Stairway to Server-side Tracing - Step 2: Creating a SQL Trace Using T-SQL (Stairway Series)

  • Dan Guzman

    Default port

    Points: 1469

    Comments posted to this topic are about the item Stairway to Server-side Tracing - Step 2: Creating a SQL Trace Using T-SQL (Stairway Series)

  • sailendra

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 125

    I copied the script used to list all possible trace events and columns and executed on my sql server 2005 SP3 system. It returns only 14 rows (in other words not all possible categories - )

    Is there something I am missing here?

    The categories returned are:

    Locks

    Scans

    Security Audit

    Stored Procedures

    Transactions

    TSQL

    Thanks for your help.

  • Dan Guzman

    Default port

    Points: 1469

    The query has an unintended predicate in the sys.trace_event_bindings JOIN clause. I thought this was removed from the final article draft but it looks like I erred. Below is the corrected version, which returns 3965 rows under SQL 2005.

    I'll get the query in the article corrected. Thanks for pointing this out.

    --list all possible trace events and columns

    SELECT tcat.name AS EventCategoryName ,

    tevent.name AS EventClassName ,

    tcolumn.name AS EventColumn ,

    tevent.trace_event_id AS EventID ,

    tbinding.trace_column_id AS ColumnID ,

    tcolumn.type_name AS DataType

    FROM sys.trace_categories AS tcat

    JOIN sys.trace_events AS tevent ON tevent.category_id = tcat.category_id

    JOIN sys.trace_event_bindings AS tbinding ON tbinding.trace_event_id = tevent.trace_event_id

    JOIN sys.trace_columns AS tcolumn ON tcolumn.trace_column_id = tbinding.trace_column_id

    ORDER BY tcat.name ,

    EventClassName ,

    EventColumn ;

  • sailendra

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 125

    Thanks Dan. The updated query now returns the full resultset.

  • Toby White

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 6127

    Excellent article. I also wanted to let you know about your additional predicate, but you've already identified it. I have written server side traces like this for years, but I always went against sys.trace_events and sys.trace_columns and was unaware of the sys.trace_event_bindings view. I have added the corrected version of your script to give me a better result set of possible events/columns to choose from.

    I try to use server side scripting exclusively even with dev/test environments. It seems a bit tedious at first, but since I already have something to start from there isn't that much to add/subtract usually. Further, the process of dealing with profiler is at least as tedious.

    Thanks for the article,

    Toby

  • Toby White

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 6127

    Oh, there is one issue I wanted to discuss. It's not a problem with your article, but a problem I have struggled with in the past.

    I often set the file name like so:

    SELECT @File = Substring(Path,1,len(Path)-charindex('\',reverse(path))+1) + @File

    FROM sys.traces

    WHERE id = 1

    Where the value of the @file variable is "Performance", "Duration" or something to that effect. The problem is that if the file already exists the sp_trace_create procedure fails. The two ways I have used to cope with this is check for existence with xp_fileexists and then either bail, or use xp_cmdshell programmatically to remove the file. I have never liked either of my options, and I wish there was a way to automatically overwrite the file if it exists on the sp_trace_create procedure.

    I suppose another option would be to check file existence, then append a number in a loop until I get one that doesn't exist.

    Do you have any thoughts or suggestions related to this problem?

  • Dan Guzman

    Default port

    Points: 1469

    Hi, Toby.

    I also wish sp_trace_create had an option to overwrite an existing file. I'm not a big fan of file manipulation in T-SQL either.

    You might consider making a habit of the TRACE_FILE_ROLLOVER (option 2) with a file count of 2, even if you only need a single file for a one-time trace. This way, SQL Trace will add the incremental number to the file name if the base file name already exists and automatically delete the n-2 file.

    I'll cover trace data and file management later in this Stairway.

  • Leonel Umaña Araya

    SSC Veteran

    Points: 243

    Thanks Dan for the article. I'll hope for the next ones.


    Leonel E. Umaña Araya
    leo_umana@hotmail.com

  • Anipaul

    SSC-Insane

    Points: 24681

    I am loving reading these articles... Thank you.

    Paul

  • Kartik M

    SSChasing Mays

    Points: 614

    Good Article.. Thanks for posting such helpful topics...

    Thanks & Regards, Kartik M Kumar..

  • @SixStringSQL

    SSC Eights!

    Points: 966

    Guys, after I create, run, stop, and delete the trace, I cannot ever seem to open the resulting file with Profiler: "Access denied". I'm assuming something still has it locked.

    I am able to view it using fn_trace_gettable().

    Am I missing a step?

  • @SixStringSQL

    SSC Eights!

    Points: 966

    Grubb (4/8/2011)


    Guys, after I create, run, stop, and delete the trace, I cannot ever seem to open the resulting file with Profiler: "Access denied". I'm assuming something still has it locked.

    I am able to view it using fn_trace_gettable().

    Am I missing a step?

    Nevermind...It was truly a permissions issue. It's fun being a DBA without local admin access 🙁

  • jb 60938

    Valued Member

    Points: 53

    Hey

    I am getting an error on adding the event

    DECLARE @return_code INT;

    DECLARE @TraceID INT;

    DECLARE @maxfilesize BIGINT;

    SET @maxfilesize = 5;

    --step 1: create a new empty trace definition

    EXEC sp_trace_create

    @traceid OUTPUT

    , @options = 2

    , @tracefile = N'd:\LongRunningQueries'

    , @maxfilesize = @maxfilesize

    , @stoptime =NULL

    , @filecount = 2;

    -- step 2: add the events and columns

    EXEC sp_trace_setevent

    @traceid = @TraceID

    , @eventid = 10 -- RPC:Completed

    , @columnid = 1 -- TextData

    , @on = 1;--include this column in trace

    Gives me

    Msg 214, Level 16, State 3, Procedure sp_trace_setevent, Line 1

    Procedure expects parameter '@on' of type 'bit'.

    The trace is created, it's just the event selection that fails I guess (didn't try running it).

    It's probably something simple, I just can't see it - any bright ideas?

    By the way great article, reading it with great interest - only ever used the GUI profiler before (I haven't gotten to section 3 yet, but I hope there is a way of converting the GUI profiler trace setting to a script as mentioned in section 1)

    /Jon

  • Dan Guzman

    Default port

    Points: 1469

    Hi, Jon.

    Thanks for the positive feedback. I’m glad you found this Stairway informative.

    It looks like you are using SQL 2005, which is a bit pickier regarding the bit data type parameter passed to sp_trace_setevent. Just declare and initialize a local variable of type bit for the parameter like the example below. You can pass the literal directly in SQL 2008 and later versions without the need for the local variable.

    DECLARE @return_code INT;

    DECLARE @TraceID INT;

    DECLARE @maxfilesize BIGINT;

    SET @maxfilesize = 5;

    --SQL 2005 needs local variable for bit value

    DECLARE @on bit

    SET @on = 1;

    SET @maxfilesize = 5;

    --step 1: create a new empty trace definition

    EXEC sp_trace_create

    @traceid OUTPUT

    , @options = 2

    , @tracefile = N'd:\LongRunningQueries'

    , @maxfilesize = @maxfilesize

    , @stoptime =NULL

    , @filecount = 2;

    -- step 2: add the events and columns

    EXEC sp_trace_setevent

    @traceid = @TraceID

    , @eventid = 10 -- RPC:Completed

    , @columnid = 1 -- TextData

    , @on = @on; --include this column in trace

  • jb 60938

    Valued Member

    Points: 53

    Awesome!

    Thanks a lot, that works great 🙂

    /Jon

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