SQL SERVER – SSMS: Database Consistency History Report

Doctor and Database

The last place I like to visit is always a hospital. With the monsoon season starting, intermittent rains, it has become sort of a routine to get a cycle of fever every other year (seriously I hate it). So when I visit my doctor, it is always interesting in the way he quizzes me. The routine question of – “How many days have you had this?”, “Is there any pattern?”, “Did you drench in rain?”, “Do you have any other symptom?” and so on. The idea here is that the doctor wants to find any anomaly or a pattern that will guide him to a viral or bacterial type. Most of the time they get it based on experience and sometimes after a battery of tests. So if there is consistent behavior to your problem, there is always a solution out. SQL Server has its way to find if the server data / files are in consistent state using the DBCC commands.

Back to SQL Server

In real life, Database consistency check is one of the critical operations a DBA generally doesn’t give much priority. Many readers of my blogs have asked many times, how do we know if the database is consistent? How do I read output of DBCC CHECKDB and find if everything is right or not?

My common answer to all of them is – look at the bottom of checkdb (or checktable) output and look for below line.

CHECKDB found 0 allocation errors and 0 consistency errors in database ‘DatabaseName’.

Above is a “good sign” because we are seeing zero allocation and zero consistency error. If you are seeing non-zero errors then there is some problem with the database. Sample output is shown as below:

Solarwinds

CHECKDB found 0 allocation errors and 2 consistency errors in database ‘DatabaseName’.
repair_allow_data_loss is the minimum repair level for the errors found by DBCC CHECKDB (DatabaseName).

If we see non-zero error then most of the time (not always) we get repair options depending on the level of corruption. There is risk involved with above option (repair_allow_data_loss), that is – we would lose the data. Sometimes the option would be repair_rebuild which is little safer. Though these options are available, it is important to find the root cause to the problem.

In standard report, there is a report which can show the history of checkdb executed for the selected database. Since this is a database level report, we need to right click on database, click Reports, click Standard Reports and then choose “Database Consistency History” report.

SQL SERVER - SSMS: Database Consistency History Report DatabaseConsistency_0

The information in this report is picked from default trace. If default trace is disabled or there is no checkdb run or information is not there in default trace (because it’s rolled over), we would get report like below.

SQL SERVER - SSMS: Database Consistency History Report DatabaseConsistency_1

As we can see report says it very clearly: Currently, no execution history of CHECKDB is available or default trace is not enabled.

To demonstrate, I have caused corruption in one of the database and did below steps.

  1. Run CheckDB so that errors are reported.
  2. Fix the corruption by losing the data using repair option
  3. Run CheckDB again to check if corruption is cleared.

After that I have launched the report and below is what we would see.

SQL SERVER - SSMS: Database Consistency History Report DatabaseConsistency_2

If you are lazy like me and don’t want to run the report manually for each database then below query would be handy to provide same report for all database. This query is runs behind the scenes by the report. All I have done is remove the filter for database name (at the last – highlighted).

DECLARE @curr_tracefilename VARCHAR(500);
DECLARE @base_tracefilename VARCHAR(500);
DECLARE @indx INT;
SELECT @curr_tracefilename = path FROM sys.traces WHERE is_default = 1;
SET @curr_tracefilename = REVERSE(@curr_tracefilename);
SELECT @indx = PATINDEX('%\%', @curr_tracefilename) ;
SET @curr_tracefilename = REVERSE(@curr_tracefilename);
SET @base_tracefilename = LEFT( @curr_tracefilename,LEN(@curr_tracefilename) - @indx) + '\log.trc';
SELECT SUBSTRING(CONVERT(NVARCHAR(MAX),TEXTData),36, PATINDEX('%executed%',TEXTData)-36) AS command
, LoginName
, StartTime
, CONVERT(INT,SUBSTRING(CONVERT(NVARCHAR(MAX),TEXTData),PATINDEX('%found%',TEXTData) +6,PATINDEX('%errors %',TEXTData)-PATINDEX('%found%',TEXTData)-6)) AS errors
, CONVERT(INT,SUBSTRING(CONVERT(NVARCHAR(MAX),TEXTData),PATINDEX('%repaired%',TEXTData) +9,PATINDEX('%errors.%',TEXTData)-PATINDEX('%repaired%',TEXTData)-9)) repaired
, SUBSTRING(CONVERT(NVARCHAR(MAX),TEXTData),PATINDEX('%time:%',TEXTData)+6,PATINDEX('%hours%',TEXTData)-PATINDEX('%time:%',TEXTData)-6)+':'+SUBSTRING(CONVERT(NVARCHAR(MAX),TEXTData),PATINDEX('%hours%',TEXTData) +6,PATINDEX('%minutes%',TEXTData)-PATINDEX('%hours%',TEXTData)-6)+':'+SUBSTRING(CONVERT(NVARCHAR(MAX),TEXTData),PATINDEX('%minutes%',TEXTData) +8,PATINDEX('%seconds.%',TEXTData)-PATINDEX('%minutes%',TEXTData)-8) AS time
FROM::fn_trace_gettable( @base_tracefilename, DEFAULT)
WHERE EventClass = 22 AND SUBSTRING(TEXTData,36,12) = 'DBCC CHECKDB'
-- AND DatabaseName = @DatabaseName;

Don’t get worried about the logic above. All it is doing is reading the trace files, parsing below entry and getting out information for underlined words.

DBCC CHECKDB (CorruptedDatabase) executed by sa found 2 errors and repaired 0 errors. Elapsed time: 0 hours 0 minutes 0 seconds. Internal database snapshot has split point LSN = 00000029:00000030:0001 and first LSN = 00000029:00000020:0001.

Hopefully now onwards you would run checkdb and understand the importance of it. As responsible DBAs I am sure you are already doing it, let me know how often do you actually run them on you production environment?

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

Solarwinds
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