid." All links that I could find suggested it was a permissions issue, based on the directory where the config file was stored. I changed this any number of times and also tried the altering its location. Nothing resolved the error. It was only when I was trying the installation again that I read through the details from Red Gate and noted that they referred to ASP settings that I didn't have. Essentially I was seeing this. I had installed IIS using the default settings and that DOESN'T include ASP. When this dawned on me I went back through the windows components installation process and ticked the ASP service within the IIS role. Completing this and going back to the IIS management console I saw something like this; so many more options! When I clicked on the Authentication icon this time I got the option to not only enable Anonymous Authentication but also ASP.NET Impersonation (which is disabled by default). Once I had enabled this the SQL Monitor website worked without error. I think the HTTP Error 500.19 is misleading in this case and at the very least should be able to recognise if the ASP service is installed or not and then to include a hint that it should be. I hope this helps some people and avoids wasting as much of your time as it did mine. Let me know if it helps you.

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  • Free SQL Server training? Now you’re talking.

    - by Fatherjack
    SQL Server user groups are everywhere, literally all over the globe there are SQL Server professionals meeting on a regular basis, sharing ideas, solving problems, learning about how to do new stuff and new ways to do old stuff and it’s all for free. I don’t have detailed figures but of all the SQL Server professionals there are only a small number of them attend these user groups. Those people are the people that are taking the time and making then effort to make themselves better at their chosen trade, more employable and having a good time. For free. I don’t know why but there are many people that don’t seem to want to be the best they can be. Some of you enlightened people that do already attend could be doing more though. Have you ever spoken at  your group? Not just in the break while you have a mouthful of pizza and a drink in your hand but had the attention of the whole group listen to you speak. It doesn’t need to be a full hour, it doesn’t need to be some obscure deeply technical demonstration of SQL Server internals, just a few minutes on something that you do that might help other people with their daily work. A neat process that helps you get from Problem A to Solution B. There is no need to get concerned that becoming a speaker means that you suddenly have to know more than anyone else in the room. This is you talking about something that you experienced. What you did, what you would repeat, what you might do differently next time. No one in the audience can pick you up on a technicality. If someone comes out with a great idea that you hadn’t thought of, say “That’s a great idea, I didn’t think of that while we had the problem on our hands. I’ll try to remember that for next time”. If someone is looking to show you up for picking the wrong decision (and this, in my experience, is very uncommon indeed) then you simply give a reply like “Well, at the time we chose that option. Perhaps another time then we would tackle things differently but we were happy with how our solution worked”. It’s sharing things like this that makes user groups have a real value, talking about how you coped with or averted a disaster, a handy little section of code or using a tool in a particular way that you take for granted that might, just might, be something that other people haven’t thought of that solves a problem or saves some time for them. At the next meeting you might get the same benefit from a different person and so it goes on. As individuals benefits so the community benefits. For free. Things I encourage you to do; If you are a chapter or user group leader; encourage someone from your group who has never spoken before to start speaking. If you are a chapter or user group attendee that hasn’t spoken before; speak for at least 5 minutes on something related to SQL Server at any group meeting. If you don’t currently attend a user group; please go along to you nearest one when they are meeting next and invest in yourself and your future. UK user group details are here: http://sqlsouthwest.co.uk/national_ug.htm , PASS chapters outside the UK are found via http://www.sqlpass.org/PASSChapters/LocalChapters.aspx. If you are unsure of how you might achieve any of these things then get in touch with me*, I’ll give you specific advice on getting started on any of the above points and help you prove to yourself what you are capable of. SQL Community – be part of it and make it better. Let me know how you get on in the comments.

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  • Using LogParser - part 3

    - by fatherjack
    This is the third part in a series of articles about using LogParser, specifically from a DBA point of view but there are many uses that any system administrator could put LogParser to in order to make their life easier. In Part 1 we downloaded, installed the software and ran a very basic query. In Part 2 we ran some queries and filtered in/out specific rows according to our requirements. In this part we will be looking at how to collect data from more than one location and from different sources...(read more)

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  • Watching the oil slick

    - by fatherjack
    Having dominated the news for the last month or more BP's problems with one of their oil exploration endeavours is a problem that will affect the whole planet. Now I dont know the whole story, either how it all happened or what is being done to restore some sort of control (I have heard about shredded tyres and golf balls being pumped into the hole but am not sure if that was a satirical program mocking the situation or an actual event . golf balls . seriously!? ). I started wondering what the...(read more)

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  • Write TSQL, win a Kindle.

