Power Bi, PowerShell and SQL Agent Jobs

Continuing my series on using Power Bi with my DBA Database I am going to show in this post how I create the most useful daily report for DBAs – The SQL Agent Job report. You can get the scripts and reports here

Please note this project became dbareports.io

AG1

This gives a quick overview of the status of the Agent Jobs across the estate and also quickly identifies recent failed jobs enabling the DBA to understand their focus and prioritise their morning efforts.

I gather the information into 2 tables AgentJobDetail

and AgentJobServer

The Detail table holds the results of every Agent Job and the Server table holds a roll up for each server. The script to gather this information is based on the script I used to put the information into an Excel Sheet as described in my post How I Check Hundreds of Agent Jobs in 60 Seconds with PowerShell which I also altered to send an HTML email to the DBA team each morning. This however is a much better solution and allows for better monitoring and trending.

As I have explained in my previous posts I use an Instance List table to hold the information about each instance in the estate and a series of PowerShell scripts which run via Agent Jobs to gather the information into various tables. These posts describe the use of the Write-Log function and the methodology of gathering the required information and looping through each instance so I wont repeat that here. There is an extra check I do however for Express Edition as this does not contain the Agent service

The Agent Job information can be found in SMO by exploring the $srv.JobServer.Jobs object and I gather the information by iterating through each job and setting the values we require to variables

I found that some Jobs had names and descriptions that had ‘ in them which would cause the SQL update or insert statement to fail so I use the replace method to replace the ‘ with ”

I then insert the data per job after checking that it does not already exist which allows me to re-run the job should a number of servers be uncontactable at the time of the job running without any additional work

I put this in a here-string variable and pass it to Invoke-SQLCmd I do the same with the roll up using this query

This job runs as a SQL Agent Job every morning a half an hour or so before the DBA arrives for the morning shift vastly improving the ability of the DBA to prioritise their morning routine.

To create the report open Power Bi Desktop and click Get Data

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Then choose SQL Server and click connect

ag3

Enter the Connection string, the database and the  query to gather the data

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The query is

Once we have gathered the data we then create some extra columns and measures for the reports. First I create a date column from the datetime Date Column

I also do the same for the LastRuntime. I create a day of the week column so that I can report on jobs outcome by day

My friend Terry McCann b | t helped me create a column that returns true if the last run time is within 24 hours of the current time to help identify the recent jobs that have failed NOTE – On a Monday morning you will need to change this if you do not check your jobs on the weekend.

I create a measure for Succeeded, Failed and Unknown

Next we have to create some measures for the sum of failed jobs and the averages This is the code for 7 day sum

and for the 7 Day average

I did the same for 30 days. I used the TechNet reference for DAX expressions and got ideas from Chris Webbs blog

ag6
First I created the 30 day historical trend chart using a Line and Clustered column chart using the last run date as the axis and the succeed measure as the column and the Failed, Failed 7 Day Average and failed 30 day average as the lines

I then formatted the lines and title and column

ag7

To create the gauge which shows how well we have done today I created a measure to quickly identify todays jobs

which I use as a filter for the gauge as shown below. I also create two measures zero and twenty for the minimum and maximum for the gauge

ag8

The rest of the report is measures for 7 day average and 30 day average, a slicer for environment  and two tables, one to show the historical job counts and one to show the jobs that have failed in the last 24 hours using the Last Run Relative Hour measure from above

ag9

There are many other reports that you can or may want to create maybe by day of the week or by category depending on your needs. Once you have the data gathered you are free to play with the data as you see fit. Please add any further examples of reports you can run or would like to run in the comments below.

Once you have your report written you can publish it to PowerBi.com and create a dashboard and query it with natural language. I have explained the process in previous posts

For example – How many Jobs failed today

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Which server had most failed jobs

ag11

or using the category field which database maintenance jobs failed today

ag13

I hope these posts have given you ideas about how you can use Powershell, a DBA Database and Power Bi to help you to manage and report on your environment.

You can get the scripts and reports here

I have written further posts about this

Using Power Bi with my DBA Database

Populating My DBA Database for Power Bi with PowerShell – Server Info

Populating My DBA Database for Power Bi with PowerShell – SQL Info

Populating My DBA Database for Power Bi with PowerShell – Databases

Power Bi, PowerShell and SQL Agent Jobs

Populating My DBA Database for Power Bi with PowerShell – Databases

Following my post about using Power Bi with my DBA Database I have been asked if I would share the PowerShell scripts which I use to populate my database.

In this post I will show how to create the following report

db1

db2

Although you will find so many items of data that I expect that you will want to create different reports for your own requirements. You will also want to put the report onto PowerBi.com and explore the natural language querying as I show at the end of this post

You will find the latest version of my DBADatabase creation scripts and PowerShell scripts here.

