When I’m after SQL Server performance problems, SQL Server Profiler is still my beloved tool. Allthough i do know that extended events offer a mor light-weight answer, those are still a bit cumbersome to use (but I’ve seen that we are able to expect some enhancements with SQL Server 2012).

When I’m using profiler to isolate performance problems, I attempt to tack server side traces, whenever doable. luckily, SQL Server Profiler can assist you making a script for a server side trace (File/Export/Script Trace Definition), so you don’t have to figure out all the event- and column-codes. As i used to be doing a similar configuration again and again, i made a decision to separate the TSQL code for the configuration within a stored procedure.

And here comes dbo.configureServerSideTrace:
if object_id('dbo.configureServerSideTrace', 'P') is not null
drop procedure dbo.configureServerSideTrace
go

-- Example for:
-- Start Trace
--   declare @traceID int
--   exec dbo.configureServerSideTrace @traceStatus = 1
--                                    ,@traceID = @traceID output
--                                    ,@maxFileSize = 10000
--                                    ,@traceFileName = N'e:\VMITrace\Undo'
--                                    ,@spId = @@spid
--
-- End Trace
--   exec dbo.configureServerSideTrace @traceStatus = 0, @traceID = @traceID

create procedure dbo.configureServerSideTrace
             (@traceStatus   bit                  -- 1 => Start Trace
                                                  -- 0 => Stop Trace
             ,@traceID       int output           -- If the Trace is started, this param will return the TraceID
                                                  -- For stopping the trace, the param has to be provided
             ,@spId          int           = null -- provide the @@spid, if you want to filter only events for this conection
                                                  -- Optional. If not provided => no filter. Not needed for stopping the trace
             ,@maxFileSize   bigint        = 5000 -- Maximum Trace File Size in Megabyte. Trace will be stopped, if the filesize is reached.
             ,@traceFileName nvarchar(200) = null -- Name of the trace file (server side!)
                                                  -- Optional. Not neded for stoping the trace
                                                  -- Attention! If the file already exists, the SP will yield an error
                                                  -- and no trace is started.
             ) as
begin

if (@traceStatus = 0)
begin
exec sp_trace_setstatus @TraceID, 0
exec sp_trace_setstatus @TraceID, 2
return;
end

-- Create a Queue
declare @rc int

exec @rc = sp_trace_create @TraceID output, 0, @traceFileName, @maxfilesize, NULL
if (@rc != 0) goto error

-- Set the events
declare @on bit
set @on = 1
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 43, 15, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 43, 48, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 43, 1, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 43, 34, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 43, 35, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 43, 51, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 43, 4, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 43, 12, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 43, 13, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 43, 14, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 43, 22, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 42, 1, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 42, 14, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 42, 22, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 42, 34, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 42, 35, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 42, 51, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 42, 4, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 42, 12, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 45, 16, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 45, 48, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 45, 1, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 45, 17, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 45, 18, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 45, 34, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 45, 35, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 45, 51, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 45, 4, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 45, 12, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 45, 13, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 45, 14, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 45, 22, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 45, 15, @on
-- XML Statistics Profile
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 146, 1, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 146, 51, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 146, 4, @on
exec sp_trace_setevent @TraceID, 146, 12, @on

-- Filter: Log only events for the provided @@spid
if @spId is not null
exec sp_trace_setfilter @TraceID, 12, 0, 0, @spID

-- Set the trace status to start
exec sp_trace_setstatus @TraceID, 1

goto finish

error:
select [email protected]

finish:
end
go


Some annotations:

  • For the parameters, see the comments.
  • Don’t specify a string for the trace file. .TRC will be added automatically.
  • ensure that the output file doesn't already exist. Otherwise you’ll get an error.
  • very often I replace the code for beginning and stopping the trace inside “interesting code” inside a stored procedure. That is, I’m wrapping some more or less awkward code by starting and stopping a trace like this:

declare @traceID int
exec dbo.configureServerSideTrace @traceStatus = 1
                                 ,@traceID = @traceID output
                                 ,@maxFileSize = 10000
                                 ,@traceFileName = N'e:\MyTrace\Test'
                                 ,@spId = @@spid

--
-- Code of interest
--

exec dbo.configureServerSideTrace @traceStatus = 0, @traceID = @traceID

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