    - by Fatherjack
    So recently Red Gate launched sqlmonitormetrics.red-gate.com and showed the world how to embed your own scripts harmoniously in a third party tool to get the details that you want about your SQL Server performance. The site has a way to submit your own metrics and take a copy of the ones that other people have submitted to build a library of code to keep track of key metrics of your servers performance. There have been several submissions already but they have now launched a competition to provide an incentive for you to get creative and show us what you can do with a bit of TSQL and the SQL Monitor framework*. What’s it worth? Well, if you are one of the 3 winners then you get to choose either a Kindle Fire or $199. How do you win? Simply write the T-SQL for a SQL Monitor custom metric and the relevant description and introduction for it and submit it via  sqlmonitormetrics.red-gate.com before 14th Sept 2012 and then sit back and wait while the judges review your code and your aims in writing the metric. Who are the judges and how will they judge the metrics? There are two judges for this competition, Steve Jones (Microsoft SQL Server MVP, co-founder of SQLServerCentral.com, author, blogger etc) and Jonathan Allen (um, yeah, Steve has done all the good stuff, I’m here by good fortune). We will be looking to rate the metrics on each of 3 criteria: how the metric can help with performance tuning SQL Server. how having the metric running enables DBA’s to meet best practice. how interesting /original the idea for the metric is. Our combined decision will be final etc etc **  What happens to my metric? Any metrics submitted to the competition will be automatically entered into the site library and become available for sharing once the competition is over. You’ll get full credit for metrics you submit regardless of the competition results. You can enter as many metrics as you like. How long does it take? Honestly? Once you have the T-SQL sorted then so long as you can type your name and your email address you are done : http://sqlmonitormetrics.red-gate.com/share-a-metric/ What can I monitor? If you really really want a Kindle or $199 (and let’s face it, who doesn’t? ) and are momentarily stuck for inspiration, take a look at these example custom metrics that have been written by Stuart Ainsworth, Fabiano Amorim, TJay Belt, Louis Davidson, Grant Fritchey, Brad McGehee and me  to start the library off. There are some great pieces of TSQL in those metrics gathering important stats about how SQL Server is performing.   * – framework may not be the best word here but I was under pressure and couldnt think of a better one. If you prefer try ‘engine’, or ‘application’? I don’t know, pick something that makes sense to you. ** – for the full (legal) version of the rules check the details on sqlmonitormetrics.red-gate.com or send us an email if you want any point clarified. Disclaimer – Jonathan is a Friend of Red Gate and as such, whenever they are discussed, will have a generally positive disposition towards Red Gate tools. Other tools are often available and you should always try others before you come back and buy the Red Gate ones. All code in this blog is provided “as is” and no guarantee, warranty or accuracy is applicable or inferred, run the code on a test server and be sure to understand it before you run it on a server that means a lot to you or your manager.

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  • 62 miles up

    - by fatherjack
    RedGate are known for being a software company with a big personality and having a huge presence in the SQL Community. They run the annual Exceptional DBA competition, having held a party at the PASS summit last night to celebrate this years winner - Jeff Moden. They have also got a great attitude towards their staff as demonstrated on their website. Today, just after the PASS Summit keynote speech they made an announcement that is literally going to give one lucky winner the ride of their life....(read more)

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  • How do you use blog content?