The SQLInfo table is created using this code

CREATE TABLE [Info].[Databases](
	[DatabaseID] [int] IDENTITY(1,1) NOT NULL,
	[InstanceID] [int] NOT NULL,
	[Name] [nvarchar](256) NULL,
	[DateAdded] [datetime2](7) NULL,
	[DateChecked] [datetime2](7) NULL,
	[AutoClose] [bit] NULL,
	[AutoCreateStatisticsEnabled] [bit] NULL,
	[AutoShrink] [bit] NULL,
	[AutoUpdateStatisticsEnabled] [bit] NULL,
	[AvailabilityDatabaseSynchronizationState] [nvarchar](16) NULL,
	[AvailabilityGroupName] [nvarchar](128) NULL,
	[CaseSensitive] [bit] NULL,
	[Collation] [nvarchar](30) NULL,
	[CompatibilityLevel] [nvarchar](15) NULL,
	[CreateDate] [datetime2](7) NULL,
	[DataSpaceUsageKB] [float] NULL,
	[EncryptionEnabled] [bit] NULL,
	[IndexSpaceUsageKB] [float] NULL,
	[IsAccessible] [bit] NULL,
	[IsFullTextEnabled] [bit] NULL,
	[IsMirroringEnabled] [bit] NULL,
	[IsParameterizationForced] [bit] NULL,
	[IsReadCommittedSnapshotOn] [bit] NULL,
	[IsSystemObject] [bit] NULL,
	[IsUpdateable] [bit] NULL,
	[LastBackupDate] [datetime2](7) NULL,
	[LastDifferentialBackupDate] [datetime2](7) NULL,
	[LastLogBackupDate] [datetime2](7) NULL,
	[Owner] [nvarchar](30) NULL,
	[PageVerify] [nvarchar](17) NULL,
	[ReadOnly] [bit] NULL,
	[RecoveryModel] [nvarchar](10) NULL,
	[ReplicationOptions] [nvarchar](40) NULL,
	[SizeMB] [float] NULL,
	[SnapshotIsolationState] [nvarchar](10) NULL,
	[SpaceAvailableKB] [float] NULL,
	[Status] [nvarchar](35) NULL,
	[TargetRecoveryTime] [int] NULL,
 CONSTRAINT [PK_Databases] PRIMARY KEY CLUSTERED 
(
	[DatabaseID] ASC
)WITH (PAD_INDEX = OFF, STATISTICS_NORECOMPUTE = OFF, IGNORE_DUP_KEY = OFF, ALLOW_ROW_LOCKS = ON, ALLOW_PAGE_LOCKS = ON) ON [PRIMARY]
) ON [PRIMARY]

GO

The Powershell script uses Jason Wasser @wasserja Write-Log function to write to a text file but I also enable some logging into a new event log by following the steps here http://blogs.technet.com/b/heyscriptingguy/archive/2013/02/01/use-powershell-to-create-and-to-use-a-new-event-log.aspx to create a log named SQLAutoScript with a source SQLAUTOSCRIPT

To run the script I simply need to add the values for

$CentralDBAServer = '' ## Add the address of the instance that holds the DBADatabase
$CentralDatabaseName = 'DBADatabase' 
$LogFile = "\DBADatabaseServerUpdate_" + $Date + ".log" ## Set Path to Log File

And the script will do the rest. Call the script from a PowerShell Job Step and schedule it to run at the frequency you wish, I gather the information every week. You can get the script from here or you can read on to see how it works and how to create the report and publish it to powerbi.com and query it with natural langauge

I create a function called Catch-Block to save keystrokes and put my commands inside a try catch to make the scripts as robust as possible. I won’t include the try catch in the examples below. I gather all of the server names from the InstanceList table and set the results to an array variable called $ServerNames holding the server name, instance name and port

 $Query = @"
 SELECT [ServerName]
      ,[InstanceName]
      ,[Port]
  FROM [DBADatabase].[dbo].[InstanceList]
  Where Inactive = 0 
    AND NotContactable = 0
"@
try{
$AlltheServers= Invoke-Sqlcmd -ServerInstance $CentralDBAServer -Database $CentralDatabaseName -Query $query
$ServerNames = $AlltheServers| Select ServerName,InstanceName,Port
}

I then loop through the array and create a $Connection variable for my SMO connection string and connect to the server

foreach ($ServerName in $ServerNames)
{
## $ServerName
 $InstanceName =  $ServerName|Select InstanceName -ExpandProperty InstanceName
 $Port = $ServerName| Select Port -ExpandProperty Port
$ServerName = $ServerName|Select ServerName -ExpandProperty ServerName 
 $Connection = $ServerName + '\' + $InstanceName + ',' + $Port

 try
 {
 $srv = New-Object ('Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Smo.Server') $Connection

Even though I place the creation of the SMO server object in a try block you still need to an additional check to ensure that you can connect and populate the object as the code above creates an empty SMO Server object with the name property set to the $Connection variable if you can’t connect to that server and doesn’t error as you may expect
The way I have always validated an SMO Server object is to check the version property. There is no justifiable reason for choosing that property, you could choose any one but that’s the one I have always used. I use an if statement to do this ( This post about Snippets will show you the best way to learn PowerShell code) The reference I use for exiting a loop in the way that you want is this one In this case we use a continue to carry on iterating the loop

 if (!( $srv.version)){
 Catch-Block " Failed to Connect to $Connection"
 continue
 }

I then loop through the user databases

foreach($db in $srv.databases|Where-Object {$_.IsSystemObject -eq $false })
{
$Name = $db.Name
$Parent = $db.Parent.Name

