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SQL Build Manager is an all in one tool for building and maintaining a package of SQL scripts to manage builds and updates to your SQL Server database.

SQL Build Manager

SQL Build Manager is a multi-faceted tool to allow you to manage the lifecyle of your databases. It started as a forms based application for the management of a handful of databases and then switched focus to command line automation for the management of thousands of databases.

Change notes

Key Features

The Basics

At the core of the process is the “SQL Build Manager Package” file (.sbm extension). Under the hood, this file is a Zip file that contains the scripts that constitute your “release” along with a configuration file (SqlSyncBuildProject.xml) that contains meta data on the scripts and execution parameters:

Creating a Build Package

Forms UI

While the focus of the app has changed to command line automation, the forms GUI is fully functional. If you are looking for a visual tool, check out Sql Build Manager.exe. There is docmentation on the GUI that you can find here that will walk through the creation of build packages.

Command line

The command line utility is geared more toward executing a build vs. creating the package itself. You can however extract a build package file from a DACPAC file using the Action=ScriptExtract flag. This is useful if you are utilizing the recommended data-tier application method.

A DACPAC can also be created directly from a target “Platinum Database” (why platinum? because it’s even more precious than gold!). Using the /Action={Threaded|Remote|Batch} along with the flags /PlatinumDbSource="<database name>" and /PlatinumServerSource="<server name>" the app will generate a DACPAC from the source database then can then be used to run a build directly on your target(s).

Running Builds (command line)

There are 4 ways to run your database update builds each with their target use case


Leveraging the /Action=Build command, this runs the build on the current local machine. If you are targeting more than one database, the execution will be serial, only updating one database at a time and any transaction rollback will occur to all databases in the build.


Using the /Action=Threaded command will allow for updating multiple databases in parallel, but still executed from the local machine. Any transaction rollbacks will occur only on per-database - meaning if 5 of 6 databases succeed, the build will be committed on the 5 and rolled back only on the 6th


Using the /Action=Batch command leverages Azure Batch to permit massively parallel updates across thousands of databases. To leverage Azure Batch, you will first need to set up your Batch account. The instructions for this can be found here

An excellent tool for viewing and monitoring your Azure batch accounts and jobs can be found here


Using /Action=Remote, this method leverages an Azure Cloud Service deployment of the SqlBuildManager.Services application. This is a legacy method that allows for massively parallel updates. It is considered legacy because Azure Cloud Services themselves are a legacy deployment and also because of the effort to deploy and configure the Cloud Service compared to the same capability available via Azure Batch.

Full Command Line Reference

Command line automation is accomplished via SqlBuildManager.Console.exe. The usage is

Usage: SqlBuildManager.Console /Action=<action> | args below

    /? or /help                      Show this help

Action value options (/Action=<value>)
    Build                    Performs a standard,local SBM execution via command line
    Threaded                 For updating multiple databases simultaneously from the current machine
    Remote                   For updating multiple databases simultaneously using remote execution servers to spread the processing 
    Batch                    For updating multiple databases simultaneously using Azure batch services
    Package                  Creates an SBM package from an SBX configuraiton file and scripts
    PolicyCheck              Performs a script policy check on the specified SBM package
    GetHash                  Calculates the SHA-1 hash fingerprint value for the SBM package (scripts + run order)
    CreateBackout            Generates a backout package (reversing stored procedure and scripted object changes)
    GetDifference            Determines the difference between SQL Build run histories for two databases. Calculate and list out packages that need to be run between /Database and /GoldDatabase
    Syncronize               Performs a database syncronization between between /Database and /GoldDatabase
    ScriptExtract            Extract a SBM package from a source /PlatinumDacPac

General Authentication settings (/Action={Build|Threaded|Remote|Batch|GetDifference|Syncronize})
    /AuthType="<type>"                Values: "Windows" (default if no Username/Password set), "AzureADIntegrated", "AzureADPassword", "Password" (default if Username/Password set)
    /UserName="<username>"            The username to authenticate against the database if not using integrate auth (required when RemoteServers="azure")
    /Password="<password>"            The password to authenticate against the database if not using integrate auth (required when RemoteServers="azure")
    /Database="<database name>"       1) Name of a single database to run against or 2) source database for scripting or runtime configuration
    /Server="<server name>"           1) Name of a server for single database run or 2) source server for scripting or runtime configuration