    - by fatherjack
    Do you write a blog, have you ever thought about it? I think people fall into one of a few categories when it comes to blogs, especially blogs with technical content. Writing articles furiously - daily, twice daily and reading dozens of others. Writing the odd piece of content and read plenty of others' output. Started a blog once and its fizzled out but reading lots. Thought about starting a blog someday but never got around to it, hopping into the occasional blog when a link or a Tweet takes them there. Never thought about writing one but often catching content from them when Google (or other preferred search engine) finds content related to their search. Now I am not saying that either of these is right or wrong, nor am I saying that anyone should feel any compulsion to be in any particular category. What I would say is that you as a blog reader have the power to move blog writers from one category to another. How, you might ask? How do I have any power over a blog writer? It is very simple - feedback. If you give feedback then the blog writer knows that they are reaching an audience, if there is no response then they we are simply writing down our thoughts for what could amount to nothing more than a feeble amount of exercise and a few more key stokes towards the onset of RSI. Most blogs have a mechanism to alert the writer when there are comments, and personally speaking, if an email is received saying there has been a response to a blog article then there is a rush of enthusiasm, a moment of excitement that someone is actually reading and considering the text that was submitted and made available for the whole world to read. I am relatively new to this blog game and could be in some extended honeymoon period as I have also recently been incorporated into the Simple Talk 'stable'. I can understand that once you get to the "Dizzy Heights of Ozar" (www.brentozar.com) then getting comments and feedback might not be such a pleasure and may even be rather more of a chore but that, I guess, is the price of fame. For us mere mortals starting out blogging, getting feedback (or even at the moment for me, simply the hope of getting feedback) is what keeps it going. The hope that you will pick a topic that hasn't been done recently by Brad McGehee, Grant Fritchey,  Paul Randall, Thomas LaRock or any one of the dozen of rock star bloggers listed here or others from SQLServerPedia and so on, and then do it well enough to be found, reviewed, or <shudder> (re)tweeted to bring more visitors is what we are striving for, along with the fact that the content we might produce is something that will be of benefit to others. There is only so much point to typing content that no-one is reading and putting it on a blog. You may as well just write it in a diary. A technical blog is not like, say, a blog covering photography techniques where the way to frame and take a picture stands true whether it was written last week, last year or last century - technical content goes sour, quite quickly. There isn't much call for articles about yesterdays technology unless its something that still applies to current versions too, so some content written no more than 2 years ago isn't worth having now. The combination of a piece of content that you know is going to not last long and the fact that no-one reads it is a strong force against writing anything else. Getting feedback counters that despair and gives a value to writing something new. I would say that any feedback is good but there are obviously comments that are just so negative or otherwise badly phrased that they would hasten the demise of a blog but, in general most feedback will encourage a writer. It may not be a comment that supports or agrees with the main theme of a post but if it generates discussion or opens up a previously unexplored viewpoint it is contributing to the blog and is therefore encouraging to the writer. Even if you only say "thank you" before you leave a blog, having taken a section of script to use for yourself or having been given a few links to some content that has widened your knowledge it will be so welcome to the blog owner. Isn't it also the decent thing to do, acknowledging that you have benefited from another's efforts?

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  • Time to Check Your Servers

    - by fatherjack
    Do you know how to find the time that your SQL Server started? Since SQL Server 2008 you can use: SELECT sqlserver_start_timeFROM sys.dm_os_sys_info On one of my servers this gives me: This is great, and can be used in lots of ways. I happened across the [sys].[dm_exec_requests]view the other day and out of curiosity ran the query SELECT MIN(start_time) AS [start time]FROM [sys].[dm_exec_requests] AS der And I was surprised to see the result as: Almost exactly an hour different. Now as...(read more)

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  • One eye on my dinner and one eye on SQL server

    - by fatherjack
    LiveJournal Tags: RedGate,Work Life Balance,Tips and Tricks,SQL Server This is somewhere between a Tweet and a proper blog article - would that be a Bleet? Anyway, I was at a local restaurant yesterday and after placing my order I was thinking about having to get home and log in to check some SQL Servers and then the thought came to me that as we were near civilisation there was likely to be a 3G signal that might actually make using the web browser on my phone bearable. It was surprisingly fast on my HTC Desire, it was almost as good as Wi-Fi. RedGate SQL Monitor works fine on the default HTC browser and here is the proof, me checking the servers while I am waiting for the meal to arrive. Everything checked out OK so I had the evening free from SQL Server. You can get a free 14 day full trial of a SQL Monitor from RedGate here or find out more about it at The Future of Monitoring. Disclosure: I am a friend of RedGate and as such regularly make positive comments about their products. I don't get paid for it but I do get free licenses for testing and reviewing purposes.

