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SQL Server 7 Administration


Installation and Configuration

Hardware/Software Requirement


  • Intel Pentium 166

  • DEC Alpha


  • Min. 32 MB,

  • Min. 64 MB (NT Server Enterprise Edition)


  • 72 MB (minimum)

  • 175 MB (typical)

  • 183 MB (full)

  • 82 MB (management tools only)


  • NTFS

  • FAT


  • NT Server Enterprise Edition (SP4 or later)

  • NT Server 4.0 (SP4 or later)

  • NT Workstation 4.0 (SP4 or later)

  • Windows 95/98


Internet Explorer 4.01 with SP1 or later

Default Path



Network Support 

  • Named Pipes (not on W95)

  • TCP/IP Sockets (TCP-Port 1433)

  • Multiprotocol (NWLink, TCP/IP, Named Pipe, Windows Sockets, Encryption)

  • NW-Link (IPX/SPX)

  • AppleTalk ADSP

  • Banyan VINES

Note :

For enabling encryption modify registry on SQL Server and on client

Default setting : Multiprotocol


Memory Allocation

  • Dynamic Memory Allocation (Default setting)

  • Fixed Memory Allocation (Specify min server memory / max server memory )

  • Use sp_configure or MMC (==> MMC : SQL Server -> Right Click -> Properties -> Memory) to modify it

  • Use the set working set size option to reserve physical memory space for  SQL Server that is equal to the server memory setting (1 enables it, 0 disables it -> default setting).  Enabling set working size and configuring a max server memory setting might be useful if other applications will be or are competing for memory resources with SQL Server.


Unattendend Installation

Command file

Setup file




SQL Server management tools



Typical installation SQL Server (NT Local System account)



Custom SQL Server installation (NT Local System account) with all typical components

Path: C:\mssql7\install
Create Installation Script :       setupsql.exe k=Rc (Setup-file is stored as setup.iss)
Uninstall :    isunist.exe -f <isunist.isu> -cC:\mssql7\sqlsun.dll -y -a



Per-seat licensing

License for each computer

Per-server licensing

Numbers of Licenses on server (N licenses = N connections)

Internet Connector licensing

License for using SQL Server through IIS or MS Transaction Server


Character Set, Sort Order, Unicode Collation

Care must be taken when configuring the character set, sort order, or unicode collation.  Changing any of these requires rebuilding the master database and reloading data.

  • Default Character Set:        Code Page 1252

  • Default Sort Order:             Dictionary, case insensitive

  • Default Unicode Collation:    General Unicode, case insensitive, width insensitive, Kana          insensitive


Default Installation

SQL Server services

  • MSSQLserver

  • SQLServer Agent

  • MS DTC

  • Microsoft Search

Management tools



  • master, model, msdb, tempdb (System-DBs)

  • pubs, northwind (User-DBs)



Default startup

Default startup options are written to the registry

Default security mode

Mixed mode (NT security and SQL security)

sa login account

sa without password (SQL security)

SqlAgentCmdExec account

local user account (NT security), used for jobs and services


The SQL Server default databases


Information about logins, stored procedures, pointer to primary data file for every database


Provides a template or prototype for new databases. Contains the system tables which belong in every database. Items that are to appear in all new databases should be placed here.The size is approx. 1.5 MB after installation.


Provides storage for temporary tables and other temporary storage needs such as intermediate results of GROUP BY, ORDER BY, DISTINCT and cursors.The size is approx. 2.5 MB after installation.


Supports the SQL Agent Service, including information about jobs, alerts, events and replication. Also history about all backup/restore. The size is approx. 8.5 MB after installation.


Template databases for learning (pubs ~2MB, northwind  ~8.5 MB)


Some system tables

  • master


Databases on SQL Server


Available database and disk devices


User accounts


System error messages


Remote servers


Error messages


  • msdb


Administrative personnel information, including email addresses and pager numbers


User-defined alerts


List of backupfiles


List of backups




Information Schema Views

SELECT * FROM information_schema.table

List of tables in the database

SELECT * FROM information_schema.colums

List of colums in the database

SELECT * FROM information_schema.table_privileges

Security information in database

SELECT user_name(<id>)

Returns user's name


Starting/Stopping SQL Server Services

  • SQL Server Service Manager

  • SQL Server Enterprise Manager

  • Services in Control Panel

  • net start/pause/stop mssqlserver

  • net start/pause/stop mssqlserver

  • CMD : C:> sqlstart.exe -f (start SQL Server with minimal configuration, output to console)

Note : Pausing doesn't accept new connections, already connected users are unaffected



Clustering Service

To run SQL Clustering Service setup on a new SQL Server 7.0 installation using the Failover Setup Wizard

  1. Identify the disk names controlled by the primary node of the cluster on which you will install SQL Server.

  2. To stop any additional services such as IIS, MTS, MSDTC, and Exchange that may be running or installed by default on the cluster, right-click the resource; then click Take Offline.

  3. Run Setup.exe from the SQL Server 7.0 directory of software compatible with your processor architecture.

  4. Specify a shared drive controlled by the primary node of the cluster where you want SQL Server to be installed, in the SQL Server Installation Path dialog box, and in the Master Database Installation Path dialog box.

