Monitoring the progress of CreateIndex

One of the frustrating aspects of SQL Server is the lack of progress indicators. One such command falling into this pit is CreateIndex. However, this is a great link for a solution;

Step 1 – Before you run the following query make sure you have ‘include actual execution plan’ option set in query analyser. If you don’t have this, or similar, then the DMV won’t produce any results.

Step 2 – Select @@SPID

Step 3 – run your Create Index in the same query window as step 2

Step 4 – Create a new query with the following SQL, replace the SPID in the first line with that from step (2)

;WITH agg AS
SELECT SUM(qp.[row_count]) AS [RowsProcessed],
SUM(qp.[estimate_row_count]) AS [TotalRows],
MAX(qp.last_active_time) – MIN(qp.first_active_time) AS [ElapsedMS],
MAX(IIF(qp.[close_time] = 0 AND qp.[first_row_time] > 0,
N'<Transition>’)) AS [CurrentStep]
FROM sys.dm_exec_query_profiles qp
WHERE qp.[physical_operator_name] IN (N’Table Scan’, N’Clustered Index Scan’, N’Sort’)
AND   qp.[session_id] = @SPID
), comp AS
([TotalRows] – [RowsProcessed]) AS [RowsLeft],
([ElapsedMS] / 1000.0) AS [ElapsedSeconds]
FROM   agg
SELECT [CurrentStep],
(([RowsProcessed] * 1.0) / [TotalRows]) * 100) AS [PercentComplete],
(([ElapsedSeconds] / [RowsProcessed]) * [RowsLeft]) AS [EstimatedSecondsLeft],
(([ElapsedSeconds] / [RowsProcessed]) * [RowsLeft]),
GETDATE()) AS [EstimatedCompletionTime]
FROM   comp;
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Problem shrinking tempdb – could not be moved because it is a work table page

SQL holds a lot of cached information in tempdb. Until it’s cleared it won’t allow tempdb to be shrunk. So here’s a quick script you might have some joy with (obviously be aware that you will suffer the cost of losing this cached information) (thanks to MSDN);

USE [tempdb]













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How to check the progress of SQL Server Shrink Database

Periodically run;

SELECT GetDate(),percent_complete, start_time, status, command, estimated_completion_time, cpu_time, total_elapsed_time
FROM sys.dm_exec_requests where command = ‘DbccFilesCompact’

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How to Backup SQL to Azure Storage

SQL Server 2016 allows you to backup a database to Azure Storage. I found the information about this to be disjoint at best. So, if you want to do an old style (non-snapshot) backup of a database this is how I achieved it;


My Server is running on a Virtual Machine in on the same Azure Resource Group as the storage account, I’m not too concerned about SQL knowing the storage account keys, so I’m going to show the shortest path to getting this working


Assume we’re backing up a Database called Products.

  1. Create Storage Account – Create a ‘standard’ non premium storage account. Don’t be tempted to use premium, it will not work. Let’s call it sqlnoprembackup
  2. Create a container in the blob storage, perhaps ‘backupsql1’. Grab the full path to the container, if you’re using the portal select the container and view the properties. In this example it is; ‘
  3. Grab the account name and key for the storage account (Access Keys if you’re using the portal). Here it is sqlnoprembackup and the first long key.
  4. Create the certificate on SQL Server, let’s call it backupstorage;
    (SELECT * FROM sys.credentials  
    WHERE name = ‘backupstorage’) 
    CREATE CREDENTIAL [backupstorage] WITH IDENTITY = ‘sqlnoprembackup’ 
    ,SECRET = ‘<insert secret storage key from (3) here>’; 

  6. Backup the database, use the full path to the container from (2). Note stats=5 will display the % progress at 5% internals in the messages tab;
    TO URL = ‘’  
    WITH CREDENTIAL = ‘backupstorage’  
         ,STATS = 5; 

  8. Run it. Yay.

    Restoring the database

    To do a full restore of the database;

  1. Take the database offline;
  2. To restore the database;
  3. RESTORE DATABASE Products FROM URL = ‘’  
    WITH CREDENTIAL = ‘backupstorage’, REPLACE, STATS=5 

    NB, take a look at Snapshot backups, it’s a much better solution. Sometimes, as in my case, it’s not available and this hybrid approach works quite nicely.
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    SQL Server – The log cannot be rebuilt because

    I had the blood-drawn-from-face moments when a database stated is was ‘pending recovery’. Ultimately the transaction log file was broken. Actually I didn’t care about that because I knew it was pretty much all read-only data. So how to recover it? I tried various recovery techniques but the server was adamant, ‘restore from backup’. Well, I couldn’t do that either. So finally I found this little nugget of DDL, create a new database using the existing data files but with a new transaction log;
    CREATE DATABASE [<new dbname>]

    ( NAME = N'<filename>’, FILENAME = N'<path to>.mdf’  ),
    ( NAME = N'<filename2>’, FILENAME = N'<path to 2nd>.mdf’ )

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    Azure Table Insert, one of the request inputs is out of range

    Whilst trying to insert a new row via a TableEntity derived class I hit a strange error;

    ‘one of the request inputs is out of range’

    Looking at my object it all seemed fine to me. The problem was that I had a DateTime property that I had not set. Although it was defaulting to the minimum date time Azure did not enjoy that. So I simply ensure that date property has a reasonable value in it and problem solved.



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    Surface Phone…what if

    I’ve no insight into what is in or out of the Microsoft Surface Phone or if it even exists. However, I was thinking what could it realistically do to be game changing. Well how about this. When undocked you can use UWP apps. Fine, that 1% of the apps the world wants but typically enough to read your emails and surf the odd web page. When you the dock the phone is able to run win32 apps. So you really would get a “full”, if maybe slightly underpowered, laptop. That really would be a legitimate reason to own one.

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