Using Pester with Get-DbaLastGoodCheckDb from dbatools

In my last post I showed Get-DbaLastGoodCheckDb  from dbatools. This module is a community based project written by excellent, brilliant people in their own time and available to you free. To find out more and how to use and install it visit

In a similar fashion to my post about using Pester with Test-DBALastBackup I thought I would write some Pester tests for Get-DbaLastGoodCheckDb as well

Pester provides a framework for running unit tests to execute and validate PowerShell commands from within PowerShell. Pester consists of a simple set of functions that expose a testing domain-specific language (DSL) for isolating, running, evaluating and reporting the results of PowerShell commands.

First we will use Test Cases again to quickly test a number of instances and see if any servers have a database which does not have a successful DBCC Checkdb. We will need to use the -Detailed parameter of Get-DbaLastGoddCheckDb so that we can access the status property. I have filled the $SQLServers variable with the names of my SQLServers in my lab that are running and are not my broken SQL2008 box.

The status property will contain one of three statements

  • Ok (This means that a successful test was run in the last 7 days
  • New database, not checked yet
  • CheckDb should be performed

We want to make sure that none of the results from the command have the second two statements. We can do this by adding two checks in the test and if either fails then the test will fail.

 Describe "Testing Last Known Good DBCC" {
$SQLServers = (Get-VM -ComputerName beardnuc | Where-Object {$_.Name -like '*SQL*' -and $_.Name -ne 'SQL2008Ser2008' -and $_.State -eq 'Running'}).Name
$testCases= @()
$SQLServers.ForEach{$testCases += @{Name = $_}}
It "<Name> databases have all had a successful CheckDB within the last 7 days" -TestCases $testCases {
$DBCC = Get-DbaLastGoodCheckDb -SqlServer $Name -Detailed
$DBCC.Status -contains 'New database, not checked yet'| Should Be $false
$DBCC.Status -contains 'CheckDb should be performed'| Should Be $false

We can save this as a .ps1 file (or we can add it to an existing Pester test file and call it will Invoke-Pester or just run it in PowerShell

05 - dbcc pester

As you can see you will still get the same warning for the availability group databases and we can see that SQL2012Ser08AG1 has a database whose status is CheckDB should be performed and SQL2012Ser08AGN2 has a database with a status of New database, not checked yet

That’s good, but what if we run our DBCC Checkdbs at a different frequency and want to test that? We can also test if the databases have had a successful DBCC CheckDb using the LastGoodCheckDb property which will not contain a Null if there was a successful DBCC CheckDb. As Pester is PowerShell we can use

($DBCC.LastGoodCheckDb -contains $null)

and we can use Measure-Object to get the maximum value of the DaysSinceLastGoodCheckdb property like this

($DBCC | Measure-Object -Property  DaysSinceLastGoodCheckdb -Maximum).Maximum
If we put those together and want to test for a successful DBCC Check DB in the last 3 days we have a test that looks like
Describe "Testing Last Known Good DBCC" {
$SQLServers = (Get-VM -ComputerName beardnuc | Where-Object {$_.Name -like '*SQL*' -and $_.Name -ne 'SQL2008Ser2008' -and $_.State -eq 'Running'}).Name
$testCases= @()
$SQLServers.ForEach{$testCases += @{Name = $_}}
It "<Name> databases have all had a successful CheckDB" -TestCases $testCases {
$DBCC = Get-DbaLastGoodCheckDb -SqlServer $Name -Detailed
($DBCC.LastGoodCheckDb -contains $null) | Should Be $false
It "<Name> databases have all had a CheckDB run in the last 3 days" -TestCases $testCases {
$DBCC = Get-DbaLastGoodCheckDb -SqlServer $Name -Detailed
($DBCC | Measure-Object -Property  DaysSinceLastGoodCheckdb -Maximum).Maximum | Should BeLessThan 3
and when we call it with invoke-Pester it looks like
06 - dbcc pester.PNG
That’s good but it is only at an instance level. If we want our Pester Test to show results per database we can do that like this
Describe "Testing Last Known Good DBCC" {
$SQLServers = (Get-VM -ComputerName beardnuc | Where-Object {$_.Name -like '*SQL*' -and $_.Name -ne 'SQL2008Ser2008' -and $_.State -eq 'Running'}).Name
foreach($Server in $SQLServers)
$DBCCTests = Get-DbaLastGoodCheckDb -SqlServer $Server -Detailed
foreach($DBCCTest in $DBCCTests)
It "$($DBCCTest.Server) database $($DBCCTest.Database) had a successful CheckDB"{
$DBCCTest.Status | Should Be 'Ok'
It "$($DBCCTest.Server) database $($DBCCTest.Database) had a CheckDB run in the last 3 days" {
$DBCCTest.DaysSinceLastGoodCheckdb | Should BeLessThan 3
It "$($DBCCTest.Server) database $($DBCCTest.Database) has Data Purity Enabled" {
$DBCCTest.DataPurityEnabled| Should Be $true
We gather the SQL instances into an array in the same way and this time we loop through each one, put the results of Get-DbaLastGoodCheckDb for that instance into a variable and then iterate through each result and check that the status is Ok, the DaysSinceLastGoodCheckDb is less than 3 and the DataPurityEnabled is true and we have
07 - dbcc pester.PNG