    Named Pipes is required only for installing SQL Server and SQL Server Cluster Setup. If you want to use another network protocol for normal business operations, ensure that it is also selected.

  5. Start SQL Server, check the installation, and then stop SQL Server. The installation program will install the necessary SQL Server management tools to the local drive. In the event of a failover, you will be able to manage the SQL Server virtual server through normal graphical user interface (GUI) operations.

  6. On the Start menu, point to Programs/Microsoft SQL Server 7.0/Failover, and then click Failover Cluster Wizard.

  7. Select options (Virtual server, 'sa' Password, IP address, virtual server name)

  8. Confirm your choices, or click Backup to make the necessary corrections.


Changing Sort Order, Character Set, Unicode Collation after Installation

  1. Backup object definitions you wish to preserve by using Enterprise Manager to create scripts.

  2. Export data using DTS or BCP

  3. Rebuild master database using rebuildm utility, specifying new sort order, character set, or unicode collation.  (You will need the installation CD)

  4. Create databases using EM or CREATE DATABASE statement

  5. Create objects using scripts generated in step 1.

  6. Import data using BCP or DTS.


Upgrading to SQL 7

Configuring and Managing Security

Access to SQL granted by means of login entry in sysxlogins table in Master database.  User must have either a mapping that associates an NT account (group or users) to an entry in sysxlogins in the case of NT authentication mode or have a separate login entry in the case of SQL Server authentication.  Access to SQL through entries in sysxlogins does not give access to databases.  Database permissions are separate from SQL server logins.

  • NT Authentication mode (SQL 6.5 : Integrated Mode).  Requires use of Named Pipes or Multiprotocol.  User must be authenticated by NT before connection to SQL is allowed.  Sometimes referred to as "trusted connection".  User does not have to provide separate credentials to access SQL

  • SQL Server Authentication (SQL 6.5 : Standard Mode).  User has to supply SQL login credentials.  Windows 9x always uses Standard Security. 


Security Settings

  • SQL Server and Windows NT (Mixed Mode) -> NT Authentication and SQL Server Authentication.  Useful in situations where there is a mix of clients, such as Unix hosts or Netware clients, that cannot authenticate to NT.

  • Windows NT only -> Only NT Authentication

==> MMC : SQL Server -> Right Click -> Properties -> Security

You can explicitly deny access to SQL server to an NT account.   To deny access to a SQL Server account, remove login or don't create it.


Default Login

  • sa (no password as default), Superuser for SQL Server

  • BUILDIN\Administrator, Superuser for SQL Server

==> MMC : SQL Server -> Security -> Logins

Permission are applied to entries in the sysusers table and stored in the sysprotects table of the current database.


Database Access

In order to gain access to a database, you must have a username in database mapped to a SQL Server login or a 'guest' account must exist in database.  Database username and login name do not have to match, although they should for ease of administation.  To create a user in a database, use Enterprise Manager or the SQL7 stored procedure "sp_grantdbaccess".  To revoke database access, use "sp_revokedbaccess". Many SQL 6.5 commands, such as "sp_adduser" are still supported. 


Guest User

The guest user account allows a login without a user account to access a database. A login assumes the identity of the guest user when all of the following conditions are met:

  • The login has access to SQL Server, but does not have access to the database through his or her own user account.

  • The database contains a guest user account.

Permissions can be applied to the guest user as if it were any other user account. The guest user can be deleted and added to all databases except master and tempdb, where it must always exist. By default, a guest user account does not exist in newly created databases.  However, if guest is added to the model database, every subsequently created database will have this account.



Analogous to NT Groups, except for the fact that a member of any role can add other users to same role.  Roles replace the use of SQL 6.x groups.  Unlike SQL groups, users can be members of multiple roles and roles can be nested.  Aliases, which are used to impersonate a user in a database, are still supported.  There are 4 types of roles:

  • Fixed Server Roles

  • Fixed Database Roles

  • User-defined Database Roles

  • Application Roles

==> MMC : SQL Server -> Security -> Server Roles

  • Fixed Server Roles (Server-wide roles)


Perform any activity


Configure server-wide settings


Install replication(?). Set up linked servers.


Manage and audit server logins


Manage SQL Server processes


Create and alter databases


Manage disk files

  • Fixed Database Roles


Maintain all default permissions.  Every DB has a public role.  All users are members.  Can't be removed.


perform any database role activity


Add, remove database users, groups and roles


Add, modify, or drop database objects. Run DDL commands, except those that modify permissions.

db_security admin

Assign statement and object permissions


Backup database


Read data from any table


Add, change , or delete data from tables


Cannot read data from any table


Cannot change data from any table


  • User-defined Database Role

  • When a  group of people needs to perform the same activities in SQL Server

  • If you don't have permission to manage Windows NT Accounts

  • Application Roles

  • Used to restrict access to database through an application.  Scope of role is the database.

  • Application roles have no members. 

  • Activated by lauching an application using sp_setapprole stored procedure.  Password required for activation application role.

