How to Find Long Running Jobs in Microsoft SQL Server

By:   |   Updated: 2017-06-01   |   Comments (4)   |   Related: More > SQL Server Agent


You want to know if a job inside of SQL Server Agent is running longer than it should. This leads to a second problem: how do you define “long”? Well, for me, I use math.


SQL Server persists data inside the msdb database for job history between restarts. Therefore, we can do analysis on the job history data to find if there are jobs running long. Here, we will define “running long” as jobs that are currently running longer than two standard deviations away from the mean (i.e., an outlier).


There are four variables in the script.

@MinHistExecutions - Minimum number of job executions we want to consider. I like to set this to five or seven, giving me a small sample size to serve as a baseline to get started.

@MinAvgSecsDuration - Threshold for minimum job duration. If set to 300, then we are not concerned with any jobs that have a historical average less than five minutes in duration. This also has implications for how often I will want to poll for long running jobs. If we poll more than 300 seconds apart (say, every 15 minutes), then we may miss an outlier because the code will filter for jobs that are currently running.

@HistoryStartDate - Start date for historical average you want to evaluate.

@HistoryEndDate - End date for historical average you want to evaluate. The default values for start and end dates will capture all job history, but you may want to consider using a smaller window, say 90 days.


One result set containing a list of jobs that are currently running and the duration is more than two standard deviations away from the historical average. The “Min Threshold” column represents the average plus two standard deviations (in seconds).

    @MinHistExecutions - Minimum number of job executions we want to consider 
    @MinAvgSecsDuration - Threshold for minimum job duration we care to monitor
    @HistoryStartDate - Start date for historical average
    @HistoryEndDate - End date for historical average
  These variables allow for us to control a couple of factors. First
  we can focus on jobs that are running long enough on average for
  us to be concerned with (say, 30 seconds or more). Second, we can
  avoid being alerted by jobs that have run so few times that the
  average and standard deviations are not quite stable yet. This script
  leaves these variables at 1.0, but I would advise you alter them
  upwards after testing.
  Returns: One result set containing a list of jobs that
  are currently running and are running longer than two standard deviations 
  away from their historical average. The "Min Threshold" column
  represents the average plus two standard deviations. 

  note [1] - comment this line and note [2] line if you want to report on all history for jobs
  note [2] - comment just this line is you want to report on running and non-running jobs
DECLARE  @HistoryStartDate datetime 
  ,@HistoryEndDate datetime  
  ,@MinHistExecutions int   
  ,@MinAvgSecsDuration int  
SET @HistoryStartDate = '19000101'
SET @HistoryEndDate = GETDATE()
SET @MinHistExecutions = 1.0
SET @MinAvgSecsDuration = 1.0
DECLARE @currently_running_jobs TABLE (
    ,last_run_date INT NOT NULL
    ,last_run_time INT NOT NULL
    ,next_run_date INT NOT NULL
    ,next_run_time INT NOT NULL
    ,next_run_schedule_id INT NOT NULL
    ,requested_to_run INT NOT NULL
    ,request_source INT NOT NULL
    ,request_source_id SYSNAME NULL
    ,running INT NOT NULL
    ,current_step INT NOT NULL
    ,current_retry_attempt INT NOT NULL
    ,job_state INT NOT NULL
--capture details on jobs
INSERT INTO @currently_running_jobs
EXECUTE master.dbo.xp_sqlagent_enum_jobs 1,''
;WITH JobHistData AS
  SELECT job_id
 ,date_executed=msdb.dbo.agent_datetime(run_date, run_time)
  FROM msdb.dbo.sysjobhistory
  WHERE step_id = 0   --Job Outcome
  AND run_status = 1  --Succeeded
,JobHistStats AS
  SELECT job_id
        ,AvgDuration = AVG(secs_duration*1.)
        ,AvgPlus2StDev = AVG(secs_duration*1.) + 2*stdevp(secs_duration)
  FROM JobHistData
  WHERE date_executed >= DATEADD(day, DATEDIFF(day,'19000101',@HistoryStartDate),'19000101')
  AND date_executed < DATEADD(day, 1 + DATEDIFF(day,'19000101',@HistoryEndDate),'19000101') GROUP BY job_id HAVING COUNT(*) >= @MinHistExecutions
  AND AVG(secs_duration*1.) >= @MinAvgSecsDuration
SELECT jd.job_id
      , AS [JobName]
      ,MAX(act.start_execution_date) AS [ExecutionDate]
      ,AvgDuration AS [Historical Avg Duration (secs)]
      ,AvgPlus2StDev AS [Min Threshhold (secs)]
FROM JobHistData jd
JOIN JobHistStats jhs on jd.job_id = jhs.job_id
JOIN msdb..sysjobs j on jd.job_id = j.job_id
JOIN @currently_running_jobs crj ON crj.job_id = jd.job_id --see note [1] above
JOIN msdb..sysjobactivity AS act ON act.job_id = jd.job_id
AND act.stop_execution_date IS NULL
AND act.start_execution_date IS NOT NULL
WHERE DATEDIFF(SS, act.start_execution_date, GETDATE()) > AvgPlus2StDev
AND crj.job_state = 1 --see note [2] above
GROUP BY jd.job_id,, AvgDuration, AvgPlus2StDev