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  • Welcome to Jackstown

    - by fatherjack
    I live in a small town, the population count isn't that great but let me introduce you to some of the population. We'll start with Martin the Doc, he fixes up anything that gets poorly, so much so that he could be classed as the doctor, the vet and even the garage mechanic. He's got a reputation that he can fix anything and that hasn't been proved wrong yet. He's great friends with Brian (who gets called "Brains") the teacher who seems to have a sound understanding of any topic you care to pass his way. If he isn't sure he tells you and then goes to find out and comes back with a full answer real quick. Its good to have that sort of research capability close at hand. Brains is also great at encouraging anyone who needs a bit of support to get them up to speed and working on their jobs. Steve sees Brains regularly, that's because he is the librarian, he keeps all sorts of reading material and nowadays there's even video to watch about any topic you like. Steve keeps scouring all sorts of places to get the content that's needed and he keeps it in good order so that what ever is needed can be found quickly. He also has to make sure that old stuff gets marked as probably out of date so that anyone reading it wont get mislead. Over the road from him is Greg, he's the town crier. We don't have a newspaper here so Greg keeps us all informed of what's going on "out of town" - what new stuff we might make use of and what wont work in a small place like this. If we are interested he goes ahead and gets people in to demonstrate their products  and tell us about the details. Greg is pretty good at getting us discounts too. Now Greg's brother Ian works for the mayors office in the "waste management department" nowadays its all about the recycling but he still has to make sure that the stuff that cant be used any more gets disposed of properly. It depends on the type of waste he's dealing with that decides how it need to be treated and he has to know a lot about the different methods and when to use which ones. There are two people that keep the peace in town, Brent is the detective, investigating wrong doings and applying justice where necessary and Bart is the diplomat who smooths things over when any people have a dispute or disagreement. Brent is meticulous in his investigations and fair in the way he handles any situation he finds. Discretion is his byword. There's a rumour that Bart used to work for the United Nations but what ever his history there is no denying his ability to get apparently irreconcilable parties working together to their combined benefit. Someone who works closely with Bart is Brad, he is the translator in town. He has several languages that he can converse in but he can also explain things from someone's point of view or  and make it understandable to someone else. To keep things on the straight and narrow from a legal perspective is Ben the solicitor, making sure we all abide by the rules.Two people who make for an interesting evening's conversation if you get them together are Aaron and Grant, Aaron is the local planning inspector and Grant is an inventor of some reputation. Anything being constructed around here needs Aarons agreement. He's quite flexible in his rules though; if you can justify what you want to do with solid logic but he wont stand for any development going on without his inclusion. That gets a demolition notice and there's no argument. Grant as I mentioned is the inventor in town, if something can be improved or created then Grant is your man. He mainly works on his own but isnt averse to getting specific advice and assistance from specialist from out of town if they can help him finish his creations.There aren't too many people left for you to meet in the town, there's Rob, he's an ex professional sportsman. He played Hockey, Football, Cricket, you name it. He was in his element as goal keeper / wicket keeper and that shows in his personal life. He just goes about his business and people often don't even know that he's helped them. Really low profile, doesn't get any glory but saves people from lots of problems, even disasters on occasion. There goes Neil, he's a bit of an odd person, some people say he's gifted with special clairvoyant powers, personally I think he's got his ear to the ground and knows where to find out the important news as soon as its made public. Anyone getting a visit from Neil is best off to follow his advice though, he's usually spot on and you wont be caught by surprise if you follow his recommendations – wherever it comes from.Poor old Andrew is the last person to introduce you to. Andrew doesn't show himself too often but when he does it seems that people find a reason to blame him for their problems, whether he had anything to do with their predicament or not. In all honesty, without fail, and to his great credit, he takes it in good grace and never retaliates or gets annoyed when he's out and about.  It pays off too as its very often the case that those who were blaming him recently suddenly find they need his help and they readily forget the issues pretty rapidly.And then there's me, what do I do in town? Well, I'm just a DBA with a lot of hats. (Jackstown Pop. 1)

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  • SQL Relay - G is for GO

    - by fatherjack
    At the SQL Relay event last week all the UK user group leaders did a combined session - The A to Z of SQL - where we all took two letters of the alphabet and gave a 2 minute (it was strictly timed) talk on something SQL related beginning with those letters. It was quite a riot working through 26 different talks in an hour with 25 speaker handovers and the associated switches between SSMS and the slide deck. As a speaker I thoroughly enjoyed it and i hoe we informed as much as  we entertained the...(read more)

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  • Using SQL Sentry Plan Explorer

    - by fatherjack
    LiveJournal Tags: How To,SSMS,Tips and tricks,Execution Plans This is a quick tip that I hope will help you use SQL Sentry's Plan Explorer tool. It's a really great tool for viewing Execution Plans - something that SSMS isn't too great at. If you don't have the tool then you can download it for free from http://www.sqlsentry.net/plan-explorer/sql-server-query-view.asp. So, just a little setup is required before I can show you the tip in full. Create a directory on your Desktop called Execution...(read more)

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  • SQL Monitor Alerts in Outlook Without Configuring Email Settings