  • Users lose all permissions in database, except those of the application role and those given to public.  Has no effect on user permissions in other databases.

  • Role is only deactivated for user only when the user disconnects from SQL.



Permissions in databases are cumulative, except where a permission has been explicitly denied (analogous to no access NTFS permission).   Implicit user permissions, such as those that are acquired through role membership or those that are implicitly given to Database Object Owners, can not be directly viewed.  Database Object Owners have all permissions on objects they create and can grant,  revoke or deny permissions to all users, including the Database Owner, on these objects.


Types of permission

Permissions apply to statements and objects.  Statement permissions give users the ability to execute Transact-SQL commands, such as CREATE DATABASE.  Object permissions give users the ability to do something, such as viewing or updating information in a table or executing a stored procedure.

  • Statement Permissions: create database, create table, create view, create rule, create default, backup database, backup log

  • Object Permissions:  Select, insert, update, delete, references, execute.  Select, insert, update, delete and references can be applied to tables and views,  select, update, references to columns, and execute to stored procedures.

  • Predefined (implicit) permissions apply to fixed roles or object owners.


Assigning Permissions

  • Grant (can perform action)

  • Deny (Cannot perform action and cannot overridden)

  • Revoke (Cannot perform action but can be overridden)

USE <database>
GRANT {ALL | statement[,...n]}
ON <table>
TO security_account[,...n]

USE <database>
DENY{ALL | statement[,...n]}
ON <table>
TO security_account[,...n]

USE <database>
REVOKE {ALL | statement[,...n]}
ON <table>
FROM security_account[,...n]

==> MMC : SQL Server -> Database -> Tables -> Right Click -> Properties -> Permission

Permissions can be granted to views without having to grant permissions to the underlying tables that comprise the views, provided the ownership chain is not broken.  Users who have Execute permissions on stored procedures do not need to be granted permissions to modify or view the data that the stored procedure needs access to.


Ownership Chains

Objects, such as views, have owners.   When a single owner creates a series of dependent objects, such as view that in itself is created from another view or views, and owns all the objects in the chain,   there is a single ownership chain.  For example, when the dbo creates View1 and then creates View2 that is based on View1, there is a single chain.  If the dbo, however, grants the permission to create a view to another user and that user creates a third view based on View2, the ownership chain is broken:  the user does not own the object that his or her view depends on.  SQL server will check permissions only once if there is a single ownership chain--on the view itself and not on the objects it may depend on.  However, if there is a broken ownership chain, SQL will check permissions on all the objects in the chain where there is a change in ownership.  So, if Mary grants Joe the select permission on View3 and Mary does not own the objects that View3 depends on, Joe's permissions will be checked on those objects.  If Joe does not have permissions on the upper objects in the chain, his query will fail.  Use sp_changeobjectowner to change ownership of objects in database.



  • Use Mixed Mode for non-trusted or Internet Clients

  • Use sysadmin role rather the sa account

  • Remove NT accounts first, the SQL Server accounts

  • dbo user should own all objects to prevent broken ownership chains

  • Use stored procedures and views to simplify security


Managing and Maintaining Data


  • Data (*.mdf / *.ndf)

  • Log (*.ldf)

  • Data are stored in 8kB pages

  • Extents are the basic unit in which space is allocated to tables and indexes, an extent is 8 contiguous pages (64 KB)

  • Rows cannot span pages (Max. 8060 bytes per row)

  • Table and indexes are stored in extents. An extent is 8 contiguous pages (64kB)

  • Default size of transaction log is 1MB  (increments by 1MB)



Types of Locking


Allows concurrent transactions to read (SELECT) on datas, not modify


It prevents others from viewing or modifying datas


It prevents others from modifying datas during update


Indicates that SQL Server wants to acquire a shared or exclusive lock on some of the resources 'lower' down in the hierarchy

Lock Types


Row ID. Used to lock a single row within a table.


Row lock within an index.


8 kilobyte (KB) data page or index page.


Contiguous group of eight data pages or index pages.


Entire table, including all data and indexes.




Create databases

( NAME = Sales_dat,
  FILENAME = 'c:\mssql7\data\mydb_data.mdf',
  SIZE = 10,
  MAXSIZE = 50,
( NAME = 'Sales_log',
  FILENAME = 'c:\mssql7\data\mydb_log.ldf',
  SIZE = 5MB,

==> MMC : SQL Server -> Databases -> Right click -> New Database


Dropping database

DROP DATABASE publishing

==> MMC : SQL Server -> Databases -> Right Pane -> Click database -> Right Click -> Delete



  • Default filegroup (default filegroup contains the PRIMARY data file)

  • User-defined filegroup (filegroups using FILEGROUP keyword in an ALTER DATABASE statement)

ALTER DATABASE my_database
ADD FILEGROUP mydb_group

ALTER DATABASE my_database
(NAME = studer2, 
FILENAME = 'C:\mssql7\data\mydb_data2.ndf', 
SIZE = 4)
TO FILEGROUP mydb_group 

NOTE : If no 'FILEGROUP' specified this database is added to the PRIMARY group


Data Loading

  • bcp

    The bcp utility copies data between  SQL Server and a data file in a user-specified format.C:\>bcp mydb..new_table in C:\temp\database.csv 
    /Usa /Psa -t, -r\r


    USE mydatabase
    INSERT  mytable  (ColName) values ('mynew_value')


    USE <database>
    SELECT * INTO <newtable> from <table> 
    WHERE <othertable> LIKE '%string%'

    NOTE : SELECT INTO / BULK COPY must be on (-> Properties of database)


    BULK INSERT <table> FROM 'C:\data\newdata.csv'

    NOTE :
    Table must exist before executing BULK INSERT

  • DTS

    DTS (Data Transformation Services) Designer makes it easy to import, export, and transform heterogeneous data.

