SQL Change Automation 4

Automated deployments

This page provides an overview of automating deployments using the PowerShell cmdlets.

SQL Change Automation PowerShell contains a set of cmdlets specifically designed for deployment. These offer a number of advantages:

  • They create deployment resources that allow you to review the changes that will happen to the target database if you proceed with the deployment.
  • They run pre-deployment and post-deployment checks to make sure your target schema hasn't changed unexpectedly.


Once you have created a database (see package and publish), you can use this as the source schema:


 $production = New-DatabaseConnection -ServerInstance "prod01\sql2014" -Database "AdventureWorksProduction" -Username "sa" -Password "p@ssw0rd"
 $dbRelease = New-DatabaseReleaseArtifact -Source "C:\packages\MyDatabase.1.0.0.nupkg" -Target $production 

After running the cmdlet, you can either use:

  • Export-DatabaseReleaseArtifact - to review the deployment resources, including the update script
  • Use-DatabaseReleaseArtifact - to run the update script against the target database 


Use this cmdlet to export the output of the New-DatabaseReleaseArtifact cmdlet to disk, so you can review the deployment resources.


Export-DatabaseReleaseArtifact $dbRelease -Path "C:\SQLChangeAutomationArtifacts\"

After running the cmdlet, open C:\SQLChangeAutomationArtifacts to see the database deployment resources. These include:

  • anUpdate.sql file - the SQL script that will update the target database schema to match the source schema
  • Reports folder that lets you review a summary of changes between the two databases and check warnings
  • States folder that contains scripts folder representations of both the source and target schemas


This cmdlet completes the deployment set up by New-DatabaseReleaseArtifact. It does this by running the update script in the deployment resources against the target database.


Use-DatabaseReleaseArtifact $dbRelease -DeployTo $production 

As part of the deployment, the Use-DatabaseReleaseArtifact cmdlet runs two checks:

  • Pre-deployment check
    Before running the update script, this checks the schema of the database you're deploying to hasn't changed since the creation of the database deployment resources. If the schema has changed, the update script will fail.
  • Post-deployment check
    After running the update script, this checks the schema of the database you're deploying to matches the source database. If they don't match, the cmdlet will give an error warning.

An example deployment script

Let's now combine the cmdlets we've looked at on this page to make a PowerShell script for a full deployment script. It's good practice to run lines 1-4 and 8-9 of the script above in separate stages, so you can review the deployment resources before deciding whether to continue with the release:


# Create a database Release
$production = New-DatabaseConnection -ServerInstance "prod01\sql2014" -Database "AdventureWorksProduction" -Username "sa" -Password "p@ssw0rd"
$dbRelease = New-DatabaseReleaseArtifact -Source "C:\packages\MyDatabase.1.0.0.nupkg" -Target $production
Export-DatabaseReleaseArtifact $dbRelease -Path "C:\SQLChangeAutomationArtifacts\"
# Manually review the deployment resources
# Use the database Release to deploy to Production
Use-DatabaseReleaseArtifact $dbRelease -DeployTo $production

Related Content

As you start automating your database releases, using the SCA PowerShell cmdlets, you'll find the following product articles useful:

  • Simple SQL Change Automation Scripting: The Release Object – describes the release artifact, which contains the Update script to do the database synchronization, an HTML report of the release, and a report of any code issues. Demonstrates some basic scripts for SCA build and update operations, with the release object.
  • Practical PowerShell Processes with SCA - Use SCA to do a database Release from a NuGet build package of the latest source, including web-based database documentation, a change report and static code analysis assessment.

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