    - by Fatherjack
    SQL Monitor is a Red Gate tool that I have a long history with and I have worked closely with the development team from a time before it was called SQL Monitor. It is with that history in mind I am a little disappointed in myself that I have only just found out about a pretty cool feature. Out of the box SQL Monitor keeps itself to itself, it busily goes about watching over your servers, noting down when things look suspicious, change drastically or are just out and out wrong. You have to go into the settings and provide email details (SMTP server, account details etc.) before it starts getting at all intrusive with warning and alerts on the condition of your servers. However, it was after installing the most recent version that I was going through the application screen by screen looking for new and interesting changes that I noticed something that had avoided my attention. On the Alerts tab there is an option in the left hand menu. I don’t know how long ago it appeared or why I have never explored it previously but it appears that you can see your Alerts in the format of an RSS feed. Now when you click that link you are taken to a page that is the raw RSS XML – not too interesting but clearly you can use this in an RSS aggregator. Such as Outlook. Note the URL in the newly opened page take it with you into Outlook. For me it is in the form of http://SQLMonitorServerName/Alerts/Inbox/Feed. Again, this is something that I have only recently noticed – Outlook can aggregate RSS feeds. Down below the Inbox, Drafts folders etc, one up from the bottom is RSS Feeds. If you right click that and choose to Add a feed then you can supply the URL for SQL Monitor Alerts: And there you have it, your SQL Monitor Alerts available in Outlook where you can keep an eye on the number of unread items and pick them off at your convenience.

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  • I thought everyone did it like this – Training Session Code Management

    - by Fatherjack
    One of an occasional series of blogs about things that I do that perhaps others don’t. From very early on in my dealings with SQL Server Management Studio I started using Solutions and Projects. This means that I started using them when writing sessions and it wasn’t until speaking with someone at PASS Summit 2013 that I found out that this was a process that was unheard of by some people. So, here we go, a run through how I create and manage code and other documents that I use in presentations. For people unsure what solutions and projects are; • Solution – a container for one or more projects. • Project – a container for files, .sql files are grouped as Queries, all other files are stored as Misc. How do I start? Open Management Studio as normal, and then click File | New and select Project This will bring up the New Project dialog box and you can select/add details as necessary in the places indicated. If this is the first project you are creating then be sure to select the Create directory for solution check box (4). If know in advance that you are going to have more than one project in the solution then you may want to edit the Solution name (3) as by default it will take the name of the project that you enter at (2). This will lead you to the following folder structure (depending on the location that you chose in 3) above. In SSMS you need to turn on the Solution Explorer, either via the View menu or pressing Ctrl + Alt + L                   This will bring up a dockable window that will let you quickly access the files that you choose to include in the Solution.                     Can we get to work and write some code yet please? Yes, we can. As with many Microsoft products there are several ways to go about this, let’s look at the easiest way when creating new code. When writing a presentation I usually start from the position we are currently in – a brand new solution and project with no code. Later on we will look at incorporating existing code files into the Project where we need it. Right-click on the Project name and choose Add New Query           As soon as you click this you will be prompted to select the sql server that you want to connect to and once you have done that you will have your new query open in the text editor and the Solution Explorer will now look like this, showing your server connection and your new query.               And the Project folder will look like this         Now once you have written your code don’t press save, choose Save As and give the code a better name than QueryX.sql. SSMS will interpret this as a request to rename Query1 and your Project and the Project folder will show that SQLQuery1.sql no longer exists but there is now a file named as you requested. If you happen to click save in error then right-click the query in the project and choose rename.               You can then alter the name as you like, even when open in the SSMS text editor, and the file will be renamed. When creating a set of scripts for a presentation I name files with a numeric prefix so that when they are sorted by name they are in the order that I need to use them during the session. I love this idea but I’ve got loads of existing scripts I want to put in Projects Excellent, adding existing files to a project is easy, let’s consider that you have query files in your My Documents folder and you want to bring them into the Project we have just created. Right-click on the Project and choose Add | Existing Item           Navigate to the location of your chosen file and select it. The file will open in SSMS text editor and the Project will be updated to show that the selected query is now part of your project. If you look in Windows Explorer you will see that the query file has been copied into the Project folder, the original file still remains in your My Documents (or wherever it existed). I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to explore creating further Projects within a solution but will happily answer questions if you get into difficulties. What other advantages do I get from this? Well, as all your code is neatly in one Solution folder and the folder contains only files that are pertinent to the session you are presenting then it makes it very easy to share this code, simply copy the whole folder onto a USB stick, Blog, FTP location, wherever you choose and it’s all there in one self-contained parcel. You don’t have to limit yourself to .sql query files, you can add any sort of document via the Add Existing Item method, just try it out. Right-click on the protect and choose Add | Existing Item           Change the file type filter.                       You can multi select items here using Ctrl as you click each item you want. When you are done, click the Add button and the items will be brought into your project.                 Again, using this process means the files are copied into the project folder, leaving you original files untouched in their original location. Once they are here you can double click them in the SSMS Solution Explorer to open them, for files with a specific file type then the appropriate application will be launched – ie Word, Excel etc. However, if the files are something that the SSMS Text editor can display then they will open in a tab in SSMS. Try it out with a text file or even a PS1 file … This sounds excellent but what do I need to watch out for? One big thing to consider when working like this is the version of SSMS that you are using. There is something fundamentally different between the different versions in the way that the project (.ssmssqlproj) and solution (.sqlsuo and .ssmssln) files are formatted. If you create a solution in an older version of SSMS and then open it in a newer version you will be given the option to upgrade it. Once you do this upgrade then the older version of SSMS will not be able to open the solution any more. Now this ranks as more of an annoyance than disaster as the files within the projects are not affected in any way, you would just have to delete the files mentioned and recreate the solution in the older version again. Summary So, here we have seen how using SSMS Projects and Solutions can help keep related code files (and other document types) together in a neat structure so that they can be quickly navigated during a presentation and it also makes it incredibly simple to distribute your code and share it with others. I hope this is of use to you and helps you bring more order into your sql files, whether you are a person that does technical presentations or not, having your code grouped and managed can make for a lot of advantages as your code library expands.  

