The last section of this chapter is reserved for a set of tasks that are convenient for copying or moving schema and data-level information. The SQL Management Objects (SMO) model allows developers to interact with DBA functions programmatically. These rarely used tasks are used by DBAs to synchronize systems. Because they aren’t used as often, they’re covered only at a high level. These tasks can do the following:
Move or copy entire databases. This can be accomplished by detaching the database and moving the files (faster) or by moving the schema and content (slower).
Transfer error messages from one server to another.
Move or copy server-level or database-level logins.
Move or copy objects such as tables, views, stored procedures, functions, defaults, user-defined data types, partition functions, partition schemas, schemas (or roles), SQL assemblies, user-defined aggregates, user-defined types, and XML schemas. These objects can be copied over by selecting all, by individually selecting each desired object type, or even by selecting individual objects themselves.
Move or copy master stored procedures between the two servers.
The Transfer Database Task has, as you would expect, a source and destination connection and a database property. The other properties address how the transfer should take place. Figure 3-37 is an example of the Transfer Database Task filled out to copy a development database on the same server as a QA instance.
Notice that the destination and source are set to the same server. For this copy to work, the DestinationDatabaseFiles property has to be set to new mdf and ldf filenames. The property is set by default to the SourceDatabaseFiles property. To set the new destination database filenames, click the ellipsis, and then change the Destination File or Destination Folder properties.
You can set the Method property to DatabaseOnline or DatabaseOffline. If the option is set to DatabaseOffline, the database is detached copied over and then reattached to both systems. This is a much faster process than with DatabaseOnline, but it comes at a cost of making the database inaccessible.
The Action property controls whether the task should copy or move the source database. The Method property controls whether the database should be copied while the source database is kept online, using SQL Server Management Objects (SMO), or by detaching the database, moving the files, and then reattaching the database. The DestinationOverwrite property controls whether the creation of the destination database should be allowed to overwrite. This includes deleting the database in the destination if it is found. This is useful in cases where you want to copy a database from production into a quality-control or production test environment, and the new database should replace any existing similar database. The last property is the ReattachSourceDatabase, which specifies what action should be taken upon failure of the copy. Use this property if you have a package running on a schedule that takes a production database offline to copy it, and you need to guarantee that the database goes back online even if the copy fails.
What’s really great about the Transfer Database Task is that the logins, roles, object permissions, and even the data can be transferred as well. This task may in some instances be too big of a hammer. You may find it more advantageous to just transfer specific sets of objects from one database to another. The next five tasks give you that capability.
If you are using custom error messages in the sys.messages table, you need to remember to copy these over when you move a database from one server to another. In the past, you needed to code a cursor-based script to fire the sp_addmessage system stored procedure to move these messages around — and you needed to remember to do it. Now you can create a package that moves your database with the Transfer Database Task and add this Transfer Error Messages Task to move the messages as well.
One thing you’ll find in this task that you’ll see in the rest of the SMO administration tasks is the opportunity to select the specific things that you want to transfer. The properties ErrorMessagesList and ErrorMessageLanguagesList in the Messages tab are examples of this selective-type UI. If you click the ellipsis, you’ll get a dialog in which you can select specific messages to transfer.
Generally, unless you are performing a one-off update, you should set the TransferAllErrorMessages property to true, and then set the IfObjectExists property to skip messages that already exist in the destination database.
The Transfer Logins Task (shown in Figure 3-38) focuses only on the security aspects of your databases. With this task you can transfer the logins from one database and have them corrected at the destination.
Of course, you’ll have your obligatory source and destination connection properties in this editor. You also have the option to move logins from all databases or selected databases, or you can select individual logins to transfer. Make this choice in the LoginsToTransfer property; the default is SelectedLogins. The partner properties to LoginsToTransfer are LoginsList and DatabasesList. One will be activated based on your choice of logins to transfer.
Two last properties to cover relate to what you want the transfer logins process to do if it encounters an existing login in the destination. If you want the login to be replaced, set the IfObjectExists property to Overwrite. Other options are to fail the task or to skip that login. The long-awaited option to resolve unmatched user security IDs is found in the property CopySids, and can be true or false.
This task is used to transfer master stored procedures. If you need to transfer your own stored procedure, use the Transfer SQL Server Objects Task instead. To use this task, set the source and destination connections, and then set the property TransferAllStoredProcedures to true or false. If you set this property to false, you’ll be able to select individual master stored procedures to transfer. The remaining property, IfObjectExists, enables you to select what action should take place if a transferring object exists in the destination. The options are to Overwrite, FailTask, or Skip.
The Transfer Jobs Task (shown in Figure 3-39) aids you in transferring any of the existing SQL Server Agent jobs between SQL Server instances. Just like the other SMO tasks, you can either select to transfer all jobs to synchronize two instances or use the task to selectively pick which jobs you want to move to another instance. You can also select in the IfObjectExists property how the task should react if the job is already there. One important option is the EnableJobsAtDestination property, which turns the jobs after they’ve been transferred. This default property is false by default, meaning the jobs transfer but will not be functioning until enabled.
The Transfer SQL Server Objects Task is the most flexible of the Transfer tasks. This task is capable of transferring all types of database objects. To use this task, set the properties to connect to a source and destination database; if the properties aren’t visible, expand the Connection category. Some may be hidden until categories are expanded.
This task exists for those instances when selective object copying is needed, which is why this is not called the Transfer Database Task. You specifically have to set the property CopyData to true to get the bulk transfers of data. The property CopyAllObjects means that only the tables, views, stored procedures, defaults, rules, and UDFs will be transferred. If you want the table indexes, triggers, primary keys, foreign keys, full-text indexes, or extended properties, you have to select these individually. By expanding the ObjectsToCopy category, you expose properties that allow individual selection of tables, views, and other programmable objects. The security options give you some of the same capabilities as the Transfer Database Task. You can transfer database users, roles, logins, and object-level permissions by selecting true for these properties.
The power of this task lies in its flexibility, as it can be customized and used in packages to move only specific items, for example, during the promotion of objects from one environment to another, or to be less discriminate and copy all tables, views, and other database objects, with or without the data.
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Ravindra Savaram is a Technical Lead at Mindmajix.com. His passion lies in writing articles on the most popular IT platforms including Machine learning, DevOps, Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, RPA, Deep Learning, and so on. You can stay up to date on all these technologies by following him on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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