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View Event Session Data

SQL Server 2012

This topic describes using the display user interface to see and analyze extended event data:

  • View Target Data

  • Working With Data

You can display the data collected into the specified target within SQL Server Management Studio.

View Target Data

To view target data:

  1. In Object Explorer, expand Management, Extended Events, Sessions, and then a session.

  2. Right-click the target name, and then click View Target Data to display the target data.

    The target data window appears in default view and displays the target data.

Notes on viewing target data:

  • Target data is not available for the ETW target.

  • To view the ring_buffer data in xml format, in the target data window click the ring_buffer target data link. The ring_buffer.xml file appears in the xml editor.

  • For an event_file target, view the file target data (.XEL file) using one of the following methods:

    • Use File -> Open in SQL Server Management Studio.

    • Drag and Drop the file into SQL Server Management Studio.

    • Double click the .XEL file.

    • In SQL Server Management Studio, right click on a running Extended Events session and select View Target Data.

    • fn_xe_file_target_read_file

    • You can view more than one .XEL file by selecting Merge Extended Event Files from the File -> Open menu.

Watching Live Data

You can watch live data as it is being captured.

  • In Object Explorer, expand the Management, Extended Events, and then Sessions nodes.

  • Right-click the session name and then click Watch Live Data to start displaying the tracing data.

    The default display columns are Event Name and TimeStamp.

    To add additional columns to the trace window, click the Choose Columns button on the Extended Events toolbar. The Details tab shows all of the event details for the selected event.

    Events are usually displayed in approximately 30 seconds. If you want to change the latency period, you can change the Maximum dispatch latency on the Advanced page of the of the New Session dialog.

To Refresh Target Data

Refreshing target data is not supported for event_files targets:

  1. To refresh the target data automatically, right click the target data, select Refresh Interval, and then select the refresh interval from the interval list.

  2. To pause and resume the automatic refresh, right-click the target data and then select Pause or Resume.

  3. To refresh the target data manually, right click the target data, and then select Refresh.

You can use the analysis capabilities of the Extended Events user interface to identify problems.

Details Pane

The Details pane shows all the columns for the selected event, including fields and actions. You can add a column to the target data table by right-clicking a row in the Details pane and selecting Show Column in Table.

Create, Modify, or Delete Merged Columns

A merged column allows you to combine a set of fields to be displayed in a single column. The merged column will show the data from the first non-NULL field based on the order they are added to the field list. This is similar to what you see in SQL Server Profiler, where a specific column may show different data depending on the event (the most common example of this is the TextData field in SQL Server Profiler). For an example, you could merge the statement and batch_text fields from the sql_statement_completed and sql_batch_completed events, respectively, into a field named myStatement. When you display the myStatement column in the table it will show the appropriate data for the associated event.

You can create, modify, or delete merged columns:

  1. Open a .XEL file to view the trace results. (You can also right click the session name, and then select Watch Live Data.)

  2. In the trace results window, right-click the column header, and then click Choose Columns.

To create a merged column, click New in the Choose Columns dialog box. In the New Merged Column dialog, name the merged column and select the original columns to be included in the merged column.

To edit a merged column, select a merged column in the Choose Columns dialog and click Edit. In the Edit Merged Column dialog, rename the merged column or modify the original columns to be included in the merged column.

To delete a merged column, select a merged column in the Choose Columns dialog and click Delete.

Filter Results

You can view trace results, and then apply filters to narrow down the trace results that are displayed in the trace window. The display filter includes a time filter and an advanced filter. You use the time filter to filter the trace results by event timestamp, and you use the advanced filter to construct filter conditions using the event fields and actions. There is an "and" relationship between the time and advanced filters.

To create a filter:

  1. Open a .XEL file to view the trace results. (You can also right click the session name, and then select Watch Live Data.)

  2. In the trace results window, select the results you want to filter, and then on the Extended Events toolbar, click Filters.

  3. In the Filters dialog box, select Set time filter to set the time filter by dragging the slider bars or modifying the time in the edit box.

  4. In the Additional filters section, apply your filter criteria, and then click Apply.

Sort Results

To sort results either in ascending or descending order:

  1. Open a .XEL file to view the trace results. (You can also right click the session name, select Watch Live Data, and then click the Stop Data Feed button on the toolbar.)

  2. In the trace results window, right-click the column heading you want to sort and click Sort Ascending or Sort Descending.

You can also click the column header to reverse the sort order.

If you have grouped columns, sorting the column will only sort data within the group.

Group Results

Grouped results are equivalent to the functionality of the GROUP BY clause in Transact-SQL. The target data table will show the data grouped together, allowing you to expand and collapse the data.

You must group data before you can aggregate it. For example, you can group on the query_hash value, sort descending by duration, get the average duration for each group, and then sort descending on the aggregation. This will produce a list that shows the list of unique statements from longest to shortest average duration. When you expand the top group you will see the individual executions of that specific query sorted from longest to shortest.