To gather information on all databases just remove everything after the pipe symbol or if you wish to exclude certain databases from the collection gathering, maybe the database you keep your Change log table and DBA Team info in you can do that as well here

foreach($db in $srv.databases|Where-Object {$_.Name -ne 'EXCLUDENAME' })
{
$Name = $db.Name
$Parent = $db.Parent.Name

If you wish to view all of the different properties that you can gather information on in this way you can use this code to take a look. (This is something you should get used to doing when writing new Powershell scripts)

$Connection = 'SERVERNAMEHERE'
$srv = New-Object ('Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Smo.Server') $Connection
 $srv.databases | Get-Member

An alternative method of doing this is to set a variable to a $db and then to select all of the properties so that you can see the values and identify the ones you want. Again this a good thing to do when exploring new objects

$db = $srv.databases['DBNAMEHERE'] 
$db| Select *

You can see from the screen shot below that there are 170 properties available to you on a SQL2014 instance. You can gather any or all of that information as long as you ensure that you have the columns with the correct data types in your table and that your script has the logic to deal with properties that do not exist although I have had less issue with this for the database object than the server object

db3

You can look for the property that you want by using the Get-Member cmdlet as shown above or use MSDN to find it starting from here or by GoogleBingDuckDuckGo ing “Powershell SMO” and the property you wish to find.

The rest of the script follows exactly the same pattern as the previous post by checking the SQL Info table for an entry for that instance and updating the table if it exists and inserting if it does not.

This is how I created the reports shown above.

Connect to the DBA Database and run these queries to gather the data for the report.

SELECT 
IL.ServerName
,IL.InstanceName
,IL.Location
,IL.Environment
,IL.Inactive
,IL.NotContactable
,D.[DatabaseID]
,D.[InstanceID]
,D.[Name]
,D.[DateAdded]
,D.[DateChecked]
,D.[AutoClose]
,D.[AutoCreateStatisticsEnabled]
,D.[AutoShrink]
,D.[AutoUpdateStatisticsEnabled]
,D.[AvailabilityDatabaseSynchronizationState]
,D.[AvailabilityGroupName]
,D.[CaseSensitive]
,D.[Collation]
,D.[CompatibilityLevel]
,D.[CreateDate]
,D.[DataSpaceUsageKB]
,D.[EncryptionEnabled]
,D.[IndexSpaceUsageKB]
,D.[IsAccessible]
,D.[IsFullTextEnabled]
,D.[IsMirroringEnabled]
,D.[IsParameterizationForced]
,D.[IsReadCommittedSnapshotOn]
,D.[IsUpdateable]
,D.[LastBackupDate]
,D.[LastDifferentialBackupDate]
,D.[LastLogBackupDate]
,D.[Owner]
,D.[PageVerify]
,D.[ReadOnly]
,D.[RecoveryModel]
,D.[ReplicationOptions]
,D.[SizeMB]
,D.[SnapshotIsolationState]
,D.[SpaceAvailableKB]
,D.[Status]
,D.[TargetRecoveryTime]
FROM [DBADatabase].[Info].[Databases] as D
JOIN [DBADatabase].[dbo].[InstanceList] as IL
ON IL.InstanceID =D.InstanceID

To get all the database and instance information and

SELECT C.ClientName
 ,[DatabaseID]
 ,[InstanceID]
 ,[Notes]
  FROM [DBADatabase].[dbo].[ClientDatabaseLookup] as CDL
  JOIN [DBADatabase].[dbo].[Clients] as C
  ON CDL.clientid = c.clientid

To get the client information. The client information needs to be manually added to the table as this (in general) needs a human bean to understand. When the script runs every night it will pick up new databases and I add a default value of “Not Entered” to the table which makes it easier to identify the databases that need this additional work. (This also means that as a Team Leader I can monitor that my team are doing this) It can also be added to any scripts which create new databases for deployment.

Then we need to create some measures and calculated columns for our report. I did this as I realised that I needed it when making the report rather than all up front.

I created two calculated columns for size for the databases one for Gb and one for Tb by clicking on the data icon on the left and then new measure

SizeGb = Query1[SizeMB]/1024
SizeTb = Query1[SizeGb]/1024

Some measures for count of Databases, Instances and Servers

Databases = COUNT(Query1[DatabaseID])
Instances = DISTINCTCOUNT(Query1[InstanceID])
Servers = DISTINCTCOUNT(Query1[ServerName])

I also wanted to be able to differentiate between ‘External’ and ‘Internal’ customers. So I created a calculated column for this value using a switch statement.

External = SWITCH(Clients[ClientName],"Not Entered", 0 , "Dev Team",0,"Mi Team",0,"DBA Team",0,"Finance Department",0,"HR",0,"Operations",0,"Payroll",0,"Test Team",0,"Systems Team",0,"Unknown",0,1)

I create a donut chart to show the size of the database in Gb by client (and no, my real clients are not rock bands 🙂 ) as shown below. I formatted the title, legend and background by clicking on the paintbrush in the visualisation pane. I would encourage you to investigate the options here.

db4
The other donut chart is number of clients per location (and those are SQL User group locations in the UK and my hometown Bolton)

db5

The rest of the visualisations on that report are cards and tables which I am sure that you can work out.

