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Comment: Replaced 'Target' with 'Development' where appropriate since 'Target' is generally used as deployment target in other docs, and that is not the meaning here.

SQL Change Automation maintains two databases:

  • Target Development database 
    This is the development database or sandbox that you use for debugging and to edit schema objects (e.g. using SSMSSQL Server Management Studio). When you deploy, SQL Change Automation executes your migration scripts against this database to upgrade it. You shouldn't drop the target development database from your SQL Server instance.
  • Shadow database
    This is an exact copy of your database schema created automatically from your project scripts (001.sql, 002.sql, 003.sql, etc). It's created every time you use the SQL Change Automation tool-window to view pending changes or import. The shadow database is used by the SQL Compare engine (that powers SQL Change Automation) as the base from which to generate a new migration script. It is safe to remove the database from your development instance at any time, in fact SQL Change Automation will automatically drop the shadow db whenever you Clean or Rebuild your project
    For details of how the shadow databases is used during the verification stage, see script verification

Changing the


development database connection

The Target Connection string can be set by clicking the Edit button within the Debug tab of the project designer.


Build your solution to update the connection within the SQL Change Automation tool-window.

Changing the Shadow database connection

By default, the Shadow database will be deployed to the same server SQL Server instance that you've chosen to deploy the Target database tofor your development database.

If you would prefer not to deploy the Shadow database to your Target server, you check this instance, check the following option on the Debug tab: Always use default connection string for Shadow database.


Build the solution to update the Shadow connection within the SQL Change Automation tool-window.

Setting the Shadow database connection string

To deploy You may configure the Shadow database to a different server, this can be done be created on a specific SQL Server instance by adjusting the default connection string in the project.

Firstly, under the Target Connection String, click Edit to display the connection dialog. Specify the server SQL Server instance that you would like to deploy the Shadow database to.

Then, click Set As Default to set this connection as the Default Connection String.



When you next Import changes into your project, the Shadow database will be deployed to the specified server. Feel free to drop any shadow databases created by SQL Change Automation on any of your other servers (this can be identified by the _SHADOW database name suffix).