An AD User is permissioned through which AD groups that are logins on my SQL Server?

This is a useful query to impersonate any windows user and then list the various AD groups that the user is gaining access to your SQL Server through.  Even if the windows user isn’t an explicit login on the SQL Server, the script will return the AD groups that he or she is a member of that allowed access to SQL Server.

SELECT @LOGINNAME = ‘domainname\loginname’
SELECT distinct token.*,grp.*
FROM sys.login_token token
JOIN sys.server_principals grp
ON token.sid = grp.sid
WHERE token.[type] = ‘WINDOWS GROUP’
AND grp.[type] = ‘G’
order by 3


Prevent SQL Cluster Failover For Patching/Reboots (Powershell)

At my current shop we have almost 200 windows servers and VMs that are rebooted every 90 days as part of a regular windows patching process.  Each time we execute this process, our DBA team must validate all sql services, databases and clusters after the patching and reboot process is complete.  Our strong preference is to avoid any manual intervention by DBAs while still making sure that the reboot process doesn’t result in a clustered SQL Server instance being hosted by different node in the cluster than prior to the reboot.

To simplify this process we put together a pair of powershell scripts:

1) Pre Process – sets the possible owner of SQL Server network name cluster resources to only have their current hosting node as a possible owner (this will prevent the instance from failing over to another node a waves of reboots happen)

2)Post Process – sets the possible owners of the SQL Server clustered network name resource to all nodes in the cluster (our standard configuration for clustered sql instances).

We have a control table (and stored procedure) that is used to store the various Clustered names in our environment.  The powershell scripts adhere to this basic high level process flow:

  1. Open a result set of all sql cluster names
  2. Loop through the cluster names one at a time
    1. for each cluster name, pull all Network Name resources
      1. Loop through each network name
        1.  For each network name resource either set the possible owners to only the current owner (pre) or all nodes in the cluster (post)

Please note: the code must be run as a domain account that has the permissions to manage the cluster resources (in our case we use dedicated administrative level domain accounts when we run this).

First let’s look at the outer loop that gets a list of clusters:


The code first imports the FailoverClusters powershell module so that we can call cluster specific commands later in the code.  The remaining lines in the code above set up a new SQL Server connection and fill dataset with a list of clusters.  In the example above, I have a hardcoded, single cluster name but you could have a table of all your clusters and have them returned as a single column resultset.

The code below is the most important part that connects to the cluster, finds the network name resources and sets their possible owners.


Our approach to prevent failovers of sql servers to other nodes in the clusters is to temporarily set the SQL Server network name resource to only have it’s current cluster node host as it’s only possible owner.  With this configuration in place on the network name resource, rebooting the host will NOT cause the clustered sql instance to fail over to a different node in the cluster.  The code above prints the following information:

1) The name of the cluster

2) List the current owner node for the network name

3) List all possible owner nodes in the cluster for the network name resource

4) Sets the possible owners for the network name to ONLY THE CURRENT cluster node (so after this runs, the network name resource, and all other sql related resources in the cluster group, will NOT fail over in the event of an owner node reboot or failure)

The POST version of the script simply sets the possible owners of the network name resources to ALL nodes in the cluster (our standard configuration).  The code below shows similar logic as the PRE script, but includes a different call to Set-ClusterOwnerNode in the powershell (to set all nodes as possible owners);



Comment or email me if you need copies of the PS1 files for this.

My default schema is not working….

I ran into an issue the other day where we moved an application database that was using named schemas (other than DBO) to logically organize the tables within the database.  When we moved the database to a new sql server, we mapped the application’s SQL login to the new database (with the default schema set to a named schema within the database and NOT dbo).

The problem is that the application’s connection seemed to be using the dbo schema by default even though the mapped DB user had the correct default schema.  After a little digging, we learned that if a login has the sysadmin role at the server level, then all queries against user database will default to using the dbo schema regardless of what you have set for the default schema in the mapped database user account.

I found the answer here:

but there are countless other links describing this behavior.  Hope it saves someone a little time.

Simple way to get last SQL Server Service Restart

There are a lot of different ways to check when your sql instance last restarted but a coworker reminded me of the simple TempDB method.  Basically, every time that the SQL Server service restarts, TempDB is recreated.  So to find out the last instance restart, just run this:

SELECT CREATE_DATE FROM sys.databases where name=’tempdb’

It works on SQL2005+.  Old School!

Convert an Existing Normal Table to a Partitioned Table – Quick and Dirty Edition

I’m sure there a thousand posts on the best way to partition a table and manage it, but I wanted to provide a “quick and dirty” solution that we put together for something in my shop in the last week.  Here’s a little background….