You can look at my previous posts on using Pester to see examples of creating XML files or HTML reports from the results of the tests.

Hopefully, as you have read this you have also thought of other ways that you can use Pester to validate the state of your environment. I would love to know how and what you do.

Happy Automating

NOTE – The major 1.0 release of dbatools due in the summer 2017 may have breaking changes which will stop the above code from working. There are also new commands coming which may replace this command. This blog post was written using dbatools version 0.8.942 You can check your version using

 Get-Module dbatools

and update it using an Administrator PowerShell session with

 Update-Module dbatools

You may find that you get no output from Update-Module as you have the latest version. If you have not installed the module from the PowerShell Gallery using

Install-Module dbatools

Then you can use




Converting SQL Agent Job Duration to TimeSpan using PowerShell

When you look in msdb for the SQL Agent Job duration you will find that it is an int.


This is also the same when you look at Get-SQLAgentJobHistory from the sqlserver module. (You can get this by downloading the latest SSMS release from here)


This means that when you look at the various duration of the Agent Jobs you get something like this


The first job took 15 hours 41 minutes  53 seconds, the second 1 minute 25 seconds, the third 21 seconds. This makes it quite tricky to calculate the duration in a suitable datatype. In T-SQL people use scripts like the following from

((run_duration/10000*3600 + (run_duration/100)%100*60 + run_duration%100 + 31 ) / 60)  as 'RunDurationMinutes'

I needed more information than the number of minutes so I have this which will convert the Run Duration to a timespan

$FormattedDuration = @{Name = 'FormattedDuration' ; Expression = {[timespan]$_.RunDuration.ToString().PadLeft(6,'0').insert(4,':').insert(2,':')}}


So how did I get to there?

First I tried to just convert it. In PowerShell you can define a datatype in square brackets and PowerShell will try to convert it


It did its best but it converted it to ticks! So we need to convince PowerShell that this is a proper timespan. First we need to convert the run duration to a standard length, you can use the PadLeft method of a string to do this which will ensure that a string has a length and precede the current string with a value you choose until the string is that length.

Lets have a length of 6 and preceding zeros PadLeft(6,’0′)


But this works only if it is a string!! Remember red text is useful, it will often contain the information you need to resolve your error. Luckily there is a method to turn an int to a string. I am using the foreach method to demonstrate


Now every string is 6 characters long starting with zeros. So all that is left is to format this with colons to separate the hours and minutes and the minutes and seconds. We can do this with the insert method. You can find out the methods using Get-Member or its alias gm


So the insert method takes an int for the startindex and a string value to enter


There we go now we have some proper formatted timespans however they are still strings. We can then convert them using [timespan] Now we can format the results within the select by using an expression as shown below


and as you can see it is a timespan now

timespan property.PNG

On a slight side note. I needed the durations for Agent Jobs with a certain name within the last 6 days.


I did this by passing an array of servers (which I got from my dbareports database) to Get-SQLAgentJobHistory. I then used the Where method to filter for JobName and the Job Outcome step of the history. I compared the RunDate property  to Get-Date (today) adding -6 days using the AddDays method 🙂

Hopefully this will be of use to people and also I have it recorded for the next time I need to do it 🙂



Remove-SQLDatabaseSafely My First Contribution to DBATools

What is DBA Tools?

A collection of modules for SQL Server DBAs. It initially started out as ‘sqlmigration’, but has now grown into a collection of various commands that help automate DBA tasks and encourage best practices.

