SQL Server Diagnostics Extension for SQL Server Management Server

SQL Server Diagnostics Extension for SQL Server Management Server

Microsoft has been on a rapid clip of releasing new SQL Server focused products and plugins as they also continue to move strongly forward with their scale-out to Linux and continued leadership in cloud data with Azure SQL Database and Azure SQL Warehouse. The newest release and focus of this article is the SQL Server Diagnostics extension within SQL Server Management Studio.

SQL Server Diagnostics Extension

The MSSQL Tiger Team blog last week announced the preview of this extension last week. The extension is available for download here and if you have multiple installs of Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) the download process will note that and install the extension for all instances of SSMS on your workstation:

The extension will allow you to upload a dump file for assessment and issuance of kb articles in return that directly relates to the dump contents. For example I can create a mini dump using the following syntax which will create a dump file in the SQL Server log directory:

DBCC TRACEON(2546, -1);
GO

DBCC STACKDUMP;

I can then launch the extension from the Tools option in the SSMS menu bar

 and complete the form provided:

The submitted memory dump is analyzed for root cause and any publicly available Knowledge Base (KB) articles existing that match the identified issues in the dump file.  Customers that choose to use this tool can then debug and self-administer resolutions provided through feedback and these KB articles from Microsoft. The submitted dumps are securely stored under the same compliance processes as if they were submitted through a standard support call process with Microsoft support.  Details around that policy and process are available through the following link: Microsoft Privacy Policy.

Submit Connect Items Easier Too

You’ll also be able to submit Connect items from this form as well making the process even easier than ever to log issues for review by the SQL Server Program Group at Microsoft.

Specifications and Technical Considerations

You’ll need to be running any version of SQL Server Management Studio 2016 or later in order to install the extension. The process will work for all supported versions of Microsoft SQL Server (currently SQL Server 2008 and newer.)

This process will work with mini dumps, full dumps, and filtered dumps of any size up to 100Gb. The Microsoft Tiger Team recommends that any dump over 8Gb in size be submitted after having LZ4 compression applied to the original dump file.

Conclusion

The new extension provides added benefit to those customers who may not have secured higher-level support from Microsoft. It provides for insight from existing KB articles but removes the time consuming discovery process from the mix. It also helps those shops with a lower level of technical competency available for troubleshooting SQL Server issues.  In return it frees the Microsoft support channels for those customers needing more attention or in need of more complex support by reducing the lower level traffic from the support structure.

 

 

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