I created a map to show the location of the databases

db6

And after reading this post http://sqldusty.com/2015/08/03/power-bi-tip-use-the-treemap-chart-as-a-colorful-slicer/ by Dustin Ryan I created a colourful slicer for environment and the client and then added some other information. The important thing here is to pick the information that the person looking at the report needs to see. So if it is recovery model, compatibility level, collation, page verify setting, mirroring, replication, size and number of databases then this report is correct but I doubt that’s what you want 🙂

You can slice this report by location, client or environment. For example, I can easily see which clients have data in Exeter and the size and number of databases

db7

Or if Metallica ring me up I can quickly see that they have 4 databases, just under 69Gb of data in Exeter and it isn’t mirrored. You will notice that it is not easy to see the recovery model or the compatibility level. If you hover over the results you get a highlight figure which shows the data is filtered but it is not shown visually very well as there are over a thousand databases using full recovery model.

db8

If we are asked about the Integration environment we can see that it is hosted in Bolton, Manchester, Southampton and Exeter and comprises of 394 databases and 739 Gb of data. It is also easier to see the compatibility level and recovery model as the ratios are larger

db9

Once we have created the report in the way that we want we can then publish it to powerbi.com and share it with others if we wish. Publishing is as easy as pressing the publish button and entering your powerbi credentials but if you want your data to automatically refresh (and this is the point of the exercise to remove manual work) then you will need to install and configure the PowerBi gateway and schedule a refresh I will post about this later.

Once the report is published you can access it in the browser and create a dashboard by clicking the pin in the top right of a visualisation and a pop up will ask you which dashboard you wish to pin it to (Another recent update to Power Bi)

db10

Once you have a dashboard you can then perform some natural language question and answer on it. This can be quite interesting and not always quite what you (or your report readers) might expect but it is getting better all the time

db11

You have to remember to use the names of the columns correctly

db12

But once you have the query correct you can alter it by adding “as a VISUALISATION” and choose the visualisation

db13

db14

And once you have the visualisation you can pin it to the dashboard

I think you can see how useful it can be

db15

This doesn’t work quite as you expect

db16

But this does

db17

How about this (and yes it felt wrong to type!)

db18

And the auditors would love to be able to do this. (This is an old copy of the database in case The Eagles people are reading this – your database is backed up every 15 minutes)

db19

Or this for a DBA ( Yes, my obfuscation script database naming convention is a bit bland)

db20

Or the DBA team manager might choose this one

db21

The advantage that I cannot show via static pictures is that the data, visualisation and the suggestions alter in real time as you type

I hope that you have found this useful and that you can see the benefits and advantages of using a DBA Database and empowering people to use self-service to answer their own questions leaving the DBA time to do more important things like drinking coffee 🙂

As always if you have any questions or comments please feel free to post them on the blog.

I have written further posts about this

Using Power Bi with my DBA Database

Populating My DBA Database for Power Bi with PowerShell – Server Info

Populating My DBA Database for Power Bi with PowerShell – SQL Info

Populating My DBA Database for Power Bi with PowerShell – Databases

Power Bi, PowerShell and SQL Agent Jobs

Enterprise Strategies – A #TSQL2sDay post

This months TSQL2sDay blog post party is hosted by Jen McCown and is about Enterprise Strategy.

Adam Mechanic started TSQL Tuesdays over 5 years ago and you will find many brilliant posts under that heading if you search for them

Managing SQL servers at enterprise scale is not a straightforward task. Your aim as a DBA should be to simplify it as much as possible and to automate everything that you possibly can. This post by John Sansom could have been written for this months party and I recommend that you read it.

So here are a few points that I think you should consider if you look after SQL in an Enterprise environment.

  • Enterprise Strategy will undoubtedly garner a whole host of excellent posts and Jen will provide a round up post which will I am certain will be an excellent resource. Take a look here
  • Know where your instances are and have a single place that you can reference them from. Some people recommend a Central Management Server but I find this too restrictive for my needs. I use an InstanceList table in my DBA Database with the following columns [ServerName], [InstanceName] , [Port] , [AG] , [Inactive] , [Environment] and [Location]. This enables me to target instances not just by name but by environment (Dev, Test, Pre-Prod, Live etc), by location or by joining the InstanceList table with another table I can target by the application or any number of other factors. I also capture information about the servers at windows and SQL level to this database so I can target the SQL 2012 servers specifically if need be or any other metric. This is very powerful and enables far greater flexibility than the CMS in my opinion.
  • Use PowerShell (no surprise I would mention this!) PowerShell is a brilliant tool for automation and I use it all of the time
  • Get used to using this piece of Powershell code
	 $Query = @"
	 SELECT [ServerName],[InstanceName],[Port]
	  FROM [DBADatabase].[dbo].[InstanceList]
	  Where Inactive = 0 AND NotContactable = 0
	"@
	try{
	$AlltheServers= Invoke-Sqlcmd -ServerInstance $CentralDBAServer -Database $CentralDatabaseName -Query $query
	$ServerNames = $AlltheServers| Select ServerName,InstanceName,Port
	}
	foreach ($ServerName in $ServerNames)
	{
	## $ServerName
	 $InstanceName =  $ServerName|Select InstanceName -ExpandProperty InstanceName
	 $Port = $ServerName| Select Port -ExpandProperty Port
	$ServerName = $ServerName|Select ServerName -ExpandProperty ServerName 
	 $Connection = $ServerName + '\' + $InstanceName + ',' + $Port
	
	 try
	 {
	 $srv = New-Object ('Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Smo.Server') $Connection

