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.

Configuring SQL Agent For Linux

Steve Jones shows how to install and configure the SQL Agent for Linux:

When I first started playing with this version, I noticed that SQL Agent was disabled. That’s not great, since SQL Agent is a great tool for various tasks in SQL Server. I can’t start the agent from here, as the underlying implementation is different, and I’m not really a host OS admin when connecting in SSMS.

After checking which patch level I was at (CU6), I changed to my Linux console, and ran the configuration utility. For Linux, this is mssql-conf.

It’s not an overly complicated process but the process is a bit different from Windows, so check it out.

Spreading Out Multi-Server Agent Runs

Tracy Boggiano shows how to distribute SQL Agent job runtimes for multi-server jobs using MSX/TSX:

First, you need to decide how many time blocks or hours you want the jobs to run in.  So let’s start with scenario one where you pick for example four time blocks.  First, you declare a variable with the time block in it and we will feed in the @@SERVERNAME to let determine a value for the time block that server will run.  Then we wrap our code around our time block, our example we will run Index Maintenance for a 12 period spread out for three hours.  Mind you for my index process which I probably should blog about as well I am processing one index at a time have something that BREAKs out of the procedure when it exceeds the time block it is.  So below we run Index Maintenace between start the index maintenance job on a server between the hours 6  PM and 5 AM based on the time block value we got back.

Click through for a sample.

Alerting On tempdb Growth

Lori Brown shows how to use a SQL Agent alert to warn you if tempdb grows beyond a certain size:

Lastly, create a SQL Alert to notify you as soon as tempdb grows past the threshold you stipulate. Using the GUI to create the alert, you need to fill out every field on the General page and make sure the Enabled checkbox is marked. Create a Name for the alerts, then specify the Type as SQL Server performance condition alert. The Object should be Databases, the Counter is Data File(s) Size (KB), and the Instance will be tempdb. The alert will trigger if counter rises above the value. The Value will depend upon the cumulative size of your tempdb files. In this case each tempdb file is 12GB (or 12,288,000 KB), so the total size is 98,304,000 KB.

I liked the approach of only firing the SQL Agent job after a trigger was met, rather than running a job which queries and then creates an e-mail afterward.

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