MS SQL Server Cheat Sheet

How to do the types of things you’re likely to want to do when setting up and exploring MS SQL Server

  • Install
    • MS SQL Server
    • sqlcmd (cross-platform client)
  • Run SQL Queries
    • GO
    • Multi-line queries
  • Introspection
    • Show All Databases
    • Show All Tables
  • Permissions
    • Create New User
    • Generate Random Password
    • Read-Only User
    • Read Permissions
    • Backup Permission
    • Port Forward
  • Backups
    • CIFS Backup
    • CSV Export

How to Install SQL Server & Client

See https://therootcompany.com/blog/mssql-server-on-ubuntu/ and https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sql/linux/quickstart-install-connect-ubuntu?view=sql-server-ver15.

sqlcmd (covered above) is the client.

In short:

# add gnupg2, just in case
sudo apt install -y gnupg2

# add Microsoft keys
curl https://packages.microsoft.com/keys/microsoft.asc | sudo apt-key add -
curl https://packages.microsoft.com/config/ubuntu/20.04/prod.list | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/msprod.list

# install sqlcmd
sudo apt-get update -y
sudo apt-get install -y mssql-tools unixodbc-dev

# add sqlcmd to PATH
curl -sS https://webinstall.dev/pathman | bash
export PATH="$HOME/.local/bin:$PATH"

pathman add /opt/mssql-tools/bin
export PATH="/opt/mssql-tools/bin:$PATH"

For Windows see https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sql/tools/sqlcmd-utility?view=sql-server-ver15.

Alternatively, check out https://github.com/dbcli/mssql-cli.

How to Open the SQL Prompt

As a one-off:

sqlcmd -S localhost -U SA

Or, using ENVs:

source .env
sqlcmd -S "${MSSQL_HOST},${MSSQL_PORT}" -U "${MSSQL_USER}" -P "${MSSQL_PASS}"

What the .env might look like:

.env:

MSSQL_HOST=localhost
MSSQL_PORT=1433
MSSQL_USERNAME=SA
MSSQL_PASSWORD=Password!2#
MSSQL_CATALOG="TestDB"
MSSQL_INSTANCE=""

How to Run a Single Statement

It’s not sufficient to end a line with a ;, you have to use GO (without a semicolon).

SELECT 'Hello, World!';
GO

How to Run Multi-Line Statements

The sqlcmd cli can be cumbersome to use.

Specifically: multi-line copy/paste does not work.

You may be better off to put statements into a script, and then run the script, like this:

sqlcmd -S localhost,1433 -U SA -i foo.sql
source .env
sqlcmd -S "${MSSQL_HOST},${MSSQL_PORT}" -U "${MSSQL_USER}" -P "${MSSQL_PASS}" -i ${1}

Cheat: Script the Script

To make this a bit easier for myself, I do this:

mssqldo.sh:

#!/bin/bash
set -e
set -u

source .env

my_sql_file="${1}"
sqlcmd \
  -S "${MSSQL_HOST},${MSSQL_PORT}" \
  -U "${MSSQL_USER}" \
  -P "${MSSQL_PASS}" \
  -i "${my_sql_file}"

Make executable:

chmod a+x mssqldo.sh

Usage:

./mssqldo.sh foo.sql

How to Show all Databases

SELECT name, database_id, create_date FROM sys.databases;

GO

Note: Microsoft calls a database a “catalog”, half of the time anyway.

How to Show all Tables

All tables in a database:

SELECT table_name, table_schema, table_type
    FROM information_schema.tables
    WHERE table_catalog = 'TestDB'
    ORDER BY table_name ASC;

GO

All tables across all databases:

SELECT *
    FROM information_schema.tables
    ORDER BY table_name ASC;

GO

See https://www.databasestar.com/sql-list-tables/.

How to Describe Columns of a Table

USE TestDB
EXEC sp_columns @table_name = N'MyTable';
EXEC TestDB.dbo.sp_columns MyTable;

However, you can’t treat the result as a table from which to query. So if you want to narrow down the result and select specific columns, it gets a little complicated - you have to turn on some special options run a linked server query to itself. It’s not that complicated, but it’s just not obvious.

