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Automated Trace File Collection

By Lowell Smith,

Why create trace files?

SQL Server is a dynamic system knowing how your users access the system is invaluable.

  • Security. Trace files record activity on the SQL Server. Any attempts to compromise security or compromise database data will be shown by the trace file analysis.
  • Performance. With a daily trace file collection you can group queries by DURATION and CPU. This way your developers know exactly where the problems are. In addition to daily trace file collection changes, a historical analysis can show if recent stored procedures or DDL is efficient or not.
  • Index Utilization. In addition to performance, knowing what indexes are used and which ones are not helps a lot. This way you can conserve system resources by eliminating indexes that are not used and improve performance by adding indexes where they are needed.

Create a trace generation script

The following script creates a trace file with a unique name. You can easily create a SQL Trace script by selecting a trace that is running and then selecting FILE / SCRIPT TRACE. / FOR SQL SERVER 2000.
CREATE procedure sp_trace
 @dbname sysname = NULL 
as
 
-- pass database name as parameter or NULL for all databases
 
-- Create a Queue
declare @rc int
declare @TraceID int
declare @maxfilesize bigint
declare @filename nvarchar(128)
set @maxfilesize = 40
 
-- create filename
if @dbname is not null
begin
Select @filename = 'C:\SQLTrace\SEC_' + @dbname + '_' + replace(replace(convert(varchar(20),getdate(),100),':','_'),' ','_') + '_trace'
end
else
begin
Select @filename = 'C:\SQLTrace\SEC_All_' + replace(replace(convert(varchar(20),getdate(),100),':','_'),' ','_') + '_trace'
end
 
exec @rc = sp_trace_create @TraceID output, 0,@filename, @maxfilesize, NULL 
if (@rc != 0) goto error
 
-- Set the events
declare @on bit
set @on = 1
 
-- Place scripted trace information here..
-- exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 10, 1, @on
 
-- Set the Filters
declare @intfilter int
declare @intdbFilter int
declare @bigintfilter bigint
 
exec sp_trace_setfilter @TraceID, 10, 0, 7, N'SQL Profiler'
set @intfilter = 100
exec sp_trace_setfilter @TraceID, 22, 0, 4, @intfilter
 
-- check for NULL 
if @dbname is not null
begin
-- database filter
set @intdbFilter = db_id(@dbname)
exec sp_trace_setfilter @TraceID, 3, 1, 0, @intdbFilter
end
 
exec sp_trace_setfilter @TraceID, 10, 0, 7, N'SQL Profiler'
 
-- Set the trace status to start
exec sp_trace_setstatus @TraceID, 1
WAITFOR DELAY '00:05:00'
exec sp_trace_setstatus @TraceID, 0
WAITFOR DELAY '00:00:30'
exec sp_trace_setstatus @TraceID, 2
 
-- display trace id for future references
select TraceID=@TraceID
goto finish
 
error: 
select ErrorCode=@rc
 
finish:

