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Category: T-SQL Tuesday

T-SQL Tuesday 130 Roundup: Automate Your Stress Away

Elizabeth Noble recaps T-SQL Tuesday #130:

I’m really grateful for all the bloggers that took part this month. Especially since automation has been a topic discussed before. However, it’s hard for me to get too much of my day to day work automated. And I was really looking forward to these topics so that I could learn new tasks I could automate myself. With that said, let’s see all the wonderful ideas people contributed this month. And if you’re like me, you’re going to want to put some of this automation in place as soon as possible.

Click through for 24 entries.

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GetAllTheErrorLogs: Combining Multiple Log Sources

Aaron Bertrand has a new project:

There’s a whole lot of grunt work in there that shouldn’t have to be done by a person. I don’t think you could automate the whole thing, because it is hard to predict exactly what events will be interesting and not, but I think 90% is achievable.

A colleague mentioned that they want to build something that would help, but even when that happens, that would up in proprietary code that only helps us. I saw Drew Furgiuele’s post on Building a Better Get-SQLErrorLog, and that gave me some ideas for what I would build. After reaching out to Drew, I created a GitHub repository with a working name of GetAllTheErrorLogs. Its elevator pitch is a simple sentence:

Powershell to assemble a timeline combining salient events from Windows Event Log, Failover Cluster log, and SQL Server errorlog.

Click through for the details as well as Aaron’s current progress.

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Automating Database Restorations

Hugo Kornelis walks us through automated restoration of database backups:

Now I’ve been to quite a few conferences. And I’ve heard a lot of DBAs talk about best practices. One of the constants in those talks is: automate your restores. So I felt confident that a quick internet search would surely be enough to find me an existing script for restoring a database. Sure, I’d need to modify it to restore to a test database, but that should be minimal effort.

To my surprise, I was unable to find a script. Is scripting this so easy that every DBA can do it with their eyes closed, and nobody feels a need to share it? Is it so hard that they all decided they’re sitting on gold and will only share it for big money? Or were my internet search skills simply severely lacking?

Anyway, bottom line is that I had to do it myself. And I’ll share the result in this post.

Click through for the script and a detailed explanation of how it works.

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Automation Tips for ETL

Richard Swinbank shares some tips around automating ETL processes:

I spent a good part of my career in the UK National Health Service (NHS). We often talk about data engineering problems in terms of handling large volumes of data, but the challenge in the NHS was frequently complexity – even a small acute hospital might have a dozen or more separate systems, running on various different DBMS backends, with many tables of interest for management or central reporting.

You might need to extract data from hundreds of (mostly small) tables to populate your data warehouse – my challenge was to make this as quick and easy to implement as possible.

Click through for the tips.

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Automate sp_whoisactive Runs

John McCormack shows how to save the output from sp_whoisactive for later research:

When I took over a fairly troublesome SQL Server, I was always being asked what was running when the SQL Server was slow. That was fine when it was during the day and I could look. But often I would be asked, why was the server slow at 9pm last Friday? Or some other time. It’s not always the easiest thing to do as SQL Server doesn’t natively keep this information for you.

A quick but effective way to automate this is to download and schedule Adam Machanic’s sp_whoisactive stored procedure. I run this every 10 minutes but I have seen it scheduled as often as every 30-60 seconds. It depends on your system and your needs.

This is in place where I work, and I’ve put it into place when consulting for companies without the budget for fancy tools. I really appreciate that Adam Machanic made it a simple option to insert results into a table. Also, John has a step to delete older data, which is critical.

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Automating dbachecks Runs

Jess Pomfret automates runs of dbachecks via scheduled task:

To automate the running of our daily checks we’ll first create a PowerShell script and then schedule that using task scheduler.  If you have other enterprise scheduling tools available you could easily use those instead to invoke the PowerShell script.

The script for my example, shown below, is pretty simple. I have a section to define where the data will be stored (the ability to save dbachecks result information straight into a database was introduced with dbachecks 2.0 and so I would highly recommend updating if you’re on an earlier version).

Click through for the full explanation and code.

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Automating a Permissions Audit with dbatools

Garry Bargsley walks us through the process of a permissions audit made easier:

My post for T-SQL Tuesday #130 is going to be how I automated my companies SQL Server Permissions Audit process. Even though this only occurs every quarter it is something that I as the DBA never look forward to and the business partners never really enjoy. In an effort to streamline the process from start to finish I built automation using PowerShell, dbatools and ImportExcel. The process now builds the permissions audit file, extracts individual users from Active Directory and e-mails the information to the appropriate team(s) for review.

Read on for details about the process.

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General Principles for Automation

Eitan Blumin thinks through a series of general principles around when to automate things:

What I’m gonna do is try to look at the topic of automation and productivity in more general terms, in the hopes of conveying to you my overall methodology while working on a given task.

I will try to formulate a list of “Laws” or “Maxims“, that together will try to represent my personal approach to handling tasks, with the main goal in mind to maximize productivity.

Click through for the list.

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Automating Azure Resource Deletion

Drew Skwiers-Koballa has put together a runbook to remove Azure resources tagged in a certain way:

Microsoft puts a lot of effort into making it easy for you to log on to portal.azure.com and spin up a VM, SQL Database, Function, or other instance. The Visual Studio Enterprise subscription with $150 credit per month can go quickly if you’re not careful to stop or remove big ticket items as soon as you’re done with them. Even if you have a virtually unlimited Azure account connected to a credit card, expense account, or a trust fund – you probably don’t want to accidentally leave something running longer than it is needed.

With an Azure Automation account and a Powershell workflow runbook I’m able to use resource tags to set resources for autodeletion by date or immediately that evening.

Click through for that runbook.

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Ensuring Trace Flag Consistency Across Instances

Taiob Ali creates a process to track ensure specific trace flags are in use:

Recently during a SQL Server upgrade, I noticed some inconsistency with trace flags between production and non-production instances. Investigating further also found a similar inconsistency between Always On Availability Group replicas.

My team members fixed this issue by leveraging startup stored procedures.

Click through for the explanation.

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