dbatools Making Extended Events Easier

Chrissy LeMaire solves a bunch of common problems with Extended Events:

So why do people keep using traces? We compiled a list of reasons from Erin Stellato’s Why do YOU avoid Extended Events. And this list is LONG!

  • Traces are straightforward and less complex than Extended Events
    Totally seems that way!
  • Traces provide a consistent interface for mixed environments
    Whether you use SQL Server 7 or SQL Server 2017, the interface is pretty much the same.
  • Traces are faster to setup quick traces
    Just open up Profiler, connect to a server, click a few times and you’re set.
  • “Extended Events are more efficient for the SQL Server engine, but not more efficient for the DBA”
    Love this quote.
  • People already have a library of Profiler templates
    Including me
  • Ignorance of XML / Querying all the generated XML is outrageous
    When I first saw what it takes to query Extended Events, I bailed immediately. I am not learning XPATH, ever.
  • Templates work remotely across all instances
    This is also true for Extended Events, but the commenter did not know that.
  • XEvents are persistent and must be stopped manually
    Once you close Profiler or restart SQL Server, all non-default traces will disappear. Extended Events will persist until you delete them.
  • Ability to import PerfMon data and look at Trace and PerfMon counter data at the same time
    Most people that use Profiler don’t seem to know about this feature but those who do LOVE it. You can read more at Brad McGehee’s Correlating SQL Server Profiler with Performance Monitor.

    Microsoft reportedly has no plans to provide this functionality.

  • Consistent user experience across SSAS and Database Engine
    Gotta take their word, I don’t use SSAS.
  • It’s easy to train others to use Profiler
    Imagine – if it’s easier to learn Profiler, it’ll be far easier to teach.
  • Traces can be easily replayed
    There are a number of Microsoft tools to replay traces, but none to replay Extended Events.
  • MS Premier Support still asks for traces
    Likely because they also have tools that they want to work across all supported versions, which still includes SQL Server 2008 R2.
  • xe_file_target_read_file is a CPU hog
    This wasn’t listed on Erin’s page but was told to me while I was performing my research.

Whewf! That’s a lot of compelling reasons not to make the switch. So let’s see how we can address each of them using PowerShell. All code listed here can be found at sqlps.io/xecode.

Chrissy & co can’t solve all of them, but they solve a majority.  Click through to see how.

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