Notice the query variable above, this is where the power lies as it enables you to gather all the instances that you need for your task as described in the bullet post above. Once you get used to doing this you can do things like this identify all the instances with Remote DAC disabled using a query against the DBA Database and then enable it on all servers by adding this code to the loop above

$srv.RemoteDacEnabled = $true
$srv.alter()

Very quick very simple and very very powerful. You can also use this to run TSQL scripts against the instances you target but there are some added complications with Invoke-SQLCmd that you need to be aware of

  • BE CAREFUL. Test and understand and test before you run any script on a live system especially using a script like this which enables you to target ALL of your servers. You must definitely check that your $ServerNames array contains only the instances you need before you make any changes. You need to be ultra-cautious when it is possible to do great damage
  • Write scripts that are robust and handle errors gracefully. I use Jason Wasser @wasserja Write-Log function to write to a text file and wrap my commands in a try catch block.
  • Include comments in your scripts to assist either the future you or the folks in your position in 5 years time. I would also add one of my bug bears – Use the description block in Agent Jobs. The first place any DBA is going to go to when that job fails is to open the properties of the job. Please fill in that block so that anyone troubleshooting knows some information about what the job does or at the very least a link to some documentation about it
  • Finally in my list, don’t overdo the alerts. Alerting is vital for any DBA it is a brilliant way to ensure that you quickly know about any issues affecting your estate but all alerts should be actionable and in some cases you can automate the action that you can take but the message here is don’t send messages to the DBA team email for every single tiny thing or they will get swamped and ignore the vital one. This holds for whichever alerting or monitoring system that you use

This is but a small sub-section of things that you need to consider when responsible for a large SQL estate but if you need help and advice or just moral support and you don’t already interact with the SQL community then make today the day you start. Maybe this post by Thomas La Rock is a good place to start or your nearest User Group/Chapter or the #sqlfamily hashtag or give me a shout and I will gladly help.

Populating My DBA Database for Power Bi with PowerShell – SQL Info

Following my post about using Power Bi with my DBA Database I have been asked if I would share the PowerShell scripts which I use to populate my database.

In this post I will show how to create the following report

1

2

Although you will find so many items of data that I expect that you will want to create different reports for your own requirements. You will also want to put the report onto PowerBi.com and explore the natural language querying as I show at the end of this post

You will find the latest version of my DBADatabase creation scripts and PowerShell scripts here.

The SQLInfo table is created using this code

CREATE TABLE [Info].[SQLInfo](
	[SQLInfoID] [int] IDENTITY(1,1) NOT NULL,
	[DateChecked] [datetime] NULL,
	[DateAdded] [datetime] NULL,
	[ServerName] [nvarchar](50) NULL,
	[InstanceName] [nvarchar](50) NULL,
	[SQLVersionString] [nvarchar](100) NULL,
	[SQLVersion] [nvarchar](100) NULL,
	[ServicePack] [nvarchar](3) NULL,
	[Edition] [nvarchar](50) NULL,
	[ServerType] [nvarchar](30) NULL,
	[Collation] [nvarchar](30) NULL,
	[IsHADREnabled] [bit] NULL,
	[SQLServiceAccount] [nvarchar](35) NULL,
	[SQLService] [nvarchar](30) NULL,
	[SQLServiceStartMode] [nvarchar](30) NULL,
	[BAckupDirectory] [nvarchar](256) NULL,
	[BrowserAccount] [nvarchar](50) NULL,
	[BrowserStartMode] [nvarchar](25) NULL,
	[IsSQLClustered] [bit] NULL,
	[ClusterName] [nvarchar](25) NULL,
	[ClusterQuorumstate] [nvarchar](20) NULL,
	[ClusterQuorumType] [nvarchar](30) NULL,
	[C2AuditMode] [nvarchar](30) NULL,
	[CostThresholdForParallelism] [tinyint] NULL,
	[MaxDegreeOfParallelism] [tinyint] NULL,
	[DBMailEnabled] [bit] NULL,
	[DefaultBackupCComp] [bit] NULL,
	[FillFactor] [tinyint] NULL,
	[MaxMem] [int] NULL,
	[MinMem] [int] NULL,
	[RemoteDacEnabled] [bit] NULL,
	[XPCmdShellEnabled] [bit] NULL,
	[CommonCriteriaComplianceEnabled] [bit] NULL,
	[DefaultFile] [nvarchar](100) NULL,
	[DefaultLog] [nvarchar](100) NULL,
	[HADREndpointPort] [int] NULL,
	[ErrorLogPath] [nvarchar](100) NULL,
	[InstallDataDirectory] [nvarchar](100) NULL,
	[InstallSharedDirectory] [nvarchar](100) NULL,
	[IsCaseSensitive] [bit] NULL,
	[IsFullTextInstalled] [bit] NULL,
	[LinkedServer] [nvarchar](max) NULL,
	[LoginMode] [nvarchar](20) NULL,
	[MasterDBLogPath] [nvarchar](100) NULL,
	[MasterDBPath] [nvarchar](100) NULL,
	[NamedPipesEnabled] [bit] NULL,
	[OptimizeAdhocWorkloads] [bit] NULL,
	[InstanceID] [int] NULL,
	[AGListener] [nvarchar](150) NULL,
	[AGs] [nvarchar](150) NULL,
 CONSTRAINT [PK__SQL__50A5926BC7005F29] PRIMARY KEY CLUSTERED 
(
	[SQLInfoID] ASC
)WITH (PAD_INDEX = OFF, STATISTICS_NORECOMPUTE = OFF, IGNORE_DUP_KEY = OFF, ALLOW_ROW_LOCKS = ON, ALLOW_PAGE_LOCKS = ON) ON [PRIMARY]
) ON [PRIMARY] TEXTIMAGE_ON [PRIMARY]

