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Monitoring the Change Data Capture Process

Monitoring the change data capture process lets you determine if changes are being written correctly and with a reasonable latency to the change tables. Monitoring can also help you to identify any errors that might occur. SQL Server includes two dynamic management views to help you monitor change data capture:

  • sys.dm_cdc_log_scan_sessions

    The sys.dm_cdc_log_scan_sessions management view contains one row for each log scan session in the current database. The last row represents the current session. The view also contains a row with a session ID of 0, which has aggregate information about all the sessions since the instance of SQL Server was last started.

  • sys.dm_cdc_errors

    The sys.dm_cdc_errors management view contains one row for each error that is encountered during the change data capture log scan session.

Every row in sys.dm_cdc_log_scan_sessions represents a log scan session (except the row with an ID of 0). A log scan session is equivalent to one execution of sp_cdc_scan. During a session, the scan can either return changes or return an empty result. If the result set is empty, the empty_scan_count column in sys.dm_cdc_log_scan_sessions is set to 1. If there are consecutive empty result sets, such as if the capture job is running continuously, the empty_scan_count in the last existing row is incremented. For example, if sys.dm_cdc_log_scan_sessions already contains 10 rows for scans that returned changes and there are five empty results in a row, the view contains 11 rows. The last row has a value of 5 in the empty_scan_count column. To determine sessions that had an empty scan, run the following query:

SELECT * from sys.dm_cdc_log_scan_sessions where empty_scan_count <> 0

The sys.dm_cdc_log_scan_sessions management view includes a column that records the latency for each capture session. Latency is defined as the elapsed time between a transaction being committed on a source table and the last captured transaction being committed on the change table. The latency column is populated only for active sessions. For sessions with a value greater than 0 in the empty_scan_count column, the latency column is set to 0. The following query returns the average latency for the most recent sessions:

SELECT latency FROM sys.dm_cdc_log_scan_sessions WHERE session_id = 0

You can use latency data to determine how fast or slow the capture process is processing transactions. This data is most useful when the capture process is running continuously. If the capture process is running on a schedule, latency can be high because of the lag between transactions being committed on the source table and the capture process running at its scheduled time.

Another important measure of capture process efficiency is throughput. This is the average number of commands per second that are processed during each session. To determine the throughput of a session, divide the value in the command_count column by the value in the duration column. The following query returns the average throughput for the most recent sessions:

SELECT command_count/duration AS [Throughput] FROM sys.dm_cdc_log_scan_sessions WHERE session_id = 0

The SQL Server data collector lets you collect snapshots of data from any table or dynamic management view and build a performance data warehouse. When change data capture is enabled on a database, it is useful to take snapshots of the sys.dm_cdc_log_scan_sessions view and the sys.dm_cdc_errors view at regular intervals for later analysis. The following procedure sets up a data collector for collecting sample data from the sys.dm_cdc_log_scan_sessions management view.

Configuring Data Collection

  1. Enable data collector and configure a management data warehouse. For more information, see Managing Data Collection Using SQL Server Management Studio.

  2. Execute the following code to create a custom collector for change data capture.

    USE msdb;
    
    DECLARE @schedule_uid uniqueidentifier;
    
    -- Collect and upload data every 5 minutes
    SELECT @schedule_uid = (
    SELECT schedule_uid from sysschedules_localserver_view 
    WHERE name = N'CollectorSchedule_Every_5min')
    
    DECLARE @collection_set_id int;
    
    EXEC dbo.sp_syscollector_create_collection_set
    @name = N' CDC Performance Data Collector',
    @schedule_uid = @schedule_uid,        
    @collection_mode = 0,                 
    @days_until_expiration = 30,              
    @description = N'This collection set collects CDC metadata',
    @collection_set_id = @collection_set_id output;
    
    
    -- Create a collection item using statistics from 
    -- the change data capture dynamic management view.
    DECLARE @paramters xml;
    DECLARE @collection_item_id int;
    
    SELECT @paramters = CONVERT(xml, 
        N'<TSQLQueryCollector>
            <Query>
              <Value>SELECT * FROM sys.dm_cdc_log_scan_sessions</Value>
              <OutputTable>cdc_log_scan_data</OutputTable>
            </Query>
          </TSQLQueryCollector>');
    
    EXEC dbo.sp_syscollector_create_collection_item
    @collection_set_id = @collection_set_id,
    @collector_type_uid = N'302E93D1-3424-4BE7-AA8E-84813ECF2419',
    @name = ' CDC Performance Data Collector',
    @frequency = 5, 
    @parameters = @paramters,
    @collection_item_id = @collection_item_id output;
    
    GO
    
  3. In SQL Server Management Studio, expand Management, and then expand Data Collection. Right click CDC Performance Data Collector, and then click Start Data Collection Set.

  4. In the data warehouse you configured in step 1, locate the table custom_snapshots.cdc_log_scan_data. This table provides a historical snapshot of data from log scan sessions. This data can be used to analyze latency, throughput, and other performance measures over time.

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