You can read more about here and it is freely available for download on GitHub I thoroughly recommend that you watch this quick video to see just how easy it is to migrate an entire SQL instance in one command (Longer session here )

Installing it is as easy as

which will get you over 80 commands . Visit to find out more information about them


The journey to Remove-SQLDatabaseSafely started with William Durkin b | t who presented to the SQL South West User Group  (You can get his slides here)

Following that session  I wrote a Powershell Script to gather information about the last used date for databases which I blogged about here and then a T-SQL script to take a final backup and create a SQL Agent Job to restore from that back up which I blogged about here The team have used this solution (updated to load the DBA Database and a report instead of using Excel) ever since and it proved invaluable when a read-only database was dropped and could quickly and easily be restored with no fuss.

I was chatting with Chrissy LeMaire who founded DBATools b | t about this process and when she asked for contributions in the SQL Server Community Slack I offered my help and she suggested I write this command. I have learnt so much. I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend working on projects collaboratively to improve your skills. It is amazing to work with such incredible professional PowerShell people.

I went back to the basics and thought about what was required and watched one of my favourite videos again. Grant Fritcheys Backup Rant

I decided that the process should be as follows

  1. Performs a DBCC CHECKDB
  2. Database is backed up WITH CHECKSUM
  3. Database is restored with VERIFY ONLY on the source
  4. An Agent Job is created to easily restore from that backup
  5. The database is dropped
  6. The Agent Job restores the database
  7. performs a DBCC CHECKDB and drops the database for a final time

This (hopefully) passes all of Grants checks. This is how I created the command

I check that the SQL Agent is running otherwise we wont be able to run the job. I use a while loop with a timeout like this

There are a lot more checks and logic than I will describe here to make sure that the process is as robust as possible. For example, the script can exit after errors are found using DBCC CHECKDB or continue and label the database backup file and restore job appropriately. Unless the force option is used it will exit if the job name already exists. We have tried to think of everything but if something has been missed or you have suggestions let us know (details at end of post)

The only thing I didn’t add was a LARGE RED POP UP SAYING ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO DROP THIS DATABASE but I considered it!!


Running DBCC CHECKDB with Powershell is as easy as this

you can read more on MSDN

Database is backed up WITH CHECKSUM

Stuart Moore is my go to for doing backups and restores with SMO

I ensured that the backup was performed with checksum like this

Database is restored with VERIFY ONLY on the source

I used SMO all the way through this command and performed the restore verify only like this

An Agent Job is created to easily restore from that backup

First I created a category for the Agent Job

and then generated the TSQL for the restore step by using the script method on the Restore SMO object

This is how to create an Agent Job

and then to add a job step to run the restore command


The database is dropped

We try 3 different methods to drop the database

The Agent Job restores the database

To run the Agent Job I call the start method of the Job SMO Object
Then we drop the database for the final time with the confidence that we have a safe backup and an easy one click method to restore it from that backup (as long as the backup is in the same location)
There are further details on the functions page on dbatools
Some videos of it in action are on YouTube
You can take a look at the code on GitHub here

You can install it with

You can provide feedback via the Trello Board or discuss it in the #dbatools channel in the Sqlserver Community Slack
You too can also become a contributor Come and write a command to make it easy for DBAs to (this bit is up to your imagination).

Using the new SQLServer Powershell module to get SQL Agent Job Information

So with the July Release of SSMS everything changed for using PowerShell with SQL. You can read the details here As I mentioned in my previous post the name of the module has changed to sqlserver

This means that if you have a PowerShell script doing Import-Module SQLPS, it will need to be changed to be Import-Module SqlServer in order to take advantage of the new provider functionality and new CMDLETs. The new module will be installed to “%Program Files\WindowsPowerShell\Modules\SqlServer” and hence no update to $env:PSModulePath is required.

You can download the latest SSMS release here Once you have installed and rebooted you can start to look at the new Powershell CMDlets

Take a look at cmdlets

Today I want to look at agent jobs

getcomand sqlagent

So I decided to see how to gather the information I gather for the DBADatabase as described here

This is the query I use to insert the data for the server level agent job information.

So Get-SQLAgentJob looks like the one I need. Lets take a look at the help. This should be the starting point whenever you use a new cmdlet

Which states

Returns a SQL Agent Job object for each job that is present in the target instance of SQL Agent.

