Category Archives: Scripting

Dynamic Management View Categories

Thinking today about a new area to cover on this site and I thought dynamic management views (or DMVs) was a good area to cover next.  I was looking at some documentation today for some DMVs and I realized that there is an easy way to think about them and their function.

  • sys.dm_exec_*  These provide information about sessions, connections, query executions and requests.
  • sys.dm_os_*  These provide information on OS related information
  • sys.dm_io_*  These provide input/output process information
  • sys.dm_tran_*  These provide transaction information
  • sys.dm_db_*  These provide database information

Enjoy and stay tune for more DMV information.


Moving SSRS Reports

Yesterday I was tasked with migrating our Citrix EdgeSight database off of a 2005 SQL Server and migrating it to a new 2008R2 Server.  No problem, I have done that a million times before.  But wait a minute, that database has SSRS reports installed on that server and not our main reporting server.  If you follow my blog, you will probably see that I have not had much experience with SSRS, my reporting experience has been with Crystal and other minor packages.

I started researching how to migrate these reports and was not pleased to see Citrix’s response.  They recommended migrating  the ReportServer and ReportServerTempDB databases to the new server and then reinstalling SSRS on the original server.  So what happens then if you have other jobs on the new and old servers?  This is not a good recommendation.  After an exhaustive search the only option I saw within the tool was to download reports one at a time and upload them into the new server.  This was also not an option with a fair amount of reports to migrate.

SSRSScripterEnter Reporting Services Scripter from  Run the program on the original server and select your Report folder and scripts are generated and placed into a folder of your choosing.  These scripts can then be copied over to the new server and executed by command shell.  In this particular instance we had to reopen the data source and enter new credentials.  Problem solved, reports migrated successfully.


Red Gate Virtual Restore Scripting (Part 10)

If you have been following along since December, then you know that I have been doing some investigation with the Red Gate Backup and Restore bundle to implement in our system with our use of Ola Hallengren’s backup maintenance scripts.  One of our last stumbling blocks has been automating and scripting of the Red Gate Virtual Restore product.  We have moved methodically through the list and with the help of Red Gate’s excellent support department resolved each item including this one.

The problem we had been that when we tried to verify the backup through restoration and DBCC CHECKDB on a certain database, that was considerably larger than all of the other databases on this server, we would not have enough space on the drive using our restore script we created last week.  That scripting solution is great as long as there is enough space on the drives to attach the database files from backup and then drop them.

The beauty of the Virtual Restore product, in case you did not already know, is that it can restore these files with a much smaller footprint than the actual database files take up in the exiting format.  However, the problem is that it is strictly a wizard at this point that will grab a specific backup and run the restore manually and then drop it once it checks the integrity and consistency.  This is a great product but this is feature should be included or else it does not help much especially when you have hundreds of databases.

We ran the wizard and then viewed the script:

WITH MOVE N’TestDB_Data’ TO N’F:\VirtualRestore\TestDB_Data_TestDB_Virtual.vmdf’,
MOVE N’TestDB_Index’ TO N’F:\VirtualRestore\TestDB_idx_TestDB_Virtual.vmdf’,
MOVE N’TestDB_Log’ TO N’F:\VirtualRestore\TestDB_Log_TestDB_Virtual.vldf’, NORECOVERY, STATS=1,REPLACE


DBCC CHECKDB ([TestDB_Virtual])


This script did not work when we ran it via T-SQL because of a lack of disk space which is the same problem we encountered using the Backup Pro restore script, however it did work with the Red Gate Virtual Restore Wizard.  We contacted support to find out why there was a difference on the same box.  Basically SQL Server does not know that the HyperBac service is running in the background.  The wizard is smart enough to check your disk space and if you do not have enough it temporarily adds an entry into the HyperBac configuration that tricks SQL Server into thinking that you have the right amount of disk space in order to complete the task.

The parameter is “VirtualDiskSize=”  where the value is an integer to represent the disk size in megabytes.   You add the parameter to the bottom of the  to the hyper.conf file found in the C:\Program Files (x86)\Red Gate\HyperBac\Bin folder.  At this point then you restart the HyperBac service and the problem is solved!  Next I will try to automate this script….stay tuned!

Creating a Red Gate Backup Pro “Virtual Restore” Job Automatically (Part 9)

If you have been playing along at home this month then you know about some of the struggles that I have faced with automating the Red Gate Backup Pro automatically.  Well, with the help of Red Gate and some rewriting of their provided script, I now have a script that will work automagically!  When I say automagically, I mean that I want the script to run forever without any more interference from me in the same manner that our Ola Hallengren backup scripts work.

