Quickly grouping events in SQL XEvent Profiler

by Jul 29, 2014

As you may know, Idera has a number of free tools for SQL Server and we’re always coming out with new ones. Earlier this year we debuted SQL XEvent Profiler, a little tool that uses XEvent technology but emulates the workflow of SQL Profiler to make it quick and easy to use.

Lately I’ve been finding myself turning to XEvent Profiler more and more often because of the quick and easy grouping and sorting mechanism built into the application. I thought I’d give a quick example.

For this demonstration, I’m going to emulate a session in Management Studio which is creating a lot of churn. When I open and start a standard session with SQL XEvent Profiler, I see the following:

XEvent 1

You’ll be unsurprised to notice that my laptop has a number of Idera products running! But in this case, I am investigating Management Studio, so for the first step, I’m going to group by Application. (I could have filtered this out in the very first step before I started the session, but in the real world, I don’t always know what I’m looking for) To do this I just drag the column up into the grouping area, and indeed, I can see that  I’m getting a lot of activity from that application.

XEvent 2

But while this gives me a lot of information, there’s still a lot to sort through. So, for simplicity, I’m going to further group by Name and SPID so I can narrow down the session.

XEvent 3

And sure enough, there’s my problem. I have one session running a select * several times per second while the rest sit relatively idle. Now I know what to go troubleshoot!

This is just a very basic example for the purposes of screenshots, but I bet you’ve got more robust use cases. You can do this kind of grouping in SQL Profiler, but it takes more clicks and, to my way of thinking, is not quite as intuitive. If you find yourself tracking down mystery issues like this very often, maybe give XEvent Profiler a shot and see if it helps out any. Remember, it’s entirely free!

You can let us know what you think about it in the product forum.