SQL Server with Mr. Denny

June 16, 2008  11:00 AM

Back To Basics: Service Broker Services

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

Services are used to bind contracts to queues.  They are also used to database to database, or server to server routing of messages via routes (we’ll talk about them later).  Unlike most other objects within SQL Server, the name of the service is case sensitive, no matter what collation you have set for your database.  When using server to server queueing the service names must be identical, including case as SQL Servers uses a hash of the service name to locate the correct service.

(Service names are not actually case sensitive if you arne’t using routing, but if you are going to start routing the messages later it’s better to start off getting them in the correct case.)

The syntax to create the service is pretty straight forward.

ON QUEUE QueueName (ContractName)

If the service will only be the initiator then the contract name can be omited if preferred.  If you want to create a multi-user contact you can specify additional contracts by simply making a comma seperated list of contract names.

ON QUEUE QueueName;

ON QUEUE QueueName (ContractName1, ContractName2);


June 12, 2008  5:24 AM

Use caution when upgrading SQL 2008 CTP SSIS packages to RC0

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

A ran across a bit of a problem when upgrading my SQL 2008  CTP 5 (November 2007) SSIS Packages to SQL 2008 RC0.  Apparently Microsoft has changed the way that they handle the script tasks within the SSIS packages.  Because of this when I edit all of the script tasks within my SSIS package the scripts were all blank.

 The official fix from Microsoft is to install the older CTP version that you edited the scripts in on another machine and open the un-updated version of the SSIS package on that machine, and copy the code for the scripts into the RC0 version of the SSIS package.

The only object which I’ve had to do this on was a .NET Script Task.  I had this problem when going from CTP 5 to CTP 6 as well as from CTP 5 to RC0.  This will not effect migrating from SQL 2005 to SQL 2008 as SQL 2005 and SQL 2008 CTP 5 do not use the same scripting engine in the back end.


June 10, 2008  7:32 PM

SQL Server 2008 RC 0 Released

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

Microsoft has just released SQL Server 2008 RC 0.  This release should be pretty close to the final version expected out later this year.


June 10, 2008  6:39 PM

Article: SQL Server memory configurations for procedure cache and buffer cache

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

I’ve just published another tip over on SearchSQLServer.com.  This one is titled SQL Server memory configurations for procedure cache and buffer cache.

To determine how much memory your SQL Server database uses for buffer cache and procedure cache, factor in the SQL version you’re using, whether it’s x86, x64 or Itanium and the amount of memory allocated to the SQL Server instance. I talk about how the system configures memory and how it allocates the amount of buffer and procedure cache that’s available.Denny

June 9, 2008  11:00 AM

SQL 2005 Internal Query Error 8623 still unfixed

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

While working on a new part of our production system  we begun getting the following error message back from the SQL Server.

Server: Msg 8623, Level 16, State 1, Line 1
Internal Query Processor Error: The query processor could not produce a query plan. Contact your primary support provider for more information.

Now I’ve seen this error before, but it was supposed to have been fixed in Cumulative Update 3 for SQL Server 2005 SP 2 but apparently it hasn’t been.  I’m currently running build 3239 which is Cumulative Update 7.  (I’m running the x64 edition.)

The only difference between my query and what’s documented in the KB article is that I was doing a basic insert statement.

 (Table1Id, Table2Id)
 (@Table1Id, @Table2Id)

There are obviously no complex queries being run here.  However I did have relational integrity enabled through foreign keys.  I ended up having to remove the foreign key constraints from this table for the insert statement to work correctly.

Hopefully someone finds this info useful.

You can follow along with the Microsoft development teams progress on Microsoft Connect.  It’s feedback number 332815.


June 5, 2008  11:00 AM

Back To Basics: Service Broker Queues

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

The service broker queue is where the messages are stored after they are delivered, but before they are processed.  They are kind of like tables as you insert data into them (sending the message) and you view the data in them (receiving the message).  While tables can have triggers, queues can have what are called activated procedures.  If a queue has an activated procedure defined when the message arrives in the queue the queue runs the procedure.  No data is passed to the procedure, that procedure still needs to do a receive against the procedure (if that’s what actually needs to be done).

