Why VS Code Increases my Productivity

Last week I was showing a co-worker some PowerShell code and he asked what the editor was that I was using. Visual Studio Code I said. Why do you use that? What does it do?

This is what I showed him

Runs on any Operating System

Code (as I shall refer to it) is free lightweight open source editor which runs on all the main operating systems. So you have the same experience in Linux as on Windows. So there is less to learn

Extensions

You can add new languages, themes, debuggers and tools from the extensions gallery to reduce the number of programmes you have open and the need to switch between programmes

You can add extensions using CTRL + SHIFT  + X and searching in the bar

01 - Extensions

or by going to the Extensions gallery searching for the extensions and copying the installation command

02 - extensions gallery.PNG

Debugging

There is a rich de-bugging experience built in

03 - debugging.PNG

You can learn about debugging from the official docs and Keith Hill wrote a blog post on Hey Scripting Guys about debugging PowerShell

Intellisense

An absolute must to make life simpler. Code has intellisense for PowerShell and T-SQL which I use the most but also for many more languages . Read more here

Git integration

I love the Git integration, makes it so easy to work with GitHub for me. I can see diffs, commit, undo commits nice and simply. Just open the root folder of the repository and its there

04 - git

This page will give you a good start on using git with Code

No distractions

With full screen mode (F11) or Zen mode (CTRL +K, Z) I can concentrate on coding and not worry about distractions

Stay in one programme and do it all

I have a Markdown document, a PowerShell script and a T-SQL script all in one Git repository and I can work on all of them and version control in one place. The screencast below also shows some of the new capabilities available in the insiders version I managed to leave the screen recording dialogue open as well, apologies and the mistake was deliberate!

I used the GitLens and SQL beautify extensions as well as the dbatools module in that demo

That’s why I am using Code more and more these days, hope it helps

Happy Automating!

 

 

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Testing SQL Server Access to a share with PowerShell using dbatools

A good security practice is to backup our SQL Servers to a network share but not allow users to be able to browse the share. How can we ensure that our SQL Server has access or test it if it has been set up by someone else?

Lets set this up.

First lets create a share for our backups

$FileShareParams=@{
Name='SQLBackups'
Description='The Place for SQL Backups'
SourceVolume=(Get-Volume-DriveLetterD)
FileServerFriendlyName='beardnuc'
}
New-FileShare @FileShareParams

This will create us a share called SQLBackups on the D drive of the server beardnuc, but without any permissions, lets grant permissions to everyone

$FileSharePermsParams=@{
 Name = 'SQLBackups'
 AccessRight = 'Modify'
 AccountName = 'Everyone'}
Grant-FileShareAccess @FileSharePermsParams

01 file share.PNG

The share is created and I can access it and create a file

02 - create a file.PNG

and as we can see the permissions are granted for everyone

03 -permissions.PNG

OK, that’s not what we want so lets revoke that permission.

Revoke-FileShareAccess Name SQLBackups AccountName 'Everyone'

04 revoked.PNG

Now lets add permissions just for our SQL Server Service Accounts

$FileSharePermsParams = @{
Name = 'SQLBackups'
AccessRight = 'Modify'
AccountName = 'SQL_DBEngine_Service_Accounts
}
Grant-FileShareAccess @FileSharePermsParams 
and explicitly deny our DBA user accounts from accessing them.
$BlockFileShareParams = @{
Name = 'SQLBackups'
AccountName = 'SQL_DBAs_The_Cool_Ones'
}
Block-FileShareAccess @BlockFileShareParams
In the GUI our permissions look like this
and when I try to access as THEBEARD\Rob I get this

07 -no permissions.PNG

So how can I check that I have access from my SQL Server? Sure I could get the password of the SQL Service account and run a process as that account, not saying that’s a good idea but it could be done. Of course it couldn’t be done if you are using Managed Service Accounts or Group Managed Service Accounts but there is a way

