Announcing dbachecks – Configurable PowerShell Validation For Your SQL Instances

For the last couple of months members of the dbatools team have been working on a new PowerShell module called dbachecks. This open source PowerShell module will enable you to validate your SQL Instances. Today it is released for you all to start to use 🙂

Validate Your SQL Instances?

What do I mean by validate your SQL Instances? You want to know if your SQL Instances are (still) set up in the way that you want them to be or that you have not missed any configurations when setting them up. With dbachecks you can use any or all of the 80 checks to ensure one or many SQL Instances are as you want them to be. Using Pester, dbachecks will validate your SQL Instance(s) against default settings or ones that you configure yourself.

Installation

Installation is via the PowerShell Gallery. You will need to open PowerShell on a machine connected to the internet and run

If you are not running your process as admin or you only want (or are able) to install for your own user account you will need to

This will also install the PSFramework module used for configuration (and other things beneath the hood) and the latest version (4.2.0 – released on Sunday!) of Pester

Once you have installed the module you can see the commands available by running

To be able to use these (and any PowerShell) commands, your first step should always be Get-Help

80 Checks

At the time of release, dbachecks has 80 checks. You can see all of the checks by running

(Note this has nothing to do with DBCC CheckDb!) Here is the output of

so you can see the current checks

GroupUniqueTag
AgentAgentServiceAccount
AgentDbaOperator
AgentFailsafeOperator
AgentDatabaseMailProfile
AgentFailedJob
DatabaseDatabaseCollation
DatabaseSuspectPage
DatabaseTestLastBackup
DatabaseTestLastBackupVerifyOnly
DatabaseValidDatabaseOwner
DatabaseInvalidDatabaseOwner
DatabaseLastGoodCheckDb
DatabaseIdentityUsage
DatabaseRecoveryModel
DatabaseDuplicateIndex
DatabaseUnusedIndex
DatabaseDisabledIndex
DatabaseDatabaseGrowthEvent
DatabasePageVerify
DatabaseAutoClose
DatabaseAutoShrink
DatabaseLastFullBackup
DatabaseLastDiffBackup
DatabaseLastLogBackup
DatabaseVirtualLogFile
DatabaseLogfileCount
DatabaseLogfileSize
DatabaseFileGroupBalanced
DatabaseAutoCreateStatistics
DatabaseAutoUpdateStatistics
DatabaseAutoUpdateStatisticsAsynchronously
DatabaseDatafileAutoGrowthType
DatabaseTrustworthy
DatabaseOrphanedUser
DatabasePseudoSimple
DatabaseAdHocWorkloads
DomainDomainName
DomainOrganizationalUnit
HADRClusterHealth
HADRClusterServerHealth
HADR
HADRSystem.Object[]
InstanceSqlEngineServiceAccount
InstanceSqlBrowserServiceAccount
InstanceTempDbConfiguration
InstanceAdHocWorkload
InstanceBackupPathAccess
InstanceDAC
InstanceNetworkLatency
InstanceLinkedServerConnection
InstanceMaxMemory
InstanceOrphanedFile
InstanceServerNameMatch
InstanceMemoryDump
InstanceSupportedBuild
InstanceSaRenamed
InstanceDefaultBackupCompression
InstanceXESessionStopped
InstanceXESessionRunning
InstanceXESessionRunningAllowed
InstanceOLEAutomation
InstanceWhoIsActiveInstalled
LogShippingLogShippingPrimary
LogShippingLogShippingSecondary
ServerPowerPlan
ServerInstanceConnection
ServerSPN
ServerDiskCapacity
ServerPingComputer
MaintenancePlanSystemFull
MaintenancePlanUserFull
MaintenancePlanUserDiff
MaintenancePlanUserLog
MaintenancePlanCommandLog
MaintenancePlanSystemIntegrityCheck
MaintenancePlanUserIntegrityCheck
MaintenancePlanUserIndexOptimize
MaintenancePlanOutputFileCleanup
MaintenancePlanDeleteBackupHistory
MaintenancePlanPurgeJobHistory

108 Configurations

One of the things I have been talking about in my presentation “Green is Good Red is Bad” is configuring Pester checks so that you do not have to keep writing new tests for the same thing but with different values.

For example, a different user for a database owner. The code to write the test for the database owner is the same but the value might be different for different applications, environments, clients, teams, domains etc. I gave a couple of different methods for achieving this.

