Fast Extended Events in SQL Server 2022

Harness the Power of Extended Events in SQL Server for Unparalleled Performance Monitoring and Troubleshooting

The phrase “Extended Events” resonates with unprecedented effectiveness in the dynamic world of SQL Server performance monitoring and troubleshooting. Database experts now have access to a powerful toolbox that will help them better understand SQL Server operations, identify bottlenecks, and optimize performance.

Introduction

Staying ahead requires creative technologies in the fast-paced world of database administration. In the world of SQL Server performance monitoring and troubleshooting, “Extended Events” are a game-changer. An in-depth examination of Extended Events’ design, advantages, disadvantages, and useful applications is provided in this article.

A paradigm change in database monitoring has been introduced by Extended Events in SQL Server. Extended Events, in contrast to SQL Trace, adds lightweight, customizable event capture. This level of detail helps database managers to concentrate exactly on the events that are important, reducing overhead and offering a thorough perspective of database processes.

Extended Event Session Tab

If you want to know about the “Top 10 best practices for SQL developers to boost query performance“, read this article.

What are Extended Events in SQL Server?

SQL Server Extended Events is a simple and effective event-handling mechanism at its heart. It offers an unparalleled look at the inner workings of the database since it collects a multitude of information on server activity.

The advantages of Extended Events in SQL Server

The advantages of Extended Events are given below:

Minimal Performance Overhead

Extended Events are made to have a modest impact and are meant to allow continuous monitoring without materially compromising the SQL Server instance’s performance.

Customizable Event Capturing

Event capturing that is customizable gives you the freedom to record only the events and data columns necessary for monitoring and troubleshooting. With this focused approach, noise is reduced and important information is highlighted.

Rich Data Collection

Extended Events offers a wide range of data columns that give an in-depth understanding of SQL Server’s internal operations. For detecting complicated performance problems, this comprehensive information is essential.

Real-time Monitoring

Extended Events feature real-time event capture, allowing you to keep track of events as they happen and take appropriate action. This function is very helpful for quickly locating and fixing performance bottlenecks.

Lightweight Design

Extended Events’ architecture is made to efficiently gather, store, and retrieve data. Due to its lightweight design, the monitoring procedure itself won’t strain the system.

Integration with Transact-SQL

T-SQL scripts may be used to manage and setup Extended Events, giving database experts a strong and accustomed working environment.

Diagnose Difficult-to-Replicate Issues

Extended Events’ fine-grained event-capturing capabilities make it possible to identify and troubleshoot problems that are challenging to reproduce in controlled situations.

Check this article also: Deadlocks in SQL Server: Understanding and Resolving Database Concurrency Issues

The disadvantages of Extended Events in SQL Server

The disadvantages of Extended Events are given below:

Learning Curve

Compared to certain other monitoring and profiling tools in SQL Server, Extended Events have a higher learning curve. The principles and intricacies of event sessions, targets, and configuration choices may take some time for users to grasp.

Limited GUI Tools

Although SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) offers a graphical user interface for dealing with Extended Events, some complex settings and adjustments could need scripting T-SQL scripts. Users who choose a purely GUI-based strategy may find this challenging.

Limited Third-Party Tool Support

Even though Extended Events has powerful features, not all third-party monitoring and profiling tools have full integration support for Extended Events. Users who depend on particular third-party products for their monitoring requirements may be impacted by this.

Older Version Compatibility

Even though Extended Events have been available since SQL Server 2008, some businesses could still be utilizing earlier SQL Server versions that do not support Extended Events. This may restrict the use of this function in some settings.

Complex Configuration

Although the customization options are useful, it might be challenging for less experienced database administrators to configure Extended Events for certain circumstances.

Limited Historical Data

Extended Events data is usually stored in memory or saved to files or the ring buffer as appropriate. This indicates that careful planning and consideration of data preservation solutions may be necessary for the historical study of occurrences over long periods.

