SQL SERVER – Querying Performance Counters from SQL Server

Troubleshooting SQL Server is something almost every single DBA has to go through in their lifespan. It sounds simple and often we are clueless on where to start. Here is a scenario, you have been told that SQL Server is slow or unresponsive. Now you need to troubleshoot and figure out what is happening. Sounds simple right? What would you do in this situation?

When I asked this scenario to one of my DBA friend, their answer was simple. “Pinal, the first thing is to log onto the server and open Task Manager. Next I will see the basic parameters of how the CPU, Memory and IO are doing. Based on what I see at a macro level; we will troubleshoot accordingly.”

This seemed to be a simple yet a logical way to see things. On further query, they did mention about using PerfMon counters as an ideal way to capture some of the current problems running inside SQL Server. Capture the numbers and then troubleshoot later with other tools like Extended Events, Profiler, Activity Monitor etc. This conversation interested me big time because I wanted to see how people query performance counters.

The basic thing is to initialize Perfmon.exe and look at the various counters. We can also create a Data Collection template and go ahead with using the same. I am sure most of you are aware about doing the same.

Let me take an unconventional approach to a simple requirement to query Memory Grants pending on a SQL Server box using other techniques.

SQL to Query Performance Counter

In the below query, we use two methods. One to query to the Performance Counters and other via the DMV.

-- Get memory grants pending (perfmon counter)
SELECT cntr_value AS memory_grants_pending
FROM sys.dm_os_performance_counters
WHERE counter_name LIKE '%Memory%Grants%Pending%';
-- Get memory grants pending (DMV)
SELECT COUNT(*) AS memory_grants_pending
FROM sys.dm_exec_query_memory_grants
WHERE wait_time_ms IS NOT NULL;

This metric defines the total amount of memory grants that are waiting for workspace memory, and if this value is consistently above zero it could be a sign of memory pressure, and it could be negatively impacting the querying process. It is recommended that reevaluation of memory allocations and/or available physical memory is taken into account in order to relieve memory pressure for the current SQL Server instance where this query is being run.

If there are memory related errors, then we are likely to see 8645 errors in our SQL Server Errorlog. How to troubleshoot SQL Server error 8645 is explained in the KB.

Query Counter Using PowerShell

As we have done in various blog posts, we can also use PowerShell to query counters too. A simple script I wrote to query looks like below:

Get-Counter -Counter "\SQLServer:Memory Manager\Memory Grants Pending"| SELECT-Object @{Name = "Memory Grants Pending" Expression = {$_.CounterSamples.CookedValue}}

Please let me know if you have every used any of these techniques in your environment to automate querying values from Performance Counters. How do you use these counter values to proactively mitigate problems in your environments? What are some of the techniques that you have been using?

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)

SQL SERVER – How to Change Server Name?

In recent past I have renamed my VM and wanted to make sure that everything is fine. This renaming process is also needed for changing the server names called inside of SQL Server too. So I searched to know various places from where we can get host name and SQL Server name. Finally, I formed this query which can gather same details from various sources:

SELECT  HOST_NAME() AS 'host_name()',
@@servername AS 'ServerName\InstanceName',
SERVERPROPERTY('servername') AS 'ServerName',
SERVERPROPERTY('machinename') AS 'Windows_Name',
SERVERPROPERTY('ComputerNamePhysicalNetBIOS') AS 'NetBIOS_Name',
SERVERPROPERTY('instanceName') AS 'InstanceName',
SERVERPROPERTY('IsClustered') AS 'IsClustered'

Most of these server properties have been there for a while and sometimes I think it requires a refresher like this to remember them again. When we run this query on the non-clustered machine, we should see only two distinguished names. Machine name and Instance name. If you have default instance, then Instance Name would be NULL in the query.

ren sql 01 SQL SERVER – How to Change Server Name?

If there was a rename of host, then you would see host_name would be different and that’s not something which should exist.

Note that Instance Name rename is unsupported. In named instance the server name is in format of ServerName\InstanceName. So, you can change it to NewName\InstanceName but NOT to ServerName\ NewInstanceName. I am sure this is a fantastic trivia to know.

If you find any mismatch, then you need to follow below steps:

  1. execute below to drop the current server name

EXEC sp_DROPSERVER 'oldservername'

  1. Execute below to add new server name. Make sure local is specified.

EXEC sp_ADDSERVER 'newservername', 'local'

  1. Restart SQL Services.
  2. Verify the new name using:
    2. SELECT * FROM sys.servers WHERE server_id = 0

I must point out that you should not perform rename if you are using:

  1. SQL Server is clustered.
  2. Using replication.
  3. Reporting Service is installed.

I would like to know if anyone has ever tried doing this in your environment? What is the typical reason for you doing the same? I hope this helps incase you get into a tangle like this. Let me know your thoughts via comments.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)

Interview Question of the Week #028 – T-SQL Script to Detect SQL Server Version and Property

Here is a very basic question I just came across the other day. I was interviewing nearly 20 candidates and I found that only 5 of them could write the query (with the help of the internet).

