Query execution plans, otherwise known as actual execution plans or just Showplan, provide a map of all the required operations to get the query output, which includes runtime performance statistics.
Query Store (QS) is a valuable tool for troubleshooting workload trends via specific queries – this is because QS aggregates performance data on queries. However, sometimes we need to get the specific, singleton query execution plan to analyze and troubleshoot – this is where xEvents come in.
Since SQL Server 2012 we’ve had the query_post_execution_showplan xEvent for this. As the name suggests, it gets you the actual query plan – because it is *after* execution – when we have the runtime statistics available. However this xEvent is based on the standard query execution statistics profile infrastructure(quite a mouthful) – or standard profiling for short (read more about it here). This has a very high overhead (75%+ with a TPC-C like workload) which is why its use needs to be seriously considered, and most likely not used unless in last resort.
In more recent releases we have other alternatives for these requirements to get the singleton actual execution plans, based on the lightweight query execution statistics profile infrastructure – or lightweight profiling for short (read more about it here). These xEvents are listed below, where we’ll see examples on how to use them.
Pedro does a good job of taking us through the available events and what we get from them.
In this DMV, obviously there are a number of columns. This post will focus mostly on the object_type column. This column has a number of potential values, including Event, Target and Action. When setting up a SQL Server Extended Event session these are a few of the key items that need to be filled out.
Let’s just take a few moments to identify what these are.
Click through to see where you can find targets, actions, and event descriptions.
To clarify, the extension in ADS is like XEvent Profiler in Management Studio (which also is built using Extended Events). The name “SQL Server Profiler” is confusing, as this is not the same tool (UI) that’s been available since SQL Server 7.0.
To install the extension, click on it, and then select Install. Once it’s installed you can select Reload and it will move into the top half of the window under Enabled. Notice that when you select the extension, information about how to use it also appears.
Erin has a lot of useful information here, so check it out.
It’s worth pointing out that neither the Standard or TSQL session writes out to a file. In fact, there’s no target for either event session (if you didn’t know that you can create an event session without a target, now you know). If you want to save this data for further analysis, you need to do one of the following:
1. Stop the data feed and save the output to a file via the Extended Events menu (Export to | XEL File…)
2. Stop the data feed and save the output to a table in a database via the Extended Events menu (Export to | Table…)
3. Alter the event session and add the event_file as a target.
Read the whole thing.
Querying the data of an Extended Events session has never been easy. My XEvent sessions typically store event data in a target file, which means using sys.fn_xe_file_target_read_file. To get something of value, you need to shred the event data XML.
Doing this in T-SQL isn’t great. It’s probably better to shred in another language—F# would probably be my choice due to its type provider—and dump the results back into SQL. But if you want to stick to one language, Dave shows you how.
Yes, Entity Framework will improve your job quality and reduce stress in your life.
With one caveat, it gets used correctly.
That’s the hard part right? There is tons of technology that makes things better, if used correctly. There are all sorts of programs that make your life easier, if used correctly. Yet, all of these, used incorrectly, can make your life a hell.
One nit that I’ve always had with Entity Framework is that it’s very difficult to tell what part of the code the call was coming from. You really have no idea. So when my friend, Chris Woodruff, asked me on Twitter what would be the best way to monitor TagWith queries in Entity Framework, well, first, I had to go look up what TagWith was, then I got real excited, because, hey, here’s a solution.
That “I love Entity Framework” is the lead-in to a one-act play of mine with people with pitchforks, tar, and feathers. Nevertheless, Grant shows us how we can tag code in C# and capture that data in extended events. I’d read it but I’m too busy sharpening my pitchfork.
This first little tip comes from a painful experience. It is common sense to only try and create files in a directory that exists, but sometimes that directory has to be different on different systems. Then comes a little copy and paste of the last code used that worked. You think you are golden but forgot that one little tweak for the directory to be used. Oops.
Read on to see how SQL Server exposes that error, and then Jason shows us a different how-not-to with file targets.
The other day, I shared an article showing how to audit database offline events via the default trace. Today, I will show an easier method to both audit and monitor for offline events. What is the difference between audit and monitor? It largely depends on your implementation, but I generally consider an audit as something you do after the fact. Monitor is a little more proactive.
Hopefully, a database being taken offline is a known event and not a surprise. Occasionally there are gremlins, in the form of users with too many permissions, that tend to do very strange things to databases and database servers.
Click through for the script.
It is said to be safe, reliable and proven using complex algorithms and built-in intelligence where it can do the following (see this link for more details: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/sql-database/sql-database-automatic-tuning)
- CREATE INDEX – identifies indexes that may improve performance of your workload, creates indexes, and automatically verifies that performance of queries has improved.
- DROP INDEX – identifies redundant and duplicate indexes daily, except for unique indexes, and indexes that were not used for a long time (>90 days). Please note that at this time the option is not compatible with applications using partition switching and index hints.
- FORCE LAST GOOD PLAN – identifies SQL queries using execution plan that is slower than the previous good plan, and queries using the last known good plan instead of the regressed plan.
Personally I don’t enable the option where it is allowed a “free-for-all” when creating/dropping indexes and forcing certain query plans. I like controlling the change, especially for production databases. To force this concept I wanted to use Extended Events to know when / if someone changed my settings for automatic tuning against my database.
Click through for the script.
You’ll note that the second statement in the sequence is “CREATE OR AL…” in the batch_text. That’s me modifying the procedure. The very next event is sp_cache_remove. It shows the remove_method as “Compplan Remove”. This the plan being removed in an automated way from cache. The next three events are all for query_cache_removal_statistics.
What are they?
These are the statement level statistical information being removed from the DMVs. That’s right, we can observe that information getting removed from the system along with the plan from cache.
Unless I’m missing something, it seems like this is more helpful for pedagogical reasons rather than auditing reasons—I’d be concerned that on a busy production system, we’d see too many messages to correlate things all that well.