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  • quick look at: dm_db_index_physical_stats

    - by fatherjack
    A quick look at the key data from this dmv that can help a DBA keep databases performing well and systems online as the users need them. When the dynamic management views relating to index statistics became available in SQL Server 2005 there was much hype about how they can help a DBA keep their servers running in better health than ever before. This particular view gives an insight into the physical health of the indexes present in a database. Whether they are use or unused, complete or missing some columns is irrelevant, this is simply the physical stats of all indexes; disabled indexes are ignored however. In it’s simplest form this dmv can be executed as:   The results from executing this contain a record for every index in every database but some of the columns will be NULL. The first parameter is there so that you can specify which database you want to gather index details on, rather than scan every database. Simply specifying DB_ID() in place of the first NULL achieves this. In order to avoid the NULLS, or more accurately, in order to choose when to have the NULLS you need to specify a value for the last parameter. It takes one of 4 values – DEFAULT, ‘SAMPLED’, ‘LIMITED’ or ‘DETAILED’. If you execute the dmv with each of these values you can see some interesting details in the times taken to complete each step. DECLARE @Start DATETIME DECLARE @First DATETIME DECLARE @Second DATETIME DECLARE @Third DATETIME DECLARE @Finish DATETIME SET @Start = GETDATE() SELECT * FROM [sys].[dm_db_index_physical_stats](DB_ID(), NULL, NULL, NULL, DEFAULT) AS ddips SET @First = GETDATE() SELECT * FROM [sys].[dm_db_index_physical_stats](DB_ID(), NULL, NULL, NULL, 'SAMPLED') AS ddips SET @Second = GETDATE() SELECT * FROM [sys].[dm_db_index_physical_stats](DB_ID(), NULL, NULL, NULL, 'LIMITED') AS ddips SET @Third = GETDATE() SELECT * FROM [sys].[dm_db_index_physical_stats](DB_ID(), NULL, NULL, NULL, 'DETAILED') AS ddips SET @Finish = GETDATE() SELECT DATEDIFF(ms, @Start, @First) AS [DEFAULT] , DATEDIFF(ms, @First, @Second) AS [SAMPLED] , DATEDIFF(ms, @Second, @Third) AS [LIMITED] , DATEDIFF(ms, @Third, @Finish) AS [DETAILED] Running this code will give you 4 result sets; DEFAULT will have 12 columns full of data and then NULLS in the remainder. SAMPLED will have 21 columns full of data. LIMITED will have 12 columns of data and the NULLS in the remainder. DETAILED will have 21 columns full of data. So, from this we can deduce that the DEFAULT value (the same one that is also applied when you query the view using a NULL parameter) is the same as using LIMITED. Viewing the final result set has some details that are worth noting: Running queries against this view takes significantly longer when using the SAMPLED and DETAILED values in the last parameter. The duration of the query is directly related to the size of the database you are working in so be careful running this on big databases unless you have tried it on a test server first. Let’s look at the data we get back with the DEFAULT value first of all and then progress to the extra information later. We know that the first parameter that we supply has to be a database id and for the purposes of this blog we will be providing that value with the DB_ID function. We could just as easily put a fixed value in there or a function such as DB_ID (‘AnyDatabaseName’). The first columns we get back are database_id and object_id. These are pretty explanatory and we can wrap those in some code to make things a little easier to read: SELECT DB_NAME([ddips].[database_id]) AS [DatabaseName] , OBJECT_NAME([ddips].[object_id]) AS [TableName] … FROM [sys].[dm_db_index_physical_stats](DB_ID(), NULL, NULL, NULL, NULL) AS ddips  gives us   SELECT DB_NAME([ddips].[database_id]) AS [DatabaseName] , OBJECT_NAME([ddips].[object_id]) AS [TableName], [i].[name] AS [IndexName] , ….. FROM [sys].[dm_db_index_physical_stats](DB_ID(), NULL, NULL, NULL, NULL) AS ddips INNER JOIN [sys].[indexes] AS i ON [ddips].[index_id] = [i].[index_id] AND [ddips].[object_id] = [i].[object_id]     These handily tie in with the next parameters in the query on the dmv. If you specify an object_id and an index_id in these then you get results limited to either the table or the specific index. Once again we can place a  function in here to make it easier to work with a specific table. eg. SELECT * FROM [sys].[dm_db_index_physical_stats] (DB_ID(), OBJECT_ID(‘AdventureWorks2008.Person.Address’) , 1, NULL, NULL) AS ddips   Note: Despite me showing that functions can be placed directly in the parameters for this dmv, best practice recommends that functions are not used directly in the function as it is possible that they will fail to return a valid object ID. To be certain of not passing invalid values to this function, and therefore setting an automated process off on the wrong path, declare variables for the OBJECT_IDs and once they have been validated, use them in the function: DECLARE @db_id SMALLINT; DECLARE @object_id INT; SET @db_id = DB_ID(N’AdventureWorks_2008′); SET @object_id = OBJECT_ID(N’AdventureWorks_2008.Person.Address’); IF @db_id IS NULL BEGINPRINT N’Invalid database’; ENDELSE IF @object_id IS NULL BEGINPRINT N’Invalid object’; ENDELSE BEGINSELECT * FROM sys.dm_db_index_physical_stats (@db_id, @object_id, NULL, NULL , ‘LIMITED’); END; GO In cases where the results of querying this dmv don’t have any effect on other processes (i.e. simply viewing the results in the SSMS results area)  then it will be noticed when the results are not consistent with the expected results and in the case of this blog this is the method I have used. So, now we can relate the values in these columns to something that we recognise in the database lets see what those other values in the dmv are all about. The next columns are: We’ll skip partition_number, index_type_desc, alloc_unit_type_desc, index_depth