Press "Enter" to skip to content

Category: Service Broker

Shredding XML for Service Broker

Chris Johnson continues a series on Service Broker:

So, what we have here is an element called people. This contains 2 person elements with personID attributes attached to them. These both contain firstName and lastName elements, but personID 124 also has a middleName and two pet elements. These pet elements each hold a name element, but only fluffles has an animalType element.

In this way, we can use XML to hold only the data we actually know. Unless we have specified an XML Schema (outside the scope of this class) there is no validation on what elements or attributes an element should contain.

When Service Broker was launched, XML was the primary markup language people pretended was easily readable but really wasn’t.

Leave a Comment

Handling Messages with Service Broker

Chris Johnson continues a series on Service Broker:

This stored procedure is used by the queue to handle messages that arrive. When a message arrives the queue will execute the procedure over and over until there are no more messages on the queue. Your stored procedure therefore needs to be removing messages as it goes. You have the option to have multiple versions of the query executing at once, to clear down a queue faster or to keep up with a high volume of messages, using the MAX_QUEUE_READERS setting. You can turn the stored procedure on or off using the STATUS, while this is set to OFF nothing will happen but as soon as it is set to ON the query will start processing messages again. Finally you need to specify what user the query will execute under. The options here are SELF, as the current user (the person who runs the CREATE or ALTER script), OWNER, as the person who owns the queue, or a username that the current user has impersonate permissions for.

Chris provides us an example of what a procedure could look like and also covers briefly the concept of poison message handling.

Leave a Comment

The Function of Service Broker Queues

Chris Johnson continues a series on Service Broker:

A queue is a full database object, like a table or a stored procedure. As such, it is part of a schema, and appears in the sys.objects view. A queue holds messages that have been sent to it, in the same way that a table does, and these messages can even be queried in the same way that you would query a table.

You can’t change the columns that are available, and there are quite a few of them. To see what there is, just run SELECT * against any queue, but a few of the key ones are service_name, service_contract_name, message_type_name, message_body, message_enqueue_time, conversation_handle.

Read on to see how to create a new queue.

Comments closed

Service Broker Conversations and Messages

Chris Johnson is working on a series on Service Broker fundamentals. This post covers conversations and messages:

First, each conversation has its own unique dialog_handle (not conversation handle, despite everything calling it a conversation from now on, score one for consistency Microsoft). We need to capture this handle in a UNIQUEIDENTIFIER variable, as we will need it later on to send messages across the conversation. In fact, the statement will error if you don’t supply a variable to capture the handle.

Second, we need to supply both FROM and TO services. These tell the conversation which service is the source and which is the target. Remember, each service is attached to a queue, and can have one or more contracts attached to it. The source service is a database object, but the target service is an NVARCHAR. This allows the target service to live outside the database, which is something that I will cover at some point in the Service Broker 201 series.

This is a nice explanation of the process, so if you aren’t particularly familiar with Service Broker, check out Chris’s series, starting with the first and second posts.

Comments closed

Auditing Login Events Using Service Broker

Max Vernon takes us through using Service Broker to audit login events:

Logging to the SQL Server Error Log or the Windows Security Event Log means you’ll need some kind of tool to slice-and-dice the data, postmortem. It’s difficult to respond to events as they happen with this kind of auditing, and hard to create simple T-SQL queries to inspect the data. You could create a login trigger at the server level, but that will only allow you to capture successful logins. Coding the trigger incorrectly can result in everyone being locked out of the server. You’ll need to use the Dedicated Administrator Connection, otherwise known as the DAC, to login to the server and disable the errant trigger. Not fun.

Luckily, there is a much better option; using SQL Server’s built-in Event Notification service to receive login events through Service Broker. This event stream is asynchronous to the login process, meaning it won’t interrupt or slow down the login process, and it allows you to capture both successful and failed logins to a table, either locally or remotely. For larger SQL Server infrastructures, it’s not uncommon to setup a single SQL Server instance to gather this information for central analysis.

This blog post shows how to setup a database locally for auditing login events via SQL Server Event Notifications and Service Broker.

Click through for a script-heavy post which helps you all the way through the process.

Comments closed

Service Broker External Activator And .NET Framework

Allen White walks us through a problem he experienced recently:

My test environment is running SQL Server 2017 on Windows Server 2016, a pretty vanilla environment. After downloading the appropriate installer for the server where the service was to run, I installed it, made the necessary changes to the config file per the documentation provided after installation, assigned the service account with the necessary privileges, and attempted to start the service.

In the Windows System error log, I got three messages.

Read on for the solution.