Enter dbatools to the rescue 😉 The dbatools module (for those that don’t know) is a PowerShell module written by amazing folks in the community designed to make administrating your SQL Server significantly easier using PowerShell. The instructions for installing it are available here It comprises of 182 separate commands at present

There is a command called Test-SqlPath As always start with Get-Help

Get-Help Test-SqlPath -Full

08 - get help.PNG

So it uses master.dbo.xp_fileexist to determine if a file or directory exists, from the perspective of the SQL Server service account, has three parameters Sqlserver, Path and SqlCredential for SQL Authentication. Of course if that stored procedure is disabled on your estate then this command will not be of use to you. With that in mind, lets run it and see what it does
Test-SqlPath -SqlServer sql2016n1 -Path \\beardnuc\SQLBackups
09 - path test

That’s good I have access, lets back a database up

Backup-SqlDatabase -ServerInstance SQL2016N1 -Database DBA-Admin -CopyOnly -BackupAction Database -BackupFile '\\BeardNuc\SQLBackups\Test-DBA-Admin.bak'
Ah, I cant show you as I don’t have access. Better get in touch with the data centre admin to check 😉 Luckily, I am my own data centre admin and have another account I can use 🙂
10 - check

So what if we want to test all of our servers for access to the new share? I tried this

$SQLServers = (Get-VM -ComputerName beardnuc).Where{$_.Name -like '*SQL*' -and $_.Name -notlike 'SQL2008Ser2008'}.Name
Test-SqlPath -SqlServer $SQLServers -Path '\\BeardNuc\SQLBackups'
but unfortunately I hit an error
11 - error.PNG
It seems that at the moment (version 0.8.942) this command only accepts a single server. This is what you should do if you find either a bug or have an idea for dbatools. Raise an issue on Github
Navigate to the GitHub repository and click on issues. I generally search for the command name in the issues to see if someone else has beaten me to it
12 - issues
If those issues don’t match yours then click the green New Issue button
There is a template to fill in which asks you to specify your Windows, PowerShell and SQL versions with the commands that you need to do so included. Please do this and paste the results in as it will help the folks to replicate the issues in the case of more complicated  bugs
I created this issue with a potential fix as well, you don’t have to do that, just letting the folks know is good enough
Until that issue is resolved, you can check all of your servers as follows
$SQLServers=(Get-VM -ComputerName beardnuc).Where{$_.Name -like '*SQL*' -and $_.Name -notlike 'SQL2008Ser2008'}.Name
foreach($Server in $SQLServers)
{
$Test = Test-SqlPath -SqlServer $Server -Path '\\BeardNuc\SQLBackups'
[PSCustomObject]@{
Server = $Server
Result = $Test
}
}
13 - servers.PNG
and if I remove one of the service accounts from the group and restart the service an run the command again
14 - one fails.PNG
So that’s how to use dbatools to check that your SQL Server have access to a Network share and also how to create an issue on GitHub for dbatools and help it to get even better

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

Update-dbatools

The SQL Server Community Collaborative GitHub Organisation is born

My wonderful friend Chrissy LeMaire and I are the creators of two GitHub repositories for SQL Server and PowerShell called dbatools and dbareports

If you are working with SQL Server I highly recommend that you take a look at the vast number of commands available to you at dbatools which will help you complete tasks within SQL Server especially for Instance migrations and also a growing number of best practice implementations

Both of these modules are not just the work of one person any more. We have over 20 people who have collaborated on the modules THANK YOU ALL and more that have provided guidance and comments via the Slack Channels in the SQL Server Community Slack https://sqlps.io/slack and via the Trello boards https://dbatools.io/trello and https://dbareports/trello

At SQL Saturday Cambridge this weekend I was proud to join Chrissy in her presentation as we talked about both modules. Heres a fabulous picture of us with Buck Woody

 

wp_20160910_10_14_58_pro

 

We had discussed previously that it didn’t feel quite right that these community tools were under our own personal accounts and it also caused some administration issues with allowing access. So with that in mind after a naming discussion in the slack channel we created an organisation to hold them both

 SQL Server Community Collaborative

is born at https://github.com/sqlcollaborative

Nothing much changes except the name. we have even found that all the old links work and GitHub desktop updated. We will continue to make great commands with all of our fantastic collaborators. Discussions will happen in Slack and organisation in Trello and we will continue to grow and learn and teach and share and create together.