See also:

How to create a Read-Only User

USE master;
CREATE LOGIN mynewuser_ro WITH PASSWORD='xxxxx', DEFAULT_DATABASE=TestDB, CHECK_EXPIRATION=OFF, CHECK_POLICY=OFF;

USE TestDB;
CREATE USER mynewuser_ro FOR LOGIN mynewuser_ro;
ALTER USER mynewuser_ro WITH DEFAULT_SCHEMA=db_datareader;
EXEC sp_addrolemember N'db_datareader', N'mynewuser_ro';
GRANT SELECT ON sys.database_files TO mynewuser_ro;

GO

See https://docs.informatica.com/complex-event-processing/informatica-proactive-monitoring/3-0-hotfix-1/installation-guide/pre-installation/before-you-install/prepare-the-databases/powercenter-repository-database-requirements/create-a-read-only-user-in-microsoft-sql-server.html - but *note: those instructions actually create a user with Read-Write access!

Also, that user will have access to certain other tables than the database to which it is granted access. See the comments at https://stackoverflow.com/questions/16211717/best-way-to-create-sql-user-with-read-only-permissions.

How to Generate a Random Password

This is more of a general Linux tip, but whatever… :)

xxd -l16 -ps /dev/urandom
0fc105b21019610009afa03eb55c8203

See https://therootcompany.com/blog/how-to-generate-secure-random-strings/.

How to Grant Write Access

You must be logged in as SA, of course.

USE TestDB;

GRANT CREATE TABLE TO mynewuser_rw;
GRANT DELETE,INSERT TO mynewuser_rw;

How to Enable Linked Server Data Access

This is for running certain special functions and commands, such as OPENQUERY, OPENROWSET etc.

EXEC sp_serveroption
  @server = 'SQLSRVR',
  @optname = 'DATA ACCESS',
  @optvalue = 'TRUE';

Your server name is probably SQLSRVR, but you can maybe find out for sure with SELECT @@SERVERNAME;

See also:

SSH Port Forward / Proxy / Relay

For this scenario:

  1. You have a Windows Server inside the private network
    • 10.0.0.10
  2. You have a Linux Server on the same network, but with ssh already port-forwarded publicly
    • jumpbox.example.com
  3. You want to access SQL server from you Apple laptop

You could make the Windows' server port 1433 appear through the linux box to your laptop as port 1443 locally - or any port really. For illustrative purposes I’ll actually use port 14330:

ssh -L 14330:10.0.0.10:1433 jumpbox.example.com

You could also put this in your ssh config so you don’t havet to go looking that up all the time:

.ssh/config:

Host jumpbox
    Port 22
    Hostname jumpbox.example.com
    LocalForward 14330 10.0.0.10:1433
ssh -N jumpbox
# See also https://unix.stackexchange.com/a/100863/45554

Then update the port used by sqlcmd:

sqlcmd -S localhost,14330 -U SA

How to export to SQL

You can’t. You have to use the GUI tools for that.

See https://dba.stackexchange.com/a/291907/230109.

How to export to CSV

You can’t. At least not with sqlcmd.

Use mssql-to-csv instead.

But there is a hack that mostly works if you don’t need to escape.

#!/bin/bash

set -e
set -u

source .env

# To remove header: -h-1
sqlcmd -S "${MSSQL_HOST}" -U "${MSSQL_USER}" -P "${MSSQL_PASS}" -i "${1}" -s"," -W -w 999 \
	|
		grep '[a-zA-Z0-9_-]' |
		grep -v 'rows affected'

See

How to do a Backup

You can’t!

Running a backup with sqlcmd will produce a backup on the server, not the client.

USE TestDB;

BACKUP DATABASE [TestDB]
    TO DISK = N'C:\Backups\MS-SQL-Server-Test-DB.bak'
    WITH NOFORMAT, NOINIT,
    NAME = N'MS-SQL-Server-Test-DB Full Database Backup',
    SKIP, NOREWIND, NOUNLOAD,  STATS = 10;

GO

However, it may be possible to create a CIFS/SMB share (Windows share) on Linux, use xp_cmdshell to mount it, and then run the backup from the server to client over the network share.

See also:

How to Give a User Backup Privileges

USE TestDB;

EXEC sp_addrolemember N'db_backupoperator', 'mynewuser_ro';

GO

How to Restore

See