Schedule the trace capture

This trace runs for 5 minutes and 30 seconds and it is schedule to run every 10 minutes. On systems that are very active you may want to set the delay to 1 minute and trace every 30 minutes. You would be amazed how must data you can collect on some systems almost 10 MB per minute. Here is the script to create a trace table. In addition you can create this with a SELECT INTO from the system function FN_TRACE_GETTABLE.
CREATE TABLE [dbo].[tblTrace] (
[TextData] [ntext] COLLATE SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS NULL ,
[BinaryData] [image] NULL ,
[DatabaseID] [int] NULL ,
[TransactionID] [bigint] NULL ,
[NTUserName] [nvarchar] (128) COLLATE SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS NULL ,
[NTDomainName] [nvarchar] (128) COLLATE SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS NULL ,
[HostName] [nvarchar] (128) COLLATE SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS NULL ,
[ClientProcessID] [int] NULL ,
[ApplicationName] [nvarchar] (128) COLLATE SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS NULL ,
[LoginName] [nvarchar] (128) COLLATE SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS NULL ,
[SPID] [int] NULL ,
[Duration] [bigint] NULL ,
[StartTime] [datetime] NULL ,
[EndTime] [datetime] NULL ,
[Reads] [bigint] NULL ,
[Writes] [bigint] NULL ,
[CPU] [int] NULL ,
[Permissions] [int] NULL ,
[Severity] [int] NULL ,
[EventSubClass] [int] NULL ,
[ObjectID] [int] NULL ,
[Success] [int] NULL ,
[IndexID] [int] NULL ,
[IntegerData] [int] NULL ,
[ServerName] [nvarchar] (128) COLLATE SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS NULL ,
[EventClass] [int] NOT NULL ,
[ObjectType] [int] NULL ,
[NestLevel] [int] NULL ,
[State] [int] NULL ,
[Error] [int] NULL ,
[Mode] [int] NULL ,
[Handle] [int] NULL ,
[ObjectName] [nvarchar] (128) COLLATE SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS NULL ,
[DatabaseName] [nvarchar] (128) COLLATE SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS NULL ,
[FileName] [nvarchar] (128) COLLATE SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS NULL ,
[OwnerName] [nvarchar] (128) COLLATE SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS NULL ,
[RoleName] [nvarchar] (128) COLLATE SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS NULL ,
[TargetUserName] [nvarchar] (128) COLLATE SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS NULL ,
[DBUserName] [nvarchar] (128) COLLATE SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS NULL ,
[LoginSid] [image] NULL ,
[TargetLoginName] [nvarchar] (128) COLLATE SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS NULL ,
[TargetLoginSid] [image] NULL ,
[ColumnPermissions] [int] NULL 
)
GO

Create an ActiveX job script

In order to get the trace files into the trace table you will need to create an INSERT SELECT statement that references every trace file in a directory.  
Dim objFSO
Dim Cnxn, strCnxn
Dim rsCustomers, strSQLCustomers
Dim Cmd 
Dim rsProducts, strSQLProducts
 
Set Cnxn = SQLActiveScriptHost.CreateObject("ADODB.Connection") 
strCnxn="Provider=SQLOLEDB.1;Password=passw0rd!;Persist Security Info=True;User ID=sa;Initial Catalog=Admin;Data Source=84_SPORSTER\SQL1"
Cnxn.Open strCnxn
 
Set Cmd = SQLActiveScriptHost.CreateObject("ADODB.Command")
Cmd.ActiveConnection = Cnxn
 
Set objFSO = SQLActiveScriptHost.CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
strFolderName = "C:\SQLTrace"
 
Set Folder=objFSO.GetFolder(strFolderName)
For Each objFile in Folder.Files
If objFile.Size > 0 Then
strAttachment = strFolderName & "\" & objFile.Name
strSQLProducts = "INSERT INTO tblTrace SELECT * FROM ::fn_trace_gettable(" & "'" & strAttachment & "'" & "," & "default)"
Cmd.CommandText = strSQLProducts
Cmd.Execute
End If
Next
Set Cmd = Nothing
Set Cnxn = Nothing
Set objFSO = Nothing
Note that this code is designed to run inside a SQL Agent job. You could create a VBScript job that could be executed with CSCRIPT at the command line. By echoing out the strSQLProducts SQL call into a file and adding carriage returns and go statements, you would have an backup executable script. 

How to schedule this across a group of SQL Servers

  • Set up the trace file collection with out a schedule and then execute this with the MSDB stored procedure sp_run_job
  • Import collected trace information to a central location
  • Use the transform data method to import from the collection server table to reporting server table
  • Run a report for all managed SQL Servers When all of the trace files are collected a summary report can be created and emailed. In addition a SQL web task is very useful for creating a report that your developers will appreciate.
Total article views: 8958 | Views in the last 30 days: 10
 
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