Refreshing A SQL Mirrored Database Using Powershell


SQL mirroring is a means of providing high availability for your SQL database. It is available in Standard Edition and although the feature is deprecated it is still widely utilised. You can read more about it on MSDN here and Jes Borland wrote a useful post answering many questions here

There are situations where you may need to refresh these databases. Disaster Recovery is an obvious one but also during development to provide testing or development environments to test your High Availability implementations, run through disaster scenarios, create run books or ensure that the code changes still work with mirroring. There are other scenarios but this post covers the automation of restoring a mirrored database from a backup.

I have mentioned before and no doubt I shall again, John Sansom wrote a great post about automation and I am a strong follower of that principle.

To refresh a SQL mirror the following steps are required, there are some gotchas that you need to be aware of which I will discuss later

remove mirroring
restore principle database from backup
perform a transaction log backup of the principle database
restore both backups on the mirror server with no recovery
recreate mirroring
resolve orphaned users
check mirroring status

Regular blog followers will know that I prefer to use Powershell when I can (and where it is relevant to do so) and so I have used Powershell to automate all of the steps above

The script requires some variables to be set up at the beginning. You can easily change this and make the script into a function and call it if you desire, but for this post I shall consider the script as a standalone. The reasoning for this is that I imagine that it will be placed into a run book or stored for use in a repository for specific use and therefore reduces any pre-requisites for using it.

Set variables as follows, the last three variables set the types for the backup action type and device type and do not need to be altered.

# Set up some variables


After some error checking the first thing is to create server and database SMO objects

(Added Extra – Use New-ISESnippet to create a SMO Server Snippet and use CTRL + J to find it


Remove Mirroring

Before we can restore the database we need to remove mirroring

restore principle database from backup

Once mirroring has been removed we can restore the database. Stuart Moore’s Great Series provides all the code you need to backup and restore databases with Powershell. There is however a bug which can catch you out. Here’s the code

The bug is as follows, if your restore is going to take longer than 10 minutes and you are using an earlier version of SQL than SQL 2012 SP1 CU8 then you will find that the restore fails after 10 minutes. This is the default timeout. You may try to set the

Value to a larger value or 0 and this will work after SQL 2012 SP1 CU8 but prior to that you will still face the same error. The simple workaround is to use Invoke-SQLCmd2 and to script the restore as follows

perform a transaction backup of the principle database

We need to have a full and transaction log backup to set up mirroring. Again you may need to use the script method if your backup will take longer than 600 seconds.

Restore both backups on the mirror server with no recovery

To complete the mirroring set up we need to restore the backups onto the mirror server with no recovery as follows

Recreate mirroring

You recreate mirroring in the same way as you would if you were using T-SQL simply add the principal endpoint to the mirror, and the mirror and witness endpoints to the principal

Resolve orphaned users

You will need to resolve any users and permissions on your destination servers. I do not know a way to do this with PowerShell and would be interested if anyone has found a way to replace the password or the SID on a user object, please contact me if you know.

Many people do this with the sp_rev_logins stored procedure which will create the T-SQL for recreating the logins. However, Powershell cannot read the outputs of the message window where the script prints the script. If you know that your logins are staying static then run sp_rev_logins and store the output in a sql file and call it with Invoke-SQLCmd2

The other option is to set up a SSIS package following this blog post and call it from Powershell as follows

This requires Powershell Remoting to have been set up on the server which may or may not be available to you in your environment.

IMPORTANT NOTE – The script does not include any methods for resolving orphaned users so you will need to test and then add your own solution to the script.

check mirroring status

Lastly you want to check that the script has run successfully and that mirroring is synchronised (I am from the UK!!) To do this I check that time and file used for the last database backup using this script

and that mirroring has synchronised using the following Powershell command

Depending on your needs you may add some error checking using the results of the above scripts. As I said at the top of the post, you can turn this script into a function and call it at will or add it to an Agent Job for regular scheduling or just kept in a folder ready to be run when required. The choice is yours but all usual rules apply. Don’t believe anything you read on this blog post, don’t run any scripts on production, test before running any scripts, understand what the code is doing before you run it or I am not responsible if you break anything

Here is the script


9 thoughts on “Refreshing A SQL Mirrored Database Using Powershell

  1. Pingback: (SFTW) SQL Server Links 29/08/14 - John Sansom

  2. Nice post! I enjoy seeing other DBAs embracing PowerShell to automate tasks.

    I did notice in your code that you made the comment “# if query time < 600 seconds”. You can work around this default command timeout by adding the following code after you initialize your principal and mirror objects…

    ## Allow any queries issued through the respective Server objects to run forever.
    $Principal.ConnectionContext.StatementTimeout = 0
    $Mirror.ConnectionContext.StatementTimeout = 0

  3. Hi SQLDBAWithTheBeard,

    While i am executing the script getting the below error from recreating mirror database step :

    The property ‘MirroringPartner’ cannot be found on this object. Verify that the property exists and can be set.
    At line:152 char:1
    + $DatabaseMirror.MirroringPartner = $PrincipalEndPoint
    + ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo : InvalidOperation: (:) [], RuntimeException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : PropertyNotFound

    You cannot call a method on a null-valued expression.
    At line:153 char:1
    + $DatabaseMirror.Alter()
    + ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo : InvalidOperation: (:) [], RuntimeException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : InvokeMethodOnNull

    Exception calling “Alter” with “0” argument(s): “Alter failed for Database ‘aircomSrv’. ”
    At line:155 char:1
    + $DatabasePrincipal.Alter()
    + ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo : NotSpecified: (:) [], MethodInvocationException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : FailedOperationException

    • Are the values for MirrorServer and DbName correct? Is the mirror server accessible?
      If you run the script (even if it fails) do you have any results if you then run $DatabaseMirror

  4. Hi, not sure whether the functionality has changed with later versions of SMO, however I cannot see how line 232 ‘$DatabaseMirror.Alter()’ can run as this is executed against the database that is in recovery and I get following error “VERBOSE: Database ‘nexus’ cannot be opened. It is in the middle of a restore.” Is there something I’ve missed in your script the ensures the Alter is performed against master?

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