How to handle SQL Agent Jobs with Always On Availability Groups?

Introduction

When you configure your SQL servers for high availability you want the failover to be as seamless as possible. If you use availability groups, mirroring or log shipping as part of your high availability strategy you will need to take care of anything that lives outside the context of your databases. That might include logins, SQL Server agent jobs and ensuring consistent server level configuration across your availability nodes. This article will discuss how to handle SQL server agent jobs.

Not so seamless failover of agent jobs

If you have any SQL agent jobs that run in the context of your user databases these will need special handling to ensure a seamless failover. Ideally Microsoft would have added some improvements to the SQL agent to help with this. Maybe given us agent jobs that can live within the context of a user database instead of msdb?

As it stands you will need to keep your agent jobs in sync between the primary and secondaries and figure out a mechanism to activate the jobs on the new primary following failover and disable them on the old primary.

A Solution

There are a few ways to handle this, but my approach is to run all the jobs in the context of the master DB. I then check if the user DB is accessible and execute the command with a 3 part name. See the script below for an example. This will work for availability groups, mirroring and log shipping.

With this approach you can create your jobs and have them active on your primary and secondaries. You don’t need to worry about enabling/disabling jobs on failover – the jobs are already running but they only do any work if the database is primary. This makes the failover totally seamless. The downside to this approach is that the jobs will report that they ran successfully even if they didn’t do any work which could cause confusion.

The next problem is keeping the jobs in sync between your servers. You can script out the jobs using SSMS easy enough but this could get tedious if you have a larger number of jobs. I’ve created a powershell script below to help with this which you can use below. You can use this to report if your jobs are out of sync and also for performing a synchronization. See the comments at the top of the script for some usage examples.

T-SQL Proper Case Function

This function converts a string to proper case.

e.g.
Convert this: A LONG TIME AGO IN A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY
To this: A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far, Far Away

Note: It might be better to do this in the application rather than the database and it could be better written as a CLR function. This is useful if you need a T-SQL solution for a one off purpose.