We would love you to come and join us

 

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

Install-Module dbatools

which will get you over 80 commands . Visit https://dbatools.io/functions/ to find out more information about them

cmdlets

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

$agentservice = Get-Service -ComputerName $ipaddr -Name $serviceName
if ($agentservice.Status -ne 'Running')
{
$agentservice.Start()
$timeout = new-timespan -seconds 60
$sw = [diagnostics.stopwatch]::StartNew()
$agentstatus = (Get-Service -ComputerName $ipaddr -Name $serviceName).Status
while ($dbStatus -ne 'Running' -and $sw.elapsed -lt $timeout)
{
$dbStatus = (Get-Service -ComputerName $ipaddr -Name $serviceName).Status
}
}

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!!

Performs a DBCC CHECKDB

Running DBCC CHECKDB with Powershell is as easy as this

$sourceserver = New-Object Microsoft.SQLServer.Management.Smo.Server "ServerName"
 $db = $sourceserver.databases[$dbname]
 $null = $db.CheckTables('None')

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

$backup = New-Object -TypeName Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Smo.Backup
$backup.Action = [Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.SMO.BackupActionType]::Database
$backup.BackupSetDescription = "Final Full Backup of $dbname Prior to Dropping"
$backup.Database = $dbname
$backup.Checksum = $True

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

$restoreverify = New-Object 'Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Smo.Restore'
$restoreverify.Database = $dbname
$restoreverify.Devices.AddDevice($filename, $devicetype)
$result = $restoreverify.SqlVerify($sourceserver)

An Agent Job is created to easily restore from that backup

First I created a category for the Agent Job

Function New-SqlAgentJobCategory
{
param ([string]$categoryname,
[object]$jobServer)
if (!$jobServer.JobCategories[$categoryname])
{
if ($Pscmdlet.ShouldProcess($sourceserver,"Creating Agent Job Category $categoryname")
{
try
{
Write-Output "Creating Agent Job Category $categoryname"
$category = New-Object Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Smo.Agent.JobCategory
$category.Parent = $jobServer
$category.Name = $categoryname
$category.Create()
Write-Output "Created Agent Job Category $categoryname"
}
catch
{
Write-Exception $_
throw "FAILED : To Create Agent Job Category $categoryname - Aborting"
}
}
}
}

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

$job = New-Object Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Smo.Agent.Job $jobServer, $jobname
$job.Name = $jobname
$job.OwnerLoginName = $jobowner
$job.Description = "This job will restore the $dbname database using the final backup located at $filename"code]</pre>
and then to add a job step to run the restore command
<pre>$jobStep = new-object Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Smo.Agent.JobStep $job, $jobStepName
$jobStep.SubSystem = 'TransactSql' # 'PowerShell'
$jobStep.DatabaseName = 'master'
$jobStep.Command = $jobStepCommmand
$jobStep.OnSuccessAction = 'QuitWithSuccess'
$jobStep.OnFailAction = 'QuitWithFailure'
if ($Pscmdlet.ShouldProcess($destination, "Creating Agent JobStep on $destination"
{
$null = $jobStep.Create()
}
$job.ApplyToTargetServer($destination)
$job.StartStepID = $jobStartStepid
$job.Alter()

The database is dropped

We try 3 different methods to drop the database

$server.KillDatabase($dbname)
$server.databases[$dbname].Drop()
$null = $server.ConnectionContext.ExecuteNonQuery("DROP DATABASE "code]</pre>
<h2>The Agent Job restores the database</h2>
To run the Agent Job I call the start method of the Job SMO Object
<pre>
$job = $destserver.JobServer.Jobs[$jobname]
$job.Start()
$status = $job.CurrentRunStatus
while ($status -ne 'Idle')
{
Write-Output &quot;Restore Job for $dbname on $destination is $status&quot;
$job.Refresh()
$status = $job.CurrentRunStatus
Start-Sleep -Seconds 5
}
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 http://dbatools.io/video
You can take a look at the code on GitHub here

You can install it with

Install-Module dbatools
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 https://dbatools.io/join-us/ Come and write a command to make it easy for DBAs to (this bit is up to your imagination).

