I am trying to change a SQL Agent Operator in my system and it will not let me.

I have sa but I think it's partially due to how I'm doing it.

I'm trying to modify the operator with the name NIT and Arts to NIT and ARTS and when I do that it comes back with the error of "The specified @name (NIT and ARTS) already exists even though it doesn't currently.

I'm running on SQL Server 2008R2. Any help with this would be great. Thanks.

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  • What does select name, [enabled] from msdb.dbo.sysoperators give you ? Does it give you NIT and ARTS ? Is your server collation case sensitive or insensitive ? For case insitive - NIT and ARTS and NIT and Arts means the same thing, so it wont allow you to create dupe entries. – Kin Shah Aug 17 '15 at 17:41

On a case insensitive server, those two names are identical. I am not sure if you are using the UI for this, but I get the same error when I run the following code:

USE msdb;
EXEC dbo.sp_add_operator @name = N'NIT and Arts';
EXEC dbo.sp_update_operator @name = N'NIT and Arts', @new_name = N'NIT and ARTS';


Msg 14261, Level 16, State 1, Procedure sp_verify_operator, Line 38
The specified @name ('NIT and ARTS') already exists.

If we look at the code for sp_verify_operator, we see that there is a weakness here as a penalty for not using a surrogate key: it checks all existing rows for a match on name, including the row you are trying to change:

  -- The name must be unique  
              FROM msdb.dbo.sysoperators  
              WHERE (name = @name)))  
    RAISERROR(14261, 16, 1, '@name', @name)  

Ideally, it should ignore the row you are trying to change, but it can't because there is no way to filter except by the name. And in a case sensitive collation, the above check fails because that row already has that name.

How do we work around this? Well you could rebuild msdb or something in a case sensitive or binary collation, but I think this is easier, just run this query manually:

UPDATE msdb.dbo.sysoperators 
  SET name = N'NIT and ARTS'
  WHERE name = N'NIT and Arts';
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