Manage Metadata When Making a Database Available on Another Server

Applies to: SQL Server

This article is relevant in the following situations:

  • Configuring the availability replicas of an Always On availability groups availability group.

  • Setting up database mirroring for a database.

  • When preparing to change roles between primary and secondary servers in a log shipping configuration.

  • Restoring a database to another server instance.

  • Attaching a copy of a database on another server instance.

  • Performing database engine upgrade using the method - migrate to a new installation.

  • Migrating databases to Azure SQL (Virtual Machine or Managed Instance).

Some applications depend on information, entities, and/or objects that are outside of the scope of a single user database. Typically, an application has dependencies on the master and msdb databases, and also on the user database. Anything stored outside of a user database that is required for the correct functioning of that database must be made available on the destination server instance. For example, the logins for an application are stored as metadata in the master database, and they must be re-created on the destination server. If an application or database maintenance plan depends on SQL Server Agent jobs, whose metadata is stored in the msdb database, you must re-create those jobs on the destination server instance. Similarly, the metadata for a server-level trigger is stored in master.

When you move the database for an application to another server instance, you must re-create all the metadata of the dependent entities and objects in master and msdb on the destination server instance. For example, if a database application uses server-level triggers, just attaching or restoring the database on the new system isn't enough. The database won't work as expected unless you manually re-create the metadata for those triggers in the master database.

Information, Entities, and Objects That Are Stored Outside of User Databases

The remainder of this article summarizes the potential issues that might affect a database that is being made available on another server instance. You might have to re-create one or more of the types of information, entities, or objects listed in the following list. To see a summary, select the link for the item.

Server Configuration Settings

SQL Server 2005 (9.x) and later versions selectively install and starts key services and features. This helps reduce the attackable surface area of a system. In the default configuration of new installations, many features aren't enabled. If the database relies on any service or feature that is off by default, this service or feature must be enabled on the destination server instance.

For more information about these settings and enabling or disabling them, see Server Configuration Options (SQL Server).


A credential is a record that contains the authentication information that is required to connect to a resource outside SQL Server. Most credentials consist of a Windows login and password.

For more information about this feature, see Credentials (Database Engine).


SQL Server Agent Proxy accounts use credentials. To learn the credential ID of a proxy account, use the sysproxies system table.

Cross-Database Queries

The DB_CHAINING and TRUSTWORTHY database options are OFF by default. If either of these are set to ON for the original database, you may have to enable them on the database on the destination server instance. For more information, see ALTER DATABASE (Transact-SQL).

Attach-and-detach operations disable cross-database ownership chaining for the database. For information about how to enable chaining, see cross db ownership chaining Server Configuration Option.

For more information, see also Set Up a Mirror Database to Use the Trustworthy Property (Transact-SQL)

Database Ownership

When a database is restored on another computer, the SQL Server login or Windows user who initiated the restore operation becomes the owner of the new database automatically. When the database is restored, the system administrator or the new database owner can change database ownership.

Distributed Queries and Linked Servers

Distributed queries and linked servers are supported for OLE DB applications. Distributed queries access data from multiple heterogeneous data sources on either the same or different computers. A linked server configuration enables SQL Server to execute commands against OLE DB data sources on remote servers. For more information about these features, see Linked Servers (Database Engine).

Encrypted Data

If the database you are making available on another server instance contains encrypted data and if the database master key is protected by the service master key on the original server, it might be necessary to re-create the service master key encryption. The database master key is a symmetric key that is used to protect the private keys of certificates and asymmetric keys in an encrypted database. When created, the database master key is encrypted by using the Triple DES algorithm and a user-supplied password.

To enable the automatic decryption of the database master key on a server instance, a copy of this key is encrypted by using the service master key. This encrypted copy is stored in both the database and in master. Typically, the copy stored in master is silently updated whenever the master key is changed. SQL Server first tries to decrypt the database master key with the service master key of the instance. If that decryption fails, SQL Server searches the credential store for master key credentials that have the same family GUID as the database for which it requires the master key. SQL Server then tries to decrypt the database master key with each matching credential until the decryption succeeds or there are no more credentials. A master key that isn't encrypted by the service master key must be opened by using the OPEN MASTER KEY statement and a password.

