This is a script to list basic differences in table definitions between two databases.
When we make database changes in a transactional system, we need to ensure that these won’t adversely affect our BI solution. Normally our developers give us this information when we plan which items to put into a release, so we can liaise with BI; unfortunately the developers machines are down at present due to a disaster at the data center of the company to whom we outsourced development. Since the changes for the release are already in our UAT environment (and only those changes are there), we could determine what would be changing in production by comparing the schemas of the two environments.
My first thought was to use the Database Comparison Tool that comes with Visual Studio. However whilst this does a great job for a developer looking for and resolving differences, it’s not so easy to communicate this information to others (i.e. giving a before and after image of columns side by side. You have to either click on each difference to get a definition of the before and after, then make notes or take screenshots, or you have to generate the DDL, in which case you don’t see the before picture; only the code to amend from the current to the to-be definition.
Instead I realised that I could simply pull the definitions of the tables & columns from SQL, compare these and list the differences; resulting in the code below.
This code can handle where both databases are on the same instance, or where they’re on different instances. For the latter scenario you’d need to create a linked server.
If you frequently compare different combinations of databases and want to avoid amending the instance and catalog names in the code each time you may want to look into views or synonyms (potentially aliases work too if the catalog name is consistent across instances).
Since our BI solution uses replication to get the data from the transactional system, I also included information on which columns were replicated; thus we can filter on those replicated to see just those which BI would be interested in, or can ignore replication to see all differences.
- We’re not comparing everything; only basic table and column data.
- The maxLength value gives length in bytes; not characters (see previous post on how to correct for this).
- There are probably other issues; this was a quick fix to resolve an immediate issue which worked for us; there may be issues we’ve not encountered (e.g. maybe the linked server only gives access to a subset of the tables; thus giving false responses)…
set transaction isolation level read uncommitted go ;with uat as ( select t.name TableName , c.Name ColumnName , ty.name ColType , c.max_length ColMaxLength , coalesce(c.is_nullable,0) ColIsNullable , c.scale ColScale , c.[precision] ColPrecision , coalesce(c.collation_name,'') ColCollation , c.is_replicated from [myUatDbServer\uatInstance].[myUatDbCatalog].sys.tables t inner join [myUatDbServer\uatInstance].[myUatDbCatalog].sys.columns c on c.object_id = t.object_id inner join [myUatDbServer\uatInstance].[myUatDbCatalog].sys.types ty on ty.system_type_id = c.system_type_id and ty.user_type_id = c.user_type_id ) , prd as ( select t.name TableName , c.Name ColumnName , ty.name ColType , c.max_length ColMaxLength , coalesce(c.is_nullable,0) ColIsNullable , c.scale ColScale , c.[precision] ColPrecision , coalesce(c.collation_name,'') ColCollation , c.is_replicated from [myProdDbServer\prodInstance].[myProdDbCatalog].sys.tables t inner join [myProdDbServer\prodInstance].[myProdDbCatalog].sys.columns c on c.object_id = t.object_id inner join [myProdDbServer\prodInstance].[myProdDbCatalog].sys.types ty on ty.system_type_id = c.system_type_id and ty.user_type_id = c.user_type_id ) select coalesce(uat.TableName, prd.TableName) TableName , coalesce(uat.ColumnName, prd.ColumnName) ColumnName , case when prd.TableName is null and not exists (select top 1 1 from prd x where x.TableName = uat.TableName) then 'Add Table' when uat.TableName is null and not exists (select top 1 1 from uat x where x.TableName = prd.TableName) then 'Remove Table' when prd.ColumnName is null then 'Add Column' when uat.ColumnName is null then 'Remove Column' else 'Change Column Definition' end [AXtion] --our transaction system's Dynamics AX; I'm hilarious :S , prd.ColType ColTypeFrom , uat.ColType ColTypeTo , prd.ColMaxLength ColMaxLengthFrom --not going to fuss about char byte size for now; just want to get a list of changes , uat.ColMaxLength ColMaxLengthTo --not going to fuss about char byte size for now; just want to get a list of changes , prd.ColIsNullable ColIsNullableFrom , uat.ColIsNullable ColIsNullableTo , prd.ColCollation ColCollationFrom , uat.ColCollation ColCollationTo , prd.ColPrecision ColPrecisionFrom , uat.ColPrecision ColPrecisionTo , prd.ColScale ColScaleFrom , uat.ColScale ColScaleTo , prd.is_replicated PrdIsReplicated --\_these aren't compared; just returned to make it easy to tell what's interesting to BI , uat.is_replicated UatIsReplicated --/ from uat full outer join prd on prd.TableName = uat.TableName and prd.ColumnName = uat.ColumnName where prd.TableName is null or uat.TableName is null or prd.ColumnName is null or uat.ColumnName is null or (uat.ColType != prd.ColType) or (uat.ColMaxLength != prd.ColMaxLength) or (uat.ColIsNullable != prd.ColIsNullable) or (uat.ColCollation != prd.ColCollation) or (uat.ColPrecision != prd.ColPrecision) or (uat.ColScale != prd.ColScale) order by coalesce(uat.TableName, prd.TableName) , coalesce(uat.ColumnName, prd.ColumnName)