    ==> MMC : SQL Server -> DTS
    ==> MMC : SQL Server -> Database -> Right Click -> All Task -> Import/Export Data


Database Scripting

==> MMC : SQL Server -> Tools -> Database Scripting)

You can generate Transact-SQL statements to create objects identical to those currently in your database. This is useful if you want to create objects on other servers with the same schema as those in your original database.


Estimate the amount of data in tables

  1. Calculate number of bytes in a row (bytes in the row / avarage variable-lenght colums)

  2. Determine number of rows in a data page (dividide 8060 by the total bytes in the row / round it)

  3. Divide numbers of rows in a table by numbers of rows in a data page

Note : A row cannot be larger than one page


Performance Considerations

  • Use RAID to improve performance or fault tolerance (use RAID disk striping over filegroups)

  • Eliminate disk drive contention (use different disks for database and transaction log)

  • Symplify Backups by using filegroups (use filegroups to place database objects on seperate disks)


Using the Web Assistant Wizard

The Web Assistant Wizard generates HTML files by using Transact-SQL queries, stored procedures, and extended stored procedures. HTML files, also known as Web pages, can be viewed by using an HTML browser. HTML files are resources for displaying information on the Web and on internal networks.

  • Schedule a task to update a Web page automatically.

  • Publish and distribute management reports

  • Publish server reports with information about who is accessing the server currently, which locks are being held, and by which users.

  • Publish information outside of SQL Server using extended stored procedures.

  • Publish server jump lists using a table of favorite Web sites.


Web Assistant Wizard

  1. Start the Web Assistant Wizard, then select the database data to publish.

  2. Specify the frequency of Web page updates.

  3. Name the HTML file, then specify where it is to be published.

  4. Include some basic HTML formatting for the titles and tables using the formatting screens.

  5. Add optional URLs to complete your page.


Backing Up Databases

Backup contains

  • Schema and file structure

  • Data

  • Portions of transactions log file

Who performs backups

  • sysadmin fixed server role

  • db_owner fixed database role

  • db_backupoperator fixed database role

Where to store backups

  • Disk file

  • Tape drive (Tape drive must be attached locally to SQL Server)

  • Named Pipes (Third-party software packages)

When you have to backup

  • After modifying master database (eg. create database, alter database or drop database)

  • After modifying msdb database (eg. sp_logdevice which alters transaction log)

  • After modifying model database (eg. sp_addserver, sp_dropserver and sp_addlinkedserver)

  • After creating databses

  • After creating indexes

  • After clearing transaction log (eg. BACKUP LOG WITH NO LOG or BACKUP LOG WITH TRUNCATE ONLY)

  • After performing nonlogged operations (eg. bcp, SELECT ... INTO, WRITETEXT, UPDATETEXT)

The BACKUP statement cannot be performed at the same time as these operations



  • bcp


  • File manipulation

Creating backup

-- Create the backup device for the full MyNwind backup.
USE master
EXEC sp_addumpdevice 'disk', 'MyNwind_2',
-- Back up the full MyNwind database.

==> MMC : SQL Server -> Database -> Right Click -> All tasks -> Backup Database


BACKUP options


NOINIT (default) appends backups to file, INIT overwrites any existing data but retains header information

UNLOAD (default)

Rewinds and unloads tape (tape drive must locally to SQL Server)


Does not rewind and unload tape


Changes physical block size


Writes new header to tape (use MEDIANAME and MEDIADESCRIPTION)


Ignores ANSI tape label


SQL Server is reading ANSI tape label


Restarts backup from the point of interruption


Types of backup methods

Full backup

Backups Files, Objects, date and portions of transaction log


Differential Backup

Backs up  parts of the database since last full backup and any uncommitted transaction in the transaction log
==> MMC : SQL Server -> Database -> Right Click -> All tasks -> Backup Log


Transaction Log Backup

  • Backs up transaction log from last sucessfully executed BACKUP LOG

  • Requires a full database backup for restoring

  • Truncates transaction log

  • ==> MMC : SQL Server -> Database -> Right Click -> All tasks -> Truncate Log

USE master
EXEC sp_addumpdevice 'disk', 'MyNwindLog1', 
     TO MyNwindLog1

Backup with NO_TRUNCATE

  • Saves the entire transaction log

  • Does not purge transaction log of committed transactions

  • Allows recovery of data up to the time when the system failed


Clearing Transaction Log

  • Clears transaction-log

  • NO_LOG removes inactive portion of transaction log without making a backup of it

