A question came up in class today about the difference between SQL Trace and Extended Events for logging information to the ERRORLOG file. Joe and I have both written about the observer overhead of Trace and Extended Events in the past (Observer Overhead and Wait Type Symptoms and Measuring “Observer Overhead” of SQL Trace vs. Extended Events), and one of the things we teach is to check whether a trace or event session may be running and impacting performance as a part of general troubleshooting performance problems in SQL Server. Anytime a user starts or stops a SQL Trace, information is logged in the ERRORLOG.

SQL Trace ID 2 was started by login “SQL2K8R2-IE2\Jonathan Kehayias”.
SQL Trace stopped. Trace ID = ’2′. Login Name = ‘SQL2K8R2-IE2\Jonathan Kehayias’.

Logging Extended Events changes to the ERRORLOG   TraceMessages

SQL Trace messages

However, for Extended Events nothing is logged when a user starts or stops an event session on the server. The question in class today was whether it was possible to make Extended Events log entries like SQL Trace and the answer is yes, with a DDL Trigger.

CREATE TRIGGER XEventLogging
ON ALL SERVER 
FOR DDL_EVENT_SESSION_EVENTS
AS
BEGIN
    SET NOCOUNT ON;
    DECLARE @EventData XML = EVENTDATA();
    DECLARE @EventType NVARCHAR(256) = @EventData.value('(EVENT_INSTANCE/EventType)[1]', 'NVARCHAR(256)')
    DECLARE @SessionName NVARCHAR(256) = @EventData.value('(EVENT_INSTANCE/ObjectName)[1]', 'NVARCHAR(256)')
    DECLARE @LoginName NVARCHAR(256) = @EventData.value('(EVENT_INSTANCE/LoginName)[1]', 'NVARCHAR(256)')
	DECLARE @Command NVARCHAR(MAX) = @EventData.value('(EVENT_INSTANCE/TSQLCommand/CommandText)[1]', 'NVARCHAR(MAX)');
	DECLARE @msg NVARCHAR(440) = CASE 
		WHEN @EventType = 'CREATE_EVENT_SESSION'
			THEN 'Extended Event session created. Session Name = ''%s''. Login Name = ''%s''.'
		WHEN @EventType = 'ALTER_EVENT_SESSION' AND LOWER(@Command) LIKE LOWER('%STATE%=%START%')
			THEN 'Extended Event session started. Session Name = ''%s''. Login Name = ''%s''.'
		WHEN @EventType = 'ALTER_EVENT_SESSION' AND LOWER(@Command) LIKE LOWER('%STATE%=%STOP%')
			THEN 'Extended Event session stopped. Session Name = ''%s''. Login Name = ''%s''.'
		WHEN @EventType = 'DROP_EVENT_SESSION'
			THEN 'Extended Event session dropped. Session Name = ''%s''. Login Name = ''%s''.'
		END
	
	RAISERROR(@msg, 10, 1, @SessionName, @LoginName) WITH LOG;
END
GO

Now anytime an event session is created, started, stopped, or dropped, information will be logged into the ERRORLOG file.

Logging Extended Events changes to the ERRORLOG   ExtendedEventsMessages

New Extended Events messages