Last week at the PASS Summit I presented my Making the Leap from Profiler to Extended Events session, and one of the questions I always ask at the beginning is how many people have used Profiler (usually most of the attendees) and how many have used Extended Events (very few). I’m giving this session again this week and next, and I thought it would be interesting to get feedback from the community as a whole about Profiler and XE use based on SQL Server version. So in Paul Randal style, here’s my first poll.
I will summarize the results in a post next week. Thanks for your help!
A Fond Farewell
If you haven’t guessed from the title, I’m writing this post because I am leaving SQLskills. This Friday, January 14th, is my last day, and
13 thoughts on “Extended Events Usage Survey”
Erin, am I missing the poll?
You shouldn’t be – when I open in Firefox I can see it, and I have people who’ve responded so I know it’s viewable. What browser and OS?
I am running Windows 7 Professional and have tried it on Firefox 24, Chrome 30 and IE9 with no luck. It may be some sort of strange work-related voodoo. I will give it a shot from home.
Thanks Frank, let me know.
So what are you hoping to learn from this survey?
Reason I ask is that I answered “SQL Server 2012 and Profiler.” When I want to trace — which is incredibly infrequently (like once every couple of months for a total of 5 minutes) — I generally use Profiler because it gets the job done in one click and the output is faster for me to consume. But I also have 3 persistent XEvents traces on most of my development systems that I drop into even more rarely. (One of them, for example, tracks workspace memory spills.)
My point being, I answered your question about what I “commonly” use, but that doesn’t provide you with any insight about my tracing habits or whether I also use other techniques less commonly. I suspect I’m not an outlier.
I’m just trying to get a general idea from people about what they use (Profiler or XE), most often. This isn’t an exact science and I recognize the limitations here (how many people will respond, do they represent the “real world of DBAs and developers”, etc.).
I understand your point – your answer of 2012 and Profiler doesn’t tell me the entire story. But I’m not certain that you’re NOT an outlier – or least on the edge of the curve. When I’ve given this session, typically less than 5% of the people in the room have even used XE. Now, I expect people attend my session because they aren’t familiar with XE, so I expect that very people have used…but what about everyone else? I don’t know, so I thought I’d do a poll to see what I’d get.
I limited the answers on purpose. Based on what you’ve said, I’m more interested in understanding why you still use Profiler (for the rare times you need it) in 2012. Is it just because of how you consume the output?
“But I’m not certain that you’re NOT an outlier – or least on the edge of the curve. When I’ve given this session, typically less than 5% of the people in the room have even used XE.”
Doesn’t that mean that I quite possibly AM an outlier? 🙂
“Based on what you’ve said, I’m more interested in understanding why you still use Profiler (for the rare times you need it) in 2012. Is it just because of how you consume the output?”
Profiler: Tools->SQL Server Profiler->Connect->Run->Data starts streaming back
Extended Events: Expand Management->Expand Extended Events->Right-click on sessions->New session wizard->set a session name->click next->try to use Activity Tracking template but … oops, that throws an exception->do not use template->click next->figure out where to find the events that are the same as those in the default Profiler template (what a PERFECT default template, by the way! might be the best SQL Server default ever)->finally figure those out->click next->add actions to the events so I can get some meaningful information back->click next->click next->click next->click finish->click close->right-click my session->start my session->right-click my session->watch live data->wait, because–oops, now the data doesn’t stream back in real time->finally get some data back->and now I have to mess with the UI so I can see things in a reasonable manner?!?
——>go back into Profiler, execute steps above, get to the right place in about 10 seconds, fix the problem, move on with life.
And *that* is why I use Profiler. It’s a nearly perfect tool for doing quick analysis. Extended Events is a highly complex system with a thoroughly flawed interface that does absolutely nothing for me. I use it when I have to–e.g. if it has some data that I can’t get elsewhere–but I only do that grudgingly.
Ok, to circle back and close the gap…
If I have a specific trace that I run often (such as your example to capture sorts and spills), I just set up an XE session and just start and stop it when I need it. So, once I have the session defined, just right-click on it and select Start Session, and then if I want to see the data, right-click again on the session and select Watch Live Data.
With regard to the Activity Tracking template, you can fix it, which Jonathan discussed in this post:
And…if you want to create templates yourself, instead of having the event session just sitting there, you can do that as well:
So…I understand that the UI is very different than Profiler, but I think it’s usable, it’s just a matter of getting familiar with it.
Just a data point (and I personally use xEvents in > 2012) out of ~180 in my compression session at Summit, I saw 7 saw raised hands, when I asked who was using them.
I just finished watching your insiders video. I Knew that XE in 2012 wasn’t that hard because of the GUI, but i didn’t realize it was so easy. I think this afternoon I’m going to make a few templates and give it a go. Thanks!
Thanks for watching the video and for your feedback – that’s great news! Let me know how it goes or if you have questions 🙂
I really enjoyed your session at DevIntersection. Are the materials available for download? The version in this post is only available for Pass attendees.
Thanks for attending my session! The materials from SQLIntersection should be posted here soon: http://www.devintersection.com/updates/October2013
And the scripts will be available on our resources page: http://www.sqlskills.com/sql-server-resources/sql-server-demos/ under Conference Demos | SQLIntersection Fall. I’m hoping they’ll be up on both sites today or tomorrow. Thanks!