With dbachecks we have made this much simpler enabling you to set configuration items at run-time or for your session and enabling you to export and import them so you can create different configs for different use cases

There are 108 configuration items at present. You can see the current configuration by running

which will show you the name of the config, the value it is currently set and the description

You can see all of the configs and their descriptions here

NameDescription
agent.databasemailprofileName of the Database Mail Profile in SQL Agent
agent.dbaoperatoremailEmail address of the DBA Operator in SQL Agent
agent.dbaoperatornameName of the DBA Operator in SQL Agent
agent.failsafeoperatorEmail address of the DBA Operator in SQL Agent
app.checkreposWhere Pester tests/checks are stored
app.computernameList of Windows Servers that Windows-based tests will run against
app.localappPersisted files live here
app.maildirectoryFiles for mail are stored here
app.sqlcredentialThe universal SQL credential if Trusted/Windows Authentication is not used
app.sqlinstanceList of SQL Server instances that SQL-based tests will run against
app.wincredentialThe universal Windows if default Windows Authentication is not used
command.invokedbccheck.excludecheckInvoke-DbcCheck: The checks that should be skipped by default.
domain.domaincontrollerThe domain controller to process your requests
domain.nameThe Active Directory domain that your server is a part of
domain.organizationalunitThe OU that your server should be a part of
mail.failurethreshholdNumber of errors that must be present to generate an email report
mail.fromEmail address the email reports should come from
mail.smtpserverStore the name of the smtp server to send email reports
mail.subjectSubject line of the email report
mail.toEmail address to send the report to
policy.backup.datadirDestination server data directory
policy.backup.defaultbackupcompreesionDefault Backup Compression check should be enabled $true or disabled $false
policy.backup.diffmaxhoursMaxmimum number of hours before Diff Backups are considered outdated
policy.backup.fullmaxdaysMaxmimum number of days before Full Backups are considered outdated
policy.backup.logdirDestination server log directory
policy.backup.logmaxminutesMaxmimum number of minutes before Log Backups are considered outdated
policy.backup.newdbgraceperiodThe number of hours a newly created database is allowed to not have backups
policy.backup.testserverDestination server for backuptests
policy.build.warningwindowThe number of months prior to a build being unsupported that you want warning about
policy.connection.authschemeAuth requirement (Kerberos, NTLM, etc)
policy.connection.pingcountNumber of times to ping a server to establish average response time
policy.connection.pingmaxmsMaximum response time in ms
policy.dacallowedDAC should be allowed $true or disallowed $false
policy.database.autocloseAuto Close should be allowed $true or dissalowed $false
policy.database.autocreatestatisticsAuto Create Statistics should be enabled $true or disabled $false
policy.database.autoshrinkAuto Shrink should be allowed $true or dissalowed $false
policy.database.autoupdatestatisticsAuto Update Statistics should be enabled $true or disabled $false
policy.database.autoupdatestatisticsasynchronouslyAuto Update Statistics Asynchronously should be enabled $true or disabled $false
policy.database.filebalancetolerancePercentage for Tolerance for checking for balanced files in a filegroups
policy.database.filegrowthexcludedbDatabases to exclude from the file growth check
policy.database.filegrowthtypeGrowth Type should be 'kb' or 'percent'
policy.database.filegrowthvalueThe auto growth value (in kb) should be equal or higher than this value. Example: A value of 65535 means at least 64MB.
policy.database.logfilecountThe number of Log files expected on a database
policy.database.logfilesizecomparisonHow to compare data and log file size, options are maximum or average
policy.database.logfilesizepercentageMaximum percentage of Data file Size that logfile is allowed to be.
policy.database.maxvlfMax virtual log files
policy.dbcc.maxdaysMaxmimum number of days before DBCC CHECKDB is considered outdated
policy.diskspace.percentfreePercent disk free
policy.dump.maxcountMaximum number of expected dumps
policy.hadr.tcpportThe TCPPort for the HADR check
policy.identity.usagepercentMaxmimum percentage of max of identity column
policy.invaliddbowner.excludedbDatabases to exclude from invalid dbowner checks
policy.invaliddbowner.nameThe database owner account should not be this user
policy.network.latencymaxmsMax network latency average
