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Category: SQL Agent

Stop Long-Running SQL Agent Jobs

Lori Brown puts a halt to things:

I have always done this by having a monitoring job that executes on a schedule that runs at a time when you need other jobs to stop.  Of course, you need to be aware that stopping jobs can come with unwanted side effects of some data change that may be unfinished (there may be a rollback) and the stopped job will have to gracefully be re-run at another time.  You will also see the stopped job as cancelled in the job activity monitor.  And, hopefully you are aware that you can tell a job to stop but if it is doing work using a linked server, it may not stop as expected or it can take a while if it is rolling back a transaction.

Read on for an example of how to do this.

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Parallel SQL Agent Jobs: The Next Step

Aaron Bertrand wraps up a series on parallel SQL Agent jobs:

Imagine you’ve split up this chunk of work so that, collectively, it finishes much faster. When all of the threads are done, you want to kick off the next round of work. For example, if the threads are writing data to flat files, when they’re all done, you might want to then kick off a process that zips them, or moves them, or bulk loads them into a different system, or all of the above.

Read on for some of the challenges around this, as well as what you can do about them. Also, Aaron mentions SQL Agent tokens en passant, and that’s something that will probably be new to most people.

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Using a Snake Draft Order in SQL Server

Aaron Bertrand makes use of an ordering:

In my previous post, I showed how to borrow a snake draft concept from fantasy football, or a packing technique from the shipping industry, to distribute different portions of a workload to run in parallel. In the previous example, we determined a distribution order for databases based on size – though you can rank by literally any attribute (or combination of attributes). Once we’ve determined how to build out this order, we may want to store that data somewhere because, sometimes, the source of that data is not directly accessible.

Read on for tips on storing the results in a table, querying the results, and using them to drive SQL Agent jobs.

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Elastic Jobs in Azure SQL DB Now GA

Srini Acharya makes an announcement:

Elastic Jobs is a fully integrated Azure SQL database service that allows you to automate and manage administrative tasks across multiple SQL databases in a secure, scalable way. It can run one or more T-SQL job scripts in parallel using Azure portal, PowerShell, REST, or T-SQL APIs. Jobs can be run on a schedule or on-demand, targeting any tier of Azure SQL Database. Job target can include all databases in a server, in an elastic pool, across multiple servers and even databases across different subscriptions and geo regions on Azure. Servers and pools are dynamically enumerated at runtime, so jobs run against all databases that exist in the target group at the time of execution.

If you’ve held off on Azure SQL DB because of a lack of the SQL Agent, take a look at this option.

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Proper Logging of SQL Agent Job Outputs

Aaron Bertrand hits on an annoyance of mine:

If you haven’t migrated your workloads to a managed database platform yet, you’re probably still relying on SQL Server Agent for various maintenance and other scheduled tasks. Most of the time, these processes just work. But when it’s time to troubleshoot, it can be cumbersome to get to the root of some problems. In this post, I’ll share some ideas to help you minimize the level of annoyance and tedium when you have to figure out what went wrong with the execution of a job.

Recently, I was investigating a job that ran a stored procedure against multiple databases in sequence, and ultimately failed. Here was the output of the job step as seen in Management Studio’s View Job History dialog:

Read on for a few tips to help with SQL Agent job logging.

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Enabling SQL Agent after Upgrading from Express Edition

Warwick Rudd ponies up the cash:

With the above limitations, this product can provide all of the functionality for your application to operate as required. Because there is no SQL Agent service in this edition this makes it more difficult for you to implement scheduled database maintenance. We are not going to discuss ways to implement database maintenance on an Express edition of SQL Server in this post.

But at some point in time you may find yourself in the position that you need to perform an upgrade of editions. This may or may not include and upgrade of versions. An upgrade to the version can be achieved and can bring benefits of its own. Normally, I would not be writing about and recommending performing in-place upgrades. However, sometimes due to restrictions of vendor applications it is a requirement to perform an in-place upgrade. 

Read on to see what you’d need to do, knowing that Express Edition does not come with a SQL Server Agent and does not perform the appropriate setup for one.

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