  • TRUNCATE_ONLY removes inactive portion of transaction log



Transaction Log

Database properties :trunc. log on chkpt

Truncate log after checkpoint process


Removes inactive part of transaction log, but doesn't back it up


Backs up transaction log without truncating it


Restoring Database

Restore database

  • Recover model database first before you recover any other database (Pointer to master database : HKLN\software\microsoft\mssqlserver\mssqlserver\parameters)

  • Automatic recovery is done at MSSQLServer startup

  • Specify NORECOVERY on all backups exceptfor the last backup

  • Specify STANDBY to allow access and to restore additionals transaction logs

Recovery Process

  • Commited transaction are rolled forward and written to database

  • Uncommited transactions are rolled back and are not written to database

FROM MyNwind_1

Verify Backups


Returns header information of backup file


Returns information about original database or transaction log


Returns information about the backup media


Verifies backup files (complete and readable)


Recovering Master Database

Assuming you can still start SQL,

  • Stop SQL Services

  • Restart SQL in single user mode from a command prompt (SQLSERVR.EXE -m)

  • Restore Master DB using EM or T-SQL

  • Stop SQL and restart SQL Services


Recovering Master DB when SQL Doesn't Start (Rebuilding Master DB)

  • Run REBUILDM.EXE from mssql7\binn directory

  • Select sort order, character set, and unicode collation (you will need the SQL 7.0 source files).  New files for master, msdb, model, pubs, and northwind are copied to installation.

  • Restore Master from backup; then restore model, msdb, and distribution database (if distribution server).

  • If no valid copy backup copy of master exists, you must recreate logins, references to databases, etc., in the master.  You can use scripts which you have previously generated or EM.  You must then restore databases from backup or use sp_attach_db if the database files are present.  The latter is more efficient. 


SQL Server Agent

SQL Server Agent

Scheduling engine

Starts scheduled jobs

Alert engine

Monitors and receives events and performs action (send email/pager, launch job)

Event engine

Log and captures messages posted by SQL Server

Job engine

Runs jobs, write message to NT Event-Log on success or failure



  • Security-Level 19-25 are written to NT Event-log

  • Alerts stored in msdb..sysalerts

  • User-defined error-number must be greater than 50000


Create Job

  • Specify properties for each job (==> MMC : SQL Server -> Management -> Jobs )

  • Job is stored in msdb..sysjobs

  • Job-history stored in msdb..sysjobhistory

  • Job owners who are not members of sysadmin-role use security of SQLAgentCmdExec

  • SQL Agent Error are saved under C:\mssql7\log

  • Generate Web-Page use Wizard-> Management -> Web Assistent Wizard

  • Web Publishing stored in msdb..mswebtasks


SQL Mail

  • Use messaging server that is MAPI compliant

  • Set up e-mail client on SQL Server

  • Configure mail profile

  • On MMC specify mail profile for SQL Mail and SQLAgentMail

  • SQLAgentMail

    1. Service from SQLServerAgent

    2. Send mail from alert, status of a job (succeeds ...)

    3. ==> MMC : SQL Server -> Management -> SQL Server Agent -> Operators

  1. Before sending mail configure Outlook (Outlook -> Tools -> Services -> eg Internet Mail)

  2. Configure Operator (Net Send address, E-Mail-address ...)

  3. Configure Job (==> MMC : SQL Server -> Management -> SQL Server Agent -> Jobs)

  • SQL Mail

    1. ==> MMC : SQL Server -> Support Services -> SQL Mail

    2. Service from MSSQLServer Service

    3. Executes the xp_sendmail stored procedure

    4. Process incoming e-mail messagesfrom SQL Mail and return result to sender


Linked Servers

  • A pre-registered OLE DB data source that allows local server to know where to find data requested in a query or where to execute a stored procedure. 

  • Remote data source does not have to be SQL, as long as an OLE DB provider exists for the source, nor does the remote data source have to be a relational database. 

  • Replaces remote servers.  

  • sp_serveroption (with data access option set to on) allows you to get a remote server (used in replication) to behave like a linked server. 


Linked Server Security

  • Local SQL server logs on to linked (remote) server on behalf of user.

  • If login (and password, depending on security mode) exist on both machines, existing accounts used.

  • Login IDs and passwords may be mapped between local and linked servers using sp_addlinkedsrvlogin.   Many-to-one mappings can exist.  In example below, all users who access data on the local server are logged into linked server as 'AnotherServer/allusers'.

EXEC sp_addlinkedsrvlogin


Setting Up Linked Servers

  • Use Enterprise Manager or sp_addlinkedserver.

sp_addlinkedserver [@server=] 'server'          [,[@srvproduct=]'product_name'
    [,[provider=]'provider_name] [,[@datasrc=]'data_source]
    [,[@location=]'location'] [,[provstr=]'provider_string] [,[catalog=]'catalog]

  • If linking SQL servers, many of these parameters unnecessary  (eg, EXEC sp_addlinkedserver 'AnotherServer' 'SQL Server')

  • If linking SQL 4.x, 6.x with OLE DB provider, you must run INstacat.sql script on server (not necessary if using ODBC OLE DB provider).