policy.ola.commandlogenabledOla's CommandLog Cleanup should be enabled $true or disabled $false
policy.ola.commandlogscheduledOla's CommandLog Cleanup should be scheduled $true or disabled $false
policy.ola.databaseThe database where Ola's maintenance solution is installed
policy.ola.deletebackuphistoryenabledOla's Delete Backup History should be enabled $true or disabled $false
policy.ola.deletebackuphistoryscheduledOla's Delete Backup History should be scheduled $true or disabled $false
policy.ola.installedChecks to see if Ola Hallengren solution is installed
policy.ola.outputfilecleanupenabledOla's Output File Cleanup should be enabled $true or disabled $false
policy.ola.outputfilecleanupscheduledOla's Output File Cleanup should be scheduled $true or disabled $false
policy.ola.purgejobhistoryenabledOla's Purge Job History should be enabled $true or disabled $false
policy.ola.purgejobhistoryscheduledOla's Purge Job History should be scheduled $true or disabled $false
policy.ola.systemfullenabledOla's Full System Database Backup should be enabled $true or disabled $false
policy.ola.systemfullretentionOla's Full System Database Backup retention number of hours
policy.ola.systemfullscheduledOla's Full System Database Backup should be scheduled $true or disabled $false
policy.ola.systemintegritycheckenabledOla's System Database Integrity should be enabled $true or disabled $false
policy.ola.systemintegritycheckscheduledOla's System Database Integrity should be scheduled $true or disabled $false
policy.ola.userdiffenabledOla's Diff User Database Backup should be enabled $true or disabled $false
policy.ola.userdiffretentionOla's Diff User Database Backup retention number of hours
policy.ola.userdiffscheduledOla's Diff User Database Backup should be scheduled $true or disabled $false
policy.ola.userfullenabledOla's Full User Database Backup should be enabled $true or disabled $false
policy.ola.userfullretentionOla's Full User Database Backup retention number of hours
policy.ola.userfullscheduledOla's Full User Database Backup should be scheduled $true or disabled $false
policy.ola.userindexoptimizeenabledOla's User Index Optimization should be enabled $true or disabled $false
policy.ola.userindexoptimizescheduledOla's User Index Optimization should be scheduled $true or disabled $false
policy.ola.userintegritycheckenabledOla's User Database Integrity should be enabled $true or disabled $false
policy.ola.userintegritycheckscheduledOla's User Database Integrity should be scheduled $true or disabled $false
policy.ola.userlogenabledOla's Log User Database Backup should be enabled $true or disabled $false
policy.ola.userlogretentionOla's Log User Database Backup retention number of hours
policy.ola.userlogscheduledOla's Log User Database Backup should be scheduled $true or disabled $false
policy.oleautomationOLE Automation should be enabled $true or disabled $false
policy.pageverifyPage verify option should be set to this value
policy.recoverymodel.excludedbDatabases to exclude from standard recovery model check
policy.recoverymodel.typeStandard recovery model
policy.storage.backuppathEnables tests to check if servers have access to centralized backup location
policy.validdbowner.excludedbDatabases to exclude from valid dbowner checks
policy.validdbowner.nameThe database owner account should be this user
policy.whoisactive.databaseWhich database should contain the sp_WhoIsActive stored procedure
policy.xevent.requiredrunningsessionList of XE Sessions that should be running.
policy.xevent.requiredstoppedsessionList of XE Sessions that should not be running.
policy.xevent.validrunningsessionList of XE Sessions that can be be running.
skip.backup.testingDon't run Test-DbaLastBackup by default (it's not read-only)
skip.connection.pingSkip the ping check for connectivity
skip.connection.remotingSkip PowerShell remoting check for connectivity
skip.database.filegrowthdisabledSkip validation of datafiles which have growth value equal to zero.
skip.database.logfilecounttestSkip the logfilecount test
skip.datafilegrowthdisabledSkip validation of datafiles which have growth value equal to zero.
skip.dbcc.datapuritycheckSkip data purity check in last good dbcc command
skip.diffbackuptestSkip the Differential backup test
skip.logfilecounttestSkip the logfilecount test
skip.logshiptestingSkip the logshipping test
skip.tempdb1118Don't run test for Trace Flag 1118
skip.tempdbfilecountDon't run test for Temp Database File Count
skip.tempdbfilegrowthpercentDon't run test for Temp Database File Growth in Percent
skip.tempdbfilesizemaxDon't run test for Temp Database Files Max Size
skip.tempdbfilesoncDon't run test for Temp Database Files on C

