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Storing Session State in SQL Server


Typically we used in process sessions to store our variables. ASP.NET provides following options for storing session states :
  • InProc
  • State Server
  • SQL Server
InProc sessions denote the sessions that we are familiar with in traditional ASP. State server is a machine whose memory is used to store just the state of the session from some other machine. We can also use SQL server as session state store. The later options are more suitable if you are developing web farm kind of applications. In this article we will take a look at storing the session state in a SQL server database.

Steps Involved

Locate and run InstallSqlState.sql file

Locate and run InstallSqlState.sql file found in WINNT\Microsoft.NET folder e.g. on my test machine it is located in E:\WINNT\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v1.0.2914\  folder. This file is provided by Microsoft itself and contains a full set of T-SQL statements that create certain database and two tables in tempdb database. Following figure shows design view of the table that stores session state :

Modify your web.config file and specify session mode and SQL server details

In my file sessionstate section looks like this :

    <sessionState mode="SQLServer"
    sqlConnectionString="data source=
    sa;password=" cookieless= "false"timeout=
    "20" />
    Create your ASP.NET web forms

    Create your ASP.NET web forms as usual and access the session inside the pages. For illustration purpose I have created a VS.NET solution that does that. Following is the screen shot of the web form. This page simply allows you to store string values to session and then display the value in a label.

    Now all the session variables are stored in the table rather than in memory. You can open the table ASPStateTempSessions and verify the same.

    Un installing the database and tables

    If you want to remove all the databases and tables created during install process Microsoft has provided UninstallSQLState.sql file in the same location discussed previously.

    Bipin Joshi is an independent software consultant and trainer by profession specializing in Microsoft web development technologies. Having embraced the Yoga way of life he is also a meditation teacher and spiritual guide to his students. He is a prolific author and writes regularly about software development and yoga on his websites. He is programming, meditating, writing, and teaching for over 27 years. To know more about his ASP.NET online courses go here. More details about his Ajapa Japa and Shambhavi Mudra online course are available here.

    Posted On : 13 August 2001