When an encrypted database is copied, restored, or attached to a new instance of SQL Server, a copy of the database master key encrypted by the service master key isn't stored in master on the destination server instance. On the destination server instance, you must open the master key of the database. To open the master key, execute the following statement: OPEN MASTER KEY DECRYPTION BY PASSWORD ='password'. We recommend that you then enable automatic decryption of the database master key by executing the following statement: ALTER MASTER KEY ADD ENCRYPTION BY SERVICE MASTER KEY. This ALTER MASTER KEY statement provisions the server instance with a copy of the database master key that is encrypted with the service master key. For more information, see OPEN MASTER KEY (Transact-SQL) and ALTER MASTER KEY (Transact-SQL).

For information about how to enable automatic decryption of the database master key of a mirror database, see Set Up an Encrypted Mirror Database.

For more information, see also:

User-defined Error Messages

User-defined error messages reside in the sys.messages catalog view. This catalog view is stored in master. If a database application depends on user-defined error messages and the database is made available on another server instance, use sp_addmessage to add those user-defined messages on the destination server instance.

Event Notifications and Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Events (at Server Level)

Server-Level Event Notifications

Server-level event notifications are stored in msdb. Therefore, if a database application relies on a server-level event notification, that event notification must be re-created on the destination server instance. To view the event notifications on a server instance, use the sys.server_event_notifications catalog view. For more information, see Event Notifications.

Additionally, event notifications are delivered by using Service Broker. Routes for incoming messages aren't included in the database that contains a service. Instead, explicit routes are stored in msdb. If your service uses an explicit route in the msdb database to route incoming messages to the service, when you attach a database in a different instance, you must re-create this route.

Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Events

The WMI Provider for Server Events lets you use the Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) to monitor events in SQL Server. Any application that relies on server-level events exposed through the WMI provider on which a database relies must be defined the computer of the destination server instance. WMI Event provider creates event notifications with a target service that is defined in msdb.


For more information, see WMI Provider for Server Events Concepts.

To create a WMI alert using SQL Server Management Studio

How Event Notifications Work for a Mirrored Database

Cross-database delivery of event notifications that involves a mirrored database is remote, by definition, because the mirrored database can fail over. Service Broker provides special support for mirrored databases, in the form of mirrored routes. A mirrored route has two addresses: one for the principal server instance and one for the mirror server instance.

By setting up mirrored routes, you make Service Broker routing aware of database mirroring. The mirrored routes enable Service Broker to transparently redirect conversations to the current principal server instance. For example, consider a service, Service_A, which is hosted by a mirrored database, Database_A. Assume that you need another service, Service_B, which is hosted by Database_B, to have a dialog with Service_A. For this dialog to be possible, Database_B must contain a mirrored route for Service_A. In addition, Database_A must contain a nonmirrored TCP transport route to Service_B, which, unlike a local route, remains valid after failover. These routes enable ACKs to come back after a failover. Because the service of the sender is always named in the same manner, the route must specify the broker instance.

The requirement for mirrored routes applies for regardless of whether the service in the mirrored database is the initiator service or the target service:

  • If target service is in the mirrored database, the initiator service must have a mirrored route back to the target. However, the target can have a regular route back to initiator.

  • If initiator service is in the mirrored database, the target service must have a mirrored route back to initiator to deliver acknowledgments and replies. However, the initiator can have a regular route to the target.

Extended Stored Procedures


This feature will be removed in a future version of SQL Server. Avoid using this feature in new development work, and plan to modify applications that currently use this feature. Use CLR Integration instead.

Extended stored procedures are programmed by using the SQL Server Extended Stored Procedure API. A member of the sysadmin fixed server role can register an extended stored procedure with an instance of SQL Server and grant permission to users to execute the procedure. Extended stored procedures can be added only to the master database.

Extended stored procedures run directly in the address space of an instance of SQL Server, and they may produce memory leaks or other problems that reduce the performance and reliability of the server. You should consider storing extended stored procedures in an instance of SQL Server that is separate from the instance that contains the referenced data. You should also consider using distributed queries to access the database.


Before adding extended stored procedures to the server and granting EXECUTE permissions to other users, the system administrator should thoroughly review each extended stored procedure to make sure that it does not contain harmful or malicious code.

For more information, see GRANT Object Permissions (Transact-SQL), DENY Object Permissions (Transact-SQL), and REVOKE Object Permissions (Transact-SQL).