That sounds like it will meet my needs. Lets take a look


I can get the information I require like this

NOTE – That code is for PowerShell V4 and V5, if you are using earlier versions of PowerShell you would need to use

But to make the code more performant it is better to do this


Using Measure-Command showed that this completed in
TotalSeconds : 0.9889336
Rather than
TotalSeconds : 2.9045701

Note that

Does not work. I had to check the properties using

Which showed me

IsEnabled Property bool IsEnabled {get;set;}

So I tested this against the various SQL versions I had in my lab using this code

Here are the results
job data table

I also had a look at Get-SQLAgentJobHistory Lets take a look at the help


Returns the JobHistory present in the target instance of SQL Agent.

This cmdlet supports the following modes of operation to return the JobHistory:

  1. By specifying the Path of the SQL Agent instance.
  2. By passing the instance of the SQL Agent in the input.
  3. By invoking the cmdlet in a valid context.

So I ran

And got back a whole load of information. Every job history available on the server. Too much to look it immediately to work out what to do

So I looked at just one job

And got back the last months worth of history for that one job as that is the schedule used to purge the job history for this server So then I added -Since Yesterday to only get the last 24 hours history


The Since Parameter is described as

-Since <SinceType>

A convenient abbreviation to avoid using the -StartRunDate parameter.
It can be specified with the -EndRunDate parameter.

Do not specify a -StartRunDate parameter, if you want to use it.

Accepted values are:
– Midnight (gets all the job history information generated after midnight)
– Yesterday (gets all the job history information generated in the last 24 hours)
– LastWeek (gets all the job history information generated in the last week)
– LastMonth (gets all the job history information generated in the last month)

When I run

I get

Count : 3

And if I run

I get

agent job out gridview

Which matches the view I see in SSMS Agent Job History


So Get-SqlAgentJobHistory will enable you to use PowerShell to gather information about the Job history for each step of the Agent Jobs and also the message which I can see being very useful.

Come and join us in the SQL Community Slack to discuss these CMDLets and all things SQL Community


Microsoft are engaging with the community to improve the tools we all use in our day to day work. There is are two Trello boards set up for YOU to use to contribute for SQLPS sqlserver PowerShell module for SSMS

Go and join them and upvote YOUR preferred choice of the next lot of CMDlets


We have also set up a SQL Community Slack for anyone in the community to discuss all things related to SQL including the Trello board items and already it seems a good place for people to get help with 150+ members in a few days. You can get an invite here

Come and join us

DBA Database scripts are on Github

It started with a tweet from Dusty


The second session I presented at the fantastic PowerShell Conference Europe was about using the DBA Database to automatically install DBA scripts like sp_Blitz, sp_AskBrent, sp_Blitzindex from Brent Ozar , Ola Hallengrens Maintenance Solution , Adam Mechanics sp_whoisactive , This fantastic script for logging the results from sp_whoisactive to a table , Extended events sessions and other goodies for the sanity of the DBA.

By making use of the dbo.InstanceList in my DBA database I am able to target instances, by SQL Version, OS Version, Environment, Data Centre, System, Client or any other variable I choose. An agent job that runs every night will automatically pick up the instances and the scripts that are marked as needing installing. This is great when people release updates to the above scripts allowing you to target the development environment and test before they get put onto live.

I talked to a lot of people in Hannover and they all suggested that I placed the scripts onto GitHub and after some how-to instructions from a few people (Thank you Luke) I spent the weekend updating and cleaning up the code and you can now find it on GitHub here


I have added the DBA Database project, the Powershell scripts and Agent Job creation scripts to call those scripts and everything else I use. Some of the DBA Scripts I use (and links to those you need to go and get yourself for licensing reasons) and the Power Bi files as well. I will be adding some more jobs that I use to gather other information soon.

Please go and have a look and see if it is of use to you. It is massively customisable and I have spoken to various people who have extended it in interesting ways so I look forward to hearing about what you do with it.

As always, questions and comments welcome



Using PowerShell to set Extended Events Sessions to AutoStart

When you look after more than a few SQL Servers you will need to perform the same actions against a number of  them and that is where PowerShell will be of great benefit. Recently I needed to ensure that all SQL Servers had a certain Extended Event Session set to auto-start and that it was running. I have used the Always On health session in the example below but you could use the same code below and do this for any Extended Event session. Just note that the code below checks for the existence of an Availability Group which may not be what you require.

