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Monitoring Group of Linked SQL Servers from a SQL Server

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24 Jun 2009CPOL4 min read 34.4K   291   23   2
Monitoring group of Linked SQL Servers from a SQL Server


The main purpose of this article is to understand how to monitor a group of Linked SQL Servers from a SQL Server.

Before I begin, I need to make things clear:

  1. This article makes use of Linked Server Technique and Socket Programming, which I will not discuss since there are other articles available on these subjects. But any questions, bugs and suggestions are most welcome.
    Although prior knowledge of this subject will certainly help you, it is not mandatory.
  2. This article is about a framework on how to perform monitoring, therefore it is quite possible that you may have a different idea of doing it.


This project can be used for any basic database monitoring. But it was designed purposefully for production support monitoring, where in database tables are monitored for certain data.

An example which I can provide is for Banking domain, where certain transactions should be moved to down system at predetermined schedule. Once these transactions are moved, their status is updated in the database as sent to down system.

Here we could set up this monitoring to check if the transaction has been sent? Otherwise raise the alert to the production support guys!

Monitoring Architect

For any Basic Monitoring System, the below mentioned objects are needed:

  1. Monitoring System - Object which monitors the system and raises the alert
  2. Alert Scheduling - For periodic scheduling of Monitoring System (Point 1)
  3. Alert Dispatcher - Dispatches the alerts
  4. Alert Receiver - System which receives the alert

Let us see how the above objects are provided to us by SQL Server and which ones we need to develop: 

  1. SQL Job - For Alert Scheduling (Point 2) 
  2. Linked Server Functionality - For Monitoring System (Point 1)

The remaining components Dispatch Alert and Receive Alert need to be developed:

  • AlertDispatcher - It is simple console based socket client which sends the Alert message to the listening socket Server.
  • AlertReceive - It is an MFC dialog based socket application which displays the Alert sent by AlertDispatcher.

Setting up the Monitoring System

Before we can start monitoring any server, we need to Register Remote SQL server as linked servers:

To add Linked Server, the code given below can be used based on authentication scheme:

A. Windows Authentication:-

	EXEC sp_addlinkedserver
	@server = 'LinkName',
	@srvproduct = 'SQLServer OLEDB Provider',
	@provider = 'SQLOLEDB',
	@datasrc = 'ServerIP_OR_NAME'

	EXEC sp_addlinkedsrvlogin 'LinkName', 'true', null, null, null

B. Sql Authentication:-

	EXEC sp_addlinkedserver
		@server = 'LinkName',
		@srvproduct = 'SQLServer OLEDB Provider',
		@provider = 'SQLOLEDB',
		@datasrc = 'ServerIP_OR_NAME'

	EXEC sp_addlinkedsrvlogin 'LinkName', 'false', null, _
				'SQL_UserName', 'SQL_Password'

Once, the Linked Server Setup is completed for all servers, you can check the connectivity using the query given below:

select * from OPENQUERY ( LinkName , 
'select top 1 * from sysobjects with (nolock) order by 1 desc' ) 

In the above code, you will have to replace the below string with values at your end:

  1. LinkName - Is any name referring to Linked Server, it can also be the same as Linked Server Name!
  2. ServerIP_OR_NAME - Is the Name or IP address of SQL Server.
  3. SQL_UserName - Is valid Sql User on Linked server, which has rights to query the DB.
  4. SQL_Password - Guess! What...yes, you are right, it is the password.

Alert Scheduling

Once Linked servers are set up, the next job is to create a SQL Job. It will query the Linked server for Monitoring and pass on the alert to Alert Dispatcher.

A sample job supplied as part of code queries the server table every hour for any row present in it. You can reuse the sample job for setting up your own.

For maintaining a list of Alert Receiver, we will create a table which persists this information:

Create Table MonitorIP
	IPAddress  varchar(25),
	Sent_flag bit,
	Port int

Insert into MonitorIP values
Insert into MonitorIP values

Below is a sample SQL logic to be placed in Job for Monitoring a Table for Data presence.
Note: Your SQL Query could be different than this.