Full-Text Engine for SQL Server Properties

Properties are set on the Full-Text Engine by sp_fulltext_service. Make sure that the destination server instance has the required settings for these properties. For more information about these properties, see FULLTEXTSERVICEPROPERTY (Transact-SQL).

Additionally, if the word breakers and stemmers component or full-text search filters component have different versions on the original and destination server instances, full-text index and queries may behave differently. Also, the thesaurus is stored in instance-specific files. You must either transfer a copy of those files to an equivalent location on the destination server instance or re-create them on new instance.


When you attach a SQL Server 2005 (9.x) database that contains full-text catalog files onto a SQL Server server instance, the catalog files are attached from their previous location along with the other database files, the same as in SQL Server 2005 (9.x). For more information, see Upgrade Full-Text Search.

For more information, see also:


If the database relies on SQL Server Agent jobs, you will have to re-create them on the destination server instance. Jobs depend on their environments. If you plan to re-create an existing job on the destination server instance, the destination server instance might have to be modified to match the environment of that job on the original server instance. The following environmental factors are significant:

  • The login used by the job

    To create or execute SQL Server Agent jobs, you must first add any SQL Server logins required by the job to the destination server instance. For more information, see Configure a User to Create and Manage SQL Server Agent Jobs.

  • SQL Server Agent service startup account

    The service startup account defines the Microsoft Windows account in which SQL Server Agent runs and its network permissions. SQL Server Agent runs as a specified user account. The context of the Agent service affects the settings for the job and its run environment. The account must have access to the resources, such as network shares, required by the job. For information about how to select and modify the service startup account, see Select an Account for the SQL Server Agent Service.

    To operate correctly, the service startup account must be configured to have the correct domain, file system, and registry permissions. Also, a job might require a shared network resource that must be configured for the service account. For information, see Configure Windows Service Accounts and Permissions.

  • SQL Server Agent service, which is associated with a specific instance of SQL Server, has its own registry hive, and its jobs typically have dependencies on one or more of the settings in this registry hive. To behave as intended, a job requires those registry settings. If you use a script to re-create a job in another SQL Server Agent service, its registry might not have the correct settings for that job. For re-created jobs to behave correctly on a destination server instance, the original and destination SQL Server Agent services should have the same registry settings.


    Changing registry settings on the destination SQL Server Agent service to handle a re-created job could be problematic if the current settings are required by other jobs. Furthermore, incorrectly editing the registry can severely damage your system. Before you make changes to the registry, we recommend that you back up any valued data on the computer.

  • SQL Server Agent Proxies

    A SQL Server Agent proxy defines the security context for a specified job step. For a job to run on the destination server instance, all the proxies it requires must be manually re-created on that instance. For more information, see Create a SQL Server Agent Proxy and Troubleshoot Multiserver Jobs That Use Proxies.

For more information, see also:

To view existing jobs and their properties

To create a job

Best Practices for Using a Script to Re-create a Job

We recommend that you start by scripting a simple job, re-creating the job on the other SQL Server Agent service, and running the job to see whether it works as intended. This will let you identify incompatibilities and try to resolve them. If a scripted job doesn't work as intended in its new environment, we recommend that you create an equivalent job that works correctly in that environment.


Logging into an instance of SQL Server requires a valid SQL Server login. This login is used in the authentication process that verifies whether the principal can connect to the instance of SQL Server. A database user for which the corresponding SQL Server login is undefined or is incorrectly defined on a server instance can't log in to the instance. Such a user is said to be an orphaned user of the database on that server instance. A database user can become orphaned if after a database is restored, attached, or copied to a different instance of SQL Server.

To generate a script for some or all the objects in the original copy of the database, you can use the Generate Scripts Wizard, and in the Choose Script Options dialog box, set the Script Logins option to True.


The following types of permissions might be affected when a database is made available on another server instance.

  • GRANT, REVOKE, or DENY permissions on system objects

  • GRANT, REVOKE, or DENY permissions on server instance (server-level permissions)

GRANT, REVOKE, and DENY Permissions on System Objects

Permissions on system objects such as stored procedures, extended stored procedures, functions, and views, are stored in the master database and must be configured on the destination server instance.

