Many times developers want to put logic into their code or SSIS/DTS package to check the SQL Server authentication mode. How can this be done programmatically?
Before we get started, I want to cover the two ways that SQL Server authenticates logins. The two ways are:
- Windows Authentication Mode
- Windows and SQL Server Authentication Mode (Mixed Mode)
In Windows authentication mode, we can only use Windows logins to connect to SQL Server. Windows Authentication utilizes the Kerberos security protocol .In enterprise environments, Windows login credentials are normally Active Directory domain credentials
Mixed Mode Authentication
In Mixed mode authentication, we can use either Windows authentication or SQL Server authentication to connect to SQL Server.
Windows Authentication Mode is much more secure than Mixed Mode. SQL Server Authentication is provided for backward compatibility only. Whenever possible use Windows Authentication.
Check Using SSMS
In SQL Server Management Studio Object Explorer, right-click on the server name, click Properties and go to Security page to check the SQL Server Authentication. In this case we can see that it is Windows Authentication mode.
Check Using xp_instance_regread
Using xp_instance_regread system procedure, we can read the registry value. SQL Server stores a "1" for Windows Authentication and a "2" for SQL Server authentication (Mixed Mode) in the windows registry. You can execute the below query to check the SQL Server Authentication.
Check Using Server Property
The Server Property function will return "1" for Windows authentication and "0" for Windows/SQL Authentication (Mixed Mode). It would be nice if these values were consistent from what is stored in the registry.
Check Using xp_logininfo
Another option is to use xp_loginfo. This returns a value of "Windows NT Authentication" for Windows Authentication and "Mixed" for Windows/SQL Authentication (Mixed Mode).