Using Extended Events Live Data With Azure

Azure, SQL Server, You Can't Do That In Profiler
In my last post I showed some shortcomings of Extended Events, however, it is possible to use Live Data with Azure. Let's explore exactly how that works. To get started, you'll need to follow the directions here to get set up with Azure Storage as the output target of your Extended Events session within your Azure SQL Database. There is a little bit of prep work, but it's all laid out in Microsoft's document. I found the Powershell to be a bit sketchy, but it shows you what's needed. The T-SQL just works. Live Data With Azure Once you've created an Extended Events Session that is output to Azure Storage, you've done most of the work. The trick is really simple. Get the Azure Storage account set up with a…
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Extended Events and Azure SQL Database

SQL Server, You Can't Do That In Profiler
Knowledge of how your system behaves is vital to better control, maintain, and grow the system. While Azure provides all sorts of wonderful assistance within Azure SQL Database, you're still going to need that same knowledge. When it comes to getting detailed information about Azure SQL Database, the tools are a little more limited than with an on-premises instance of SQL Server, or any virtual instance of SQL Server. There are no trace events. To see individual query calls, recompile events, query store behaviors, and so much more, you're going to have to use Extended Events. I'm going to write a series of posts on using Extended Events with Azure SQL Database. Tradition would call for this first post to be an initial how-to. Instead, I want to take a…
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Extended Events: Embrace the XML

SQL Server
While XML is, without a doubt, a giant pain in the bottom, sometimes, the best way to deal with Extended Events is to simply embrace the XML. Now, I know, just last week, I suggested ways to avoid the XML. I will freely admit, that is my default position. If I can avoid the XML, I will certainly do it. However, there are times where just embracing the XML works out nicely. Let's talk about it a little. Copy This Query I have a theory. It goes like this: There has only, ever, been a single XML query written from scratch. All other XML queries are just copied from that one and then edited to do what is necessary OK. Maybe that's not entirely true. In fact, I know it's…
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Extended Events: Avoid the XML

SQL Server, Tools
One story I hear over and over goes like this: I tried setting up Extended Events, but then I saw the output was XML so I stopped. Look, I get it. I don't like XML either. It's a pain to work with. It's actively difficult to write queries against it. If there weren't a ton of ways to avoid the XML, yeah, I would never advocate for Extended Events. However, here we are, I have ten pages of blog posts that at least mention Extended Events. Why? Because I avoid the XML (most of the time). Lots of other people do as well. You can too. Let's see how. Live Data Window I have a video that goes into this in detail right here. But the core concept is simple.…
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Query Store as an Upgrade Tool

SQL Server, Tools
There are a lot of uses for Query Store, but one of the most interesting is as an upgrade tool. We all know that upgrades in SQL Server can be more than a little bit nerve wracking. No matter how much you tested stuff in lower environments, deploying an update to production might result in performance issues as your code hits a regression. This is even more true when upgrading from versions of SQL Server prior to 2014 to anything 2014 and above. That's because of the new cardinality estimation engine introduced in 2014. Most queries won't notice it. Some queries will benefit from the better estimates. A few, problematic, queries will suffer. This is where Query Store can be used as an upgrade tool. The Steps We're going to…
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Getting Started Reading Execution Plans: Highest Cost Operator

SQL Server, T-SQL
Reading execution plans in SQL Server is just hard. There's a lot to learn and understand. I previously outlined the basics I use to get started when I'm looking at an execution plan for the first time. However, just those pointers are not enough. I want to explain a little further why and how those basic steps are how you get started reading execution plans. To begin with, instead of talking about the first operator, which I've detailed before, we'll talk about the highest cost operators. Highest Cost Operator Every execution plan within SQL Server includes what the optimizer has determined to be the estimated cost of each operation. All these estimated operator costs are tallied up, and that makes up the estimated cost of the whole execution plan. You…
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Most Costly Statement in a Stored Procedure

SQL Server
A lot of stored procedures have multiple statements and determining the most costly statement in a given proc is a very common task. After all, you want to focus your time and efforts on fixing the things that cause you the most pain. You simply don't have the time to tune every single statement in every single procedure. So, identifying the most costly statement is vital. Happily, Extended Events are here to help. Finding a Costly Statement Query tuning is initially an act of discovery. Which queries, batches, procedures are inflicting the most pain on us. That pain could be measured a bunch of ways. The three most common, in particular order, are: Frequency with with a given query/batch/procedure is called.Resources used by that query.Length of time that it takes…
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Capture Execution Plans Only For Long Running Queries

SQL Server
I love questions. Most of all, I love questions I can answer. I spotted this question recently: How can I use Profiler to capture execution plans for queries over a certain duration? Oh, that's easy. You don't use Profiler. You use Extended Events. Query_post_execution_showplan Extended events are just better than Profiler. Period. One of many things that is superior is the way in which the events are configured. Take for example query_post_execution_showplan. Here are the fields it captures: This event will capture execution plans plus runtime metrics. It can easily be filtered on any of the fields listed, and you can even add the database_name field if you want. So, to filter by duration is pretty simple: CREATE EVENT SESSION ExecPlansDuration ON SERVER ADD EVENT sqlserver.query_post_execution_showplan (WHERE ([duration] > (1000000)))…
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Review: Stellar Repair for SQL Server

SQL Server
I was contacted by Stellar Info quite a while ago. They asked me to try out their software. I said yes, but I was really bad about getting it done. Well, I finally got off my bottom and did the job. So, let's talk about Stellar Repair for SQL Server. Stellar Repair Let's start with the most important piece of information you need: it works. The software itself is really simple to use and just does what you need, repairs your corrupted SQL Server instance. On that alone, I can recommend the tool. However, there are a few gotchas I ran into along the way. Mostly, little stuff. It's things a little polish in the UI and some clean up around language could help out. Don't get me wrong, I'm…
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Extended Events: Filter on Stored Procedure Name

SQL Server, You Can't Do That In Profiler
I just received a question about Extended Events: What about filtering on the stored procedure name. You know I love writing and talking about Extended Events. The answer is, well, sure, we can do that. However, as with all things, there may be wrinkles worth being aware of. Let's examine this. Filter on Stored Procedure Name Let's create an Extended Event session that captures rpc_starting and rpc_completed: CREATE EVENT SESSION StoredProcedureName ON SERVER ADD EVENT sqlserver.rpc_completed (ACTION ( sqlserver.database_name ) WHERE (object_name = N'AddressByCity') ), ADD EVENT sqlserver.rpc_starting (SET collect_statement = (1) ACTION ( sqlserver.database_name ) WHERE (object_name = N'AddressByCity') ); I've added a WHERE clause to the Extended Event to capture only those procedures that have an object_name equal to 'AddressByCity'. If we look at the output from these…
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