To generate a script for some or all the objects in the original copy of the database, you can use the Generate Scripts Wizard, and in the Choose Script Options dialog box, set the Script Object-Level Permissions option to True.


If you script logins, the passwords are not scripted. If you have logins that use SQL Server Authentication, you have to modify the script on the destination.

System objects are visible in the sys.system_objects catalog view. The permissions on system objects are visible in the sys.database_permissions catalog view in the master database. For information about querying these catalog views and granting system-object permissions, see GRANT System Object Permissions (Transact-SQL). For more information, see REVOKE System Object Permissions (Transact-SQL) and DENY System Object Permissions (Transact-SQL).

GRANT, REVOKE, and DENY Permissions on a Server Instance

Permissions at the server scope are stored in the master database and must be configured on the destination server instance. For information about the server permissions of a server instance, query the sys.server_permissions catalog view, for information about server principals query the sys.server_principals catalog view, and for information about membership of server roles query the sys.server_role_members catalog view.

For more information, see GRANT Server Permissions (Transact-SQL), REVOKE Server Permissions (Transact-SQL), and DENY Server Permissions (Transact-SQL).

Server-Level Permissions for a Certificate or Asymmetric Key

Server-level permissions can't be granted directly to a certificate or asymmetric key. Instead, server-level permissions are granted to a mapped login that is created exclusively for a specific certificate or asymmetric key. Therefore, each certificate or asymmetric key that requires server-level permissions, requires its own certificate-mapped login or asymmetric key-mapped login. To grant server-level permissions for a certificate or asymmetric key, grant the permissions to its mapped login.


A mapped login is used only for authorization of code signed with the corresponding certificate or asymmetric key. Mapped logins cannot be used for authentication.

The mapped login and its permissions both reside in master. If a certificate or asymmetric key resides in a database other than master, you must re-create it in master and map it to a login. If you move, copy, or restore the database to another server instance, you must re-create its certificate or asymmetric key in the master database of the destination server instance, map to a login, and grant the required server-level permissions to the login.

To create a certificate or asymmetric key

To map a certificate or asymmetric key to a login

To assign permissions to the mapped login

For more information about certificates and asymmetric keys, see Encryption Hierarchy.

Trustworthy Property

The TRUSTWORHTY database property is used to indicate whether this instance of SQL Server trusts the database and the contents within it. When a database is attached, by default and for security, this option is set to OFF, even if this option was set to ON on the original server. For more information about this property, see TRUSTWORTHY database property and for information on turning this option ON, see ALTER DATABASE (Transact-SQL).

Replication Settings

If you restore a backup of a replicated database to another server or database, replication settings can't be preserved. In this case, you must re-create all publications and subscriptions after backups are restored. To make this process easier, create scripts for your current replication settings and, also, for the enabling and disabling of replication. To help re-create your replication settings, copy these scripts, and change the server name references to work for the destination server instance.

For more information, see Back Up and Restore Replicated Databases, Database Mirroring and Replication (SQL Server), and Log Shipping and Replication (SQL Server).

Service Broker Applications

Many aspects of a Service Broker application move with the database. However, some aspects of the application must be re-created or reconfigured in the new location. By default and for security, when a database is attached from another server, the options for is_broker_enabled and is_honoor_broker_priority_on are set to OFF. For information about how to set these options ON, see ALTER DATABASE (Transact-SQL).

Startup Procedures

A startup procedure is a stored procedure that is marked for automatic execution and is executed every time SQL Server starts. If the database depends on any startup procedures, they must be defined on the destination server instance, and be configured to execute automatically at startup.

Triggers (at Server Level)

DDL triggers fire stored procedures in response to several Data Definition Language (DDL) events. These events primarily correspond to Transact-SQL statements that start with the keywords CREATE, ALTER, and DROP. Certain system stored procedures that perform DDL-like operations can also fire DDL triggers.

For more information about this feature, see DDL Triggers.

See Also

Contained Databases
Copy Databases to Other Servers
Database Detach and Attach (SQL Server)
Fail Over to a Log Shipping Secondary (SQL Server)
Role Switching During a Database Mirroring Session (SQL Server)
Set Up an Encrypted Mirror Database
SQL Server Configuration Manager
Troubleshoot Orphaned Users (SQL Server)
Migrate to a new installation Migration overview: SQL Server to SQL Server on Azure VMs