GO

ALTER TABLE [Info].[SQLInfo]  WITH CHECK ADD  CONSTRAINT [FK_SQLInfo_InstanceList] FOREIGN KEY([InstanceID])
REFERENCES [dbo].[InstanceList] ([InstanceID])
GO

ALTER TABLE [Info].[SQLInfo] CHECK CONSTRAINT [FK_SQLInfo_InstanceList]
GO

The Powershell script uses Jason Wasser @wasserja Write-Log function to write to a text file but I also enable some logging into a new event log by following the steps here http://blogs.technet.com/b/heyscriptingguy/archive/2013/02/01/use-powershell-to-create-and-to-use-a-new-event-log.aspx to create a log named SQLAutoScript with a source SQLAUTOSCRIPT

To run the script I simply need to add the values for

$CentralDBAServer = '' ## Add the address of the instance that holds the DBADatabase
$CentralDatabaseName = 'DBADatabase' 
$LogFile = "\DBADatabaseServerUpdate_" + $Date + ".log" ## Set Path to Log File

And the script will do the rest. Call the script from a PowerShell Job Step and schedule it to run at the frequency you wish, I gather the information every week. You can get the script from here or you can read on to see how it works and how to create the report and publish it to powerbi.com

I create a function called Catch-Block to save keystrokes and put my commands inside a try catch to make the scripts as robust as possible.

function Catch-Block
{
param ([string]$Additional)
$ErrorMessage = " On $Connection " + $Additional + $_.Exception.Message + $_.Exception.InnerException.InnerException.message
$Message = " This message came from the Automated Powershell script updating the DBA Database with Server Information"
$Msg = $Additional + $ErrorMessage + " " + $Message
Write-Log -Path $LogFile -Message $ErrorMessage -Level Error
Write-EventLog -LogName SQLAutoScript -Source "SQLAUTOSCRIPT" -EventId 1 -EntryType Error -Message $Msg
}

I give the function an additional parameter which will hold each custom error message which I write to both the event log and a text message to enable easy troubleshooting and include the message from the $Error variable by accessing it with $_. I won’t include the try catch in the examples below. I gather all of the server names from the InstanceList table and set the results to an array variable called $ServerNames holding the server name, instance name and port

 $Query = @"
 SELECT [ServerName]
      ,[InstanceName]
      ,[Port]
  FROM [DBADatabase].[dbo].[InstanceList]
  Where Inactive = 0 
    AND NotContactable = 0
"@
try{
$AlltheServers= Invoke-Sqlcmd -ServerInstance $CentralDBAServer -Database $CentralDatabaseName -Query $query
$ServerNames = $AlltheServers| Select ServerName,InstanceName,Port
}

I then loop through the array and create a $Connection variable for my SMO connection string and connect to the server

foreach ($ServerName in $ServerNames)
{
## $ServerName
 $InstanceName =  $ServerName|Select InstanceName -ExpandProperty InstanceName
 $Port = $ServerName| Select Port -ExpandProperty Port
$ServerName = $ServerName|Select ServerName -ExpandProperty ServerName 
 $Connection = $ServerName + '\' + $InstanceName + ',' + $Port

 try
 {
 $srv = New-Object ('Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Smo.Server') $Connection

Even though I place the creation of the SMO server object in a try block you still need to an additional check to ensure that you can connect and populate the object as the code above creates an empty SMO Server object with the name property set to the $Connection variable if you can’t connect to that server and doesn’t error as you may expect
The way I have always validated an SMO Server object is to check the version property. There is no justifiable reason for choosing that property, you could choose any one but that’s the one I have always used. I use an if statement to do this ( This post about Snippets will show you the best way to learn powershell code) The reference I use for exiting a loop in the way that you want is this one In this case we use a continue to carry on iterating the loop

 if (!( $srv.version)){
 Catch-Block " Failed to Connect to $Connection"
 continue
 }

If you wish to view all of the different properties that you can gather information on in this way you can use this code to take a look. (This is something you should get used to doing when writing new Powershell scripts)

$srv = New-Object ('Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Smo.Server') $Connection
 $srv | Get-Member