If you are not familiar, this tool is excellent for many reasons but one of the reasons that we like it is for the simple fact that if a new database is created, it will be maintained automagically.  I do not have to create any maintenance plans or agent jobs each time I add a database to a server.  We have several servers that get new small databases all the time and this is a time saver as well as a life saver.  Now this scripts will do the same, it will iterate through the database names and restore the latest backup set as a new database with the name ‘_Restored’ tacked on the end of the existing name and place the data and log file in a separate directory to avoid overwriting your existing databases.

Do not worry about failure reporting with the job as Red Gate will send you an error for each database, pass or fail.  If you wish to see only the failures then change ‘MAILTO’ to ‘MAILTO_ONERRORONLY’ in the script.

–This script will restore multiple databases where each database has it’s own Full Backup to be restored.
USE master

— Add any databases in that you want to exclude
FROM   sysdatabases
WHERE  name != ‘tempdb’
AND name != ‘master’
AND name != ‘msdb’
–Set @restorepath to be the path of where your backups are located, in my example this is ‘D:\Backup\’
DECLARE @restorepath VARCHAR(500)
–@filename will need to be modified depending how the backup files are named
DECLARE @filename VARCHAR(500)
DECLARE @restorestring VARCHAR(1000)
–Not needed if running in a SQL job
DECLARE @exitcode INT
DECLARE @sqlerrorcode INT

OPEN cdatabases

FETCH next FROM cdatabases INTO @dbname

SET @restorepath = ‘D:\SQLVMDEV10\’ + @dbname + ‘\Full\’
— @filename will need to be modified depending how the backup files are named
SET @filename = @restorepath + ‘SQLVMDEV10_’ + @dbname + ‘_FULL_*.sqb’
SET @restorestring = ‘-SQL “RESTORE DATABASE [‘ + @dbname + ‘_Restored] FROM DISK = ”’ + @filename
–If you wish to apply additional backup, remember to change the WITH RECOVERY to WITH NORECOVERY,
EXEC master..Sqlbackup
@exitcode output,
@sqlerrorcode output

–IF (@exitcode <>0) OR (@sqlerrorcode <> 0)
—    RAISERROR (‘SQL Backup job failed with exitcode: %d  SQL error code: %d’, 16, 1, @exitcode, @sqlerrorcode)
—  END
FETCH next FROM cdatabases INTO @dbname

CLOSE cdatabases
DEALLOCATE cdatabases 

This will generate multiple entries in Red Gate Monitor, as mentioned in Part 4 of our journey.  In order to prevent these setup a maintenance window on your monitoring tool and run this script only during the maintenance window ensuring that no other jobs run during that time so that you do not miss any important alerts from those maintenance jobs.  Here is a link from Red Gate detailing how to set the maintenance windows in Monitor.  Enjoy!

Red Gate Backup Pro Update After A Weekend of Jobs (Part 6)

Last week I blogged about my experiences implementing the Red Gate Backup Pro and Virtual Restore.  Today I have a few more observations and items that I need to investigate.

  1. We setup a weekly copy-only backup using default SQL Server compression to give my supervisor ‘warm and fuzzies’  over switching to a proprietary backup format.  We noticed this weekend that the servers with the HyperBac/Virtual Restore tools installed failed on a regular backup.  When we manually stopped the HyperBac service and ran the backup, it completed successfully.  When we re-enabled the service the backup failed again.  We decided to forgo using HyperBac, I may try deactivating that part of the license and see if that alleviates the issue.
  2. Some of our restores fail when we script them and run fine when we run them manually.
  3. Some of the restores report DBCC CHECKDB issues and when we run DBCC CHECKDB on the actual database there are no issues.
  4. I would like to script the real Virtual Restore product, but as of yet have been unable to.

I will keep everyone posted as to my progress.  Enjoy!

Red Gate Backup Pro Continued (Part 5)

Continuing in my series on the Red Gate Backup Pro 7.2 utility for SQL Server, I tried yesterday rather unsuccessfully to set up a development server to do all of my virtual restores in order to verify all of my backups for my production servers.  It works great on this particular development server for the backups on this particular server.  However, the ability to do this across servers is complicated with a complex array of directions with advanced security options that really obfuscates a simple idea.  Can it be done, Red Gate says yes with their directions provided on their website amongst them this link and this link in addition to their security model.

Maybe I have missed something, I am not sure.  But it looks to me that the security is far more advanced than it needs to be for the idea of a ‘virtual restore’ and I do not want a simple AD account to have so many privileges.  Maybe I will step back and approach it again after the holidays.

However, if that falls through I will just set this up on each production server.  I am also trying to script all of these virtual restores into a single script that grabs all of the databases instead of hard coding each individual database in the script.  This will automate my maintenance such that when new databases are created, I will not have to worry about setting them up in the restore script.    I have some ideas but have not been able to get them to work yet.  Press on and enjoy!