Some Pester Tests for SQL Defaults

When I was at PowerShell Conference EU in Hannover last month (The videos are available now – click here and the slides and code here) I found out about Irwin Strachans Active Directory Operations Test which got me thinking.

I decided to do the same for my usual SQL Set-up. Treating all of your servers to the same defaults makes it even easier to manage at scale remotely.

I am comfortable with using SMO to gather and change properties on SQL Instances so I started by doing this

        It 'Should have a default Backup Directory of F:\SQLBACKUP\BACKUPS' {
$Scriptblock = {
[void][reflection.assembly]::LoadWithPartialName('Microsoft.SqlServer.Smo');
$srv = New-Object Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Smo.Server .
return $srv.BackupDirectory}
$State = Invoke-Command -ComputerName ROB-SURFACEBOOK -ScriptBlock $Scriptblock
$State |Should Be 'F:\SQLBACKUP\BACKUPS'

This is the how to find the properties that you want

  ## Load the Assemblies
[void][reflection.assembly]::LoadWithPartialName('Microsoft.SqlServer.Smo');
## Create a Server SMO object
$srv = New-Object Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Smo.Server SERVERNAME

## Explore it
$srv|gm

## If you find an array pick the first one and expand and then explore that
$srv.Databases[0] | select *
$srv.Databases[0] | gm

I quickly found as I added more tests that it was taking a long time to perform the tests (about 5 seconds each test) and that it took an age to fail each of the tests if the server name was incorrect or the server unavailable.

I fixed the first one by testing with a ping before running the tests

   ## Check for connectivity
if((Test-Connection $Server -count 1 -Quiet) -eq $false){
Write-Error 'Could not connect to $Server'
$_
continue
}

The continue is there because I wanted to loop through an array of servers

I improved the performance using a remote session and a custom object

      Describe "$Server" {
BeforeAll {
$Scriptblock = {
[pscustomobject]$Return = @{}
$srv = ''
$SQLAdmins = $Using:SQLAdmins
[void][reflection.assembly]::LoadWithPartialName('Microsoft.SqlServer.Smo');
$srv = New-Object Microsoft.SQLServer.Management.SMO.Server $Server
$Return.DBAAdminDb = $Srv.Databases.Name.Contains('DBA-Admin')
$Logins = $srv.Logins.Where{$_.IsSystemObject -eq $false}.Name
$Return.SQLAdmins = @(Compare-Object $Logins $SQLAdmins -SyncWindow 0).Length - $Logins.count -eq $SQLAdmins.Count
$SysAdmins = $Srv.Roles['sysadmin'].EnumMemberNames()
$Return.SQLAdmin = @(Compare-Object $SysAdmins $SQLAdmins -SyncWindow 0).Length - $SysAdmins.count -eq $SQLAdmins.Count
$Return.BackupDirectory = $srv.BackupDirectory
$Return.DataDirectory = $srv.DefaultFile

The BeforeAll script block is run, as it sounds like it should, once before all of the tests, BeforeEach would run once before each of the tests. I define an empty custom object and then create an SMO object and add the properties I am interested in testing to it. I then return the custom object at the end

