Tag Archives: OLTP

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(c) 2016 hansmichiels.com – Do not steal the contents – spread the link instead – thank you.

When reverse engineering is a necessary evil .. (SQL Server Series)

.. or: How to find data (text, guids, numbers) in your entire SQL Server database ..

Introduction

A number of years ago I had to make queries on an OLTP database used by third parties’ software. As a person preferring data warehouses for too many reasons to mention here, I am not proud of it, but sometimes these requests just happen. If you have the same now and then, you are not the only one 😉 .

Problem

A little simplified, this is what happened:
I started asking around, is there documentation? “No”, there wasn’t.
Is there a data dictionary? “No”, there wasn’t, either.
Can I have access to the database? “Yes, here’s the connection string.”
So I made a connection, but .. what do all these tables mean? How are they related? How are the foreign keys? The model didn’t tell me, with no physical constraints and unclear table- and column names.
Do you have anything else for me to see how this works? “Well, we have a PROD and a TEST environment, you can have read only access to PROD and read/write to the TEST.”
Okay, that is something ..

MSSQL-S01E02-testconnection
Picture credits: © David Coleman | Dreamstime Stock Photos
When there is only a (test)connection..

Towards a solution

Could you show me how you use the system? Luckily the employee of my client was very helpful and showed me how he used the application.
I tried to get a grip on the SQL Statements caused by his actions, but due to a lack of permissions on the database, this didn’t work.
This could be arranged, but could take a while before I actually would have temporary “elevated” permissions.
As it was just some small piece of “inbetween” work, that seemed an inefficient route to follow.
Okay, I have seen what you did, can I do that on the TEST as well? “Yeah, go ahead.”
So I started to make an order, using silly names and descriptions, and choosing weird seldomly used products. So, what’s next?
Ok, if I can find where my description “First order of Hans” is stored, I can start to map the frontend to the backend, or make clear for myself where the entered information is stored in the database.

Solution

This is where this script became useful. It finds all occurrences of one or more text values in a SQL Server database.

WARNING: Do not use in production environments, as this script can potentially run pretty long (10 to 20 minutes when I used it) and can have a negative impact on database performance in general (so other users might regret that you are running the script).
So use it in a test enviroment when you can.

SearchTextInDatabase.sql

--\
---) SearchTextInDatabase script.
---) Author: Hans Michiels
---) Searches for one or more texts in all (n)(var)char and (n)text
---) columns of a SQL Server database.
---) WARNING: Can potentially run very long, my advise is not
---) to run this script in production environments!
--/
/*
(c) Copyright 2016 - hansmichiels.com
 
This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or
(at your option) any later version.
 
This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the
GNU General Public License for more details.
 
You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
along with this program. If not, see http://www.gnu.org/licenses/.
*/

USE [AdventureWorks2014]
GO

--\-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
---) DECLARATIONS
--/-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DECLARE @schema_name SYSNAME
DECLARE @table_name SYSNAME
DECLARE @column_name SYSNAME
DECLARE @nsql NVARCHAR(4000)
DECLARE @param_def NVARCHAR(500)
DECLARE @search_text NVARCHAR(1000)
DECLARE @search_texts TABLE ([search_text] NVARCHAR(1000))
DECLARE @debug_print NVARCHAR(500)
DECLARE @results_count INT = 0

IF OBJECT_ID('tempdb..#search_results') IS NOT NULL BEGIN
    DROP TABLE #search_results
END
CREATE TABLE #search_results
    ( [search_text] NVARCHAR(1000)
    , [schema_name] NVARCHAR(128)
    , [table_name] NVARCHAR(128)
    , [column_name] NVARCHAR(128)
    , [the_value] NVARCHAR(1000)
    )

DECLARE columns_cursor CURSOR LOCAL STATIC FOR
    SELECT sch.name AS [schema_name]
    , tbl.name AS [table_name]
    , col.name AS [column_name]
    FROM sys.tables tbl
     JOIN sys.schemas sch
        ON sch.schema_id = tbl.schema_id
      JOIN sys.columns col
        ON col.object_id = tbl.object_id
    WHERE col.system_type_id IN (175, 167, 231, 239, 35, 99) -- (N)(VAR)CHAR, (N)TEXT

--\-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
---) INITIALIZATION
---) Specify the texts to search for below.
---) Use the wildcard % if you want to do a 'like' search.
--/-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
INSERT INTO @search_texts

