Ad Hoc Automation On TSQL Tuesday


Ad hoc Automation – isn’t that an oxymoron?  Isn’t it hard to automate something?  That answer depends on what you mean by automation.  If you want to build SSIS packages and SQL Agent jobs to comb your network and return all kinds of information about the servers and instances and track changes over time then you’re not going to knock that out before your second cup of coffee.  But suppose you just need to know what the SQL Server version is for each instance you own.  Or what if you are tired of cleaning AdventureWorks tables out of master and you want to set everybody’s default database to tempdb?  These tasks are a slice of pastry using the multi-server query feature of SQL Server’s Central Management Servers (CMS).

I’m not going to go over the details of how to set up a CMS  as Kimberly Tripp has already done a great job.  Instead I’d like to focus on some of the things you can do with them to automate repetitive tasks.  

SQL Server CMS allows you to interact with a group of servers much as you would with a single server.  The grouping of servers is entirely up to you.  You can have as many groups as you wish and you can configure them as you please.  This is important because, with a little thought you can slice and dice your environment by version (2K, 2005, 2008), by environment (Dev, Test, Prod), by function (Log Shipping, Replication, Clustered) and so on.  This allows you to customize your code and multiply the power of your CMS.

For example, suppose you have a server discovery query that returns SQL server metadata for an instance like this:

Wouldn’t it be handy to be able to generate that same information for every server in your enterprise in a single, Excel ready, recordset!

At one client site we decided to make every login use tempdb for their default DB.  Connecting to each of the 100+ instances and doing this manually didn’t appeal to me so I wrote and tested a TSQL script to do it on a single server, connected to every server at once, and made the change in about 2 minutes.  Notice I mentioned that I TESTED the script.  Remember, as Uncle Ben reminds us “with great power comes great responsibility.”   

I believe SQL Server’s CMS is a very useful but under-appreciated feature  limited only by your creativity.

I Have HOW MANY filegroups!?!

For small DBs one or maybe two data files (.mdf/.ndf) works fine.  With larger DBs though there is an opportunity to gain performance by the judicious use of additional file groups and files.   Unfortunately some folks go a little crazy and you can end up with more files than you can shake a dead cat at (my apologies to cat lovers).

Here’s a quick script to give you the lay of the land regarding file groups and their files.


                                                             As FGName

            ,Count(                                                 As FileCount

            ,Convert (Integer, Avg((F.size*8096.0)/(POWER(1024.0,2))))

                                                                                    As AvgFileSize_MB


            <DBName,sysname,MyDB>.sys.filegroups         As FG

            Inner Join

            sys.master_files                                              As F

                        On FG.data_space_id = F.data_space_id


            F.database_id = DB_ID(‘<DBName,sysname,MyDB>’)

Group By



            COUNT( > 1

Order By


Actually I like cats, I just can’t eat a whole one by myself.

How Bad Are My Statistics?

Here’s a quick query that tells you how many rows have been changed (table & index) since the last statistics update.

Select     OBJECT_NAME(            As TableName

    ,Sum(Convert(BigInt,I.rowmodctr))    As RowsModSinceStats


From     sys.sysindexes                As I


    (    Select     OBJECT_NAME(PS.object_id)    As TableName

            ,SUM(PS.row_count)            As RowCnt

        From     sys.dm_db_partition_stats        As PS


            sys.indexes                As I

                ON I.object_id
= PS.object_id

                AND I.index_id = PS.index_id

        Where I.type_desc IN

            AND I.object_id
> 100


By PS.object_id)    As C

= C.TableName            

> 0



By TableName

    –RowsModSinceStats Desc

Server Discovery

Need a quick and easy way to gather basic information about the SQL Server instance you are on?  Keep this script in your SSMS Template Explorer and the information is only a double-click away.  This script works for SQL Server 2005 and SQL 2008 only because it uses the DMV sys.dm_os_sys_info.  If you are on SQL Server 2000 just highlight the code down to the comment and execute.

    @@ServerName                    AS ServerName
    ,Case Left(Convert(Varchar(128),SERVERPROPERTY(‘productversion’)),2)
        When ‘8.’ Then ‘SQL 2000’
        When ‘9.’ Then ‘SQL 2005′
        When ’10’ Then ‘SQL 2008’
        Else ‘Unknown’
        End                                As SQLVersion
    ,SERVERPROPERTY(‘productlevel’)        As ServicePackLevel
    ,SERVERPROPERTY(‘productversion’)        As BuildNumber
    ,SERVERPROPERTY(‘edition’)            As Edition
    ,SERVERPROPERTY(‘LicenseType’)        As LicenseType
    ,SERVERPROPERTY(‘NumLicenses’)        As NumLicenses   
            WHEN ‘Windows NT 5.0’ THEN ‘Windows 2000’
            WHEN ‘Windows NT 5.1’ THEN ‘Windows XP’
            WHEN ‘Windows NT 5.2’ THEN ‘Windows Server 2003 or Windows XP (64-bit)’
            WHEN ‘Windows NT 6.0’ THEN ‘Windows Server 2008’
            WHEN ‘Windows NT 6.1’ THEN ‘Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows 7’
            ELSE ‘Unknown’
        END                            AS WindowsVersion
    ,CASE WHEN SERVERPROPERTY(‘IsClustered’) = 1
            THEN ‘Yes’
            ELSE ‘No’
        END AS IsClustered
–For SQL Server 2K run to here
    ,cpu_count                            AS LogicalCPUs
    ,cpu_count / hyperthread_ratio            AS PhysicalCPUs
    ,max_workers_count                    AS Threads
    ,physical_memory_in_bytes/1048576        AS PhysicalMemory_MB

Here is an example of the result set on SQL Server 2008:


Spelunking for SQL Server Using PowerShell

In a new environment I find I waste a lot of time trying to figure out what everybody already knows. For example, what SQL Server instances are running on a given machine? Is Reporting Services running on this server?

Here’s a handy little script you can paste into a PowerShell window and see what’s on any computer. With a little tinkering you can get it to work on a list of servers — but that’s for another day. Here’s the script:

get-service -computername DWHSQL1`

-displayname “*sql*” `

sort-object -property DisplayName `

format-table -auto

And the results:

Status Name DisplayName
Stopped TSSQLPublisher$Default DM TS SQL Publisher [Default]
Stopped TSSQLListener$Default DM TS SQL TCP/IP Listener Service [Default]
Stopped MSSQLServerADHelper SQL Server Active Directory Helper
Stopped SQLAgent$DWHSQL2 SQL Server Agent (DWHSQL2)
Running SQLBrowser SQL Server Browser
Stopped msftesql$DWHSQL2 SQL Server FullText Search (DWHSQL2)

As you can see, there are two instances on the server but only one is running, the default instance, DWHSQL1.

If you need to look at another server simply change the computername. You can modify the filtered column (displayname) to suit your needs as well.

You could get the same information by remoting in to the box and looking at services, but this is quicker and easier, especially when you are dealing with several servers.