Using Seq.Input.MSSQL to read SQL Job Agent tables as logs!

Following on from my last post about using Seq.Input.MSSQL to read Endpoint Protection table entries as Seq logs, I wanted to share something that has really made a huge difference for us - turning the SQL Agent job tables into Seq logs!

This was actually the first full MSSQL Input integration that we went live with, and it turned out to be the most useful by far.  When it comes to the SQL Agent jobs, you can't simply point Seq.Input.MSSQL at a table and have it come out with something that is readily translatable to a Seq log with structured logging - but you can make a view to do the necessary conversions.

When I originally did this piece - with the help of a whole bunch of Googling - I found that there was one particular flaw - Seq.Input.MSSQL assumed that a timestamp had milliseconds, but the Job Agent tables do not record milliseconds. The MSSQL Input always tracks the last time that a query was run, so that it doesn't do full table scans every time. In this case, that means that it was possible to 'miss' logs because the StatusDateTime was always at 0 milliseconds - but the SQL input had already gone past that time.

That was readily resolved by adding an inbuilt delay of 1 second to the input, which worked well. Later I made this configurable, because I also hit a different case where logs were added to a table only once per minute - which led to a similar type of problem that was resolvable by configuring a longer delay.

The below table does all the conversions to a timestamp and provides essentially everything useful that is available from the sysjobs, sysjobhistory, and sysjobsteps tables. 

use msdb
@@servername as ServerName
, DATEADD(SECOND,(run_duration/10000 * 60 * 60) + (run_duration/100%100 * 60) + (run_duration%100 ),dbo.agent_datetime(sjh.run_date, sjh.run_time)) StatusDateTime
, dbo.agent_datetime(sjh.run_date, sjh.run_time) RunDateTime
, STUFF(STUFF(RIGHT('00000' + CAST(run_duration AS VARCHAR(6)),6),3,0,':'),6,0,':')  Duration
, (run_duration/10000 * 60 * 60) + (run_duration/100%100 * 60) + (run_duration%100 ) DurationSecs
, JobName
, sjh.step_id StepId
, ISNULL(sjs.step_name, 'Job Status') StepName
, CASE sjh.run_status
    WHEN 0 THEN 'Failed'
    WHEN 1 THEN 'Succeeded'
    WHEN 2 THEN 'Retry'
    WHEN 3 THEN 'Canceled'
    WHEN 4 THEN 'In Progress'
  END RunStatus
, sjh.message AS StepMessage
FROM dbo.sysjobs sj
  INNER JOIN dbo.sysjobhistory sjh ON sj.job_id = sjh.job_id
  LEFT OUTER JOIN dbo.sysjobsteps sjs ON sjh.job_id = sjs.job_id AND sjh.step_id = sjs.step_id
WHERE DATEADD(SECOND,(run_duration/10000 * 60 * 60) + (run_duration/100%100 * 60) + (run_duration%100 ),dbo.agent_datetime(sjh.run_date, sjh.run_time)) > dateadd(dd,-1, convert(date,getdate()))

And then all that's required is a Seq.Input.MSSQL instance to read in the view:

Refresh every x seconds5
Server instance nameSERVERNAME
Initial catalogmsdb
Trusted ConnectionEnabled
Table or view nameAgentJobs
Column name of TimeStampStatusDateTime
Column name of MessageStepMessage
Include following columns as property



Log application name as propertyAgentJobs
Event Level0
Valid local time period 

That's it. Simple as that. And then all you need to expose your new logs is a signal, which could be as simple as a signal looking for "Application = 'AgentJobs'". 

MSSQL Input will only log the Application property when it's logging a result from your query. We have an "Application Property Name" config which allows you to change the name of the property - I often use AppName in my Seq apps. Up to v1.2.0, if you didn't configure this, it would not log a property, but I've just put a pull request in that will change this to always log an Application property, defaulting to the title of your instance.

If you want to alert on errors, you might want to get even more specific with your signal. I found that a signal like the following is useful, since it allows excluding jobs that you don't want to alert, and also filters out jobs that only have a GUID as a name.


An error signal for the Agent Jobs view


And from here, you can configure a Seq.App.Opsgenie or Seq.App.Atlassian.Jira instance to watch the signal and raise the appropriate alert or ticket, similar to my illustration for the last post on this.

I hope people find this useful - the SQL Agent job logs are a goldmine of information about your scheduled jobs, and getting them into Seq can be a game changer for monitoring and alerting!



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