Sunday T-SQL Tip: Context_Info

One of the interesting but not widely known features in SQL Server is Context_Info. This is basically connection/session specific 128 byte storage.

You can set it with: “Set Context_Info” set option. As for getting the value – there are a few methods available
1. Context_Info() function
2. context_info column in sys.dm_exec_requests and sys.sysprocesses views. Those value updates immediately within the batch
3. context_info column in sys.dm_exec_sessions view. This value is not updates until end of the patch

Let’s see that in action:

What can you do with that? Funny things, like recursion, for example:

As for the “more” practical example – we have the 3rd party system we have to integrate with our database and applications. The integration is done on triggers – when table is updated, trigger modifies 3rd party database and vise verse. In a few specific cases we should not propagate the changes – in such case context_info is ideal. We set this value before the update and check this in the trigger. If flag is set, update is not running.

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