  • Use sp_dropserver to remove linked servers


Linked Server Queries

  • By default, processed on local server

  • Allowed T-SQL: Select with WHERE or JOIN, INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE

  • Not Allowed T-SQL:  CREATE, ALTER, DROP

  • Query expression must use 4-part name specifying server

  • To specify processing of query on remote server, use OPENQUERY function

('anotherserver', 'SELECT * FROM northwind.dbo.productinfo')

  • Ad hoc queries on remote servers possible using OPENROWSET function



Methods for Distributing Data

  • Replication:  Makes possible the transfer of data from a source to a destination or destinations.  Allows for site autonomy and scalabilty.  Can be used to ensure transactional integrity without the overhead of distributed transactions.

  • Distributed Transactions: Transactions occur at the same time to all copies of data on all servers involved in the transaction.  Using the 2-phase commit protocol (2PC) ensures transactions are committed on all servers or not at all on any.  Requires good connectivity between servers.  Useful when data needs to be same across all servers at the same time.



  • Publisher:  Makes data available to other servers (Subscribers) for replication.  Data may be published again by Subscribers.  Data elements that are replicated have a single publisher.

  • Distributor:   Contains the distribution database that holds metadata (system tables) used for replication, history, and, for transactional replication, transactions. Can be on the same machine as Publisher or Subscriber. 

  • Subscriber:   Receives updates.  In some cases, can also make updates (see below). 

  • Publication:  A collection of articles for publication.  Each publication has at least one article.   A single publication can be configured for both push and pull subscriptions.

  • Article:  Grouping of data--entire table, selected colums (vertical filtering), selected rows (horizontal filtering), or even a stored procedure.  A publication will often have multiple articles.  Subscription is to a publication, not an article, which was possible in SQL 6.5.

  • Push Subscription:   The Publisher initiates the replication to the subscribers.  Useful when changes have to be sent as soon as they occur, but replication can be scheduled.

  • Pull Subscription:   The Subscriber initiates the replication according to a schedule.  Best for situations where there are many Subscribers.  Also best for mobile users who have the flexibility to determine when to recieve updates.  You can also set up a special type of Pull Subscription for anonymous users.  Useful if you are publishing information to the Internet or if you wish to reduce overhead associated with large numbers of subscribers.

  • Horizontal Filtering:   Allows you to publish only a subset of rows to a Subscriber.  Useful when the sites only need certain rows in the database.  Requires use of columns that can be used to identify sites.  Can be used for all replication types.  Avoid if DB is small, has low activity, etc.,.

  • Vertical Filtering:   Allows you to publish only a subset of columns.  Not supported for Merge Replication (however, you could simply create a table at the publisher that only included the columns for publication).  Can be used for improving performance by eliminating large text or image columns, etc.,.  Little impact on performance as compared to Horizontal Filtering.

  • Fragmenting:  Allows you to partition data.  For example, 2 servers share the same table and complete data, but each needs to update  information specific to only its region while being able to view the data from the other region.  Each server will be both Publisher and Subscriber to the other and publish data specific to its region and receive data from the other in the same table.  Stored procedures could be used to ensure that each region updated its own data.  A disadvantage is the need to maintain table schema at multiple locations.

  • Join Filters:   Available for Merge Replication only.  Allows you to include rows from other, related tables.

  • Dynamic Filters:  Available for Merge Replication only.  Allows you to replicate a subset of data to particular machines or users.


Replication Types

  • Snapshot Replication:   Takes a picture of the data at a point in time.  Not as CPU intensive as Transactional Replication, which has to monitor publications for updates.  Simplest type of replication.  Guarantees latent transactional integrity between source and destination.  Good for read-only subscribers who do not need most recent copy of data. 

  • Snapshot Replication with Immediate-Updating Subscribers:  An optional configuration of Snapshot Replication that allows subscribers to make changes at the subscriber and the publisher using 2PC.  Transactional integrity is maintained between publisher and subscriber.   This method of updating the publisher requires that only the subscriber and the publisher involved in the transaction be enlisted for the distributed transaction, not all the servers subscribing to the publication.  Good for situations where subscribers have to make occasional updates to data.

  • Transactional Replication:  Used for replicating tables (all or part of a table) and stored procedures.  The Log Reader Agent monitors the logs of publications for INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE statements and other modifications and then stores these modifications in a queue, the distribution database, for replication to subscribers.  Changes are made at the publication server, so transactional integrity is guaranteed.  Given good network connections, there can be low latency between publisher and subscriber (less than a minute for push subscriptions).  Can also be used for pull subscriptions where subscribers are not always connected and require read-only data, eg., salesperson who needs to get inventory and price lists.

  • Transactional Replication with Immediate-Updating Subscribers:  Allows subscribers to make updates to their local data and the data on the publisher using a distributed transaction.   Transactional integrity guaranteed using 2PC.  All subscribers eventually have transactions replicated to them from the publisher.

