Get That Profiler Feel in Extended Events

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I know. You love Profiler. I hear you. You’re wrong, but that’s OK. Kidding… mostly.

Unfortunately though, I think a lot of what passes for issues and problems with Extended Events is actually a lack of knowledge about how they work. Let’s take an example and run with it.

No Grid in Extended Events

One of the pushbacks I hear about using Extended Events is that the Live Data GUI just doesn’t have that neat Profiler grid output. Instead you see a list of events in the top pane and then you have to look at the details in the bottom pane. It looks like this out of the gate:

You’re right. That’s a royal pain. That’s it. Toss Extended Events. Back to Profiler. Well, hang on a second. Let’s try a little experiment. What if I right click on physical_reads? Well, you’ll get a context menu that looks like this:

That first, choice, “Show Column in Table”, let’s click on that. Then, notice your grid:

That my friends is a grid and it’s starting to look like Profiler. Just add the other columns you want, remove any you don’t want and suddenly, you’re comfortable again.

I know. I hear you already. “Grant, I’m not going to add these darned things every single time I want to look at some data.” Fine. Don’t. The layout for any given session gets saved so that once you’ve set it up within SSMS, you don’t have to do it again. How’s that?


There are reasons to have issues with Extended Events. Although, in my opinion, they all boil down to one thing, I have to use XML if I want to query the output. It’s the single pain point I’ve found. If you have other reasons, such as the grid, maybe explore the tool in more detail to see if your complaints hold up. I’d also suggest you explore what you can do with that grid. It goes way beyond what’s possible with Profiler. Then add in better filtering, causality tracking and more and you might start to wonder what it was that you loved about Profiler.



OK, fine, but what do you think?