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Filter a Trace

Filters limit the events collected in a trace. If a filter is not set, all events of the selected event classes are returned in the trace output. For example, limiting the Windows user names in a trace to specific users reduces the output data to those users only.

It is not mandatory to set a filter for a trace. However, a filter minimizes the overhead that is incurred during a trace. A filter returns focused data and thus makes performance analysis and audits easier.

To filter the event data captured within a trace, select trace event criteria that return only relevant data from the trace. For example, you can include or exclude monitoring the activity of a specific application from the trace.

Note Note

When SQL Server Profiler creates traces, it filters out its own activity by default.

As an additional example, if you monitor queries to determine the batches that take the longest time to execute, set the trace event criteria to monitor only those batches that take longer than 30 seconds to execute (a CPU minimum value of 30,000 milliseconds).

In general, follow these steps to filter a trace.

  1. Identify the events that you want to include in the trace.

  2. Identify the data and data columns that contain the information you need.

  3. Identify a subset of the data you need and define filters based on that subset of data.

For example, you may be interested only in events that take longer than a certain length of time. You could create a trace that includes events where the Duration data column is greater than 300 milliseconds. Your trace will not include events that finish in less than 300 milliseconds.

You can create filters by using SQL Server Profiler or Transact-SQL stored procedures.

To modify filters

Modify a Filter (SQL Server Profiler)

Filter availability depends on the data column. Some data columns cannot be filtered. The data columns that can be filtered are filterable only by certain relational operators, as shown in the following table.

Relational operator

Operator symbol

Description

Like

LIKE

Specifies that the trace event data must be like the text entered. Allows multiple values.

Not like

NOT LIKE

Specifies that the trace event data must not be like the text entered. Allows multiple values.

Equals

=

Specifies that the trace event data must equal the value entered. Allows multiple values.

Not equal to

<>

Specifies that the trace event data must not equal the value entered. Allows multiple values.

Greater than

>

Specifies that the trace event data must be greater than the value entered.

Greater than or equal to

>=

Specifies that the trace event data must be greater than or equal to the value entered.

Less than

<

Specifies that the trace event data must be less than the value entered.

Less than or equal to

<=

Specifies that the trace event data must be less than or equal to the value entered.

The following table lists the filterable data columns and the available relational operators.

Data columns

Relational operators

ApplicationName

LIKE, NOT LIKE

BigintData1

=, <>, >=, <=

BigintData2

=, <>, >=, <=

BinaryData

Use SQL Server Profiler to filter events in this data column. For more information, see Filter Traces with SQL Server Profiler.

ClientProcessID

=, <>, >=, <=

ColumnPermissions

=, <>, >=, <=

CPU

=, <>, >=, <=

DatabaseID

=, <>, >=, <=

DatabaseName

LIKE, NOT LIKE

DBUserName

LIKE, NOT LIKE

Duration

=, <>, >=, <=

EndTime

>=, <=

Error

=, <>, >=, <=

EventSubClass

=, <>, >=, <=

FileName

LIKE, NOT LIKE

GUID

Use SQL Server Profiler to filter events in this data column. For more information, see Filter Traces with SQL Server Profiler.

Handle

=, <>, >=, <=

HostName

LIKE, NOT LIKE

IndexID

=, <>, >=, <=

IntegerData

=, <>, >=, <=

IntegerData2

=, <>, >=, <=

IsSystem

=, <>, >=, <=

LineNumber

=, <>, >=, <=

LinkedServerName

LIKE, NOT LIKE

LoginName

LIKE, NOT LIKE

LoginSid

Use SQL Server Profiler to filter events in this data column. For more information, see Filter Traces with SQL Server Profiler.

MethodName

LIKE, NOT LIKE

Mode

=, <>, >=, <=

NestLevel

=, <>, >=, <=

NTDomainName

LIKE, NOT LIKE

NTUserName

LIKE, NOT LIKE

ObjectID

=, <>, >=, <=

ObjectID2

=, <>, >=, <=

ObjectName

LIKE, NOT LIKE

ObjectType

=, <>, >=, <=

Offset

=, <>, >=, <=

OwnerID

=, <>, >=, <=

OwnerName

LIKE, NOT LIKE

ParentName

LIKE, NOT LIKE

Permissions

=, <>, >=, <=

ProviderName

LIKE, NOT LIKE

Reads

=, <>, >=, <=

RequestID

=, <>, >=, <=

RoleName

LIKE, NOT LIKE

RowCounts

=, <>, >=, <=

SessionLoginName

LIKE, NOT LIKE

Severity

=, <>, >=, <=

SourceDatabaseID

=, <>, >=, <=

SPID

=, <>, >=, <=

SqlHandle

Use SQL Server Profiler to filter events in this data column. For more information, see Filter Traces with SQL Server Profiler.

StartTime

>=, <=

State

=, <>, >=, <=

Success

=, <>, >=, <=

TargetLoginName

LIKE, NOT LIKE

TargetLoginSid

Use SQL Server Profiler to filter events in this data column. For more information, see Filter Traces with SQL Server Profiler.

TargetUserName

LIKE, NOT LIKE

TextData 1

LIKE, NOT LIKE

TransactionID

=, <>, >=, <=

Type

=, <>, >=, <=

Writes

=, <>, >=, <=

XactSequence

=, <>, >=, <=

1 If tracing events from the osql utility or the sqlcmd utility, always append % to filters on the TextData data column.

As a security precaution, SQL Trace automatically omits from the trace any information from security-related stored procedures that affect passwords. This security mechanism is nonconfigurable and is always in effect. It prevents users, who otherwise have permissions to trace all activity on SQL Server, from capturing passwords.

The following security-related stored procedures are monitored, but no output is written to the TextData data column:

sp_addapprole (Transact-SQL)

sp_adddistpublisher (Transact-SQL)

sp_adddistributiondb (Transact-SQL)

sp_adddistributor (Transact-SQL)

sp_addlinkedserver (Transact-SQL)

sp_addlinkedsrvlogin (Transact-SQL)

sp_addlogin (Transact-SQL)

sp_addmergepullsubscription_agent (Transact-SQL)

sp_addpullsubscription_agent (Transact-SQL)

sp_addremotelogin (Transact-SQL)

sp_addsubscriber (Transact-SQL)

sp_approlepassword (Transact-SQL)

sp_changedistpublisher (Transact-SQL)

sp_changesubscriber (Transact-SQL)

sp_dsninfo (Transact-SQL)

sp_helpsubscription_properties (Transact-SQL)

sp_link_publication (Transact-SQL)

sp_password (Transact-SQL)

sp_setapprole (Transact-SQL)

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