Comments closed

Service Broker Security

Misha Capewell has a quick synopsis of the two flavors of service broker security:

There are 2 types of security in Service Broker: dialog and transport. Dialog security establishes a secure, authenticated connection between Service Broker Services or dialog endpoints. Transport security establishes an authenticated network connection between SQL Server instances or Service Broker endpoints. Clear as mud, right? Don’t worry, these are easily mixed up by both novice and experienced Service Broker admins. To illustrate, let’s go back to our taxes scenario. You’ve completed your forms, stamped your envelope and you’re ready to mail it in. You drop it in your nearest mailbox and what happens next? A postal worker will pick it up, it gets loaded into a truck and shipped between various sorting facilities (as you might have noticed I have no clue how the USPS works) until it is finally delivered to the IRS via yet another postal worker. Now, those postal workers all have the authority to transport your tax return from point to point. However, they do not have the authority to open up and read your return. That’s what transport security is. The IRS agent on the other end, though, he does have the authority to read your return. That’s dialog security.

Click through for more details, including a couple of scripts to help configure each form of security.

Comments closed

Service Broker Security

Colleen Morrow is back with a new item in her Service Broker series, this time on securing Service Broker implementations:

There are 2 types of security in Service Broker: dialog and transport. Dialog security establishes a secure, authenticated connection between Service Broker Services or dialog endpoints. Transport security establishes an authenticated network connection between SQL Server instances or Service Broker endpoints. Clear as mud, right? Don’t worry, these are easily mixed up by both novice and experienced Service Broker admins. To illustrate, let’s go back to our taxes scenario. You’ve completed your forms, stamped your envelope and you’re ready to mail it in. You drop it in your nearest mailbox and what happens next? A postal worker will pick it up, it gets loaded into a truck and shipped between various sorting facilities (as you might have noticed I have no clue how the USPS works) until it is finally delivered to the IRS via yet another postal worker. Now, those postal workers all have the authority to transport your tax return from point to point. However, they do not have the authority to open up and read your return. That’s what transport security is. The IRS agent on the other end, though, he does have the authority to read your return. That’s dialog security.

It’s also worth noting that transport security is only needed in a distributed environment. Just like if the IRS agent lived with you, you wouldn’t need to go through the USPS. But that’s just weird.

This wraps up Colleen’s Service Broker series.  If you do find yourself interested in Service Broker, this is a great way to get your feet wet.

Comments closed

Using Service Broker To Queue Up External Script Calls

Arvind Shyamsundar shows how to use Service Broker to run external R or Python scripts based on new data coming into a transactional system:

Here, we will show you how you can use the asynchronous execution mechanism offered by SQL Server Service Broker to ‘queue’ up data inside SQL Server which can then be asynchronously passed to a Python script, and the results of that Python script then stored back into SQL Server.

This is effectively similar to the external message queue pattern but has some key advantages:

  • The solution is integrated within the data store, leading to fewer moving parts and lower complexity
  • Because the solution is in-database, we don’t need to make copies of the data. We just need to know what data has to be processed (effectively a ‘pointer to the data’ is what we need).

Service Broker also offers options to govern the number of readers of the queue, thereby ensuring predictable throughput without affecting core database operations.

There are several interconnected parts here, and Arvind walks through the entire scenario.

Comments closed

SQL Server Features Forgotten But Not Gone

Robert Sheldon looks at five cobweb-ravaged parts of SQL Server:

Policy-Based Management (PBM) has a PR problem, even worse that DQS and MDS. A lot of people don’t know what it is, or if they do, are not sure if it’s still supported. Microsoft doesn’t even mention the feature in its list of Editions and supported features of SQL Server 2016. The PR problem is so bad, in fact, that I’ve come across community forum postings asking whether PBM still exists.

Despite its silent role, PBM is still a supported feature and appears to be available to all SQL Server editions, although I suspect it caters primarily to organizations with a large number of similar SQL Server implementations.

Microsoft introduced PBM in SQL Server 2008 to provide a policy-based system for managing one or more SQL Server instances. You can, for example, use policies to grant permissions on user databases, disable lightweight pooling, or choose an authentication mode. You can also target policies at specific SQL Server instances, databases, tables, or indexes.

Quick hits:  Data Quality Services and Master Data Services have been lapped by the competition and aren’t really competitive products anymore.  Policy-Based Management is still useful, and I wish it’d get some internal love to extend roles & features.  Management Data Warehouse is a tire fire that you should avoid at all costs.  Service Broker is useful in the right circumstances, but it needs a few big changes to become a great broker.  Unfortunately, I don’t see big changes happening and so there are superior alternatives for data flow (like Apache Kafka).  But read Robert’s take on these features.

Comments closed