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Posted Dec 31, 2003

Control your SQL Server 7.0 and 2000 via E-Mail

By DatabaseJournal.com Staff

by MAK [Muthusamy Anantha Kumar]

Data Base 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.


1. SQLMail is configured and up and running on a box.

2. You SQLMail account can receive emails.

3. 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?

Step1: "Create Procedures" Execute the below script on the SQL box where SQL-Mail is setup and the Mail Client is running.

use master

CREATE procedure usp_osqlexecute 
@servername varchar(128) =@@servername,
@Databasename varchar(128)='Master',
@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+''''
print @formsql
exec (@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),
type varchar(1000))

set @sendmailto=' '
insert #messages exec "xp_readmail"
set @count = (select count(*) from #messages where unread='true')
if @count>0

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)
exec (@message)

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@xyzcompany.com. Use any of your email account, for example, Yahoo, Hotmail, your local broadband Email or your companys web-mail and send email to SQLMail@xyzcompany.com in the following format.

In few minutes, you will have results, similar as those displayed below, as an attachment in your email.

Query format

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.

1. By default, the procedure usp_osqlexecute will read the error log and send back the results as an attachment.


<query>usp_osqlexecute </query><email>mak_999@yahoo.com</email>

2. Want to send the results to many people?



3. Simple Queries


<query>usp_osqlexecute @servername="SQL2k",
@Query="Select name from sysobjects", @Databasename=Payroll </query><email>mak_999@yahoo.com</email>

4. Need to read the Errorlog of a different server?



5. Want to run DBCC on a database?


<query>usp_osqlexecute @Query = "DBCC Checkdb", @Databasename ="PAY" , 
@Servername ="sql2k\instance1"</query><email>mak_999@yahoo.com</email>

6. Need to use SQL authentication instead of Windows authentication?


<query>usp_osqlexecute @servername="SQL2k\instance1", @authentication=" -Usa 
-Pyeahright "</query><email>mak_999@yahoo.com</email>

7. Need to delete a huge log table that you forgot to delete?


@Query = "Delete from Logtable where date>=getdate()-10", 
@Databasename ="MAK" , @Servername


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 addition query tag (such as <user>MAK </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.

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