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The Architecture of Extended Events in SQL Server

The structure of SQL Server’s Extended Events architecture creates a foundation that makes event recording, processing, and analysis effective and flexible. It is made up of several important parts that combine to offer a thorough understanding of the behavior of the SQL Server instance. Let’s examine the Extended Events architecture:

Event Sessions

The core component of Extended Events is the event session. It represents a conceptual container that specifies what events should be recorded, how they should be processed, and where the recorded data should be kept. Event sessions can be set up to record particular events, such as requests, failures, or deadlocks.

Events and Event Providers

Events are certain occurrences or activities that you want to record within the SQL Server instance. Each event has a provider or source, that is a source of events. There are several event sources offered by SQL Server that address various facets of the database engine, including query execution, transactions, failures, and more.

Targets

Targets specify where the event data that was recorded will be saved. Files, ring buffers, and event counters are just a few of the target types that Extended Events support. Depending on your needs for monitoring and analysis, you may select the best target. For instance, you might use a ring buffer for real-time monitoring or a file destination to save data for later analysis.

Actions and Predicates

Actions are extra details connected to an event that might offer context or further information about the event. Predicates are requirements that must be satisfied for an event to be recorded. You may modify the information that is recorded for each event and eliminate unnecessary information by using actions and predicates.

Packages and Templates

To make the process of establishing event sessions simpler, packages are pre-defined collections of events and configuration variables. Reusable settings known as templates may be used to quickly generate event sessions. They offer a practical method to set up event capture for frequent occurrences.

Global Fields and Actions

Data that is automatically added to each event in a session of events are called global fields and actions. These can include specifics about the session, the event’s timestamp, and other system-related information. The collected events have context thanks to global fields.

Event Queues and Buffers

Before processing and writing to targets, collected events are temporarily stored in event queues. The flow of events between the event session and the targets is controlled by event queues. They guarantee that events are handled effectively and sent to the intended recipients.

Schedulers and Workers

Workers are in charge of processing and managing events, whereas schedulers oversee task execution connected to events. To effectively handle the duty of event capture and processing, the design makes use of many schedulers and workers.

Extended Events in SQL Server

Steps to implement extended events to track deadlocks

Creating an Extended Events session with the express purpose of gathering data about deadlock occurrences is necessary when using Extended Events to track deadlocks in SQL Server. To arrange for one of these sessions, adhere to these detailed instructions:

Step 1: Open SSMS

Open SSMS & connect the server where we need to apply Extended Events to track deadlocks.

Step 2: Launch Extended Events

Open the “Object Explorer” in SSMS and click on the “Management” node. To start a new Extended Events session, right-click on “Session” and choose “New Session…”

Extended Event New Session

Step 3: Session details need to provide

Name of session: Give your Extended Events session a meaningful name, like “TrackDeadlocks.”
Select Global Fields: Choose the fields you wish to have in the session, such as “integer data,” “text,” and “timestamp.”

Define Extended Event Name

Step 4: Include Events

To select the events you wish to record, click the “Events” tab. To record XML-formatted deadlock information in this instance, choose the “xml_deadlock_report” event.

Choose Extended Event Deadlock Template

Step 5: Apply the filters

Set filters to record particular details about deadlocks under the “Filter Fields” section after selecting the “Event Fields” tab.
You can configure filters, for instance, to catch deadlocks involving specific objects, databases, or durations.

Apply Extended Event Filter

Step 6: Storage Configuration

To specify the location for the Extended Events data storage, select the “Data Storage” tab. Select the proper file target or set it up to use a ring buffer to hold data.

Extended Event Data Storage

Step 7: Define session actions.

Select the “Session” tab and designate what should happen when the session begins and ends. You have two options when it comes to deadlocks: email notifications or data saving to a file.

Extended Event Advance Settings

Step 8: Begin the Meeting

Once set up, select “Start Session” from the menu when you right-click on your Extended Events session in SSMS to start recording deadlock details.

Extended Event Session

Step 9: Keep an eye out for deadlocks

Continue the Extended Events session, and examine the events that were recorded regularly to look for instances of deadlock. To examine the gathered data, you can use SQL Server Profiler or T-SQL queries.

Step 10: Stop and Adjust the Session

You can halt the Extended Events session to make changes if necessary. To end the session, right-click on it and choose “Stop Session.” Restart the session after making the changes.