You can group results by a single column or by multiple columns.

Open a .XEL file to view the trace results. (You can also right click the session name, select Watch Live Data, and then click the Stop Data Feed button on the toolbar.)

To group results by a single column, right-click the column heading in the trace results window, and click Group by this Column. To undo the grouping, select one of the rows and click Remove All Groupings.

To group results by a multiple columns, click the Grouping button on the Extended Events toolbar. In the Available columns box of the Grouping dialog, select the columns you want to group, and move them into the Columns grouped on box. To change the order in the Columns grouped on box, click the up or down arrows.

Aggregate Results

You can view the trace results, and then further analyze your event data by aggregating columns in your results. Extended Events supports five aggregation functions:

  • sum

  • min

  • max

  • average

  • count

Sum, min, max, and average can only be used with numeric columns. Count is the number of non-null values that exist for the selected column in the group.

Aggregation is performed on a group, so you must group the results before you can perform the aggregation. To aggregate results:

  1. Open a .XEL file to view the trace results. (You can also right click the session name, select Watch Live Data, and then click the Stop Data Feed button on the toolbar.)

  2. On the Extended Events toolbar, click the Aggregation button. The Aggregation dialog box will display the columns available for aggregation.

  3. In the Aggregation Type column, select the aggregation type.

  4. In the Sort aggregation by box, select the sort column. Then select ascending or descending order.

Search for Text in Columns

You can search for text in columns:

  1. Open a .XEL file to view the trace results. (You can also right click the session name, select Watch Live Data.

  2. Click Find on the Extended Events toolbar.

  3. In the Find what box of the Find in Extended Events dialog box, enter the search text. You can select one of your last 20 search strings from the drop-down list.

  4. In the Look in box, select the location to search for the specified text. Use the following options for searching:

    • Table Columns. Use this option to search all visible columns in the trace window.

    • Details. Use this option to search all columns (promoted and non-promoted) in the trace window that that were selected before opening the Find in Extended Events dialog box.

    • Event_column_name. Use this option to search in a specific event column from the drop-down list.

  5. Use the following options to specify how you want to define the search:

    • Match case. Use this option to display the search results for the text you entered in the Find what box that are matched both by content and by case.

    • Match whole word. Use this option to display only the search results for the text you entered that match complete words.

    • Search up. Use this option to search from your cursor location to the beginning of the results.

    • Use. Use this option to interpret the special characters and the regular expressions you entered in the Find what box. Special characters include the wildcard characters (*) and (?) to represent one or more characters. Regular expressions are special notations used to define patterns of search text.

    • Click Find Next to search for the next text that you entered in the Find what box.

Bookmarks

To make it easier to return to a row, you can bookmark one or more row(s) in the target data. Right click on a row to change the bookmark. Use the previous and next buttons on the Extended Events toolbar to navigate to bookmarked rows.

Change Display Settings

You can save column information (column order, merge column, and column width) and filter information of a trace result into an Extended Events display setting file (.viewsetting file). After saving the file, you can apply it to your trace results to change the view.

To change the display settings:

  1. Open a .XEL file to view the trace results. (You can also right click the session name, select Watch Live Data.

  2. On the Extended Events toolbar, select Display Settings. From the drop-down list, select one of the following options:

    • Save as. Save the columns and filter information of a trace result to a .viewsetting file.

    • Open. Open an existing .viewsetting file.

    • Open recent. Open a recently saved .viewsetting file.

Copy or Export Trace Results

You can copy cells, rows, and details to selected rows from your trace results. You can also export your trace results to the following:

  • .XEL file

  • table

  • .CSV file

To copy trace results, select a cell, row, or rows, right click, select Copy and then Cell, Row, or Details. Extended Events supports copying up to a maximum of 1000 rows.

You can export trace results to a .XEL file, table, or .CSV file by selecting Export to from the Extended Events menu option in SQL Server Management Studio.

View a Deadlock Graph and Query Plans

You can view the deadlock graph for xml_deadlock_report in the Details pane to help you troubleshoot deadlocks. You can also view query plan graphs for the following events:

  • query_post_compilation_showplan

  • query_pre_execution_showplan

  • query_post_execution_showplan

To view the deadlock graph:

  • In Object Explorer, expand the Management, Extended Events, and then Sessions nodes.

  • Right-click the session that contains the configured deadlock event that you want to view, and select Watch Live Data.

  • Select the deadlock event and view the graph on the Deadlock tab in the Details pane.

To view query plan graphs:

  1. In Object Explorer, expand the Management, Extended Events, and then Sessions nodes.

  2. Right-click the session that contains the query plan graph that you want to view (for example, query_post_compilation_showplan), and then select Watch Live Data.

  3. Select the query plan graph event (for example, query_post_compilation_showplan) and view the graph on the Query plan tab in the Details pane.

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