Corruption and Verifying Backups

This morning I had a conversation with a Subject Matter Expert and Application Administrator who asked me quite simply for a verified backup before he does an install on Saturday.   My response was that I could test it manually for them and I was willing to do so but currently with our infrastructure the nightly backups are not tested without manual intervention.  I have tried to change this policy for some time and unfortunately it may not occur until something bad happens.  With this in mind, I do the best I can to minimize the risk given that I cannot automate a solution to restore databases on a regular basis as I would prefer.  How can you minimize the risk?

  1. Use the WITH CHECKSUM option on your backup scripts.  Read Paul Randall’s The Importance of Validating Backups article on SQL Server Central for more information.
  2. Use the RESTORE VERIFYONLY command (although we use Ola Hallengren’s Backup Solution which is the verify option which runs the command).
  3. Use the WITH CHECKSUM on the RESTORE command to recheck the page checksums in the backup as well as the backup file.
  4. Automate or manually restore your databases from scratch on a regular basis.  (This is where we are lacking and where I want to take my servers).
  5. Once you have restored, then run DBCC CHECKDB against the restored database.

If you are not doing all five then you cannot say confidently that your backups are verified.  However, if you are doing all five keep in mind that there is no fool proof guarantee against corruption, this merely minimizes the destruction by having viable backups.  I hope this helps….Enjoy!

Exploring SQL Server 2012: Code Snippets

One of the new features available in SQL Server 2012 is the Code Snippet Manager.  Previously this was available through third-party tools and add-ins.  The Code Snippets Manager is available through the Tools menu, along with some other nice built-in tools as well for this release.

Here you can see that there are many nice built-in code snippets included off the shelf.  The tool allows you to insert the XML formatted snippets (a la Visual Studio).   Click here for information on how to create your own snippets from the MSDN.  Personally I think the interface should have the functionality to just insert snippets of code like other add-in tools, however it is better than what we had previously off-the-shelf.

Figure 1 – Code Snippet Manager


This looks great but there is no insert button to put these snippets into my code, I tried.  So how do I enter the code into the query editor as I type?  Hold the control button (CTRL) and then press the K and then X to begin the insert, and yes I know this is an awkward key combination (what where they thinking).  See figure 2 and choose a category of snippets.

Figure 2 – Insert Snippet

After choosing a category then choose a snippet (see figure 3).

Figure 3 – Choose a Snippet

After choosing your snippet, it will be inserted into the query editor (see Figure 4).  At this point you can customize the snippet to fit your code and you are done!  Enjoy!

Figure 4 – The Finished Snippet




Nifty Code to Update Collation

Today, we interrupt our countdown series in progress to bring you some actual T-SQL coding.  I had to bring out this snippet and dust it off for my purposes, to change some column-level collation in a database.  To give you some background, we have a vendor product that requires case-insensitive collation at the server and table level, but case-sensitive on the column level.  Yes, I know that is not best practices and seems like a weird design choice but I have to support it as the DBA.

Normally this would require a script from the vendor because it is their code, but the product allows you to create some custom tables (they default to the table level collation) in the database and those are our responsibility. So why would you need to change it you say?  The developers were trying to write some reports against these tables and as you would expect they received an error (Msg 468, Level 16, State 9, Line 4 Cannot resolve the collation conflict between “SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CS_AS” and “SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS” in the equal to operation.)  It would take forever to go table by table and column by column to change the collation, hence the need for the script!

DISCLAIMER: I have had this little snippet for a while and I do not know who wrote it originally, probably found on MSDN.  I also know that it is not the most updated way of doing this (you should use the sys schema) but it works and sometimes that is easier than rewriting the code.

The first thing you should do is right-click on your query window in SSMS and set your results to text so that the script outputs you a new script that you will run in another query window.  Keep in mind with some of your tables you might have to drop and recreate the indexes in order to alter the collation.  Always take a backup before changing something like this and know what you are doing and changing before executing any script.

SELECT  ‘ALTER TABLE ‘ + + ‘ ALTER COLUMN [‘ + + ‘]’, + ‘ (‘ ,
sysc.length ,
‘) COLLATE SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CS_AS’ ,
END + CHAR(13) + CHAR(10) + ‘GO’
FROM    sysobjects syso ,
syscolumns sysc ,
systypes syst
AND syst.xtype = sysc.xtype
AND sysc.collation = ‘SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS’
AND syso.type = ‘U’
AND != ‘text’

Enjoy and I hope this helps you!

Sunday Funday

Today’s installment of Sunday Funday brings you some fun with T-SQL by Nick Jacobsen, the classic 99 Bottles of Beer T-SQL style.   Enjoy!

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