Technique to Set SQL Server Long Running Transaction Alert

Stephen West | July 25th, 2016 | SQL

Long-Running transaction in SQL Server is one of the main reasons behind the log filling up. This transaction makes the log remain active from the virtual log file containing start of the transaction. Log truncation is restricted from that virtual file onward causing the log to grow in size & affect the complete operations of the database. Hence, it is necessary to monitor the long-running transactions. In the page, we will be discussing technique to set SQL Server Long-Running Transaction alert.

Problems with Long-Running Transaction

Some of the issues the user will encounter due to long-running transaction are:

  • This type of transactions cause many problems such as blocking or locking
  • Presence of long-running transactions on many server fill up the transaction log
  • It restricts the log truncation process that is needed to manage the log size

Ways to detect Long-Running Transactions

Two possible methods to discover long-running transactions are as follows:

  • sys.dm_tran_database_transactions
  • The above stated dynamic management view (DMV) will return the information related to transactions at the database level.

    In case of long-running transaction, some of the columns will be checked such as:

    Starting time of the first log record [database_transaction_begin_time]

    Current transaction state [database_transaction_state]

    Log Sequence Number of beginning record [database_transaction_begin_lsn]

    Note: For executing this command, DMV needs VIEW SERVER STATE permission on the server.

  • DBCC OPENTRAN
  • Second alternative is to use a DBCC Command, which will help user in identifying the user ID of the transaction’s owner. It will help in tracking down the transaction source for a proper termination.

    As this command will only give details of a long running transaction while executing them, we need to set up a SQL Agent job to run on every minute for proper monitoring. Though scheduling can be changed according to user requirements, job setup and repeated execution may lead to performance issues. However, if the scheduling is not frequent, there is high probability of missing long-running transaction.

Monitor Long-Running Transactions using Alerts

For using SQL Server Agent Alerts to monitor Long-Running Transactions, following steps needs to be taken:

  • Launch SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) and click on SQL Server Agent
  • Click on Jobs under SQL Server Agent section and select Alerts
  • Right-click on Alerts and select ‘New Alert’
  • 1

  • A new window for creating alert will be shown where the detailed information needs to be entered such as:
    • Name of the alert
    • Type of the alert and choose ‘SQL Server performance Condition Alert’
  • Click on OK
  • 2

  • Fill the other details by selecting these options from the list.
  • Set Object column as ‘SQL Server: Transactions’
  • Select ‘Longest Transaction Running Time’ in Counter column
  • Choose ‘rises above’ in alert option and value as 15 seconds
  • 3

  • Now click on ‘Response’ tab, create on ‘New operator’
  • 3i

  • Now fill the details for creating the operator
  • 4

  • We will trigger an email to the operator, and execute a job in response of the alert.
  • 4i

  • For creating a job, we will use the code defined below and call it from alert then, the result of this query will be sent in mail using sp_send_dbmail to resolve any issue.
  • SQL Server Long Running Transaction Alert

  • Customized message can be added in the additional notification message section in the email alert. For this, go to options, enter the message and delay time can be included between alerts responses.
  • 5

  • History section can be used while verifying the alert count
  • 6

  • Alert created can be disabled when it is not needed.
  • 7

Conclusion

In the content, we have included some of the problems that can be caused by long-running transactions that affect the normal operations of the SQL Server database. Proper monitoring of the SQL Server Long Running Transaction is highly required. Along with two methods for the same purpose, another approach is to set SQL Server Long-Running transaction Alert. The alert can be created using the steps described above and it will be triggered when any type of transaction exceeds the threshold set by this alert. Since mails related to issue will be delivered to Database Administrator, actions will be taken.

Transaction Log Restore