Can We Get Row Counts After Execution?

SQL Server, T-SQL
The general idea for this question came from dba.stackexchange.com: could we, and if we can, how, get row counts after execution. I was intrigued with the idea, so I ran some tests and did a little digging. I boiled it all down in the answer at the link, but I figured I could share a little here as well. Properly Retrieve Row Counts After Execution The right way to do this is obvious and simple. Before you need it, set up an Extended Events session. Done. The only question is what goes into the Session. First blush, sql_batch_completed and/or rpc_completed. Both will return a rows affected value. Although, interestingly, the row_count value is documented as rows returned. However, it's both. But, if you really want to get picky, batches and…
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Extended Events: Queries and Waits

SQL Server, You Can't Do That In Profiler
Wouldn't it be great to be able to put together queries and waits at the same time? You all capture query metrics using some method. Most of us query sys.dm_os_wait_stats or sys.dm_db_wait_stats. Combining them is hard. You could query the wait stats. Store the results in a table variable. Run the query in question. Then query the wait stats again into a different table variable. Join the two table variables together to find the differences. Ta-da, you have query waits. Well. Probably. If you're the only one running queries on the system. Also, you're not seeing system waits or other noise caused by activity on the system. Or, we could put Extended Events to work. Queries and Waits Just like Profiler/Trace, you can capture stored procedures, batches, and individual statements…
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Extended Events: Live Data Explorer, Grouping

SQL Server, You Can't Do That In Profiler
Of all the things that Extended Events does, I've found the ability to quickly and easily gather a little bit of data and then use the Data Explorer window Live Data grouping to aggregate it to be one of the greatest. Sure, if we're talking about using Extended Events on a busy production server, this method probably isn't going to work well. There, you are going to be better off querying the XML (I know, I know, but I have ways to help there too). But in development, when doing testing and query tuning, the Live Data window is a gift of the gods on par with fire or beer (it's not as good as whiskey). Live Data Grouping Let's imagine a scenario like this. You're working on some query…
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Extended Events: Live Data Explorer, Getting Started

Extended Events: Live Data Explorer, Getting Started

SQL Server, You Can't Do That In Profiler
One reason a lot of people don't like Extended Events is because the output is in XML. Let's face it, XML is a pain in the bottom. However, there are a bunch of ways around dealing with the XML data. The first, and easiest, is to ignore it completely and use the Live Data window built into SQL Server Management Studio. I've written about the Live Data window before, and I've been using it throughout this series of posts on Extended Events. There's a lot more to this tool than is immediately apparent. Today, we're going to explore the basics around this tool Live Data There are two easy ways to get the Live Data window open. The first, for any Extended Event session that's running, you can right click…
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Extended Events: system_health and a Long Running Query

SQL Server, You Can't Do That In Profiler
Wouldn't it be great to just quickly and easily take a look at your system to see if you had any queries that ran for a long time, but, without actually doing any work to capture query metrics? Oh, yeah, I can do that right now, and so can you. All we need is something that is built into every single server you currently have under management (sorry, not Azure SQL Database) that is SQL Server 2008 or better: system_health system_health Extended Event Session The system_health Extended Events session is very well documented by Microsoft here. I've talked about it before, in relation to Azure SQL Database, and, on the same topic we're going over today, long running queries and waits (cause if you have a long running query, you…
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Extended Events: Database Auditing

SQL Server, You Can't Do That In Profiler
Extended Events can do things that simply are not possible with Profiler and another example comes from the stack of audit events that exist only in Extended Events. One of these is a set of expanded events for database auditing. Comparing the list of things exposed through Extended Events to those exposed through Trace/Profiler isn't entirely fair. All new functionality is only in Extended Events since Trace hasn't been updated since 2008. However, these events that you can use to audit your database, aren't new functionality, they're just new events for watching old functionality. The addition of new events is just one more reason why moving to use Extended Events is a must. Auditing Databases In this instance, when I say audit the database, what I mean is keep an…
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Extended Events: Histogram Output

SQL Server, You Can't Do That In Profiler
The single most important thing to remember about Extended Events is that this functionality is not simply a replacement for Profiler/Trace, but a whole new tool with new functionality. My first example for functionality that you simply cannot get in Profiler/Trace is the ability to output to a Histogram. Profiler/Trace can output to a table or to a file. Extended Events can have a target that is a file, same as Profiler. However, you can also have a target: etw_classic_sync_targetevent_counterhistogrampair_matchingring_buffer Read about each of the types in the Microsoft documentation here. I'm going to focus for the moment on the histogram target because it lets you do some fun stuff and easily collect data that you simply can't collect using Profiler/Trace without hopping through a bunch of flaming hoops. Setting…
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Profiler: Time To Go

SQL Server
I've decided that, in fact, it is time to start moving people off the ancient technology, Profiler. Before, I always said, stay where you're comfortable. However, keeping people comfortable means that they're also going to keep promoting Profiler/Trace to new people on new platforms. That is a real problem. To fix the problem of old school, slow, inferior, methods of data collection, troubleshooting, and consuming metrics, we need to educate people. Extended Events are not simply a replacement for Trace. They're not simply another way to gather query metrics. No, in fact, this is a whole new tool, with new functionality and a very high level of support and engagement from Microsoft. Extended Events are where all new functionality since 2012 provides mechanisms for monitoring behavior. As technologists we should…
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Extended Events Misperceptions: Profiler is Easier, Part 2

SQL Server, Tools
I wrote a short blog post about the misperception that Profiler was easier than Extended Events when it came to the core concept of "click, connect, BOOM, too much data". Go read it if you like, but I don't think it's actually an effective argument for how much easier Extended Events is than Profiler. Here, we're going to drill down on that concept in a real way. Let's start with a little clarification. I'm going to be a little lazy with my language. Trace is a scripted capture of events on a server. Profiler is a GUI for consuming a Trace, either live or from a file, and for creating Trace events. However, almost everyone refers to 'Profiler' when they mean either Trace or Profiler. I may do the same…
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Microsoft Tools That Help Query Tuning

SQL Server, T-SQL, Tools
Query tuning is not easy. In fact, for a lot of people, you shouldn't even try. It's much easier to buy more, bigger, better hardware. Yeah, the query is still slow on newer, faster hardware, but not as a slow as it was. However, sooner or later, you're going to have to start to spend time fixing queries. In fact, you can find that fixing queries actually is more cost effective than buying more hardware. The problem is, query tuning is not easy. So, what do you do? Microsoft Can Help There are a number of tools available to you, right now, provided by Microsoft that can help you better and more easily tune your queries. This ranges from extended events to query store, and absolutely includes execution plans and…
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