   $Return.Alerts82345Exist = ($srv.JobServer.Alerts |Where {$_.Messageid -eq 823 -or $_.Messageid -eq 824 -or $_.Messageid -eq 825}).Count
$Return.Alerts82345Enabled = ($srv.JobServer.Alerts |Where {$_.Messageid -eq 823 -or $_.Messageid -eq 824 -or $_.Messageid -eq 825 -and $_.IsEnabled -eq $true}).Count
$Return.SysDatabasesFullBackupToday = $srv.Databases.Where{$_.IsSystemObject -eq $true -and $_.Name -ne 'tempdb' -and $_.LastBackupDate -lt (Get-Date).AddDays(-1)}.Count
Return $Return
}
try {
$Return = Invoke-Command -ScriptBlock $Scriptblock -ComputerName $Server -ErrorAction Stop
}
catch {
Write-Error "Unable to Connect to $Server"
$Error
continue

I was then able to test against the property of the custom object

   It 'Should have Alerts for Severity 20 and above' {
$Return.Alerts20SeverityPlusExist | Should Be 6
}
It 'Severity 20 and above Alerts should be enabled' {
$Return.Alerts20SeverityPlusEnabled | Should Be 6
}
It 'Should have alerts for 823,824 and 825' {
$Return.Alerts82345Exist |Should Be 3
}
It 'Alerts for 823,824 and 825 should be enebled' {
$Return.Alerts82345Enabled |Should Be 3
}

Occasionally, for reasons I haven’t explored I had to test against the value property of the returned object

          It "The Full User Database Backup should be scheduled Weekly $OlaUserFullSchedule" {
$Return.OlaUserFullSchedule.value | Should Be $OlaUserFullSchedule
}

I wanted to be able to run the tests against environments or groups of servers with different default values so I parameterised the Test Results as well and then the logical step was to turn it into a function and then I could do some parameter splatting. This also gives me the opportunity to show all of the things that I am currently giving parameters to the test for

   $Parms = @{
Servers = 'SQLServer1','SQLServer2','SQLServer3';
SQLAdmins = 'THEBEARD\Rob','THEBEARD\SQLDBAsAlsoWithBeards';
BackupDirectory = 'C:\MSSQL\Backup';
DataDirectory = 'C:\MSSQL\Data\';
LogDirectory = 'C:\MSSQL\Logs\';
MaxMemMb = '4096';
Collation = 'Latin1_General_CI_AS';
TempFiles = 4 ;
OlaSysFullFrequency = 'Daily';
OlaSysFullStartTime = '21:00:00';
OlaUserFullSchedule = 'Weekly';
OlaUserFullFrequency = 1 ;## 1 for Sunday
OlaUserFullStartTime = '22:00:00';
OlaUserDiffSchedule = 'Weekly';
OlaUserDiffFrequency = 126; ## 126 for every day except Sunday
OlaUserDiffStartTime = '22:00:00';
OlaUserLogSubDayInterval = 15;
OlaUserLoginterval = 'Minute';
HasSPBlitz = $true;
HasSPBlitzCache = $True;
HasSPBlitzIndex = $True;
HasSPAskBrent = $true;
HASSPBlitzTrace =  $true;
HasSPWhoisActive = $true;
LogWhoIsActiveToTable = $true;
LogSPBlitzToTable = $true;
LogSPBlitzToTableEnabled = $true;
LogSPBlitzToTableScheduled = $true;
LogSPBlitzToTableSchedule = 'Weekly';
LogSPBlitzToTableFrequency = 2 ; # 2 means Monday
LogSPBlitzToTableStartTime  = '03:00:00'}

Test-SQLDefault @Parms

I have some other tests which always return what I want, particularly the firewall rules which you will have to modify to suit your own environment

To be able to run this you will need to have the Pester Module. If you are using Windows 10 then it is installed by default, if not

  Find-Module –Name 'Pester' | Install-Module

You can find more about Pester here and here and also these videos from the conference
You can find the tests on GitHub here and I will continue to add to the defaults that I check.
This is not a replacement for other SQL configuration tools such as PBM but it is a nice simple way of giving a report on the current status of a SQL installation either at a particular point in time when something is wrong or after an installation prior to passing the server over to another team or into service

.