Friday, March 22, 2013

SQL Server Agent Job Last Run Date and Time from Sysjobsteps Table

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog entry in regards to finding out the last successful run date and time of SQL Server Agent job by querying the sysjobhistory table in the msdb database. That blog entry can be found here. The sysjobhistory table stores the execution history of each SQL Server agent job and job steps.

There is another way in which you can get the last run date and time of the SQL Server agent jobs (well, kind of). You can do this by querying the sysjobsteps table in the msdb database. The sysjobsteps stores information of each SQL Server job step, including the last_run_outcome (whether the job step execution failed, succeeded, retry, canceled or unknown), the last_run_date and the last_run_time. Similar to the run_date and run_time columns in the sysjobhistory table, the last_run_date and the last_run_time columns in sysjobsteps have integer data type. Thus, to convert it to date and time, we can use the agent_datetime system function in the msdb database. Unlike, the sysjobhistory, there is no step 0 in the sysjobsteps table, which would give the overall job outcome.

An sample query that we can use to retrieve the last run date and time for each SQL Server job steps:

select j.job_id,,
last_run_outcome = case when js.last_run_outcome = 0 then 'Failed'
when js.last_run_outcome = 1 then 'Succeeded'
when js.last_run_outcome = 2 then 'Retry'
when js.last_run_outcome = 3 then 'Canceled'
else 'Unknown'
last_run_datetime = msdb.dbo.agent_datetime(
case when js.last_run_date = 0 then NULL else js.last_run_date end,
case when js.last_run_time = 0 then NULL else js.last_run_time end)
from msdb.dbo.sysjobs j
inner join msdb.dbo.sysjobsteps js
on j.job_id = js.job_id;

The last_run_outcome can be a bit misleading. If the job step has not been run, the last_run_outcome is 0, which indicates that the job step has failed on its last run.

Purging the SQL Server agent history (see my blog post) would not remove the last_run_date and last_run_time value from the sysjobsteps table.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Purge SQL Server Job History

The msdb database stores SQL Server job information, including the job and job steps history. The job history information can grow really fast, especially if you have a lot of SQL Server jobs which run frequently. In turn, this can cause the msdb database to grow in size rather quickly. It is a good idea to purge old SQL Server job history on regular basis. You might want to check with your company policy or legal team on how much of job history you need to keep.

How do you go about purging the SQL Server Job History? There are several ways in which you can do this.


The sp_purge_jobhistory stored procedure in msdb database can be used to delete the SQL Server agent job history. It accepts 3 input parameters:

  • (Optional) @job_id - the SQL Server job id of the job history that you want to delete

  • (Optional) @job_name - the SQL Server job name of the job history that you want to delete

  • (Optional) @oldest_date - delete SQL Server job history that is older than the @oldest_date

One thing to know is that when running the sp_purge_jobhistory, you can specify the job_id or job_name or neither of them. But you can not specify both the job_id and job_name. If you do, you will most likely get the following error message:

"Msg 14294, Level 16, State 1, Procedure sp_verify_job_identifiers, Line 25
Supply either @job_id or @job_name to identify the job."

Some sample usage:

To delete all job history:

exec msdb.dbo.sp_purge_jobhistory;

To delete all job history of SQL Server job named "Backup TestDB":

exec msdb.dbo.sp_purge_jobhistory @job_name = 'Backup TestDB';


declare @job as uniqueidentifier;
set @job = (select job_id from dbo.sysjobs where [name] = 'Backup TestDB');
exec msdb.dbo.sp_purge_jobhistory @job_id = @job;

To delete job history that is older than 30 days:

declare @jobdate as datetime;
set @jobdate = dateadd(dd, -30, getdate());
exec msdb.dbo.sp_purge_jobhistory @oldest_date = @jobdate;

To delete job hisotry for SQL Server job named "Backup TestDB", which are older than 30 days:

declare @jobdate as datetime;
set @jobdate = dateadd(dd, -30, getdate());
exec msdb.dbo.sp_purge_jobhistory @job_name = 'Backup TestDB', @oldest_date = @jobdate;

It is pretty straight forward. To do this on regular basis, you can create a SQL Server agent job to run the sp_purge_jobhistory with the appropriate input parameter(s) on a scheduled time.

SQL Server Agent Properties

If you go to the SQL Server Agent Properties window, you have the option to "remove agent history". Here, you need to specify the cut-off time.


If you try to script this out, you will see that it is generating the following script:

EXEC msdb.dbo.sp_purge_jobhistory @oldest_date='2013-02-12T22:54:55'

So basically it is executing the same sp_purge_jobhistory stored procedure on the background. One thing to remember about purging the job history this way is that it is just one time only. It will not actually create any SQL Server Agent that would automatically delete job history that are older than 4 weeks.

syspolicy_purge_history SQL Server Job

By default, if you are using SQL Server 2008, 2008 R2 or 2012, you might see the syspolicy_purge_history SQL Server agent job. The job is scheduled to run daily at 2 AM. This SQL Server job would look into the Policy Management "HistoryRetentionInDays" property (You can get to this window by going to Management on the Object Explorer and then right click Policy Management and select Properties).


By default, the HistoryRetentionInDays is set to 0, which means that it will not delete any SQL Server job history. If you set it 30, then on daily basis at 2 AM, it will delete SQL Server job history that are older than 30 days.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Last Successful SQL Server Agent Job Run Date and Time

SQL Server stores SQL Server Agent job history in sysjobhistory table within the msdb database. We can query the table to get the date and time of last successful SQL Server agent job(s) run. The table stores each job step history, where step_id 0 for each job actually give the overall job outcome.

The sysjobhistory table also stores each step's run date and time. However, they are being stored in separate columns, run_date and run_time. Also instead of having date and/or time data type, they have integer data type. But don't worry, there is a system function in msdb database, called agent_datetime, which can be used to convert those run_date and run_time into a datetime data type.

So, to get the date and time of the last successful SQL Server Agent job(s) run, we can use the following script:

WITH jobhistory as (   
   SELECT    job_id,
             last_run_time = max(dbo.agent_datetime(run_date, run_time))
   FROM      msdb.dbo.sysjobhistory
   WHERE     step_id = 0
             AND run_status = 1
   GROUP BY job_id, run_status)

SELECT    j.job_id,
FROM      msdb.dbo.sysjobs j
          LEFT OUTER JOIN jobhistory jh
          ON j.job_id = jh.job_id

The script should be pretty straight forward. Basically, first we build a CTE to get the last successful time of each job from the sysjobhistory table. We do this by filtering those SQL Server agent jobs that have run status equal to 1 (success) for job step with id 0. Once we do that, we then create a join of the sysjobs table (which contains information such as the job name), with the CTE.