This query will be executed on Linked Server when the Job is fired as per the schedule. This SQL Query does 2 things:

  1. It queries the Linked Server and gets the Data from it.
  2. It check for row count greater than one. If found, then it dispatches the alert to all receivers with the help of AlertDispatcher.exe.

Author 			: Kuldip Rindani
Create Date		: 01-APR-2009
Purpose			: For Dispatching Sample Alert using AlertDispatcher.exe
Dependencies		: Script uses xp_cmdshell to execute a Exe.
			  therefore, it should be enabled on machine 
			  were monitoring is setup.
Modification History	:


Declare @Row_Count int
Declare @ExePath varchar(255), @varMsg varchar(255), @varCmd varchar(2000)
Declare @IPAddress varchar(25), @Port varchar(10) 
--Path for exe Need to customize as per site setup.
Set @ExePath = 'C:\Monitoring\AlertDispatcher.exe'

--Remember below is sample query for monitoring, your could be different than it.
--Below query is for checking if any Data is present is table for filter columns.
select @Row_Count  = Row_Count from OpenQuery( LinkName, 

Select count(*) as Row_Count from Your_Database..Your_Tables with _
	(nolock) where Your_Columns = ''SOMEVALUE''

Set @varMsg = 'Date : ' + CAST(GETDATE() as varchar(50)) + ', _
	Alert for Your_Database..Your_Tables on Your_Server  = _
	' + CAST(Row_Count as varchar(10)) 

--Below is sample logic for send Alert when data is present in Your_Database..Your_Tables
IF @Row_Count > 0 
	--Loop through each Registered Alert Receiver and dispatch the message
	Declare C1 cursor For select IPAddress, Port from MonitorIP where sent_flag = 1
	Open C1
	Fetch Next From  C1 InTo @IPAddress, @Port
	While @@Fetch_Status <>-1
		--Create the String for executing AlertDispatcher.exe utility.
		set  @varCmd = @ExePath + ' ' + @IPAddress + ' ' + _
			@Port + ' "' + @varMsg + '"'      

		exec master..xp_cmdshell @varCmd    

		Fetch Next From  C1 InTo @IPAddress, @Port
	Close C1
	Deallocate C1

Note: Don't forget to replace the @ExePath variable in the above code with Path as per your environment.

Alert Dispatcher

It is a simple console based socket client which sends the Alert message to the listening socket Server. This utility accepts the below command line parameter to send the message:

  1. IP Address / Machine Name
  2. TCP Port
  3. Message to be dispatched. Remember to include this between quotes(") for message containing spaces.

AlertDispatcher.exe can be executed as:

AlertDispatcher.exe localhost 1002 "DateTime, Test Message from AlertDispatcher"

Alert Receiver

It is an MFC dialog based socket application which displays the Alert send by AlertDispatcher.

This utility accepts the Port number as command line parameter to listen for incoming message from Alert Dispatcher. In case it is not supplied, default Port number is 1002.

It expects alert message to be in format "DateTime, Alert Message",
i.e. DateTime and Message text is separated by comma.

Sample Output of Alert Receiver


Above Output

Finally, all objects are setup correctly. Now, it is a matter of creating a new job for adding alert. Also, the existing job can be temporarily disabled by just disabling the concerned SQL Job.

Special thanks to my colleague, Chaitanya Shah who coded the Alert Dispatcher executable.


  • 24th June, 2009: Initial post


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

Written By
Software Developer (Senior)
United States United States
VC++, MFC, COM, Unix Shell Scripts
Linux Kernel Development

Comments and Discussions

GeneralSecurity risk Pin
Quinton Viljoen29-Jun-09 21:43
Quinton Viljoen29-Jun-09 21:43 
GeneralRe: Security risk Pin
Kuldip Rindani29-Jun-09 22:10
Kuldip Rindani29-Jun-09 22:10 

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