  SELECT '%Assembly%'
  UNION SELECT 'First order of Hans'

DECLARE search_cursor CURSOR LOCAL STATIC FOR
    SELECT search_text
    FROM @search_texts

--\-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
---) MAIN
--/-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
OPEN columns_cursor
FETCH NEXT FROM columns_cursor INTO @schema_name, @table_name, @column_name

WHILE @@FETCH_STATUS = 0
BEGIN

    SET @debug_print = 'Processing ' + @table_name + '.' + @column_name;
    PRINT REPLICATE('-', LEN(@debug_print))
    PRINT @debug_print
    PRINT REPLICATE('-', LEN(@debug_print))
    
    SET @nsql = 'INSERT INTO #search_results SELECT DISTINCT @inner_search_text, '
        + '''' + @schema_name + ''' AS [schema_name], '
        + '''' + @table_name + ''' AS [table_name], '
        + '''' + @column_name + ''' AS [column_name], CONVERT(NVARCHAR(1000), ' + QUOTENAME(@column_name) + ') AS [the_value] '
        + ' FROM ' + QUOTENAME(@schema_name) + '.' + QUOTENAME(@table_name) + ' WITH (NOLOCK) '
        + ' WHERE ' + QUOTENAME(@column_name) + ' LIKE @inner_search_text;';

    OPEN search_cursor
    FETCH NEXT FROM search_cursor INTO @search_text

    WHILE @@FETCH_STATUS = 0
    BEGIN
        PRINT ''
        PRINT '--> Processing search text ''' + @search_text + '''';
        SET @param_def = N'@inner_search_text NVARCHAR(1000)';
        EXECUTE sp_executesql @nsql, @param_def,
                              @inner_search_text = @search_text;

        FETCH NEXT FROM search_cursor INTO @search_text
    END
    
    CLOSE search_cursor

    FETCH NEXT FROM columns_cursor INTO @schema_name, @table_name, @column_name
    
END

CLOSE columns_cursor
DEALLOCATE columns_cursor

SELECT
      t.schema_name
    , t.table_name
    , t.column_name
    , t.the_value
    , 'SELECT * FROM ' + QUOTENAME(t.schema_name) + '.' + QUOTENAME(t.table_name)
      + ' WHERE ' + QUOTENAME(t.column_name) + ' = ''' + REPLACE(t.the_value, '''', '''''') + '''' AS [select_statement]
 FROM #search_results t

GO

Some time later, I also made two similar versions for searching unique identifiers and numeric values.
I know the scripts might not look so ‘pretty’, but they do the job when needed.

SearchUniqueIdentifierInDatabase.sql

--\
---) SearchUniqueIdentifierInDatabase script.
---) Author: Hans Michiels
---) Searches for one or more unique identifiers in all UNIQUEIDENTIFIER columns
---) of a SQL Server database.
---) WARNING: Can potentially run very long, my advise is not
---) to run this script in production environments!
--/
/*
(c) Copyright 2016 - hansmichiels.com
 
This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or
(at your option) any later version.
 
This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the
GNU General Public License for more details.
 
You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
along with this program. If not, see http://www.gnu.org/licenses/.
*/

USE [AdventureWorks2014]
GO

--\-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
---) DECLARATIONS
--/-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DECLARE @schema_name SYSNAME
DECLARE @table_name SYSNAME
DECLARE @column_name SYSNAME
DECLARE @nsql NVARCHAR(4000)
DECLARE @param_def NVARCHAR(500)
DECLARE @search_value UNIQUEIDENTIFIER
DECLARE @search_values TABLE ([search_value] UNIQUEIDENTIFIER)
DECLARE @debug_print NVARCHAR(500)
DECLARE @results_count INT = 0

IF OBJECT_ID('tempdb..#search_results') IS NOT NULL BEGIN
    DROP TABLE #search_results
END
CREATE TABLE #search_results
    ( [search_value] UNIQUEIDENTIFIER
    , [schema_name] NVARCHAR(128)
    , [table_name] NVARCHAR(128)
    , [column_name] NVARCHAR(128)
    , [the_value] UNIQUEIDENTIFIER
    )

DECLARE columns_cursor CURSOR LOCAL STATIC FOR
    SELECT sch.name AS [schema_name]
    , tbl.name AS [table_name]
    , col.name AS [column_name]
    FROM sys.tables tbl
     JOIN sys.schemas sch
        ON sch.schema_id = tbl.schema_id
      JOIN sys.columns col
        ON col.object_id = tbl.object_id
                              -- UNIQUEIDENTIFIER
    WHERE col.system_type_id IN (36)