As you can see from the screenshot below on my SQL2014 server there are 184 properties. I havent chosen to gather all of them, only the ones that are of interest to me, our team or others who request information from our team such as auditors and project managers etc

3

You can choose to use any or all of these properties as long as you ensure you have the columns in your table with the correct data type and that you have the correct knowledge and logic to stop the script from erroring if/when the property is not available. Here is an example

if ($srv.IsHadrEnabled -eq $True)
 {$IsHADREnabled = $True
 $AGs = $srv.AvailabilityGroups|Select Name -ExpandProperty Name|Out-String
 $Expression = @{Name = 'ListenerPort' ; Expression = {$_.Name + ',' + $_.PortNumber }}
 $AGListener =  $srv.AvailabilityGroups.AvailabilityGroupListeners|select $Expression|select ListenerPort -ExpandProperty ListenerPort
 }
 else
 {
 $IsHADREnabled = $false
 $AGs = 'None'
 $AGListener = 'None'
 }
 $BackupDirectory = $srv.BackupDirectory

I check if the property IsHADREnabled is true and if it is I then gather the information about the Availability Group names and the listener port and if it doesn’t exist I set the values to None.

You will find that not all of the properties that you want are at the root of the Server SMO object. If you want you max and min memory values and you want to know if remote admin connections or xp_cmdshell are enabled you will need to look at the $Srv.Configuration object

 $MaxMem = $srv.Configuration.MaxServerMemory.ConfigValue
 $MinMem = $srv.Configuration.MinServerMemory.ConfigValue
 $RemoteDacEnabled = $srv.Configuration.RemoteDacConnectionsEnabled.ConfigValue
 $XPCmdShellEnabled = $srv.Configuration.XPCmdShellEnabled.ConfigValue

You can look for the property that you want by using the Get-Member cmdlet as shown above or use MSDN to find it starting from here or by GoogleBingDuckDuckGo ing “Powershell SMO” and the property you wish to find.

The rest of the script follows exactly the same pattern as the previous post by checking the SQL Info table for an entry for that instance and updating the table if it exists and inserting if it does not.

There are other uses for gathering this information than just for reporting on it. You can target different versions of SQL for different scripts. You can identify values that are outside what is expected and change them. If xp_cmdshell should not be enabled, write the TSQL to gather the connection string of all of the servers from the DBADatabase where the SQLInfo table has XPCMDShellenabled = 1 and loop through them exactly as above and change the value of $srv.Configuration.XPCmdShellEnabled.ConfigValue to 0 and then $Srv.Alter()

It is a very powerful way of dynamically targeting your estate if you are looking after many instances and with great power comes great responsibility.

ALWAYS TEST THESE AND ANY SCRIPTS YOU FIND OR SCRIPTS YOU WRITE BEFORE YOU RUN THEM IN YOUR PRODUCTION ENVIRONMENT

Yeah, I shouted and some people thought it was rude. But its important, it needs to be repeated and drilled in so that it becomes habitual. You can do great damage to your estate with only a few lines of PowerShell and a DBA Database so please be very careful and ensure that you have a suitable test subset of servers that you can use to test

The other thing we can do is report on the data and with Power Bi we can create self service reports and dashboards and also make use of the natural language query at powerbi.com so that when your systems team ask “What are all the servers in X data center?” you can enable them to answer it themselves or when the compliance officer asks how many SQL 2005 instances do we have and which clients do they serve you can give them a dashboard they can query themselves.

This is how I create the two reports you see at the top. I start by connecting to the data source, my DBA Database

4

And I use this query

SELECT 
	IL.ServerName
	,IL.InstanceName
	  ,IL.Location
	  ,IL.Environment
	  ,IL.Inactive
	  ,IL.NotContactable
	  ,SI.[SQLInfoID]
      ,SI.[DateChecked]
      ,SI.[DateAdded]
      ,SI.[ServerName]
      ,SI.[InstanceName]
      ,SI.[SQLVersionString]
      ,SI.[SQLVersion]
      ,SI.[ServicePack]
      ,SI.[Edition]
      ,SI.[ServerType]
      ,SI.[Collation]
      ,SI.[IsHADREnabled]
      ,SI.[SQLServiceAccount]
      ,SI.[SQLService]
      ,SI.[SQLServiceStartMode]
      ,SI.[BAckupDirectory]
      ,SI.[BrowserAccount]
      ,SI.[BrowserStartMode]
      ,SI.[IsSQLClustered]
      ,SI.[ClusterName]
      ,SI.[ClusterQuorumstate]
      ,SI.[ClusterQuorumType]
      ,SI.[C2AuditMode]
      ,SI.[CostThresholdForParallelism]
      ,SI.[MaxDegreeOfParallelism]
      ,SI.[DBMailEnabled]
      ,SI.[DefaultBackupCComp]
      ,SI.[FillFactor]
      ,SI.[MaxMem]
      ,SI.[MinMem]
      ,SI.[RemoteDacEnabled]
      ,SI.[XPCmdShellEnabled]
      ,SI.[CommonCriteriaComplianceEnabled]
      ,SI.[DefaultFile]
      ,SI.[DefaultLog]
      ,SI.[HADREndpointPort]
      ,SI.[ErrorLogPath]
      ,SI.[InstallDataDirectory]
      ,SI.[InstallSharedDirectory]
      ,SI.[IsCaseSensitive]
      ,SI.[IsFullTextInstalled]
      ,SI.[LinkedServer]
      ,SI.[LoginMode]
      ,SI.[MasterDBLogPath]
      ,SI.[MasterDBPath]
      ,SI.[NamedPipesEnabled]
      ,SI.[OptimizeAdhocWorkloads]
      ,SI.[InstanceID]
      ,SI.[AGListener]
      ,SI.[AGs]
        FROM [DBADatabase].[Info].[SQLInfo] as SI
  JOIN [DBADatabase].[dbo].[InstanceList] as IL
  ON IL.InstanceID =  SI.InstanceID

