Disabling All Triggers on a Database

Jess Pomfret is on a mission:

Sometimes it’s best not to ask why. However, if for some reason you have a number of triggers on tables within a database that you would like to temporarily disable, read on.

I came across a situation recently while automating a process to refresh test environments where this exact scenario came up.  As part of the process several scripts were run to obfuscate production data. While these ran all the UPDATE triggers were firing. Not only were the triggers adding a significant amount of time to the process, they were also updating dates and other values that we’d prefer kept their original values.

Jess has a tiny bit of Powershell code which does this work for you.

Notifications when Admins Connect to a SQL Server

Jon Shaulis builds a logon trigger to notify when sysadmins log into his systems:

I was helping someone set up some monitoring in their database and they were asking about being notified when someone with administrative privileges logs into SQL Server. While many of you know that I try to use the right tool for the right job, some may cringe when I say triggers can help out in this scenario.

Now, there are other methods here but the goal was to be notified when someone logs into your SQL Server with administrative privileges. Triggers will consistently fire when this event occurs and allows you to perform an action based on this event.

Just make sure you get the trigger right and don’t block everybody from logging in. That’s an awkward situation.

Triggers and Multi-Record Changes

Brent Ozar points out a common problem with trigger design:

When you declare variables and set them using one row from the INSERTED or DELETED virtual table, you have no idea which row you’re going to get. Even worse, sometimes this trigger will update one row, and sometimes it won’t – because it might happen to grab a row with a reputation under 1,000!

It’s an easy mistake to make and one which can have a major impact.

Enabling and Disabling Triggers

Kenneth Fisher shows how you can enable and disable triggers in SQL Server:

I tend to feel that a lot of people who use triggers don’t really understand them. That said, every now and again you have to deal with them. And in particular (for this post) you might need to disable and then re-enable them. Enabling and disable are identical commands in this case so I’m just going to use the DISABLEversion and you can just replace it with ENABLE as needed.

To be fair, the world might be a better place if we disabled a majority of triggers…

Triggers In Postgres

Ryan Booz explains how triggers work in Postgres from the standpoint of someone familiar with SQL Server:

They are implemented as Functions (Stored Procedures)
This caught me off guard at first. I’ve been working with and dealing with triggers in SQL Server since day 1. They are first-class citizens… objects that have their own code blocks and rules.

PostgreSQL approaches it differently. Any reusable code block, regardless of its true purpose is a Function of varying types. Triggers are no different. Therefore, you write the logic of your trigger in a Function and then call it by adding a trigger to the DML event of a table.

Click through for a few more tips on triggers.

T-SQL Tuesday Trigger Roundup

Steve Jones has a bunch of links about triggers this month:

This month was my turn to host T-SQL Tuesday. I chose Trigger Headaches or Happinessas the topic, and I am glad that there have been quite a few responses.

I started the review almost immediately,and here are a few highlights. I separated these based on how I first thought of them after reading the post. If you think I’ve mischaracterized one, let me know.

In case you don’t want to add, it’s 9 to 13, so triggers are a headache.

It’s a good roundup of cautionary stories, tips, and tricks.

Trigger Spirals

David Fowler tells a story of woe, one which is totally not his fault:

To do this, a trigger was created which would send all the details via a Service Broker message to another SQL Server, this SQL Server was used to hold details of the AD accounts and from there, changes were automatically propagated out to AD.

This was working well until one day when it was realised that any changes to account permissions in AD weren’t reflected in the personnel database.  To solve this, another trigger was created to send a Service Broker message back to the personnel database with details of the change.

This was where I came in, it was noticed that the system had started to run slower and slower, not only that but permissions seemed to be constantly changing for no obvious reason.  Were the machines finally waking up and taking over?

There’s a reasonable explanation here, for some definition of reasonable.

Triggers: Good, Bad, Mostly Ugly

Bob Pusateri walks us through a poorly-written DDL trigger:

First, the scope. While the application that deployed this trigger has its own database, AppDB, this trigger is firing for events on the entire server, which is what the ON ALL SERVER line means. Any qualifying event on this server, even if it pertains to another application with a separate database, will be written into this database. And what is a “qualifying event”? Literally any DDL statement. The line AFTER DDL_EVENTS specifies the very top of the event hierarchy used by DDL triggers.

So to recap on scope, this application is capturing all DDL statements on the entire server and saving a copy for itself. This application is seeing (and recording) plenty of events that it has no need to see. If this were a healthcare application or a system that dealt with PII it would be a legal nightmare, but fortunately it isn’t.

However, scope isn’t the only issue.

Worth the read.  If you use DDL triggers on the instance level, make sure you know what you’re looking for and limit yourself as much as possible.

Tracking Database Logins: 5 Methods

Eugene Meidinger has a medley of options for tracking server logins:

I once had to some auditing for a customer and it was a complicated, multi-stage process. We had to be able to demonstrate who had admin access and what kind of activity was going on, on the server. But before we could do any of that, we first had to identify who was actually logging on.

We get a brief walkthrough of each, and an important warning.

Server-Level Triggers

Shane O’Neill makes me wish Policy-Based Management ever got the love it needed:

Now, my normal attitude with regard to triggers tends to run to the negative. Which is horrible, because triggers are just like any other tool; neutral by themselves and only good or bad based on how we use them.

So, with that being said, I’ve forced myself to think of a positive use for them. So here is a time when I’ve used triggers for a “good” cause and used them to get some visibility on when new databases are created.

DDL triggers can be useful things, as Shane shows us.

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