  • Merge Replication:  In merge replication, both the publisher and the subscriber update data.  The  data contained in the replica copies held by the publisher and the subscribers are the result of synchronization (convergence).  With merge replication, there is no guarantee of transactional integrity and conflicts between updates can arise.  SQL Server resolves conflicts based on  'generation numbers' and configured priorities--some server will "win" in the case of a conflict.  Merge replication guarantees that eventually all servers will converge to the same resultant data, but the converged data may be different from the data resulting from other forms of replication that guarantee transactional integrity. 


Replication Agents

  • Snapshot Agent:  Used to initialize all replication types and to perform Snapshot Replication itself.  The agent creates the schema and the data to be sent to Subscribers.  It first connects from Distributor to Publisher and locks tables for publication (should be run during periods of low activity because no updates can occur in the tables during the lock).   It then connects back from Publisher to the distributor and places schema in a .sch file and indexes (if indexes or DRI are requested in the publication) in a .idx file on the Distributor. The agent then takes a snapshot of the published data and stores it in a file on the Distributor--the file is a native .bcp (bulk copy) file for SQL Server data sources and a .txt character mode file if data sources other than SQL are involved in replication. The agent then adds rows to the MSrepl_commands table on the Distributor indicating the location of the .sch, bcp, and .txt files (synchronization set); it also adds rows for the synchronization task in the MSrepl_transactions table on the Distributor.

  • Distribution Agent:   Used for Snapshot and Transactional Replication.  For Snapshot Replication, the agent establishes a connection from the server it is running on to the Distributor to read the MS_replcommands and MSRepl_transactions tables and to move schema and data to Subscribers.  For pull subscriptions, agent runs on Subscriber; for push on the distributor.  Place the agent on a Subscriber (pull subscription) when you have large numbers of Subscribers to save resources on the Distributor.  The distribution agent in Transaction Replication moves transactions (commands) stored in distribution database to Subscribers.  For push replication, the agent runs on the distributor; for pull on the Subscriber.  (The distribution database does not contain any user tables--don't add objects to it.)

  • Log Reader Agent:  Used only for transaction replication.  The agent examines the transaction logs of databases marked for replication and identifies transactions (INSERTS, UPDATES, and so on) that need to be replicated.  It then copies transactions to the distribution database, which acts as a store-and-forward queue for the transactions.  When the transactions are committed in the distribution database, it updates the original transaction logs to indicate which transactions have been copied to the distributor and consequently which rows can be truncated from the original logs on the Publisher.   You cannot truncate transactions on the publisher unless they have been committed in the distributor database.  Data that is no longer required for transactional replication is cleaned up by 3 tasks:  Agent checkup, Transaction cleanup, and History cleanup.

  • Merge Agent:  Used for Merge Replication.  The Merge agent looks at rows in the merge article that have a generation column value of "0".  (A trigger on the article sets the value of the generation column to 0 every time an update is performed on the row.)  The merge agent, which keeps track of generation values it has sent to other sites and that other sites have sent to it, assigns new generation values that are higher than previous values. It then sends the changed data to other sites, where the data is merged according to configurable rules.  In the case of a conflict, which is detected through lineage values in the MSmerge_contents table, assigned priorities determine the "winner".  (Custom resolution solutions can also be implemented.)  It is possible to view all the rows involved with the conflict.


Replication Models

  • Central Publisher/Distributor:   Both the Publisher and the Distributor are on the same machine with Subscribers on separate servers.

  • Central Publisher with Remote Distributor: Like above, except Publisher and Distributor are on different machines.  In heavy OLTP environments, this scenario is useful in that it reduces the load on the Publisher.  Requires good network connectivity between Publisher and Distributor.

  • Publishing Subscriber:  In this scenario, the Subscriber is also responsible for republishing the received data.   Useful in situations where there is low available bandwidth between locations.   For example, you have a slow link between Vancouver and Hong Kong.  The Subscriber in Hong Kong would republish the received data to Canberra, Sydney, Bangkok.

  • Central Subscribers/Multiple Publishers:  A number of publishers replicate data to a common destination table on the subscriber.  The data has to be partitioned and a primary key used to identify the source region/server.  Useful for rolling up information.

  • Multiple Publishers/Multiple Subscribers:  Each replicates information to and receives replicated information from a common table.  Useful for situations where sites have to be able to view information updated in other sites. 

Any replication type can be used with any model.  The model is simply the physical topology of your replication.


Installing and Configuring Replication

In order to set up replication, you must first create a distributor.  You should use the replication wizards to install and configure replication.  Must be a member of sysadmin role to initialize DB for publication; DBO can then create and modify publications.


Configure Publishing and Distribution Wizard

  • Configure server as Publisher, choose DB for publication, and select subscribers

  • Configure server as Distributor and choose location for distribution DB and log

  • Enable other servers to use server as Distributor

  • Choose another server as remote Distributor (must already be a Distributor)

  • Register Subscribers


Create Publication Wizard

  • Configure Server as Publisher or Publisher/Distributor

  • Choose Remote Distributor


Disable Publishing and Distribution Wizard

  • Deletes distribution DB's on server

  • Disables all publishers that use distributor and deletes publications

  • Deletes subscriptions, but data on Subscribers remains.


