I have several agent jobs that run on different schedules.

Job 1 runs every 5 minutes, only executing a stored procedure that usually takes less than 30 seconds to run.

This job Selects from table "users" then uses a cursor to loop through the results and insert records into local tables. After the cursor finishes 4 batch calls are made to a remote linked server to insert the records from the local tables to remote tables. Then the stored procedure ends.

The stored procedure sql is wrapped in a Begin, Begin Try, End Try, End statement.

Job 2, runs every hour, it too only executes a stored procedure, however, this job can take 20 minutes to run.

Job 2 performs two different Selects both referencing the "users" table (which Job 1 also selects from) and inserts the results into local tables, but without using a cursor. Then 4 batch calls to a remote linked server to insert the records from the local tables to remote tables. This stored procedure is also wrapped in a Begin, Begin Try, End Try, End.

When I check the Job Activity Monitor log for Job 1, it shows the duration is consistently under 30 seconds, except for the time that it runs on the hour, with Job 2. At this time it shows the duration 20+ minutes - I guess as a result of Job 2, the long running job, running.

Does this mean that Job 1 begins and as it begins Job 2 starts causing Job 1 to not complete until after Job 2 finishes (the reason why SQL agent log shows the duration of Job 1 as 20 minutes, even though this job never takes 20 minutes to actually execute)?

Is there a way that I can keep this long running job isolated so that it doesn't cause other fast running jobs to be delayed?

  • 2
    What version of SQL Server? Apr 6, 2016 at 16:43
  • 2
    Is the stored procedure in job 2 doing something that is blocking stored procedure in job 1? Knowing nothing else... that's what it sounds like. Apr 6, 2016 at 18:06
  • Is a query in the short running job blocked by the long running job (i.e. locks, not agent waiting)? Check with sp_whoisactive or someting.
    – Tom V
    Apr 6, 2016 at 18:56
  • Sorry. I should have added more detail in my post. I'll update it with more information.
    – lance-p
    Apr 6, 2016 at 20:56
  • 2
    Based on your edit, you're almost certainly experiencing what is known as blocking.
    – Hannah Vernon
    Apr 6, 2016 at 21:26

2 Answers 2


An easy workaround solution would be to nudge either of the jobs to start earlier/later and to not run together with the other job.


    Job 1 Schedule: 00:14, 00:29, 00:44, 00:59, 01:14, ....
    Job 2 Schedule:                        01:00, .......
It's not an issue with the job scheduler, but an issue with the underlying tables that are being accessed. When Job 2 starts, it manages to acquire a lock on the users table (possibly: IX, IU) before the Job 1 is able to acquire its required locks on the same users table. Then Job 1 has to wait.

You are encountering blocking as previously observed by @MaxVernon. You could run the following script at the full hour to see if you can catch the statements involved:

SELECT sp.spid,
            WHEN sp.blocked = 0 THEN sp.spid
            WHEN sp.blocked != 0 THEN blocked
       END               AS chain,
FROM   sys.sysprocesses  AS sp
       OUTER APPLY sys.dm_exec_sql_text(sp.sql_handle) AS dest
WHERE  spid > 50
       AND spid <> @@spid
       AND (
               spid IN (SELECT blocked
                        FROM   sys.sysprocesses
                        WHERE  blocked != 0
                               AND spid > 50
                               AND spid != @@spid)
               OR blocked != 0

The output will show statements that are blocking or blocked. You will probably find that the statements are from the Job 1 and Job 2.

Possible solutions:

  • Adding a NOLOCK hint can help, but should be avoided if possible.
  • Then you could also consider optimising the code so that the steps in Job 2 run faster.
  • Changing the schedules of the Job 1 and/or Job 2.

If you don't want your long running job (Job 2) to mess with the fast running job (Job 1), you can add a step in the first job (Job 1) which will check if Job 2 is running and wait for it to finish. With this, your Job 1 runs will be decreased but the duration of each run might be as you expected.

And are you using WITH(NOLOCK) in your select statements ?

  • 1) can you add information to your answer showing HOW you would do this: add a step in the first job (Job 1) which will check if Job 2 is running and wait for it to finish. Apr 7, 2016 at 9:48
  • 1
    2) can you also add the implications of using WITH(NOLOCK) in select statements? Apr 7, 2016 at 9:49

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