Suggestions For Implementing Audit Tables In SQL Server?

- 1 answer

One simple method I've used in the past is basically just creating a second table whose structure mirrors the one I want to audit, and then create an update/delete trigger on the main table. Before a record is updated/deleted, the current state is saved to the audit table via the trigger.

While effective, the data in the audit table is not the most useful or simple to report off of. I'm wondering if anyone has a better method for auditing data changes?

There shouldn't be too many updates of these records, but it is highly sensitive information, so it is important to the customer that all changes are audited and easily reported on.



How much writing vs. reading of this table(s) do you expect?

I've used a single audit table, with columns for Table, Column, OldValue, NewValue, User, and ChangeDateTime - generic enough to work with any other changes in the DB, and while a LOT of data got written to that table, reports on that data were sparse enough that they could be run at low-use periods of the day.

Added: If the amount of data vs. reporting is a concern, the audit table could be replicated to a read-only database server, allowing you to run reports whenever necessary without bogging down the master server from doing their work.