and index_level  as this is a quick look at the dmv and they are pretty self explanatory. The final columns revealed by querying this view in the DEFAULT mode are avg_fragmentation_in_percent. This is the amount that the index is logically fragmented. It will show NULL when the dmv is queried in SAMPLED mode. fragment_count. The number of pieces that the index is broken into. It will show NULL when the dmv is queried in SAMPLED mode. avg_fragment_size_in_pages. The average size, in pages, of a single fragment in the leaf level of the IN_ROW_DATA allocation unit. It will show NULL when the dmv is queried in SAMPLED mode. page_count. Total number of index or data pages in use. OK, so what does this give us? Well, there is an obvious correlation between fragment_count, page_count and avg_fragment_size-in_pages. We see that an index that takes up 27 pages and is in 3 fragments has an average fragment size of 9 pages (27/3=9). This means that for this index there are 3 separate places on the hard disk that SQL Server needs to locate and access to gather the data when it is requested by a DML query. If this index was bigger than 72KB then having it’s data in 3 pieces might not be too big an issue as each piece would have a significant piece of data to read and the speed of access would not be too poor. If the number of fragments increases then obviously the amount of data in each piece decreases and that means the amount of work for the disks to do in order to retrieve the data to satisfy the query increases and this would start to decrease performance. This information can be useful to keep in mind when considering the value in the avg_fragmentation_in_percent column. This is arrived at by an internal algorithm that gives a value to the logical fragmentation of the index taking into account the multiple files, type of allocation unit and the previously mentioned characteristics if index size (page_count) and fragment_count. Seeing an index with a high avg_fragmentation_in_percent value will be a call to action for a DBA that is investigating performance issues. It is possible that tables will have indexes that suffer from rapid increases in fragmentation as part of normal daily business and that regular defragmentation work will be needed to keep it in good order. In other cases indexes will rarely become fragmented and therefore not need rebuilding from one end of the year to another. Keeping this in mind DBAs need to use an ‘intelligent’ process that assesses key characteristics of an index and decides on the best, if any, defragmentation method to apply should be used. There is a simple example of this in the sample code found in the Books OnLine content for this dmv, in example D. There are also a couple of very popular solutions created by SQL Server MVPs Michelle Ufford and Ola Hallengren which I would wholly recommend that you review for much further detail on how to care for your SQL Server indexes. Right, let’s get back on track then. Querying the dmv with the fifth parameter value as ‘DETAILED’ takes longer because it goes through the index and refreshes all data from every level of the index. As this blog is only a quick look a we are going to skate right past ghost_record_count and version_ghost_record_count and discuss avg_page_space_used_in_percent, record_count, min_record_size_in_bytes, max_record_size_in_bytes and avg_record_size_in_bytes. We can see from the details below that there is a correlation between the columns marked. Column 1 (Page_Count) is the number of 8KB pages used by the index, column 2 is how full each page is (how much of the 8KB has actual data written on it), column 3 is how many records are recorded in the index and column 4 is the average size of each record. This approximates to: ((Col1*8) * 1024*(Col2/100))/Col3 = Col4*. avg_page_space_used_in_percent is an important column to review as this indicates how much of the disk that has been given over to the storage of the index actually has data on it. This value is affected by the value given for the FILL_FACTOR parameter when creating an index. avg_record_size_in_bytes is important as you can use it to get an idea of how many records are in each page and therefore in each fragment, thus reinforcing how important it is to keep fragmentation under control. min_record_size_in_bytes and max_record_size_in_bytes are exactly as their names set them out to be. A detail of the smallest and largest records in the index. Purely offered as a guide to the DBA to better understand the storage practices taking place. So, keeping an eye on avg_fragmentation_in_percent will ensure that your indexes are helping data access processes take place as efficiently as possible. Where fragmentation recurs frequently then potentially the DBA should consider; the fill_factor of the index in order to leave space at the leaf level so that new records can be inserted without causing fragmentation so rapidly. the columns used in the index should be analysed to avoid new records needing to be inserted in the middle of the index but rather always be added to the end. * – it’s approximate as there are many factors associated with things like the type of data and other database settings that affect this slightly.  Another great resource for working with SQL Server DMVs is Performance Tuning with SQL Server Dynamic Management Views by Louis Davidson and Tim Ford – a free ebook or paperback from Simple Talk. Disclaimer – Jonathan is a Friend of Red Gate and as such, whenever they are discussed, will have a generally positive disposition towards Red Gate tools. Other tools are often available and you should always try others before you come back and buy the Red Gate ones. All code in this blog is provided “as is” and no guarantee, warranty or accuracy is applicable or inferred, run the code on a test server and be sure to understand it before you run it on a server that means a lot to you or your manager.

