Lesson 1: Working with SQL Server Profiler in VS .NET

Generator PDF417 in VS .NET Lesson 1: Working with SQL Server Profiler

Lesson 1: Working with SQL Server Profiler
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Figure 15-4 Change the order of columns as they are displayed in Profiler.
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Events and Data Columns
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For a complete list of events and data columns available for capture, see the SQL Server 2005 Books Online articles SQL Server Event Class Reference and Describing Events by Using Data Columns.
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At this point, the trace is fully defined. All you need to do is start the trace and begin gathering data. Click Run to launch the trace. Figures 15-5 and 15-6 show a running trace.
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Figure 15-5 Running a trace against an active database
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Monitoring and Troubleshooting SQL Server Performance
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Figure 15-6 Continuation of a tuning trace against AdventureWorks
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Starting, Pausing, and Stopping a Trace
After a trace is running, you can control it from within Profiler. In the middle of the toolbar are buttons to start, pause, and stop a trace. When you click Pause, the data gathering is suspended at the server level. Any events that occur while the trace is paused are not captured. Pausing a trace can be useful when you are looking at a trace in Profiler while data is being captured. Because of the speed at which Profiler logs the data into the grid, it becomes very difficult to look at individual pieces of data. So, you can pause the data capture so that you can investigate trace results for a particular query. Periodically pausing and then restarting a trace is common in the initial stages of investigation, letting DBAs or developers sample query activity to get an idea of where issues might be occurring. You can then redefine the trace with more targeted events and filters. Stopping a trace closes the trace session. Although you can then restart the trace, the data capture is reset, and all previous data is discarded. Thus, you should stop a trace only when you are finished capturing all of the data you need.
Lesson 1: Working with SQL Server Profiler
Quick Check
What capabilities does SQL Server Profiler provide DBAs and developers SQL Server Profiler provides a GUI interface to the SQL Trace API. SQL Trace lets DBAs and developers gather data on a variety of events as they occur within the server. They can then use the data gathered for these events to analyze performance or stability issues as well as to track down the causes of errors.
Quick Check Answer
Saving a Trace Log
Capturing trace data has little value unless you can save it and use it as an input for further analysis. There are a variety of ways to save a trace definition or the data it generates.
Saving a Trace Definition
Most environments have traces running either continuously or on predefined intervals. The process of setting up, launching, and closing these traces is automated by using SQL Server Agent jobs. However, writing a trace is not a trivial process. So, you can take a shortcut and let Profiler do all the work for you. After you create a new trace inside Profiler that contains the events, data columns, and filters that you want, click Run and then immediately stop the trace. Under the File menu, go to the option Export, Script Trace Definition. You can use this option to generate a Transact-SQL batch to create a trace for either SQL Server 2005 or SQL Server 2000. You then use this batch as the basis for a stored procedure that SQL Server Agent calls to manage the trace.
Saving Trace Data
This lesson has already covered two methods for saving trace data: save to file and save to table. If during the trace definition you specified to save to a file or table, the trace data is already saved for you. However, you can explicitly write the contents of the grid inside Profiler to either a file or table by accessing the File, Save As, Trace File or File, Save As, Trace Table options. You can also save the trace data in an XML format that can then be parsed by another program.
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Monitoring and Troubleshooting SQL Server Performance
BEST PRACTICES
Saving to a table
The Profiler option to save trace data as a table has an interesting limitation that makes it impractical for production use. Profiler prompts you to create a new table; it does not let you save trace data into an existing table. So, let s say you have created a trace for your server and specified file rollover. Your trace has been running for awhile and has generated 15 files. All 15 of these files are a single, contiguous trace. To save the trace data to a table, you would first have to open each file and save each to a separate table. After you save each file as a separate table, you would have to manually combine all 15 tables into a single table for analysis. However, you can eliminate this process with a single line of code. fn_trace_gettable is a built-in function that returns the contents of a trace file in a tabular format. There is even an option to iteratively walk down all of the rollover files. Therefore, by creating a statement that performs a SELECT * INTO <table> FROM fn_trace_gettable ( <filename> ) operation, you can have all 15 trace files loaded into a single table. Later in this chapter, we will see where this function becomes extremely important.
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