Extended Event Star and Stop Session

A Few Examples of Extended Events

Query to fetch all Sessions of Extended Events

Using the below query, we can fetch all Sessions of Extended Events

SELECT name, * FROM sys.server_event_sessions;

Query to list all available events and actions

SELECT * FROM sys.dm_xe_objects
WHERE object_type = 'event' OR object_type = 'action';

Query to fetch active sessions of extended events

SELECT * FROM sys.server_event_sessions
WHERE startup_State = 1

Query to start & stop the Extended Event Sessions in SQL Server

ALTER EVENT SESSION <SessionName> ON SERVER STATE = START;
OR
ALTER EVENT SESSION <SessionName> ON SERVER STATE = STOP;

Query to modify and delete Extended Event Sessions in SQL Server

ALTER EVENT SESSION <SessionName> ON SERVER STATE = MODIFY;
DROP EVENT SESSION <SessionName> ON SERVER;

Conclusion

Extended Events stand out as a beacon of effectiveness in the world of SQL Server performance. They reinvent database monitoring and optimization by balancing low overhead with maximum insights. Extended Events provide administrators with the tools they need to overcome performance barriers and improve their database administration skills. These tools may be used to address issues like long-running queries and TempDb leaks.

FAQs

Q: Do all editions support Extended Events In SQL Server?

Ans: From Standard through Enterprise versions of SQL Server, Extended Events are available.

Q: Can I modify event sessions to track particular problems?

Ans: Definitely. With its great degree of customization, Extended Events lets you zero in on certain events of interest.

Q: How can I begin using Extended Events In SQL Server?
Ans: To define your event sessions, start by examining the GUI tools in SQL Server Management Studio.

Q: When it comes to real-time monitoring, are Extended Events appropriate?
Ans: Extended Events do indeed excel at real-time monitoring, making it possible to quickly identify performance issues.

Q: Which sites can I use to find out more about Extended Events?
Ans: Just refer to Extended Events In SQL Server to learn & apply in your environment.

Q. What are Extended Events in SQL Server?

Ans: Extended Events is a lightweight, high-performance event-handling system in SQL Server used for capturing and analyzing diagnostic information about the database engine.

Q. How do Extended Events differ from SQL Server Profiler?

Ans: Extended Events are more lightweight and have a lower overhead compared to SQL Server Profiler. They provide a more scalable and flexible approach to capturing events.

Q. Can I use Extended Events to capture specific events only?

Ans: Yes, you can configure Extended Events to capture specific events or groups of events, allowing for fine-grained control over what information is collected.

Q. What effect does enabling Extended Events have on the performance of SQL Server?

Ans: In response, Extended Events lightweight architecture has little effect on performance. They are made to offer insightful information with little overhead.

Q. Can older SQL Server versions be used with Extended Events?

Ans: In response, Extended Events are compatible with SQL Server 2008 and later versions since they were first introduced in SQL Server 2008. Certain features, though, might change between versions.

Q. In Extended Events, how do I make a custom event session?

Ans: Using T-SQL or SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), you can configure the session properties, define the events you want to capture, and specify predicates and actions to create a custom event session.

Q. Is it possible to filter events in Extended Events according to particular criteria?

Ans: The usage of predicates is supported by Extended Events, so you can filter events according to particular parameters like duration, database name, or other pertinent factors.

Q. What kinds of targets are available for storing data related to Extended Events?

Ans: To answer your question, Extended Events supports several targets: files, ring buffers, event logs, and the event pairing target. Depending on the needs you have for monitoring and analysis, you can select the right target.

Q. How can I examine the information that Extended Events has gathered?

Ans: You can query and analyze the data gathered by Extended Events using programs like SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) or custom scripts. There are views and functions to get event data.

Q. Does using Extended Events raise any security concerns?

Ans: To ensure that users have access to Extended Events, make sure they have the appropriate permissions. Additionally, exercise caution when capturing information, particularly when handling sensitive data.

See Also

DBCC CHECKTABLE: An In-Depth Analysis

DBCC Freeproccache in SQL Server: A powerful command

Understand Deadlocks in SQL Server

Unleash Database Insights with Extended Events in SQL Server

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