Setting up an activation procedure is a bit tricky as you have to have the queue to create the procedure, and you have to have the procedure to set it as an activation procedure.  So what I like to do is create the queue, then the procedure, then alter the queue to setup the activation.  This way I can send messages to the queue right away without worrying about getting errors because the procedure doesn’t exist.

Unlike tables, you do not get to define the structure of the queue.  All data is stored within the message_body field, so if you need to send more than one value it’s recommend that you use an XML document to send the data.  The syntax to create the queue is very simply.


Because the queue does hold the messages you can define what file group you would like the data within the queue to be stored in.  If you have a business need to keep the messages around after processing you can specify the RETENTION keyword setting it to ON.  By default queues are enabled when they are created.  If you do not want to allow messages to be delivered to the queue specify the STATUS keyword setting it to OFF.


June 2, 2008  11:00 AM

Back To Basics: Service Broker Contracts

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

Every Service Broker conversation requires a contract.  The contract defines which message type or types will be used, as well as who (sender or receiver) can use which message types.  The contract is specified when the conversation is created.

The syntax for creating the contract is pretty straight forward.

(MessageType SENT BY ANY)

The SEND BY portion can be used as many times as is needed for each Message Type which is defined on the contract.  It must be listed at least once as you can not have a contract with no message types.  You can specify that the Message Type be used by the INITIATOR, the TARGET or by both (by using the ANY keyword).

A more complex Contract would look something like this.



May 29, 2008  11:00 AM

geekSpeak: Spatial Data in SQL Server 2008 with Denny Cherry

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

On 6/4/08 at noon PST (3pm EST) I’ll be presenting a MSDN Geek Speak session entitled “Spatial Data in SQL Server 2008 with Denny Cherry”. In the session we will explore the new support for spatial data in Microsoft SQL Server 2008. I will also be talking about managing huge SQL Server databases, and answer your questions about SQL Server. The Microsoft hosts will be Mike Benkovich and Mithun Dhar.

It’s a very free form session where we rely on Audience Q&A to really drive the direction of the session.

Here is the URL to register for the session.  Just click the URL and register, you’ll get an email reminder, etc from the Microsoft Events system.

I hope everyone can attend.  I hope to make my first geekSpeak a huge success.


May 26, 2008  12:00 PM

SoCal Code Camp is coming up

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

The SoCal Code Camp is coming up shortly (June 28th and 29th).  I’ve just finished posting my abstracts on the site for all to see.  I’ve tagged them all with SQL Server to make them easier to find.  I’ve currently got about 6 sessions on there. 

I’m crazy I know.

If you aren’t in Southern California this might be a great way to get the boss to pay for a weekend in San Diego, California.

There’s also a free dinner which is called the Geek Dinner.

I hope to see you all there.


May 26, 2008  11:00 AM

A very strange Service Broker and TempDB problem

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

So, a little while ago I was having a major problem at work that I’d like to share in the hopes that someone else finds this information useful. (When I was having this problem, Google wasn’t able to find anything for me.)

The symptoms that we were having in a nut shell was that the tempdb was taking all the drive space which was allocated to it.  On this system, tempdb is sitting on it’s own 50 Gig drive, so SQL can take the entire thing if it needs to.  The problem was that sp_spaceused was showing that the entire database was empty, but we were getting out of space errors when running queries which needed to use tempdb.  First thing we did was create another tempdb file off on another drive which is a 200 Gig drive.  This gave us space to work with while we tried to figure the entire mess out.

The first thought that we had (well OK, not the first) was that we were having the problem described in MSKB 947204.  The solution to this KB Article was to apply SQL 2005 SP 2 Update 6.  So we did this, but to no avail.

Now, I need to take a little break and give you some additional background before we continue.

About 2 months ago we made a hardware swap on the SQL Server.  The old server wouldn’t take a memory upgrade, so we got a new server with the correct amount of RAM (old server had 8 Gigs, new server had 16) and did a fork lift migration to the new server.  The migration went fine, totally as expected.

Now another piece of information that you’ll need is that we are using the service broker heavily within our database.

What we didn’t notice, and what was eventually found to be the root cause of the problem, was that the service broker wasn’t working correctly.  The reason we didn’t notice it was that there were never any error messages.  Messages were being sent, but they never actually got delivered.