Question: How to determine the version and properties of SQL Server with the help of T-SQL?

Answer: Here is the simple script which can list version of SQL Server:

SELECT SERVERPROPERTY('productversion') ProductVersion,
SERVERPROPERTY ('productlevel') ProductLevel,
SERVERPROPERTY ('edition') Edition

sqlversion Interview Question of the Week #028   T SQL Script to Detect SQL Server Version and Property

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)

POSTGRESQL – How to Create Function? – How to Declare Local Variable

I have written few courses on PostgreSQL on Pluralsight. You can watch list of all the courses over here.

Recently, after watching my courses one of the user who is familiar with SQL Server but just beginning with PostgreSQL asked me very interesting questions. Let us here the question in his own words.

“How to declare local variables in PostgreSQL? It is very easy to declare local variables in SQL Server but it seems not possible in PostgreSQL. Any suggestions?”

I loved this question as in PostgreSQL, there is no notion of much procedural language. In the recent version, it is getting better with some of the support, but overall, PostgreSQL is not easy to deal with when there are set of codes and one has to execute them in succession.

Let us see a simple example of SQL Server code:

SELECT @Int1 Col1;

sqldeclare POSTGRESQL   How to Create Function?   How to Declare Local Variable

Now let us see the same example in PostgreSQL.

IN Int1 integer,
OUT p_film_count integer)

SELECT DisplayFunction(1);

sqldeclare1 POSTGRESQL   How to Create Function?   How to Declare Local Variable

You can clearly see how PostgreSQL requires the user to do more work to accomplish simple task. I like PostgreSQL very much and I hope that it comes out with more support to procedural languages.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)

SQL SERVER – Puzzle – Working with functions to Concatenate columns

Every now and then I get pulled into coding review sessions and those are some of the fun times I every have working with T-SQL of any sorts. This blog is inspired by one such time where I saw at a customer location a code that was lengthy and in one location I was seeing close to 15 fields which were concatenated to form a single column as part of output.

I generally don’t get into the reasoning of it, but what was interesting is they were using ISNULL in front of every column because they were not sure how whole column values to be returned as NULL. To give you an idea, here is a mini-repro to the same problem.

emp_name NVARCHAR(200) NOT NULL,
emp_middlename NVARCHAR(200) NULL,
emp_lastname NVARCHAR(200) NOT NULL
INSERT INTO #temp VALUES( 'SQL', NULL, 'Authority' );
INSERT INTO #temp VALUES( 'SQL', 'Server', 'Authority' );
SELECT emp_name + emp_middlename + emp_lastname AS Result
FROM #temp;

Now, you can see the output by default will look like:

concatenate quiz 01 SQL SERVER   Puzzle   Working with functions to Concatenate columns

As you can see, the problem is getting the first value as NULL. Customers sometimes don’t want this behavior.

Question for the Day

What would you do in this situation? Would you add an ISNULL in front of every column because you are not sure which of these might be NULL? Can you think of a solution without using the ISNULL function?

Give me your solution over comments. It is very easy – trust me. In my example the customer was also trying to use various Datatypes concatenating into a single column.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)

SQL SERVER – Using Project Connections in SSIS – Notes from the Field #088

[Notes from Pinal]: SSIS is very well explored subject, however, there are so many interesting elements when we read, we learn something new. A similar concept has been Using Project Connections in SSIS.

Tim Mitchell SQL SERVER   Using Project Connections in SSIS   Notes from the Field #088Linchpin People are database coaches and wellness experts for a data driven world. In this 88th episode of the Notes from the Fields series database expert Tim Mitchell (partner at Linchpin People) shares very interesting conversation related to how to use raw files in SSIS.

In SQL Server Integration Services, connection managers are used as gateways for most any external read and write operation. Connection managers are type- and format-specific, and in the case of relational database connection managers, they are usually specific to vendor (Oracle, DB2, etc.) as well.

In most use cases, the same connection will be used across multiple packages in the same project. In pre-2012 versions of SSIS, each package would have its own connection manager for every connection used in that package. Creating and maintaining all those connection managers could be time-consuming as the number of packages grows. In SQL Server 2012, Microsoft added project connections to SSIS, allowing for the creation of connections that were accessible across all packages in a project. Instead of having to create a copy of each connection manager in every package, developers can now simply create the connection at the project level. Project connections will automatically show up in the connection manager tray for all packages in that project.

n 88 1 SQL SERVER   Using Project Connections in SSIS   Notes from the Field #088

As shown, any project connection automatically has the designation (project) prepended to the name to clearly indicate that it is a project connection. Those without this designation are package connections, and are only accessible from within that package.

