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Schedule jobs

Sometimes we have a T-SQL process that we need to run that takes some time to run or we want to run it during idle time on the server. We could create a SQL Agent job manually, but is there any simple way to create a scheduled job?

This tip contains T-SQL code to create a SQL Agent job dynamically instead of having to use the SSMS GUI.

I am going to create a stored procedure named sp_add_job_quick that takes a few parameters to create the job. For my example, I will create a SQL Agent job that will call stored procedure sp_who and the job will be scheduled to run once at 4:00 PM.

Creating a Stored Procedure to create SQL Agent jobs

In this sample we are going to create a job dynamically using T-SQL Code:

USE msdb
CREATE procedure [dbo].[sp_add_job_quick]
@job nvarchar(128),
@mycommand nvarchar(max),
@servername nvarchar(28),
@startdate nvarchar(8),
@starttime nvarchar(8)
--Add a job
EXEC dbo.sp_add_job
@job_name = @job ;
--Add a job step named process step. This step runs the stored procedure
EXEC sp_add_jobstep
@job_name = @job,
@step_name = N'process step',
@subsystem = N'TSQL',
@command = @mycommand
--Schedule the job at a specified date and time
exec sp_add_jobschedule @job_name = @job,
@name = 'MySchedule',
@active_start_date = @startdate,
@active_start_time = @starttime
-- Add the job to the SQL Server Server
EXEC dbo.sp_add_jobserver
@job_name = @job,
@server_name = @servername

This is a stored procedure named sp_add_job_quick that calls 4 msdb stored procedures:

sp_add_job creates a new job
sp_add_jobstep adds a new step in the job
sp_add_jobschedule schedules a job for a specific date and time
sp_add_jobserver adds the job to a specific server
Let’s invoke the stored procedure in order to create the job:

exec dbo.sp_add_job_quick
@job = 'myjob', -- The job name
@mycommand = 'sp_who', -- The T-SQL command to run in the step
@servername = 'serverName', -- SQL Server name. If running localy, you can use @servername=@@Servername
@startdate = '20130829', -- The date August 29th, 2013
@starttime = '160000' -- The time, 16:00:00

If everything is OK, a job named myjob will be created with a step that runs the sp_who stored procedure that will run on August 29th at 4:00PM.

Explanation of the SQL Agent job creation code

Here I will walk through the code and what each step does.

The sp_add_job is a procedure in the msdb database that creates a job.

EXEC dbo.sp_add_job
@job_name = @job

The sp_add_jobstep creates a job step in the job created. In this tip, the step name is process_step and the action is a TSQL command.

EXEC sp_add_jobstep
@job_name = @job,
@step_name = N'process step',
@subsystem = N'TSQL',
@command = @mycommand

In the declare section we are assigning to the @mycommand variable the stored procedure sp_who.

The following section let’s you create the schedule for the job in T-SQL. The schedule name is MySchedule. The frequency type is once (1). If you need to run the job daily the frequency type is 4 and weekly 8 . The active start time is 16:00:00 (4PM). The start date uses the date assigned to the startdate variable ‘20130823’.

exec sp_add_jobschedule @job_name = @job,
@name = 'MySchedule',
@active_start_date = @startdate,
@active_start_time = @starttime

Additional tables to find information about SQL Agent jobs

Here are some system tables in the msdb database that you can use to get job information. If you need to retrieve job information you may need them.

dbo.sysjobactivity – shows the current information of the jobs
dbo.sysjobhistory – shows the execution result of the jobs.
dbo.sysjobs – shows the information of the jobs programmed.
dbo.sysjobsshedules – shows the job schedule information like the next run date and time of the jobs.
dbo.sysjobservers – shows the servers assigned to run jobs
dbo.sysjobsteps – shows the job steps
dbo.sysjobsteplogs – let you see the logs of the steps configured to display the output in a table
SQL Agent Job stored procedures

You also have these stored procedures in the msdb database to retrieve job information:

I am not going to explain each system stored procedure, but in the next steps you can find links with an explanation for each.

If you want to modify and create your own procedures based on the Microsoft system stored procedures you can review the code using sp_helptext. In this example, we are reviewing sp_help_job. For example, to see the T-SQL code for sp_help_job code use this command:

sp_helptext '[dbo].[sp_help_job]'


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