SQL 101: Extended Events – set up a basic session

Setting up your first Extended Event session is much simpler than I thought it would be!

Extended Events (XE) in SQL Server showed up first in SQL 2008, but they got a GUI in SQL 2012, making them much easier to work with on the fly.  I’m one of those old DBAs that was reluctant to move away from SQL Trace via Profiler for simple needs.  Of course for more complex issues and long-term tracking I used server-side tracing for many years.

With the advent of XE, Microsoft stopped enhancing SQL Trace.  Many of the new features of SQL are not in SQL Trace at all (180 in Trace compared to 1000+ in XE now).  In addition to the video in this post, I strongly recommend you go through the 4 step Stairway to Extended Events by Erin Stellato (b|t).  I’m just now starting my journey with XE so I will be leaving out everything but the most basics steps I used…this is a 101 post after all 🙂

Please forgive the watermark…was testing Camtasia.  I’ll be buying a copy soon!

I also want to thank Dave Mason (b|t) for his post Hide and Seek with Extended Events, which helped me understand why I was not seeing my test data in “Watch Live Data” mode, and come up with the workaround you see in the video.  Dave has his own workaround that I did not test.  Lastly, thanks to my Apprentice DBA (t) for teaching me XE after I had him go learn from the Stairway and some testing on his own.   I used what he taught me the next day to capture a sample command on a production system so I could tune some code in the customer’s test environment.

Thanks for reading!


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