As always when I started to look at Powershell for a solution I turned to MSDN and found this page and also a quick search found Mike Fals blogpost which showed me how to get going.

I used my DBA Database as described in my previous posts and created a query to check for all of the servers that were active and contactable



FROM [dbo].[InstanceList] IL

WHERE NotContactable = 0

AND Inactive = 0

and used Invoke-SQLCMD to gather the Server Names

$Results = (Invoke-Sqlcmd -ServerInstance $DBADatabaseServer -Database DBADatabase -Query $query -ErrorAction Stop).ServerName

Then it was a case of looping through the servers and connecting to the XEvent Store and checking if the required extended evetn was started and set to auto-start and if not altering those settings

## Can we connect to the XEStore?
if(Test-Path SQLSERVER:\XEvent\$Server)
$XEStore = get-childitem -path SQLSERVER:\XEvent\$Server -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue  | where {$_.DisplayName -ieq 'default'}
$AutoStart = $XEStore.Sessions[$XEName].AutoStart
$Running = $XEStore.Sessions[$XEName].IsRunning
Write-Output "$server for $AGNames --- $XEName -- $AutoStart -- $Running"
if($AutoStart -eq $false)

$XEStore.Sessions[$XEName].AutoStart = $true

if($Running -eq $false)

Very quick and simple and hopefully of use to people, this could easily be turned into a function. The full script is below and also available here on the Powershell gallery or by running  Save-Script -Name Set-ExtendedEventsSessionstoAutoStart -Path <path>

   Connects to the servers in the DBA Database and for Servers above 2012 sets alwayson_health Extended Events Sessions to Auto-Start and starts it if it is not running
   Sets Extended Events Sessions to Auto-Start and starts it if it is not running
   Alter the XEvent name and DBADatabase name or add own server list and run
   AUTHOR - Rob Sewell
   BLOG -
   DATE - 20/03/2016
$XEName = 'AlwaysOn_health'
## Query to gather the servers required
$Query = @"



FROM [dbo].[InstanceList] IL

WHERE NotContactable = 0

AND Inactive = 0


$Results = (Invoke-Sqlcmd -ServerInstance $DBADatabaseServer -Database DBADatabase -Query $query -ErrorAction Stop).ServerName

Write-Error "Unable to Connect to the DBADatabase - Please Check"

foreach($Server in $Results)

            $srv = New-Object ('Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Smo.Server') $Server
            Write-Output " Failed to connect to $Server"
            # To ensure we have a connection to the server
            if (!( $srv.version)){
            Write-Output " Failed to Connect to $Server"
        if($srv.versionmajor -ge '11')
            ## NOTE this checks if there are Availability Groups - you may need to change this
            if ($srv.AvailabilityGroups.Name)
                $AGNames = $srv.AvailabilityGroups.Name   
                ## Can we connect to the XEStore?                             
                if(Test-Path SQLSERVER:\XEvent\$Server)
                    $XEStore = get-childitem -path SQLSERVER:\XEvent\$Server -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue  | where {$_.DisplayName -ieq 'default'} 
                    $AutoStart = $XEStore.Sessions[$XEName].AutoStart
                    $Running = $XEStore.Sessions[$XEName].IsRunning
                    Write-Output "$server for $AGNames --- $XEName -- $AutoStart -- $Running"
                    if($AutoStart -eq $false)
                        $XEStore.Sessions[$XEName].AutoStart = $true
                      if($Running -eq $false)
                    Write-Output "Failed to connect to XEvent on $Server"

                ## Write-Output "No AGs on $Server"
            ##  Write-Output "$server not 2012 or above"


Backing up to URL container name – case is important

If you use SQL Backup to URL to backup your databases to Azure blob storage remember that for the container name case is important


will work but

will give an (400) Bad Request Error which may not be easy to diagnose

If you are using Ola Hallengrens jobs to perform your backup then your job step will look like this

Note the @ChangeBackupType = ‘Y’ parameter which is not created by default but I think is very useful. If you have just created a database and take log backups every 15 minutes but differential (or full) every night the log backup will fail until a full backup has been taken. This parameter will check if a log backup is possible and if not take a full backup meaning that you still can keep to your RTO/RPO requirements even for newly created databases