Running A Check

You can quickly run a single check by calling Invoke-DbcCheck.

Excellent, my agent jobs have not failed 🙂

Thats good, all of my databases have had a successful DBCC CHECKDB within the last 7 days.

Setting a Configuration

To save me from having to specify the instance I want to run my tests against I can set the app.sqlinstance config to the instances I want to check.

Then whenever I call Invoke-DbcCheck it will run against those instances for the SQL checks

So now if I run

I can see that I dont have a diff backup for the databases on both instances. Better stop writing this and deal with that !!

The configurations are stored in the registry but you can export them and then import them for re-use easily. I have written another blog post about that.

The Show Parameter

Getting the results of the tests on the screen is cool but if you are running a lot of tests against a lot of instances then you might find that you have 3 failed tests out of 15000! This will mean a lot of scrolling through green text looking for the red text and you may find that your PowerShell buffer doesnt hold all of your test results leaving you very frustrated.

dbachecks supports the Pester Show parameter enabling you to filter the output of the results to the screen. The available values are Summary, None, Fails, Inconclusive, Passed, Pending and Skipped

in my opinion by far the most useful one is Fails as this will show you only the failed tests with the context to enable you to see which tests have failed

If we check all of the checks tagged as Agent we can easily see that most passed but The Job That Fails (surprisingly) failed. All of the other tests that were run for the agent service, operators, failsafe operator, database mail and all other agent jobs all passed in the example below

Test Results are for other People as well

It is all very well and good being able to run tests and get the results on our screen. It will be very useful for people to be able to validate a new SQL instance for example or run a morning check or the first step of an incident response. But test results are also useful for other people so we need to be able to share them

We have created a Power Bi Dashboard that comes with the dbachecks module to enable easy sharing of the test results. You can also send the results via email using Send-DbcMailMessage. we have an open issue for putting them into a database that we would love you to help resolve.

To get the results into PowerBi you can run

This will run all of the dbachecks using your configuration for your Production environment, output only the failed tests to the screen and save the results in your windows\temp\dbachecks folder with a suffix of Production

If you then used a different configuration for your development environment and ran

it will run all of the dbachecks using your configuration for your Development environment, output only the failed tests to the screen and save the results in your windows\temp\dbachecks folder with a suffix of Development and you would end up with two files in the folder

You can then simply run

and as long as you have the (free) Powerbi Desktop then you will see this. You will need to refresh the data to get your test results

Of course it is Powerbi so you can publish this report. Here it is so that you can click around and see what it looks like

It’s Open Source – We Want Your Ideas, Issues, New Code

dbachecks is open-source available on GitHub for anyone to contribute

We would love you to contribute. Please open issues for new tests, enhancements, bugs. Please fork the repository and add code to improve the module. please give feedback to make this module even more useful

You can also come in the SQL Server Community Slack and join the dbachecks channel and get advice, make comments or just join in the conversation

Further Reading

There are many more introduction blog posts covering different areas at

Thank You

I want to say thank you to all of the people who have enabled dbachecks to get this far. These wonderful people have used their own time to ensure that you have a useful tool available to you for free

Chrissy Lemaire @cl

Fred Weinmann @FredWeinmann

Cláudio Silva @ClaudioESSilva

Stuart Moore @napalmgram

Shawn Melton @wsmelton

Garry Bargsley @gbargsley

Stephen Bennett @staggerlee011

Sander Stad @SQLStad

Jess Pomfret @jpomfret

Jason Squires @js0505

Shane O’Neill @SOZDBA

Tony Wilhelm @TonyWSQL

and all of the other people who have contributed in the dbachecks Slack channel

10 thoughts on “Announcing dbachecks – Configurable PowerShell Validation For Your SQL Instances

  1. Pingback: introducing dbachecks – a new module from the dbatools team! – dbatools

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  3. Pingback: Installing dbachecks – dbatools

  4. Pingback: Enterprise Level Reporting with dbachecks (from the makers of dbatools) – jstexasdba

  5. Typo: In the line below in the article “Development” is spelt wrong.

    “Invoke-DbcCheck -AllChecks -Show Fails -PassThru |Update-DbcPowerBiDataSource -Environment Devleopment”

  6. When I try to run any checks, I am getting the following error:

    PS C:\Windows\system32> Invoke-DbcCheck -SqlInstance usphxwsqlprd162 -Check FailedJob
    Executing all tests in ‘.’ with Tags FailedJob

    Executing script C:\Program Files\WindowsPowerShell\Modules\dbachecks\checks\Agent.Tests.ps1

    Describing Failed Jobs
    [-] Error occurred in Describe block 61ms
    RuntimeException: Method invocation failed because [Sqlcollaborative.Dbatools.Parameter.DbaInstanceParameter] does
    not contain a method named ‘ForEach’.
    at , C:\Program Files\WindowsPowerShell\Modules\dbachecks\checks\Agent.Tests.ps1: line 63
    at DescribeImpl, C:\Program Files\WindowsPowerShell\Modules\Pester\Functions\Describe.ps1: line 161

    • I expect you are using PowerShell version 3. The best bet for support is to join the #dbachecks channel in the SQL Community Slack sqlps.io/slack There are lots of people in that channel who will be able to help quickly, especially when I am travelling, Rob

      • I am on Powershell version 4.

        PS C:\Windows\system32> $PSVersionTable.PSVersion

        Major Minor Build Revision
        —– —– —– ——–
        4 0 -1 -1

        • I have seen that there have been issues raised for this. PowerShell 4 wont accept a single thing as an array but there is an easy fix which we will submit very soon

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