Friday, August 2, 2013

Dealing with runaway DBMail messages

Say you have a particular type of alert configured on your SQL Server.  Maybe it sends an email any time there's blocking that lasts longer than a particular threshold.

Then you have a long-running multi-threaded process that runs on a cluster and hammers your SQL Server with a couple hundred threads for hours, and some of them wind up blocking.  You build up a lot of alerts, say 50,000.  Your SMTP server can't handle all of them at once, so you (and your team) wind up getting a heavy stream of them for the next few hours or maybe even days.

Sound like fun?  Yeah, not to me either.

There are multiple ways to handle this, but the cleanest is probably to kill the messages at their source. I'm assuming in this example that the messages have already been queued, so fixing your alert will have to come later.  Here's the simplest way to deal with your message problem - stop your DBMail service broker objects, delete the messages, and start things back up:

use msdb

exec sysmail_stop_sp

exec sysmail_delete_mailitems_sp @sent_before = '[DATE_OF_SCREWUP]'

exec sysmail_start_sp

Your mail server admin and team members will thank you.

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