Traditional alerts that focus on job duration are not considering the historical average. As a result, operators are notified a job is running long based upon a fixed amount of time, say 300 seconds. A better method is to do some analysis on the data already stored inside the msdb. This way if an alert is sent you know that action is needed.

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Last Updated: 2017-06-01

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About the author
MSSQLTips author Thomas LaRock Thomas LaRock is a Head Geek at SolarWinds and a Microsoft Certified Master, Microsoft Data Platform MVP, VMware vExpert, and a former Microsoft Certified Trainer with over 20 years’ experience.

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Comments For This Article

Friday, July 06, 2018 - 1:51:18 PM - Kristopher Hokanson Back To Top (76554)

Been using very similar logic for a few years now, love that you posted this great solution for everyone to use.

I wonder if it might be better to put the filter for the job duration in the final select statement instead of filtering on the history.  This way you can catch the job that has historically been running in 10 seconds but is suddenly taking 5 minutes.

Otherwise great stuff!  Thank you for putting it together.


Tuesday, July 04, 2017 - 3:24:33 AM - yogender rana Back To Top (58826)


Great artical, thanks Thomas :)

Tuesday, June 06, 2017 - 10:54:56 AM - Charles Back To Top (56884)

 i ran this on 2012, even when i comment out 1 and 2, did not get any result.


Thursday, June 01, 2017 - 4:57:06 PM - AZJim Back To Top (56435)


I have found the following code helpful.  I think to do what you are doing.


    r.start_time                                           AS 'CmdStartTime'

  , r.status                                               AS 'CmdStatus'  

  , r.command                                              AS 'ShortCommand'

  , DB_NAME(r.database_id)                                 AS 'DataBase'

  , r.wait_type                                            AS 'CmdWaitType'

  , r.blocking_session_id                                  AS 'CmdBlockingSessionID'

  , r.percent_complete                                     AS 'CmdPctComplete'

  , CASE WHEN ((r.estimated_completion_time/1000)/3600) < 10 THEN '0' +


    ELSE CONVERT(VARCHAR(10),(r.estimated_completion_time/1000)/3600)

    END + ':' + 

    CASE WHEN ((r.estimated_completion_time/1000)%3600/60) < 10 THEN '0' +


    ELSE CONVERT(VARCHAR(10),(r.estimated_completion_time/1000)%3600/60)

    END  + ':' + 

    CASE WHEN ((r.estimated_completion_time/1000)%60) < 10 THEN '0' +


    ELSE CONVERT(VARCHAR(10),(r.estimated_completion_time/1000)%60)

    END                                                    AS 'TimeRemainingForCmd'

  , CAST(((r.total_elapsed_time/1000.0)/60.0) AS dec(5,1)) AS 'CmdElapsedMinutes'

  , sqltxt.text                                            AS 'CmdFullSQLCommandText'

FROM msdb.sys.dm_exec_requests r

OUTER APPLY msdb.sys.dm_exec_sql_text(r.sql_handle) sqltxt 

WHERE command LIKE 'BACKUP%'   -- Remember, some servers are case sensitive

   OR command LIKE 'RESTORE%' 

   OR command LIKE 'DBCC%' 

   OR command LIKE 'KILL%' 

   OR command LIKE 'UPDATE STAT%'

   OR command like 'ALTER%' ;


Recommended Reading

Querying SQL Server Agent Job Information

Querying SQL Server Agent Job History Data

Running a SSIS Package from SQL Server Agent Using a Proxy Account

Queries to inventory your SQL Server Agent Jobs

SQL Server Agent Job Schedule Reporting

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