Database Administrators are often exposed to a situation where they want to query a table, check on the status of a server, check an error log, or run a DBCC command on a SQL Server box when they do not have access to the box directly. This often happens when they are off site or on vacation or they do not have remote clients etc., but have access to the Internet.
This article describes how you can query SQL Server using your email and get the results back as E-Mail attachments.
- SQLMail is configured and up and running on a box.
- Your SQLMail account can receive emails.
- Mail client (MS-Outlook) is open and running on the box where we are going to create all the procedures and jobs.
How to Configure?
Step 1: "Create Procedures"
Execute the below script on the SQL box where SQL-Mail is setup:
CREATE procedure usp_osqlexecute
@servername varchar(128) =@@servername,
@authentication varchar(128)=' -E ',
@Query varchar(2000) = 'sp_readerrorlog'
declare @formsql varchar(3000)
set @formsql = 'osql -S'+@servername +'
-d'+@Databasename+' -Q"'+@Query+ '"
' +@authentication + ' >c:\output.txt'
set @formsql ='master.dbo.xp_cmdshell '''+ @formsql+''''
CREATE Procedure usp_readmail as
declare @message varchar(1000)
declare @message2 varchar(1000)
declare @start int
declare @len int
declare @sendmailto varchar(128)
declare @count int
create table #messages (Originator varchar(1000)
,date datetime,recipients varchar(1000),cclist varchar(300),
bcclist varchar(300),subject varchar(300),message ntext,
unread varchar(10),attachments varchar(1000),messageid varchar(1000),
set @sendmailto=' '
insert #messages exec "xp_readmail"
set @count = (select count(*) from #messages where unread='true')
set @message=(select convert(varchar(1000),message) as message from #messages
where date = (select max(date) from #messages) and unread='true')
set @message2 = @message
set @start =charindex('<query>',@message)+7
set @len = charindex('</query>',@message)-@start
set @message= substring(@message,@start,@len)
set @start =charindex('<email>',@message2)+7
set @len = charindex('</email>',@message2)-@start
set @sendmailto= substring(@message2,@start,@len)
exec master.dbo.xp_sendmail @recipients=@sendmailto,@attachments= 'c:\output.txt'
Step2: "Change Mail Client Options"
In your mail client, change the mail options to the settings displayed below:
Step3: "Create Job"
Create a job that executes the above-created procedure (
usp_readmail) every 1 minute.
How to query the server?
Let's assume you work for XYZcompany and your SQLMail email account is SQLMail@mysqlmail.com. Use any of your email accounts, for example, Yahoo!, Hotmail, your local broadband email, or your company's web-mail, and send email to SQLMail@sqlmails.com in the following format:
In a few minutes, you will have results, similar as those displayed below, as an attachment in your email.
I use this query format because whenever you use any free email accounts, such as Yahoo! or Hotmail, there are additional text advertisements and signature attached to the email. By using this format, we can filter out the query and email accounts from those advertisements.
- By default, the procedure
usp_osqlexecute will read the error log and send back the results as an attachment.
- Want to send the results to many people?
- Simple Queries
@Query="Select name from sysobjects", @Databasename=Payroll
- Need to read the error log of a different server?
- Want to run DBCC on a database?
<query>usp_osqlexecute @Query = "DBCC Checkdb", @Databasename ="PAY" ,
- Need to use SQL authentication instead of Windows authentication?
<query>usp_osqlexecute @servername="SQL2k\instance1", @authentication=" -Usa
- Need to delete a huge log table that you forgot to delete?
@Query = "Delete from Logtable where date>=getdate()-10",
@Databasename ="MAK" , @Servername
Note: you can limit the users accessing this feature by adding security such as RC4 encryption to the query format, and/or evaluate where the email is coming from, and/or an additional query tag (such as
<user>JAK</User>) can be used to verify authentication.
With this method, wherever you have access to the Internet, you can be in touch with your SQL Server boxes. Using the methods described in this article, you can do all of the work that you can to do on a query analyzer from a remote location with a little latency.