Project connections will also appear in the Solution Explorer window, under the Connection Managers tab.

n 88 2 SQL SERVER   Using Project Connections in SSIS   Notes from the Field #088

You can create a new project connection by right-clicking on the Connection Managers node shown above, and walking through the steps to build the connection. Similarly, you can edit or delete an existing project-level connection manager from this same window.

You can also promote an existing package connection to a project connection by right-clicking on the package connection and selecting Convert to Project Connection.

n 88 3 SQL SERVER   Using Project Connections in SSIS   Notes from the Field #088

Coincidentally, you can also convert back to a package connection through a similar process. Right-clicking on a project connection will expose an option to Convert to Package Connection. However, you have to be careful when choosing this option. If you convert a project connection to a package connection, that connection will then be visible only in the package in which you are currently working. If you have used the connection in any other packages in that project, those operations will fail because the connection is no longer visible at the project level. You will get a warning message when you attempt to convert a project connection to a package connection.

n 88 4 SQL SERVER   Using Project Connections in SSIS   Notes from the Field #088

Finally, if you are using project connections, you can still use dynamic properties such as expressions and parameters. Do be aware that, if you use parameters to configure a project connection, you must use project parameters rather than package parameters. The latter is not accessible beyond the scope of a single package, and therefore would not always be accessible for project connections. Fortunately, the UI for the expression builder limits you to only project parameters when configuring project connections.

n 88 5 SQL SERVER   Using Project Connections in SSIS   Notes from the Field #088

In conclusion, the project connection in SSIS is an excellent tool for configuring connections at the project level to minimize the extra work required for sharing connections across multiple packages in a project.

If you want me to take a look at your server and its settings, or if your server is facing any issue we can Fix Your SQL Server.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)

SQL SERVER – 2016 FIX: Install – Rule “Oracle JRE 7 Update 51 (64-bit) or higher is required” failed

I enjoy spending time with my daughter almost every single day. It keeps me busy at home and most importantly, some quality time with her allows me to relax after a long day at work. But there one thing that has caught my attention every single day I have been with her – she is curious about every single thing that she sees. With every new release of SQL Server, I sort of get into the same mode or feeling. I become a child as there is so much to explore and learn.

I heard about new a lot of new features in SQL Server 2016. So, I downloaded media from Microsoft site and tried installing on my VM. I have selected all the features and moved forward. This is common because I don’t want to miss out on anything that gets introduced in the new release. Later, during the installation process, I faced an error and I was not able to proceed.

Here is the Rule check failure.

Ora JRE 01 SQL SERVER   2016 FIX: Install – Rule Oracle JRE 7 Update 51 (64 bit) or higher is required failed

I was wondering what part of SQL Server required us to have Oracle JRE. If I click on hyperlink on failed, I get below:

Ora JRE 02 SQL SERVER   2016 FIX: Install – Rule Oracle JRE 7 Update 51 (64 bit) or higher is required failed

Here is the text of the message:

Rule Check Result
Rule “Oracle JRE 7 Update 51 (64-bit) or higher is required” failed.
This computer does not have the Oracle Java SE Runtime Environment Version 7 Update 51 (64-bit) or higher installed. The Oracle Java SE Runtime Environment is software provided by a third party. Microsoft grants you no rights for such third-party software. You are responsible for and must separately locate, read and accept applicable third-party license terms. To continue, download the Oracle SE Java Runtime Environment from http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=526030.

NOTE: On little exploring, found that you can skip this error if you don’t want to use PolyBase feature. You can go back and uncheck highlighted feature to avoid this check.

Ora JRE 03 SQL SERVER   2016 FIX: Install – Rule Oracle JRE 7 Update 51 (64 bit) or higher is required failed

If you want to use PolyBase then to solve above error, you can follow below steps:

  1. Go to http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/downloads/index.html
  2. Click on Download on JRE as highlighted below

Ora JRE 04 SQL SERVER   2016 FIX: Install – Rule Oracle JRE 7 Update 51 (64 bit) or higher is required failed

  1. Then click on “Accept License Agreement” as shown below

Ora JRE 05 SQL SERVER   2016 FIX: Install – Rule Oracle JRE 7 Update 51 (64 bit) or higher is required failed

  1. Once accepted, I have downloaded the one which says Windows x64 because my operating system is windows 64 bit. Note that version (8 update 45) will change in future but steps would remain same.

