Creating Custom Event Views

If you’re using SQL Sentry regularly, there’s a great event management feature that provides a lot of value for our advanced users. I often find the SQL Sentry Event Calendar isn’t being used as often as it once was.

The Event Calendar lets you view historical and future events, drill down into event failures, and reschedule jobs using drag and drop all from within the SQL Sentry desktop client. In addition, you can create custom views of events you need to reference frequently. Those Custom Event Views are the focus of this blog post.

Creating a Custom Event View enables you to see a specific set of events across one or more monitored targets in a calendar view. These views are persistent, so you won’t need to recreate them each time you want to view the events, and the views can be shared with your colleagues who are leveraging SQL Sentry. Let’s take a look at how to create Custom Event Views.

Accessing Your Views

Any Custom Event View you create will be listed under the Event Calendars object within the Navigator pane. You can expand the Event Calendars object to access calendars split between the Local and Shared nodes.

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A Local View can be used only by the user who created it, whereas a Shared View can be accessed by any user on any SQL Sentry client.

TIP: You can right-click the Shared node and select Refresh to populate views created by other users.

Creating a View

To create a new view, double-click either the Local or Shared node or right-click and select New to open the Add a Custom Event View tab, where you’ll begin building out your view. Make sure to give your view a name and a description, so you know the differences between your views.

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In the Define View section, there are several options you can use to define what’s included in your view. Let’s look at each of the options in more detail.

Select Instances

The Select Instances button allows you to select one or more event sources to include in your view. You can select individual instances, such as a specific SQL Server, or all instances of a specific type, such as all SQL Servers being monitored.

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Select OK to save your selections.

Select Objects

This option allows you to add individual objects types to your view.

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The top section gives you the ability to search for objects by type, name, or step text. Once you fill out the search fields and select Search, the Search Results area will populate with results. You can select one or more objects and click Add, which will add the objects to the Selected Objects section of the window.

Event Sources

Selecting the Event Sources option enables you to define which event sources will be tied to your view. This can include Advisory Conditions, deadlock events, blocking processes, and/or SQL Server Agent Jobs.

TIP: Based on the Event Source you’ve selected, you also have the option to select specific objects or categories if applicable.

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Filtering Options

Once you’ve selected the instances, objects, and event sources you want to include in your view, you can click Set Filters to apply specific filters to the view. These filters are restricted by the instance types you have selected and the event sources available to those instances.

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Click OK to apply your Filters. Now, be sure to save the view by selecting Save in the top toolbar.

Examples

One scenario many users leverage is a Custom Event View for backup job monitoring. In the example shown below, there is a full backup and log backup job displaying both failures and successful runs.

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In this view, I can see historical and future runs of my FULL and LOG backup jobs and dig into the failures by selecting the event.

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Another example of when you might want to create and use a Customer Event View are replication agent or ETL jobs.

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This view follows the same principle as the backup view, but I don’t have any failures displaying here. However, I can still dig into some metrics such as the Runtime Stats of a job.

To do so, right-click the event, select Jump To…, then Runtime Stats as shown in the screenshot below.

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Doing so will provide you with some historical information about the event in question, as shown in the example below.

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Saving the Current View

Another way to create a Custom Event View is to save the current calendar view. With the Event Calendar open, navigate to File, Save View As. You’ll need to provide a name for the view, and you can add a description.

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Organizing Your Views

Once you’ve created several custom views, consider organizing them in folders. Right-click the Local or Shared node under the Event Calendars object and select New Folder. From there, you’ll be able to click and drag views into your created folders.

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Conclusion

Custom Event Views in SQL Sentry can save users a lot of time, but that value can only be realized when they’re implemented, organized, and leveraged. For additional information about how to best utilize SQL Sentry’s Event Calendar, check out Patrick Kelley’s “SQL Sentry Event Calendar Tips and Tricks” blog post. If you have any questions about the Event Calendar, please reach out to your Customer Success Manager.

If you aren’t already using SQL Sentry, check out the free trial to see the Event Calendar for yourself!

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