While SQL Server has a very mature set of tools, one thing
that is lacking is the ability to send a simple email alert
based on a pre-defined set of rules. At first glace, it appears
that email notifications exist but what becomes a problem to many
people is the requirement for a MAPI subsystem to be present
on the server. This means that Outlook or an equivalent program
has to be installed on the server. Not only that, to properly
configure it, the administrator will need to log into the server
as the user that the SQL Server service is running under.
I have always found this inconvenient so I set out to create a
stable, free, easy to configure means of accomplishing the same
thing without installing anything special on the server.
I've included steps below to complete this task successfully.
Before we start, a SMTP server needs to be available. This can be setup
on the server itself, on another server within the local network, or
outside the network. To install an SMTP service on the SQL Server,
ensure that IIS SMTP Services are installed. You can do so from Add/Remove
programs in the Control panel. Once it is installed, '127.0.0.1' will need
to be added to 'relay' on the 'access' tab in the SMTP Properties.
Alternately a SMTP server of another mail server can be used instead.
This information will need to be added to the 'sp_send_cdosys' stored
procedure we'll create later.
First we need to create the stored procedure to send the e-mail. This can
be done with Enterprise Manager and Query Analyzer. For our example, we'll
implement the job with Enterprise manager using the Northwind database.
In Enterprise Manager, expand the Northwind database, select and
right-click on 'stored procedures', and then select 'New Stored Procedure… '.
Note: This can also be added to the Master database so that it is available for
Delete the contents in the box, and copy and paste the contents
below in the stored procedure box (everything between ' --- ').
Note: The sp_send_cdosysmail stored procedure uses ‘sp_OACreate' and ‘sp_OASetProperty' stored
procedures; this will require the user account running it to have SA permissions.
CREATE PROCEDURE [dbo].[sp_send_cdosysmail]
@From varchar(100) ,
@To varchar(100) ,
@Subject varchar(100)=" ",
@Body varchar(4000) =" "
This stored procedure takes the parameters and sends an e-mail. All the mail
configurations are hard-coded in the stored procedure.
Comments are added to the stored procedure where necessary.
References to the CDOSYS objects are at the following MSDN Web site:
Declare @iMsg int
Declare @hr int
Declare @source varchar(255)
Declare @description varchar(500)
Declare @output varchar(1000)
--***** Create the CDO.Message Object *****
EXEC @hr = sp_OACreate 'CDO.Message', @iMsg OUT
--*****Configuring the Message Object *****
-- This is to configure a remote SMTP server.
EXEC @hr = sp_OASetProperty @iMsg, 'Configuration.fields
-- This is to configure the Server Name or IP address.
-- Replace MailServerName by the name or IP of your SMTP Server.
EXEC @hr = sp_OASetProperty @iMsg, 'Configuration.fields("http://schemas.
-- Save the configurations to the message object.
EXEC @hr = sp_OAMethod @iMsg, 'Configuration.Fields.Update', null
-- Set the e-mail parameters.
EXEC @hr = sp_OASetProperty @iMsg, 'To', @To
EXEC @hr = sp_OASetProperty @iMsg, 'From', @From
EXEC @hr = sp_OASetProperty @iMsg, 'Subject', @Subject
-- If you are using HTML e-mail, use 'HTMLBody' instead of 'TextBody'.
EXEC @hr = sp_OASetProperty @iMsg, 'TextBody', @Body
EXEC @hr = sp_OAMethod @iMsg, 'Send', NULL
-- Sample error handling.
IF @hr <>0
EXEC @hr = sp_OAGetErrorInfo NULL, @source OUT, @description OUT
IF @hr = 0
SELECT @output = ' Source: ' + @source
SELECT @output = ' Description: ' + @description
PRINT ' sp_OAGetErrorInfo failed.'
-- Do some error handling after each step if you have to.
-- Clean up the objects created.
EXEC @hr = sp_OADestroy @iMsg
Once you have copied the stored procedure into the box, find the line below within the code.
EXEC @hr = sp_OASetProperty @iMsg, 'Configuration.fields("http://schemas.microsoft.com/cdo/configuration/smtpserver").Value', 'MailServerName'
Replace 'MailServerName' with either 'localhost' or your 'SMTPMailServer'.
