Export Deadlocks to file from system_health Extended Event using PowerShell

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Just a quick post as may help any of you searching for this.

Scenario

Client wants to analyze most recent deadlocks that happened on a specific instance. They asked us to send the xdl files.

How do we get the deadlocks?

Depending on the version of SQL Server that you are running, there are different ways to do it.

In this post I will share how you can do it from all files that belongs to the system_health extended event session. (Not only the current file).

This works on SQL Server 2012 or higher version.

For a better overview I recommend you to read the What are SQL Server deadlocks and how to monitor them article from SQLShack.

T-SQL query to get the deadlocks entries

This query will show you when the deadlock happened (datetime) and the XML of the deadlock.

The only thing you need to know is the path where the system_health extended event is saving the results. By default is the SQL Server log folder.

Example: MSSQLXX.MSSQLSERVER2MSSQLLog

You can use, for example, the following query to get the ErrorLog file path:

SELECT SERVERPROPERTY('ErrorLogFileName')

If you remove the final ERRORLOG part, you have the folder.

The T-SQL code can be like this:

DECLARE @LogPath NVARCHAR(255) = (SELECT CAST(SERVERPROPERTY('ErrorLogFileName') AS NVARCHAR(255)))
SET @LogPath = SUBSTRING(@LogPath, 1, charindex('ERRORLOG', @LogPath) - 1)
SELECT 
	CONVERT(xml, event_data).query('/event/data/value/child::*') as deadlock,
	CONVERT(xml, event_data).value('(event[@name="xml_deadlock_report"]/@timestamp)[1]','datetime') AS Execution_Time
FROM sys.fn_xe_file_target_read_file(@LogPath + 'system_health*.xel', null, null, null)
WHERE object_name like 'xml_deadlock_report'

Using PowerShell to save the files to the filesystem

Now that we have the T-SQL to get the data, we just need to save it on some folder.

Each outputted file name have a name like deadlock_{Execution_Time}.xdl.

Before running the script, you need to change:

Line 1 – The SQL instance you want to query

Line 2 – The path where the files will be saved. (This folder will be created if doesn’t exists)

NOTE: The script is making use of SqlServer PowerShell module (line 15). However, if you prefer, you can use dbatools (uncomment line 18 and comment line 15).

NOTE2: The time that will take to execute the script is directly related with the number of system_health files and their sizes.

$instance = "myInstance"
$outputDirectory = "D:Deadlocks"
$query = @"
DECLARE @LogPath NVARCHAR(255) = (SELECT CAST(SERVERPROPERTY('ErrorLogFileName') AS NVARCHAR(255)))
SET @LogPath = SUBSTRING(@LogPath, 1, charindex('ERRORLOG', @LogPath) - 1)
SELECT 
	CONVERT(xml, event_data).query('/event/data/value/child::*') as deadlock,
	CONVERT(xml, event_data).value('(event[@name="xml_deadlock_report"]/@timestamp)[1]','datetime') AS Execution_Time
FROM sys.fn_xe_file_target_read_file(@LogPath + 'system_health*.xel', null, null, null)
WHERE object_name like 'xml_deadlock_report'
"@
# With sqlserver module
$results = Invoke-Sqlcmd -ServerInstance $instance -Query $query
# With dbatools module
#$results = Invoke-DbaQuery -SqlInstance $instance -Query $query
# Create a folder to save the files
New-Item -Path $outputDirectory -Type Directory -Force
# Save each XML as xdl file on the filesystem
$results.foreach {
    $_.deadlock | Out-File -FilePath "$outputDirectorydealock$($_.Execution_Time.TofileTime()).xdl"
}

The output on the folder will be something like:

Bonus step – if you want

Probably you will share this on a shared folder or even by email. It can be good idea to compress the folder into a zip file.

You can easily do that by running the Compress-Archive cmdlet (PowerShell v5+).

Compress-Archive -Path D:Deadlocks -DestinationPath D:Deadlocks.zip

Thanks for reading.

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