Push Subscription Wizard

Used to specify

  • servers to receive publication, which must have been previously registered by sysadmin

  • the destination database, which must exist prior to setup

  • subscription properties


Pull Subscription Wizard

Used to specify

  • publication you wish to subscribe to

  • the name of the destination database for the subscription

  • other properties, such as the schedule, whether the subscriber can update data, etc.


Modifying Distributor and Publisher Properties

Changing the distribution database for a Publisher means starting over.  You can use the Configure Publishing and Distribution dialog box to modify the properties for the Publisher and local Distributor.  When you remove a Publisher from the Distributor, all subscriptions to all publications are deleted along with the publication definitions. 


Some Planning Considerations

Depending on the type of replication you are performing some data types must be present or absent.  If you are bypassing the initial snapshot replication (doing a manual snapshot by restoring a database backup, for example), you will have to add these datatypes manually at the destination database.

  • the timestamp (not related to date and time) data type must be present for immediate updating options.   It must be removed for merge replication.

  • the uniqueidentifier data type with the ROWGUIDCOL property must be present for merge replication.  It will be added automatically if it is not present.

Text, ntext, and image datatypes can be replicated only with snapshot replication.  (It is possible to control the maximum size of these datatypes that will replicate with snapshot replication.)

The replication process will not replicate the IDENTITY property on a column, but will replicate values in the column.   If the property itself were replicated, values might be reseeded at the subscriber.

The NOT FOR REPLICATION property is useful in partitioned environments that are using the identity property on columns.   This option allows control over  the range of values for seeded identity values.

Ensure adequate diskspace exists at the distributor for snapshot or transactional replication.  If using push subscriptions, ensure that distributor can handle extra load;  otherwise, use pull or anonymous subscriptions.

If using transactional replication and a very large number of rows are affected by a transaction, consider replicating a stored procedure instead (be careful with this kind of replication, since transactional integrity could be compromised).

For fault tolerance, do backups and create scripts based on replication configuration.


Monitoring and maintaining SQL Server

Tools for monitoring SQL Server

  • Microsoft Event Viewer (Start -> Programs -> Administrative Tools -> Event Viewer)

  • Performance Monitor (Start -> Programs -> Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 -> Performance Monitor)

  • SQL Server Profiler : A SQL Server tool that captures a continuous record of server activity in real-time. SQL Server Profiler can monitor many different server events and event categories, filter these events with user-specified criteria, and output a trace to the screen, a file, or another SQL Server.

  • SQL Query Analyzer : Show Estimated Execution Plan

  • dbcc commands : The Transact-SQL programming language provides DBCC statements that act as the “database consistency checker” for SQL Server. These statements check the physical and logical consistency of a database. Many DBCC statements can fix detected problems.

  • sqlmaint.exe : The sqlmaint utility performs a specified set of maintenance operations on one or more databases. Use sqlmaint to run DBCC checks, back up a database and its transaction log, update statistics, and rebuild indexes. All database maintenance activities generate a report that can be sent to a designated text file, HTML file, or e-mail account.)

  • sp_who : Provides information about current   SQL Server users and processes

  • sp_lock : Reports information about locks

  • sp_monitor : Displays statistics about   SQL Server

  • sp_spaceused : Displays the number of rows, disk space reserved, and disk space used by a table in the current database

  • MMC : SQL Server -> Management -> Current Activity (Process Info, Locks)

  • MMC : SQL Server -> Management -> Replication Monitor -> Replication Alerts

  • MMC : SQL Server -> Management -> SQL Server Logs


SQL Server Configuration

Use sp_configure to see a list of configuration options.  To see advanced sp_configure options, use the 'Show Advanced Options' option. 

Some Relevant Tuning Options:

  • Max Worker Threads:   Default is 255.  If SQL needs more than this no. of threads, it will start sharing threads (thread pooling).  For small numbers of users, less than 255 is better than default value.

  • Parallel Query Options (Max Degree of Parallelism, etc.,):  When turned on, can allow all or a subset of processors in a multi-processor machine to be used for a query.  Should be used with care, because it can have a detrimental affect on performance.  Use when few users are connecting.  Can be set through EM.

  • Min Server Memory:   Sets a minumum amount of memory that SQL will use on start up.

  • Min Memory Per Query:   Sets a minimum amount of memory for each query a user runs.  On large OLAP servers, this setting might be useful.

  • Max Server Memory:   Sets max amount of memory that SQL will use.

  • Max Async IO:  Default is 32.  When you have an efficient disk subsystem using multiple channels, increasing this value may be beneficial.  Look at the disk queue length Performance Monitor Counter.  Optimally, this value should be less than 2.








Logging information about SQL Server setup

SQL Server error log


Records information about startup of SQL Server

SQL Server inst.-log


Log-file for installation




Ping to Database


SQL Server Query analyzer (DB-library, tool from pervious version)


SQL Server Query analyzer (ODBC)


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