Be careful of word wrapping. When pasting from my example you may find that some lines wrap. You may need to double check the lines to make sure nothing wrapped that shouldn't have.
Next, as an example we will create a job that will backup the Northwind database, then send a notification via e-mail when it completes successfully.
In Enterprise Manager, open 'Management' à 'SQL Server Agent', and then select and right-click on 'Jobs', and select 'New Job… '.
On the 'General' tab name the job 'Backup Northwind'.
On the 'Steps' tab, click on 'New', enter the information below, and then click OK. (The path should be a path that exists on the SQL Server.)
This is what you should see after you click 'OK'. Notice that the 'On Success'
column says 'Goto next step' (this is ok, because we are about to create another
step) and the 'On Failure' column says 'Quit with failure' (this is ok, because
if the job fails, we don't want it to go to the next step).
Now we'll add the job step that will notify us that the job has completed.
Click 'New…' and add the information below (everything between ' --- ').
Command: EXEC sp_send_cdosysmail
'I've added an example message for you*
The Northwind database has been backed up successfully.
ORCS Web '
*fill in the fields with the desired information.
Click on the 'Advanced' tab and change the 'On Success' box to 'Quit the job reporting success' and then click 'OK'.
This is what the job should look like now.
For our purposes, the 'Schedules' and 'Notifications' tabs default settings are fine;
we will not need to make any changes. Click 'OK' and your job should appear in the job window.
Now, right-click on the job we just created and click 'Start Job'.
Make sure that the Job step named 'Backup' is selected then click start. When the job complete, you will be sent an email notification that looks like this.
Now, even though email notifications can be setup as a 'job step' you can also
setup an alert based on a SQL Server event that will send an email and include
details of the event. Next we will setup an alert that will send an email notification with details.
In Enterprise Manager, open 'Management' à 'SQL Server Agent', and then select and
right-click on 'Jobs', and select 'New Job… '.
On the 'General' tab name the job 'SQL Server Severity Alert Notification'.
On the 'Steps' tab, click on 'New', name it 'SendEmail' and enter the script below (everything between '--').On the 'Advanced' tab, change the 'on success action' to 'Quit the job reporting success' and click 'OK'.
DECLARE @msg nvarchar(4000)
Set @msg = REPLACE("Error: [A-ERR]
Message: [A-MSG] ", "'", "") --'
EXEC sp_send_cdosysmail 'email@example.com*',
*fill in fields with desired information
I guess you're wondering what the script does. The script takes advantage of
the power of agent tokens, which will be automatically filled in at runtime.
You can get more information about agent tokens here
The 'Schedules' and 'Notifications' tab don't need any changes at this time;
let's click 'OK' again to complete the job.
Next we'll create the alert that will run the job we just created when an event
occurs. In Enterprise Manager, open 'Management' à 'SQL Server Agent', and then
select and right-click on 'Alerts', and select 'New Alert… '.
On the 'General' tab name the job 'SQL Server Severity Alert'. We'll leave the severity level at 010 as it will return information and isn't specific to an error and we'll let this alert fire for all databases.
On the 'Response' tab, put a check in the box for 'Execute job', select the job we just created, 'SQL Server Severity Notification', and then click 'OK'.
Now, we are ready to test. Let's backup the Northwind database in Query Analyzer with the script below:
BACKUP DATABASE Northwind TO DISK = 'c:\temp\northwind.bak*'
*ensure the path exists on the SQL Server
This task will execute the alert. At this point, an email should appear in the inbox of the email address you specified in the script. I've included an example below.
You can find more information about sending e-mail notifications at
You can read more about agent tokens here
You can read more about severity levels here
We've seen here how to setup email alerts on the server without being required to install the Outlook client email program or another MAPI program. Windows 2000 Server and greater already has CDOSYS installed on it. If installing this on Windows NT, replace the stored procedure with one that uses CDONTS instead.
Desiree Harris is a support specialist with ORCS Web, Inc. - a company that
provides managed hosting services for clients who develop and deploy their applications on Microsoft Windows