There were no errors being logged in the errorlog, on in SQL Profiler (when monitored using either the Errors and Alerts or Broker monitors).  The error could only be seen by querying the sys.transmission_queue.  In the transmission_status column was some sort of error along the lines of “An error occurred during decryption”.  It also gave some sort of error about the database master key.

 Working off of the database master key error I did an ALTER MASTER KEY and reset the master key, but that didn’t help.  I then decided to reset the connection between the master key and the service key by using the ALTER MASTER KEY ADD ENCRYPTION BY SERVICE MASTER KEY command.  This took forever to execute, which I assumed was a good thing since I didn’t see any blocking.  Once it was finished the CPUs on the SQL Server started running very hot, and the disk IO went up very high.  All the CPU was being taken by SPIDs 16 and 20-24 (or so) with a command of BRKR TASK (Broker Task).  So the service broker was now chewing on all the messages in the system (we had no idea how many there were, we estimated it at millions).  After a while of watching the system process messages which were no longer relevant we decided that we needed to kill all the messages in the service broker as quickly as possible. Fortunitly the few messages which we would need to be able to keep we would be able to easily recreate.

I wrote a nice little script which queried the top 100 conversation IDs from the sys.transmission_queue DMV and did an END CONVERSATION WITH CLEANUP on them to get rid of them.  This was then wrapped in a loop so that it would kill messages in-mass.  Because of the massive load on the database after 2 days of running only about 350,000 conversations had been closed.  During this two day window the SQL service had to be restarted twice because tempdb had grown to over 200 Gigs with 198 Gigs of that showing free space, but the system still reporting out of space messages.

 We decided that a more drastic approach was needed.  We thought about deleting the queues, but that wouldn’t help.  Service broker would simply hold the messages until the queues were back then start processing the messages again.  I thought about deleting the Service Broker Service, and tried it but the process hung waiting for the disk, as I assume it was removing all the messages which went with that service.  I didn’t want that sort of blocking and load on the system, so I killed that.

This is when I remembered that all messages being sent or received are done to a specific service broker GUID, not to a specific database name.  This gave me an idea.  If I change the GUID, the messages which the service broker is chewing on will become invalid and SQL will remove them as bogus messages.  So I stopped the SQL Service, and restarted it in single user mode with a minimal config (not actually needed, but I needed to get all the users out of the database, and with 30,000 people hitting the system 24x7x365 this was just the easiest way to do it).  I then did an ALTER DATABASE MyDatabase WITH NEW_BROKER.  This changed the GUID of my database to a new GUID which stopped SQL from processing the messages.  I restarted the service normally and brought the system back online.  The tempdb is sitting at 30 Gigs.

Some of the queries which will come in handy to see if you are having this same kind of issue are:

The first one is pretty self explanatory.
exec sp_spaceused;

If there are records in the sys.transmission_queue with an error about the master key, or decryption.
FROM sys.transmission_queue

The second value is the important one here. The internal_obj_kb is the amount of space taken in the tempdb by internal objects like table variables, stored procedure input parameter definitions, etc.
SUM (user_object_reserved_page_count)*8 as usr_obj_kb, SUM (internal_object_reserved_page_count)*8 as internal_obj_kb, SUM (version_store_reserved_page_count)*8 as version_store_kb, SUM (unallocated_extent_page_count)*8 as freespace_kb, SUM (mixed_extent_page_count)*8 as mixedextent_kb FROM sys.dm_db_file_space_usage

This query shows the number of pages and the number of Megs that the internal objects where using.
SELECT SUM(internal_object_reserved_page_count) AS [internal object pages used],
(SUM(internal_object_reserved_page_count)*1.0/128) AS [internal object space in MB]
FROM sys.dm_db_file_space_usage;

By using these queries we were able to find out that we had Gigs of space assigned as reserved for internal objects, even those sp_spaceused was showing us that all the space in the database was available because there wasn’t actually any data written to it from a physical object. We normally have between 7 and 15 Megs of internal object space, but until the root cause of the issue was resolved we were running about 100 Gigs of internal object space.

So if you have moved from one server to another, and you use SQL Service Broker, and you aren’t getting messages processed because of a master key or decryption error, and your tempdb is filling up like crazy, this might be your problem.

I hope that no one ever has this problem, but if you do and you have run across this posting, I hope that you find it useful in fixing your problem.

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