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Posts Categorized / Maintenance plans

  • Dec 24 / 2013
  • 0
DBCC Commands, dbDigger, Maintenance plans, Performance Tunning and Optimization, SQL Server Agent scheduled Jobs

Optimal run of DBCC CHECKDB on production servers

DBCC CHECKDB is SQL Server built-in utility command to analyze and report the database integrity in various aspects. It checks the logical and physical integrity of all the objects in the specified database by performing the following operations:

  • Runs DBCC CHECKALLOC on the database
  • Runs DBCC CHECKTABLE on every table and view in the database
  • Runs DBCC CHECKCATALOG on the database
  • Validates the contents of every indexed view in the database

It is a useful command and should not be abandoned due to its resource hungry execution. However under default deployment it may take significant time on production databases. With increasing time window, risk of performance degradation increases. You may have faced these issues several times on your production servers. Following short comings may be noticed in default implementation.

  • Error or information messages are not stored any where when scheduled job is run
  • Check is required to exclude any databases other than ONLINE from the target databases list
  • A strategy is required to minimize the activity on server


We may take few steps to make the process optimized and log the output. Following are points that are recommended for it.

  • Save log file of DBCC CHECKDB scheduled job output to disk. It may have just error messages if any or also the informational messages.
  • Make sure to exclude the databases whose CHECKDB is not required. CHECKDB is performed for ONLINE databases, so make sure to include the check in the script that will filter out all the databases that are not ONLINE.
  • Use parameter PHYSICAL_ONLY. It will greatly reduce the process time and will only consider the data as it is stored on physical layer.
  • We can check the logical structure on any fresh restored copy of same databases on other server. Logical checks are not dependent on machine or disk. It will totally eliminate the load of logical checks from production server. This process will also make sure the validity check of backups.

Page Verification Settings and DBCC CheckDB

It seems here relevant to discuss the relationship between the Page verification check sum and DBCC CheckDB. PAGE VERIFICATION is a database level setting related to data recovery and integrity. Its value may be NULL, TORN_PAGE_DETECTION or CHECKSUM. For SQL Server 2005 and onwards CHECKSUM is the default option for new databases. CHECKSUM is more detailed and granular algorithm than TORN_PAGE_DETECTION. CHECKSUM covers all aspects of TORN_PAGE_DETECTION. However it may require more CPU resources as compared to TORN_PAGE_DETECTION. CHECKSUM Calculates a checksum over the contents of the whole page and stores the value in the page header when a page is written to disk.

A common misconception is that if we enable CHECKSUM for Page verification feature then we may skip the DBCC CheckDB command as CHECKSUM will be evaluating the data integrity.
It is not true at all. Page verification CHECKSUM is not alternate of DBCC CheckDB however it may effectively enhance the scope of DBCC CheckDB. Page verification CHECKSUM is a limited scope page level verification whereas DBCC CheckDB covers far more areas than that.
Page verification CHECKSUM is calculated/updated only when a data page is saved back to disk. If a data page gets corrupt after it has been saved to disk with CHECKSUM calculated on it then we will not get its report until it will be retrieved again. To verify through the calculated CHECKSUM we have to run DBCC CheckDB necessarily.
Technical detail of differences is not under scope of this statement. For better verification framework we should use both features.

  • Dec 13 / 2012
  • 0
dbDigger, Disaster Recovery, Maintenance plans, SQL Server Agent scheduled Jobs, SQL Server Error messages, Transaction log files

Log backups fail after changing the SIMPLE recovery model

Recently a scenario was shared with me where maintenance plan was failed to create the log backups. Actually recovery model of DB was set to SIMPLE to prevent the log file population for some log intensive bulk operations. After completing the operations recovery model was put back to FULL. Every thing was OK till this point but maintenance plan job began to failed later for creating log backups of that database with following error

BACKUP LOG cannot be performed because there is no current database backup.

The reason for error is that after changing the recovery model of DB from SIMPLE to BULK LOGGED or FULL, we have to create a full or differential backup before going for log backup.
Solution to avoid such error is simple that we have to go in following sequence

  • Change recovery model to simple
  • Complete the required operations
  • Change back to FULL or BULK LOGGED recovery model
  • Create FULL or DIFFERENTIAL backup
  • Successfully create log backups
  • Here is a quick demo to simulate the above steps

    USE [master]  
     -- Set the DB to simple recovery model  
     ALTER DATABASE [DBDigger]   
     -- Set the DB to full recovery model  
     ALTER DATABASE [DBDigger]   
     -- Try to Backup the log, it would fail with error  
     Backup LOG DBDIgger   
     to Disk = 'C:DBD-LogBackup.Log'  
     -- Now Create full or differential backup of database  
     Backup DATABASE DBDIgger   
     to Disk = 'C:DBD-FullBackup.bak'   
     -- Try to Backup the log, it would be OK  
     Backup LOG DBDIgger   
     to Disk = 'C:DBD-LogBackup.Log'  
    • Apr 01 / 2010
    • 0
    dbDigger, Maintenance plans, Publications of Atif Shehzad on MSSQLTips.com, Security and Permissions

    Changing passwords for logins used with SQL Server maintenance plans

    SQL Server maintenance plans are widely used for automating various database tasks. Maintenace plans uses the login for tasks that was used to create maintenance plan. Changing the password of that specific login would cause problems in maintenance plan while loging in to perform tasks. To get solution for this problem you look my following article at mssqltips.com
    Changing passwords for logins used with SQL Server maintenance plans

    • Feb 21 / 2009
    • 0
    dbDigger, Maintenance plans

    sqlmaint.exe failed.

    While working with maintenance plans, you may come accross to following error message.

    Server: Msg 22029, Level 16, State 1, Line 0
    sqlmaint.exe failed.

    Reason for this error is that user login for that specific maintenance plan is lacking execute privileges on sqlmaint.exe. To remove the error grant execute permission to that user on xp_sqlmaint system stored procedure in master database. For example to grant execute permission on xp_sqlmaint to user ‘Test’ use following command

    USE master
    GRANT EXECUTE ON xp_sqlmaint TO Test
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