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SQL Servers complex relationship with file permissions

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After some discussions the other week I thought I better talk about SQL Servers complex relationship with file permissions.

As some of you probably know there have been many SQL Server related issues over the years due to file permission issues.

Just the other day I was joking with somebody about the fact that the most common problem for a certain feature was due to file permissions.

After that I carried on the joke for a bit longer. I asked them what the most common cause for the below issues were as well:

  • Replication
  • Log shipping
  • SSIS packages
  • AlwaysOn Availability Groups
  • Setting up a well-known compliancy application

Ultimately, I was highlighting the fact that incorrect file permissions have caused a lot of issues with SQL Server over the years.

In addition, I have seen plenty of issues due to the permissions set on shared folders. For example, when Log Shipping is first implemented.

Furthermore, it’s not just the older features either. For example, you can potentially have issues if you add the Advanced Analytics feature as well.

Something which I discussed in my previous post about adding R to an existing installation of SQL Server here.

Resolving issues

Now, sooner or later you will probably end up having to investigate issues due to permissions if you’re an administrator. One way you can investigate this is to check the file system permissions using explorer.

In addition, if you are attempting to use a network share you can check the shared folder permissions as well.

Of course, there are some Powershell cmdlets that will be able to help as well. For example, you can find lots of articles on how to use Powershell for this online.

SQL Server on Linux

Even SQL Server on Linux can potentially have file permission issues, which I’m sure some of you can already vouch for.

In addition, configuring other things like the local repository I created in a previous post can also have permission issues. You can read more about how I created a local repository to manage offline SQL Server installations in detail here.

However, permission issues can be easier to identify on Linux. Because you can view the permissions easily using the ls syntax on the command line.

You can read more about how to use the ls command to view permissions in detail here.

As you can see, in this situation knowing Linux syntax is useful. Of course, if you’re using a desktop environment in Linux you can still find the permissions by right clicking on files and directories.

Other common issues

Of course there are other common issues relating to SQL Server. I have posted about some previously so feel free to look around.

For example, in a previous post I discussed some issues relating to patching which you can read about in detail here.

Final word

As shown above, the relationship between SQL Server and file permissions is complex. Indeed, permissions are the cause of various issues, especially when adding functionality to SQL Server.

However, the more you have to deal with these issues over time the more you get a good idea of where to look and how.

With this in mind, if you have a tool you want to recommend you’re more then welcome to add a comment to help others in the community.

Published inSQL Server

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