--\-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
---) INITIALIZATION
---) Specify the unique identifiers to search for below.
--/-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
INSERT INTO @search_values
SELECT 'D081136E-38D6-4D42-8FFD-19A6A8FA61E6'
UNION SELECT '9AADCB0D-36CF-483F-84D8-585C2D4EC6E9'
UNION SELECT '32A54B9E-E034-4BFB-B573-A71CDE60D8C0'
UNION SELECT '4C506923-6D1B-452C-A07C-BAA6F5B142A4'

DECLARE search_cursor CURSOR LOCAL STATIC FOR
    SELECT search_value
    FROM @search_values

--\-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
---) MAIN
--/-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
OPEN columns_cursor
FETCH NEXT FROM columns_cursor INTO @schema_name, @table_name, @column_name

WHILE @@FETCH_STATUS = 0
BEGIN

    SET @debug_print = 'Processing ' + @table_name + '.' + @column_name;
    PRINT REPLICATE('-', LEN(@debug_print))
    PRINT @debug_print
    PRINT REPLICATE('-', LEN(@debug_print))
    
    SET @nsql = 'INSERT INTO #search_results SELECT DISTINCT @inner_search_value, '
        + '''' + @schema_name + ''' AS [schema_name], '
        + '''' + @table_name + ''' AS [table_name], '
        + '''' + @column_name + ''' AS [column_name], ' + QUOTENAME(@column_name) + ' AS [the_value] '
        + ' FROM ' + QUOTENAME(@schema_name) + '.' + QUOTENAME(@table_name) + ' WITH (NOLOCK) '
        + ' WHERE ' + QUOTENAME(@column_name) + ' = @inner_search_value ;';

    OPEN search_cursor
    FETCH NEXT FROM search_cursor INTO @search_value

    WHILE @@FETCH_STATUS = 0
    BEGIN
        PRINT ''
        PRINT '--> Processing search value ''' + CONVERT(NVARCHAR(40), @search_value) + '''';
        SET @param_def = N'@inner_search_value UNIQUEIDENTIFIER';
        EXECUTE sp_executesql @nsql, @param_def,
                              @inner_search_value = @search_value;

        FETCH NEXT FROM search_cursor INTO @search_value
    END
    
    CLOSE search_cursor

    FETCH NEXT FROM columns_cursor INTO @schema_name, @table_name, @column_name
    
    SELECT @results_count = (SELECT COUNT(*) FROM #search_results);
    
END

CLOSE columns_cursor
DEALLOCATE columns_cursor

SELECT
      t.schema_name
    , t.table_name
    , t.column_name
    , t.the_value
    , 'SELECT * FROM ' + QUOTENAME(t.schema_name) + '.' + QUOTENAME(t.table_name)
      + ' WHERE ' + QUOTENAME(t.column_name) + ' = ''' + REPLACE(t.the_value, '''', '''''') + '''' AS [select_statement]
 FROM #search_results t

GO


SearchNumberInDatabase.sql

--\
---) SearchNumberInDatabase script.
---) Author: Hans Michiels
---) Searches for one or more numeric values in all TINYINT, SMALLINT,
---) INT, FLOAT, DECIMAL and NUMERIC columns of a SQL Server database.
---) WARNING: Can potentially run very long, my advise is not
---) to run this script in production environments!
--/
/*
(c) Copyright 2016 - hansmichiels.com
 
This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or
(at your option) any later version.
 
This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the
GNU General Public License for more details.
 
You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
along with this program. If not, see http://www.gnu.org/licenses/.
*/

USE [AdventureWorks2014]
GO

--\-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
---) DECLARATIONS
--/-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DECLARE @schema_name SYSNAME
DECLARE @table_name SYSNAME
DECLARE @column_name SYSNAME
DECLARE @nsql NVARCHAR(4000)
DECLARE @param_def NVARCHAR(500)
DECLARE @search_value DECIMAL(38, 2)
DECLARE @search_values TABLE ([search_value] DECIMAL(38, 2))
DECLARE @debug_print NVARCHAR(500)
DECLARE @results_count INT = 0
DECLARE @max_difference DECIMAL(38, 2) -- Use to find values 'near by'

