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What is database ownership ?

Database ownership in SQL Server refers to the security principal that has control over a particular database. The database owner is a special type of security principal that has specific permissions and responsibilities related to the database.

When a new database is created in SQL Server, a default owner is assigned to the database. By default, the owner of a newly created database is the login that created it. However, the database owner can be changed to another user or group at any time. The database owner has several important responsibilities, including:

  • Managing database schema changes: The database owner is responsible for making changes to the database schema, including creating or modifying tables, views, stored procedures, and other database objects.

  • Managing database security: The database owner is responsible for managing database security, including assigning permissions to users and groups, creating roles, and managing database encryption.

  • Performing backups and restores: The database owner is responsible for performing backups and restores of the database.

  • Managing database maintenance: The database owner is responsible for managing database maintenance tasks, including optimizing database performance, monitoring database health, and resolving issues that arise.

It's important to note that the database owner is a powerful security principal that has broad access to the database. As a result, it's important to carefully manage database ownership to ensure that only trusted users have this level of access.


Check If You Are The Owner

SSMS --> right click on DB and Properties


You can also check who is the owner of a database in SQL Server by running the following T-SQL command:

USE [YourDatabaseName]
GO

EXEC sp_helpdb

This command will display various properties of the database, including the database owner. The output of the command will include a row with the following information:

Owner        Database Owner

The "Database Owner" value will display the login or group that is currently the owner of the database.


To see the owner of all databases on a SQL Server instance, you can use the following T-SQL query:

SELECT name, SUSER_SNAME(owner_sid) AS owner_name
FROM sys.databases

This query will retrieve a list of all databases on the instance, along with their current owners. The sys.databases system catalog view contains information about all databases on the SQL Server instance, and the SUSER_SNAME function is used to convert the owner SID to a readable owner name.

Note that you must have appropriate permissions to query the sys.databases view. In order to execute this query, you need at least the VIEW ANY DEFINITION server-level permission or the VIEW SERVER STATE server-level permission.


Should The Owner Of The Database Be SA

Setting the database owner to the SQL Server system administrator account (SA) is generally not recommended. While the SA account has full administrative privileges over the SQL Server instance, including all databases, it's not necessary or ideal for the SA account to be the owner of every database. Here are a few reasons why setting the database owner to the SA account is not recommended:

  • Security concerns: The SA account has complete access to the SQL Server instance and all databases on it. By setting the SA account as the owner of a database, you are granting this account more permissions than necessary, which can increase the risk of security vulnerabilities.

  • Best practice: Best practice recommendations for SQL Server security suggest that you create a separate user or group specifically for the purpose of owning the database. This helps to separate ownership from administrative privileges and limits the number of accounts with full control over the database.

  • Maintenance: If the SA account is the owner of a database and that account is ever deleted or disabled, you may run into issues when attempting to perform maintenance tasks on the database. This could include backups, restores, or schema changes that require the database owner to have specific permissions.

In summary, while it's technically possible to set the SA account as the owner of a database, it's generally not recommended. Instead, it's best practice to create a separate user or group specifically for the purpose of owning the database, and grant that account only the necessary permissions to perform its role as the database owner.


How can you change the database owner and what are the possible repercussions ?

To change the owner of a SQL Server database, you can use the following T-SQL command:

USE [YourDatabaseName]
GO

EXEC sp_changedbowner 'NewOwnerLogin'

Replace "YourDatabaseName" with the name of the database you want to modify, and replace "NewOwnerLogin" with the name of the SQL Server login or group that you want to assign as the new owner.

Changing the database owner can have potential repercussions, especially if the new owner account does not have the necessary permissions to perform certain actions on the database. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Permissions: The database owner has certain permissions on the database by default, such as the ability to create and drop tables, create and drop stored procedures, and execute system stored procedures. If the new owner account does not have these permissions, you may need to grant them explicitly.

  • Maintenance tasks: Some maintenance tasks, such as backups and restores, require the database owner to have specific permissions. Make sure that the new owner account has the necessary permissions to perform these tasks.

  • Applications: If your database is used by applications, changing the database owner may affect the application's ability to access the database, especially if the application relies on the old owner account for authentication or authorization.

  • Security: Make sure to assign ownership of the database to a secure and trustworthy account. Ideally, the account should be separate from any administrative or application accounts and should have strong and unique credentials.

In summary, changing the database owner can have potential repercussions, so it's important to carefully consider the permissions and potential impacts before making any changes.


How can I change the owner on all of the databases in the instance

To change the owner of all databases on a SQL Server instance, you can use a cursor to iterate over all databases and execute the sp_changedbowner stored procedure for each database.


Here's an example script that demonstrates how to do this:

DECLARE @dbname NVARCHAR(255)
DECLARE @ownername NVARCHAR(255)

DECLARE db_cursor CURSOR FORSELECT name, 'NewOwnerLogin' FROM sys.databases

OPEN db_cursor
FETCH NEXT FROM db_cursor INTO @dbname, @ownername

WHILE @@FETCH_STATUS = 0BEGINEXEC ('USE [' + @dbname + ']')
    EXEC sp_changedbowner @ownernameFETCH NEXT FROM db_cursor INTO @dbname, @ownernameENDCLOSE db_cursor
DEALLOCATE db_cursor

In this example, replace "NewOwnerLogin" with the name of the SQL Server login or group that you want to assign as the new owner.



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