So that I can easily add any and all the data to the reports if I choose or query using them in powerbi.com

First I created 3 measures.

[code 1=”=” 2=”2="2="2="""SQL""""” language=”language”]
AG = DISTINCTCOUNT(Query1[AGs])
Instances = DISTINCTCOUNT(Query1[InstanceID])
Servers = DISTINCTCOUNT(Query1[ServerName])

I click on map

5

And drag the location column to location and the Instances measure to both the Values and Color Saturation

6

I then click on edit and format the title and change the colours for the data

7

Next I created I heat map for Instances by Edition. The picture shows the details

8

And a column chart for Instances by Version

9

I also add a table showing the number of instances in each location and a slicer for environment.

Even though you have added one slicer, you are able to slice the data by clicking on the charts. If I click on Developer Edition I can quickly see which versions and locations they are in

10

This works for the map and the column chart as well. This has all been created using live data as a base with all identifying information altered, Bolton is where I was born and the other locations are chosen at random, all other figures and rollups have also been altered.

11

To create the other report I create two donut charts for Instances by version and by location using steps similar to my previous post and then add some tables for location, edition and xp_cmdshell enabled as well as some cards showing total numbers of Servers, Instances and Availability Groups and a slicer for environment to create a report like this, you can use the donut charts to slice the data as well

12

But there are so many different points of information gathered by this script that you get extra value using the natural language query on powerbi.com.

Click Publish and enter your powerbi.com credentials and then log into powerbi.com in a browser and you will see your report and your dataset. (Note, you can easily filter to find your dashboards, reports and data sets)

13

Click the plus sign to create a new dashboard and click the pin on any of the objects in your report to pin them to the dashboard

14

Then you can view (and share) your dashboard

15

Once you have done this you can query your data using natural language. It will cope with spelling mistakes and expects the column names so you may want to think about renaming them in your report by right clicking on them after you get your data.

You can ask it questions and build up information on the fly and alter it as you need it. As a DBA doing this and imagining enabling others to be able to ask these questions whenever they want from a browser and as many times as they like, it was very cool!

16

17

18

19

20

Pretty cool, I think you and any of your ‘requestors’ would agree

You can get all of the scripts here

I have written further posts about this

Using Power Bi with my DBA Database

Populating My DBA Database for Power Bi with PowerShell – Server Info

Populating My DBA Database for Power Bi with PowerShell – SQL Info

Populating My DBA Database for Power Bi with PowerShell – Databases

Power Bi, PowerShell and SQL Agent Jobs

Use Twitter to get #PowerShell help

A quick post today just to add some weight to something that Mike Fal b | t has kicked off. The #SQLHelp hashtag is well known and well used with in the SQL world. It is a fantastic resource and one that I recommend to all SQL folk I meet who are not aware of it. Heres how it started

Mike has suggested that there should be a similar resource for PowerShell questions #PoSHHelp. We want to create a useful and positive place for people to go with their PowerShell queries and some good folks like Mike,  Shawn Melton(@wsmelton), Adam Bertram(@adbertram), Derik Hammer(@SQLHammer), Boe Prox(@proxb), myself  and others will be looking for your Powershell problems and try to assist you over Twitter with the same care and grace as Sqlhelp.

As with Sqlhelp we would like there to be a few rules that we all can follow to ensure that this remains a brilliant resource. Mike has suggested the following

  1. Questions should fit into 140 characters.
  2. If they don’t, put your question and information on another site (like ServerFault.com) and link to it.
  3. DO NOT SPAM THE HASH TAG. This is important, because in order to make it useful it needs to be kept clean. Don’t use it to advertise your blog posts or articles, but only for Q&A.
  4. Don’t be a dick, a.k.a. Wheaton’s Law. It’s all too easy to let the anonymity of the internet get the better of us. Be polite and respectful to those using and accidentally mis-using the hash tag.

I notice that Aaron Nelson had already suggested this a few years ago but it seems like it has fallen by the wayside. I would like to see this grow for all PowerShell folk so I ask you all to do two things.

Firstly, please add #PoSHHelp to your Tweetdeck column list or pin it to Tweetium (like I have) If you see a question you can help with then jump in and give your answer and help the community.

Secondly, let people know, if you see or hear a question about PowerShell then advise them to make use of the hashtag. If you blog about PowerShell then write a quick blog post like this one and let your readers know.

Pass on the word