We have a table called ApplicationLog that is a centralized table for logging application activity across multiple apps within our environment.  The table typically gets ~200K rows per month but in some heavier testing/release months, that number can climb into the tens of millions (depending on how verbose the logging is set to and if there are any botched releases that result in a flood of applog messages).  At the time the DBA team got involved, there was a monthly purging job that just ran a “delete from applicationlog where date<getdate()-180” to trim out entries older than 180 days.  This worked for a couple years without incident, but then more applications started logging their messages to the table and the volume of data just got too high.  The problem presented itself when the monthly purging job started getting deadlocks as it attempted to delete rows that were (presumably) on the same pages as new messages being logged. We wanted to use partitioning on this table to prevent deadlocks and blocking during the purge process.

First lets take a look at the table to be partitioned:


Pretty basic table, no funky datatypes, and the ID is an identity.  It also had a single index, clustered on the identity ID column… even though no-one every queries by the ID…. classic developer stuff.  The basic steps we followed to set up the table for partitioning include:

  1. Define a partition Function
  2. Define a Partition scheme
  3. Define a new table with the same structure (ApplicationLog_Part)
  4. Define a new clustered index on the Date field (and using the partition scheme)
  5. Populate the new partitioned table with the data from the existing table
  6. Rename the table (ApplicationLog becomes ApplicationLog_Backup and ApplicationLog_Part becomes ApplicationLog)

Lets take a look at these one by one.  The partition function is the piece of code that defines the boundaries between partitions.  In our case this is simple a series of dates on the first of each month.  The code below illustrates the Partition Function and Scheme we used:


The first statement makes the partition function with the historical and future partition boundaries predetermined.  The above is a condensed version for readability, but the real version has partition boundaries going out to 12/1/2025.  We added all the boundaries up front because we wanted to keep things simple and not have to dynamically regenerate the partition function with different boundary definitions each month.

Also notice that at the time of definition, a partition function has nothing to do with any particular table or data set.  It is merely a series of boundary definitions with a single parameter that can be passed (of the same datatype as the partition boundary values) [sort of like a big CASE statement]..

The partition scheme is just a construct that can employ the partition function as rows are inserted into an underlying table.

The next step was to define a new table with the identical scheme as ApplicationLog and then create a clustered index (that used the partition scheme/function) on it.  One of our requirements was that we couldn’t change the structure of the table at all (so that the existing logging code would continue to work without any changes).  So we made a new version of the table called ApplicationLog_Part:


After the table is created, we define a new clustered index on the Date field (not the identity ID) and then use the ON clause in the create index statement to specify how to store the data as it is inserted.  In the case above, we reference the partition scheme ps_dbo_ApplicationLog(date) with the column that it needs to determine which partition to route the data to.  The next step is to populate the temporary table with the last 120 days of data from the  current table:


In our case we had to preserve the identity column so you see the identity_insert set operation at the top.  Then you basically perform an insert from the original table to the temporary (_part) table.  Once the insert finishes, you can evaluate the distribution of data with the second query.  The final step is to rename the tables and reset the identity value.


As shown above, you can simply rename the tables and then reset the identity configuration on the _part table (now named ApplicationLog).  Now you have a working partitioned table called ApplicationLog that accepts inserts from all the existing code without issues.

The final piece I’ll cover is handling the routine deletion of aging data.  Since the table is now partitioned, we don’t need to run delete statements that can contend with applications writing to the table.  Instead we can take advantage of the SWITCH operation.  The SWITCH PARTITION option allows you to instantaneously move a whole partition of data out of the original partitioned table and into it’s own separate table.


The great thing about it is that the operation is almost instantaneous regardless of the number of rows in the partition.  There are countless overviews of partitioning out there and a lot of it handles the complexities of dynamically managing the partition function boundaries by recreating the partition function regularly.  My “quick and dirty” approach doesn’t handle these complexities.  Instead I simply define the partition function with boundaries predefined and going out 25 years (long past when I’d expect this applicationlog table to actually be in service.  Another element that we did not have to address was having partitions on different physical files/ drives.  That is something that can be useful when you have tiered storage and you want  keep your recent partitions on your fastest underlying disks and your aging partitions on your slower cheaper disks.

PS> sorry for all the images of code, but it looks nicer with the SSMS formatting.  If you need any of the code, I can send it along.

Which Databases are Actually Used? CPU and Memory Use BY Database Queries

We have a fairly large SQL Server environment where I work with over 200 total SQL instances.  They are spread about 60/40 non production vs. production and with an active development staff, we have many new databases being created and worked on in our non production environments every week.  In order to keep an eye on which databases are used (in use) we began capturing a snapshot of database level CPU and memory usage twice a day (6AM/6PM).  Over time this data can give a decent indicator of which databases have activity (user, developer or otherwise) and their overall “rank” against the other databases on a particular instance.  This type of data helps us make decisions on:

  • Clean Up – was this database created as a one off test data set in dev? can it be deleted?
  • Consolidation – is this database used minimally enough to be considered a candidate for consolidation to a shared sql instance?
  • High Level Resource Usage per instance – which DB is consuming the most resources on which instance?