Ora JRE 06 SQL SERVER   2016 FIX: Install – Rule Oracle JRE 7 Update 51 (64 bit) or higher is required failed

  1. After installing, I was able to move forward and install SQL Server 2016.

Hope this helps those trying to install SQL Server 2016 with Polybase features. I am sure you will be able to solve this.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)

SQL SERVER – Identifying Blocking Chain Using SQL Scripts

There are a number of blog posts that have been written on this very topic. This can be from basics to almost advanced in many ways. I am outlining some of them here below:

If these were not enough, I wanted to play around with some SQL Scripts for this basic deadlock behavior. The most basic script I have been using and used by many DBA will include Activity Monitor, sp_who2, sysprocesses etc.

Recently I saw a script written by a DBA friend:

SELECT * FROM sys.dm_os_waiting_tasks
WHERE blocking_session_id IS NOT NULL

This shows the rows like:

 SQL SERVER   Identifying Blocking Chain Using SQL Scripts

This is so cool because I know who is waiting for whom. In the above image 53 is waiting for 68. While 79 is waiting for 53. This was a cool way to look at things.

I wanted to show the same data in slightly different way using T-SQL. So I wrote a Blocking Tree TSQL script.

FROM sys.sysprocesses R CROSS APPLY sys.dm_exec_sql_text(R.SQL_HANDLE) T
SELECT N'    ' + REPLICATE (N'|         ', LEN (LEVEL)/4 - 1) +
CASE WHEN (LEN(LEVEL)/4 - 1) = 0
ELSE '|------  ' END

The output would look like:

 SQL SERVER   Identifying Blocking Chain Using SQL Scripts

This is a cool way to look at the same Blocking data inside SSMS. I have taken a simple way to show this script. I am sure this can be beautified more with your help. So if you use this and modify the same. Do post them over comments too. That is a great way to enhance the Blocking Tree Script.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)

SQL SERVER – Creating Dataset Using VALUES Clause Without Creating A Table

You know that you can add data to a table using VALUES clause. But did you know that you can create a dataset using VALUES clause like a table without adding into another table?

Suppose you want to create a data set with two columns named a and b

FROM (VALUES (1,2)) AS t(a,b)

If you execute the above query, you get the following resultset

multirow1 SQL SERVER   Creating Dataset Using VALUES Clause Without Creating A Table

If you want multiple rows, you can add data seperated by comma as shown below

FROM (VALUES (1,2),(3,4),(340,455)) AS t(a,b)

The result is

multirow2 SQL SERVER   Creating Dataset Using VALUES Clause Without Creating A Table

This is very handy if you want to have a small lookup table that can be matched with another table

Please note that this method of using VALUES clause will work starting from version 2008 onwards

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)

Interview Question of the Week #027 – Move TempDB from One Drive to Another Drive When Low Disk Space

I am often invited to attend various interviews and once in a while, I see practical questions discussed in the interview. Here is one of the important interview question which is related to TempDB.

Question – “What will you do when your log file of TempDB is full?”

Answer – The best solution when Log file of TempDB is full is to move it to a new drive. Here is more details about the same.

Make sure that TempDB is set to autogrow and do not set a maximum size for TempDB. If the current drive is too full to allow autogrow events, then arrange a bigger drive, or add files to TempDB on another device (using ALTER DATABASE as described below and allow those files to autogrow.

Move TempDB from one drive to another drive. There are major two reasons why TempDB needs to move from one drive to another drive.
1) TempDB grows bigger and the existing drive does not have enough space.
2) Moving TempDB to another file group which is on a different physical drive helps to improve database disk read, as they can be read simultaneously.

Follow direction below exactly to move the database and log from one drive (c:) to another drive (d:) and (e:).

Open Query Analyzer and connect to your server. Run this script to get the names of the files used for TempDB.

EXEC sp_helpfile

Results will be something like:
name fileid filename filegroup size
——- —— ————————————————————– ———- ——-
tempdev 1 C:Program FilesMicrosoft SQL ServerMSSQLdatatempdb.mdf PRIMARY 16000 KB
templog 2 C:Program FilesMicrosoft SQL ServerMSSQLdatatemplog.ldf NULL 1024 KB

Along with other information related to the database. The names of the files are usually tempdev and templog by default. These names will be used in the next statement. Run following code, to move mdf and ldf files.

(NAME = tempdev, FILENAME = 'd:\datatempdb.mdf')
(NAME = templog, FILENAME = 'e:\datatemplog.ldf')

The definition of the TempDB is changed. However, no changes are made to TempDB till SQL Server restarts. Please stop and restart SQL Server and it will create TempDB files in new locations.

You can read more about this over here.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)