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  • Using LogParser - part 1

    - by fatherjack
    A series of walk-through style articles to show someone new to LogParser what it can do and how to use it. It is appropriate to all sorts of job roles in IT, whether you are a System Administrator or a SQL DBA....(read more)

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  • An update process that is even worse than Windows updates

    - by fatherjack
    I'm sorry EA but your game update process stinks. I am not a hardcore gamer but I own a Playstation3 and have been playing Battlefield Bad Company 2 (BFBC2) a bit since I got it for my birthday and there have been two recent updates to the game. Now I like the idea of games getting updates via downloadable content. You can buy a game and if there are changes that are needed (service packs if you will) then they can be distributed over the games console network. Great. Sometimes it fixes problems,...(read more)

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  • TSQL formatting - a sure fire way to start a conversation.

    - by fatherjack
    There are probably as many opinions on ways to format code as there are people writing code and I am not here to say that any one is better than any other. Well, that isn't true. I am here to say that one way is better than another but this isn't a matter of preference or personal taste, this is an example of where sloppy formatting can cause TSQL to weird and whacky things but following some simple methods can make your code more reliable and more robust when . Take these two pieces of code, ready...(read more)

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  • Getting baseline and performance stats - the easy way.

    - by fatherjack
    OK, pretty much any DBA worth their salt has read Brent Ozar's (Blog | Twitter) blog about getting a baseline of your server's performance counters and then getting the same counters at regular intervals afterwards so that you can track performance trends and evidence how you are making your servers faster or cope with extra load without costing your boss any money for hardware upgrades. No? well, go read it now. I can wait a while as there is a great video there too...http://www.brentozar.com/archive/2006/12/dba-101-using-perfmon-for-sql-performance-tuning/,...(read more)

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