IF OBJECT_ID('tempdb..#search_results') IS NOT NULL BEGIN
    DROP TABLE #search_results
END
CREATE TABLE #search_results
    ( [search_value] DECIMAL(38, 2)
    , [schema_name] NVARCHAR(128)
    , [table_name] NVARCHAR(128)
    , [column_name] NVARCHAR(128)
    , [the_value] DECIMAL(38, 2)
    )

DECLARE columns_cursor CURSOR LOCAL STATIC FOR
    SELECT sch.name AS [schema_name]
    , tbl.name AS [table_name]
    , col.name AS [column_name]
    FROM sys.tables tbl
     JOIN sys.schemas sch
        ON sch.schema_id = tbl.schema_id
      JOIN sys.columns col
        ON col.object_id = tbl.object_id
                              -- TINYINT, SMALLINT, INT, INT
    WHERE col.system_type_id IN (48, 52, 56, 127
                              -- FLOAT, DECIMAL, FLOAT, DECIMAL, DECIMAL, DECIMAL
                              --, 59, 60, 62, 106, 108, 122, 127
                                )

--\-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
---) INITIALIZATION
---) Specify the texts to search for below “INSERT INTO @search_values”
---) Also set a value for @max_difference
---) @max_difference makes it possible to find nearby numbers.
--/-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SELECT @max_difference = 1.0
INSERT INTO @search_values
  SELECT 755
  --UNION SELECT 97867563

DECLARE search_cursor CURSOR LOCAL STATIC FOR
    SELECT search_value
    FROM @search_values

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-- MAIN
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
OPEN columns_cursor
FETCH NEXT FROM columns_cursor INTO @schema_name, @table_name, @column_name

WHILE @@FETCH_STATUS = 0
BEGIN

    SET @debug_print = 'Processing ' + @table_name + '.' + @column_name;
    PRINT REPLICATE('-', LEN(@debug_print))
    PRINT @debug_print
    PRINT REPLICATE('-', LEN(@debug_print))
    
    SET @nsql = 'INSERT INTO #search_results SELECT DISTINCT @inner_search_value, '
        + '''' + @schema_name + ''' AS [schema_name], '
        + '''' + @table_name + ''' AS [table_name], '
        + '''' + @column_name + ''' AS [column_name], CONVERT(DECIMAL(38, 2), ' + QUOTENAME(@column_name) + ') AS [the_value] '
        + ' FROM ' + QUOTENAME(@schema_name) + '.' + QUOTENAME(@table_name) + ' WITH (NOLOCK) WHERE ABS(' + QUOTENAME(@column_name) + ' - @inner_search_value) <= ' + CAST(@max_difference AS VARCHAR(50)) + ';';

    PRINT @nsql
    
    OPEN search_cursor
    FETCH NEXT FROM search_cursor INTO @search_value

    WHILE @@FETCH_STATUS = 0
    BEGIN
        PRINT ''
        PRINT '--> Processing search value ''' + CONVERT(NVARCHAR(40), @search_value) + '''';
        SET @param_def = N'@inner_search_value DECIMAL(38, 2)';
        EXECUTE sp_executesql @nsql, @param_def,
                              @inner_search_value = @search_value;

        FETCH NEXT FROM search_cursor INTO @search_value
    END
    
    CLOSE search_cursor

    FETCH NEXT FROM columns_cursor INTO @schema_name, @table_name, @column_name
    
    SELECT @results_count = (SELECT COUNT(*) FROM #search_results);
    
END

CLOSE columns_cursor
DEALLOCATE columns_cursor

SELECT
      t.schema_name
    , t.table_name
    , t.column_name
    , t.the_value
    , 'SELECT * FROM ' + QUOTENAME(t.schema_name) + '.' + QUOTENAME(t.table_name) + ' WHERE ' + QUOTENAME(t.column_name) + ' = ''' + REPLACE(t.the_value, '''', '''''') + ''''
 FROM #search_results t

GO

Download all scripts here.

Conclusion / Wrap up

When you have to understand a SQL Server datamodel, for instance to get data out, and there is no documentation but only a test environment and database connection available, these scripts can help you to find where data entered in the frontend software is stored in the database.
A different use case is when the database is using unique identifiers for primary and foreign keys, and the foreign key relationships are not physically enforced and/or flexible. In that case you can search for a specific unique identifier and see where it is used in the database.

(c) 2016 hansmichiels.com – Do not steal the contents – spread the link instead – thank you.