Generating SSRS Subscription Agent Job Commands

Craig Porteous has a quick script to generate T-SQL commands to start and stop SQL Agent jobs tied to Reporting Services subscriptions:

This is a query I would run when I needed to quickly make bulk changes to Reporting Services subscriptions. It’s part of an “emergency fix” toolkit. 

Maybe a DB has went down and I have to quickly suspend specific subscriptions or locate Agent jobs for subscriptions. This was always a quick starting point.

I could take the generated StartEnable and Disable commands and record these in tickets or email threads to demonstrate actions taken. There are other ways to make bulk changes to SSRS subscriptions involving custom queries but this can be run immediately, I don’t have to tailor a WHERE clause first. I also wrote previously on managing subscription failures.

Click through for the script.

Auditing SQL Agent Jobs

Jason Brimhall has some clever techniques for auditing SQL Agent Jobs with Extended Events:

Once upon a time, I was in the position of trying to figure out why a job failed. After a bunch of digging and troubleshooting, it was discovered that the job had changed but nobody knew when or why. Because of that, I was asked to provide a low cost audit solution to try and at least provide answers to the when and who of the change.

Tracking who made a change to an agent job should be a task added to each database professionals checklist / toolbox. Being caught off guard from a change to a system under your purview isn’t necessarily a fun conversation – nor is it pleasant to be the one to find that somebody changed your jobs without notice – two weeks after the fact! Usually, that means that there is little to no information about the change and you find yourself getting frustrated.

Click through to see how Jason does it.

ARITHABORT And SET Options

Jason Brimhall explains an error message he received:

INSERT failed because the following SET options have incorrect settings: ‘ARITHABORT’. 
Verify that SET options are correct for use with 
indexed views 
and/or indexes on computed columns 
and/or filtered indexes 
and/or query notifications 
and/or XML data type methods 
and/or spatial index operations.
[SQLSTATE 42000] (Error 1934). The step failed.


Immediately I started looking at my creation scripts for the tables.  Nope, no XML indexes, no spatial indexes, no filtered indexes, no indexes on computed columns (not even any computed columns),  and no query notifications.

In Jason’s case, it was an oddity around SQL Agent jobs, but there are a few reasons this could pop up, and Jason explains some of the most common.

Disabling SQL Agent Jobs For Maintenance Periods

Jon Shaulis shows us a way to disable SQL Agent jobs with T-SQL:

A user had a unique issue where their system would have dynamically changing job names and schedules, but they need to disable and re-enable them during maintenance. Obviously, this is a huge headache.
I made a recommendation that they should ultimately create a list of currently enabled jobs that had a schedule using a system query.

SELECT *
FROM MSDB.dbo.sysschedules ss
     INNER JOIN msdb.dbo.sysjobschedules jss
ON jss.schedule_id = ss.schedule_id
WHERE ss.enabled = 1;
The code above returns all schedules that are paired to a job that are enabled. The enabled = 1 flag and the inner join to the sysjobschedules table are what dictate those filters.

Read on for more details about what’s going on and some caveats.

Agent Job Cmdlets In dbatools

Garry Bargsley has a series looking at different cmdlets in dbatools.  Today’s focus is Agent jobs:

Agent Jobs are the heartbeat to most SQL Server environments.  Jobs are how we move data, purge data, automate processes, backup databases, perform database maintenance and many other functions.  Managing one SQL Server and the Agent Jobs can be a daunting task, much less managing 10, 20, 100 or more.  Luckily dbatools has you covered!!!  There are a wide range of commands that help you with Agent Jobs.  There are commands to Copy jobs, Find Jobs, Get Jobs, Create New Jobs, Remove Jobs, Set Jobs Settings, Start Jobs and Stop Jobs.  That is a huge range of functionality, so lets get started on the fourth day goodness.

Click through for descriptions and examples.

Polling For File Existence In SQL Agent

Bill Fellows gives us an example of polling for a file change using SQL Agent:

A fun question over on StackOverflow asked about using SQL Agent with SSIS to poll for a file’s existence. As the comments indicate, there’s a non-zero startup time associated with SSIS (it must validate the metadata associated to the sources and destinations), but there is a faster, lighter weight alternative. Putting together a host of TSQL ingredients, including undocumented extended stored procedures, the following recipe could be used as a SQL Agent job step.

If you’re going to limit yourself to just SQL Server-based solutions and running on a frequent schedule isn’t enough, this is one of the better options.

When Disabled SQL Agent Jobs Still Run

David Fowler troubleshoots a nasty issue with the SQL Server Agent:

In a previous blog post: Duplicate Agent jobs – A good reason not to meddle with Msdb I explained a situation where someone was updating msdb tables manually rather than using the supplied system stored procedures such as msdb.dbo.sp_update_job, It would seem that this was not the only occasion where I would find myself in the midst of the meddlers’ medley.

This time around the meddler decided to disable the job using an update statement against the msdb.dbo.sysjobs table setting enabled from 1 to 0, you have no idea how long it took me to work that out!! but this lead me onto discovering more about the SQL server agent and its general behaviour.

Short form:  use the built in procedures to modify SQL Agent jobs rather than going off and updating tables on your own.  Click through for the long form, with plenty of interesting details.

Creating Timelines With dbatools

Marcin Gminski shows how to pull SQL Agent and backup history out of SQL Server and display it as a visual history timeline:

Currently, the output from the following commands is supported:

  • Get-DbaAgentJobHistory
  • Get-DbaBackupHistory

You will run the above commands as you would normally do but pipe the output to ConvertTo-DbaTimeline, the same way as you would with any other ConverTo-* PowerShell function. The output is a string that most of the time you will save as file using the Out-File command in order to open it in a browser.

Then, with the ConvertTo-DbaTimeline cmdlet, you can convert that into an HTML page which looks pretty good.

Changing SQL Agent Job Owners

Jason Brimhall shows us a quick method for changing SQL Agent job owners:

It is not unusual to find a server where some random user created a bunch of jobs to be run by SQL Agent. Sometimes, the user creating the job(s) sets themself as the owner of the job. There are certain cases where this behavior is hard to avoid like when creating a maintenance plan.

And of course, there are times when the user just doesn’t know any better. There is of course, the rare occasion when setting the job owner to be ones self makes the most sense -but that is few and far between in the grand scheme. Usually, you will want a non-expiring account such as a service account or a principal without “logon” permissions to be the owner.

The primary reason being simple – humans have an expiration date for every job they will ever have. When that expiration occurs, you may end up with any number of unwanted side effects. Unwanted side effects is exactly what we try to avoid in our jobs run via SQL Agent.

Click through for the script.  It’s also a good rule of thumb not to have your name attached to too many things; that way, your successor has no way of knowing you’re to blame for whatever awful hack is in place…

Updating SQL Agent Job Owners With dbatools

Stuart Moore gives us two methods of updating SQL Agent job owners, one using T-SQL and the other with dbatools:

Now we all know that having SQL Server Agent jobs owned by ‘Real’ users isn’t a good idea. But I don’t keep that close an eye on some of our test instances, so wasn’t surprised when I spotted this showing up in the monitoring:

The job failed. Unable to determine if the owner (OldDeveloper) of job important_server_job has server access (reason: Could not obtain information about Windows NT group/user 'OldDeveloper', error code 0x534. [SQLSTATE 42000] (Error 15404)).

Wanting to fix this as quickly and simply as possible I just wanted to bulk move them to our job owning account (let’s use the imaginative name of ‘JobOwner’).

Click through for both scripts.

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