In order to keep things simple, we use basic DMV queries to collect this data twice a day.. For CPU usage we look at sys.dm_exec_query_stats and for memory usage, we look at sys.dm_os_buffer_descriptors.  Let’s take a quick look at the collection queries:  Note: a colleague sent me some basic queries that I tweaked for my needs, so please forgive me if I am not attributing the right folks from the sql community who originally posted these (or similar).

–Declare a Date for the collection time

Declare @TheDate date;

Select @TheDate = getdate();




(SELECT DatabaseID, DB_Name(DatabaseID) AS [DatabaseName], SUM(total_worker_time) AS [CPU_Time_Ms]

FROM sys.dm_exec_query_stats AS qs

CROSS APPLY(SELECT CONVERT(int, value) AS [DatabaseID]            

FROM sys.dm_exec_plan_attributes(qs.plan_handle)       

WHERE attribute= N’dbid’) AS F_DB

GROUP BY DatabaseID)

SELECT @TheDate ,@@ServerNameDatabaseName, [CPU_Time_Ms],

CAST([CPU_Time_Ms] * 1.0 / SUM([CPU_Time_Ms]) OVER() * 100.0 AS DECIMAL(5, 2)) AS [CPUPercent]


WHERE DatabaseID > 4 — system databases

AND DatabaseID <> 32767 — ResourceDB



 The query above can be run on any SQL Server 2008+ machine and return the total CPU time consumed per database (since the last reboot or exec_stats flush) as well as the percentage of the total CPU consumed across the whole server.  The results look like this:


Remember that the above values are cumulative through the last reboot, so you need some intelligence to self join the table across intervals and calculate the deltas.

The other query determines which databases are consuming the most memory at the time of the collection:

Declare @TheDate date;

Select @TheDate = getdate();
— get memused per DB
With DB_MemUsed as(
SELECT @@ServerName as Servername, db_name(database_id) as databasename,database_id,

              COUNT(*) * 8 / 1024 AS MBUsed

FROM   sys.dm_os_buffer_descriptors

where database_id > 4

and database_id  <> 32767

GROUP BY      database_id


SELECT @TheDate,ServerName, DatabaseName, MBUsed,

CAST(MBUsed * 1.0 / SUM(MBUsed) OVER() * 100.0 AS DECIMAL(5, 2)) AS MBUsedPercent


WHERE Database_ID > 4 — system databases

AND Database_ID <> 32767 — ResourceDB



The result set looks like this:


Collecting the data to a central database table over time provides a nice, centrally managed data set to run trending queries against.  This information is NOT cumulative so each collection is just a snapshot of the memory consumption at that particular time. This makes it easier to run aggregates against the data over a time period like this:

Select datepart(year,a.capture_time) as captureyear,

datepart(week,a.capture_time) as captureweek,



avg(MBUsed) as AvgMB_MEMUsed,

Max(MBUsed) as MaxMB_MEMUsed,

Min(MBUsed) as MinMB_MEMUsed

from [DB_MemUsage_ByDatabase_ByDay] a

where a.servername = ‘<MyINstanceName>’

group by datepart(year,a.capture_time),

datepart(week,a.capture_time)  ,



The above query assumes you are saving the results of the memory usage query to a table called DB_MemUsage_ByDatabase_ByDay.  Once several days’ worth of collections are available, you can run the above query to get some aggregate memory usage statistics “By Week”.

Hope this is helpful, send me an email or comment if you need assistance or have any questions.

Wasting space with heaps

Over the last few months, our team of DBAs has been developing various data collection routines for monitoring (and designing the tables to store said monitoring data).  We are planning to remove a 3rd party SQL Server monitoring tool from our environment in the next couple of months, so most of the effort has been on making sure we don’t lose any critical monitoring/analysis functionality once we remove that product.  This is all well and good, but in our haste to “get the data collecting”, we found a few problematic issues.

1) If you are going to collect some data set (wait stats, file io stats, etc) ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS implement a deleting process as well.  Set a ridiculous retention period (e.g. 10 years) if you don’t want to delete anything, but at least have the process in place to trim aging records off of your monitoring tables.  I know it’s the most obvious, but it is often overlooked or deferred with the thought that “we’ll delete when it grows too big”.

2) DON’T FORGET a Clustered Index!  In the vast majority of our routines, we execute a DMV query against a series of servers and then write the results to table on a central database server.  Nothing fancy there, but I found myself “cloning” routines (copy/paste powershell code, quickly make a table struct with a SELECT INTO, etc.) and not taking the time to define at least a clustered index.  In at least 2 cases, we had tables that were heaps (no clustered index) and over time their unused space grew to > 7 times the actual required space to house the rows.  This was caused by us deleting aging records from the heap.  A heap can’t reuse space allocated to it so it will always grow (unless you copy it to another heap [select into], runt he alter table rebuild command, or add a clustered index).

I added a few clustered indexes to the problem tables and the unused space dropped down to <1MB per table.

I’m sure the above is obvious to most readers, but I am hoping that by admitting to this sloppiness here, it will prevent me from overlooking this basic things in the future.