General Runtime settings (/Action={Build|Threaded|Remote})
    /PackageName="<filename>"         Name of the .sbm or .sbx file to execute
    /RootLoggingPath="<directory>"    Directory to save execution logs (for threaded and remote executions)
    /Trial=(true|false)               Whether or not to run in trial mode (default is false)
    /Transactional=(true|false)       Whether or not to run with a wrapping transaction (default is true)
    /Override=("<filename>"|list)     File containing the target database settings (usually a formatted .cfg file)
    /Description="<description>"      A free form description for the execution run
    /LogAsText=(true|false)           Whether to log as text or HTML. Default is true
    /BuildRevision="<rev identifier>" If provided, the build will include an update to a "Versions" table and this will be the value used to add to a "VersionNumber" column (varchar(max))
    /LogToDatabaseName="<db name>"    [Not recommended] Specifies that the SqlBuild_logging logs should go to an alternate database (vs. target). 
    /ScriptSrcDir="<directory>"       [Not recommended] Alternative ability to run against a directory of scripts (vs .sbm or .sbx file)
    /ScriptLogFile="<filename>"       [Not recommended] Alternate name for the file containing the script run log

Azure Batch Execution (/Action=Batch)
    /PlatinumDacpac="<filename>"              Name of the dacpac containing the platinum schema
    /PackageName="<filename>"                 Name of the .sbm or .sbx file to execute
    /RootLoggingPath="<directory>"            Directory to save execution logs 
    /DeleteBatchPool=(true|false)             Whether or not to delete the batch pool servers after an execution (default is true)
	/DeleteBatchJob=(true|false)              Whether or not to delete the batch job after an execution (default is true)
    /BatchNodeCount="##"                      Number of nodes to provision to run the batch job  (default is 10)
    /BatchVmSize="<size>"                     Size key for VM size required (see [can also be set via BatchVmSize app settings key]
    /BatchAccountName="<batch acct name>"     String name of the Azure Batch account  [can also be set via BatchAccountName app settings key]
    /BatchAccountKey="<batch acct key>"       Account Key for the Azure Batch account [can also be set via BatchAccountKey app settings key]
    /BatchAccountUrl="<batch acct url>"       URL for the Azure Batch account [can also be set via BatchAccountUrl app settings key]
    /StorageAccountName="<storage acct name>" Name of storage account associated with the Azure Batch account  [can also be set via StorageAccountName app settings key]
    /StorageAccountKey="<storage acct key>"   Account Key for the storage account  [can also be set via StorageAccountKey app settings key]
    /BatchJobName="<name>"                    [Optional] User friendly name for the job. This will also be the container name for the stored logs. Any disallowed URL characters will be replaced with "-"

Remote Execution settings (/Action=Remote)
    /RemoteServers=("<filename>"|derive|azure)     Pointer to file that contains the list of remote execution servers,
                                                   "derive" to parse servers from DB list, azure to use Azure PaaS instances
    /TimeoutRetryCount=(integer)                   Number of times to retry os a script timeout is encountered (default is 0)
    /DistributionType=(equal|local)                Sets whether to split execution evenly across all execution servers 
	                                               or have each agent only run against its local databases. Local not supported with RemoteServers="azure" 
    /TestConnectivity=(true|false)                 True value will test connection to remote agent and databases but will not execute SQL scripts
    /AzureRemoteStatus=true                        Return a status of the Azure remote execution services. Will not execute SQL 
    /RemoteDbErrorList=<remote name>|all           Returns the list of databases that has execution errors in the last run. Use "all" to get list from all remote servers
    /RemoteErrorDetail=<server:db>|<instance>|all  Retrieves the error detail for each instance in error. Is "server:db" is provided, full log detail is returned

Dacpac Execution (/Action={Threaded|Remote|Batch})
    /PlatinumDacpac="<filename>"            Name of the dacpac containing the platinum schema
    /TargetDacpac="<filename>"              Name of the dacpac containing the schema of the database to be updated
    /ForceCustomDacPac=(true|false)         *USE WITH CAUTION! (/Action=Threaded only)This will force the dacpac extraction and creation of custom scripts for EVERY target database! Your execution will take much longer.
    /PlatinumDbSource="<database name>"     Instead of a formally built Platinum Dacpac, target this database as having the desired state schema
    /PlatinumServerSource="<server name>"   Instead of a formally built Platinum Dacpac, target a database on this server as having the desired state schema

Script Extraction from Dacpac (/Action=ScriptExtract)
    /PlatinumDacpac="<filename>"            Name of the dacpac containing the platinum schema
    /OutputSbm="<filename>"                 Name (and path) of the SBM package to create

Database Synchronization (/Action={Synchronize|GetDifference})
    /GoldDatabase="<database name>"   The "gold copy" database that will serve as the model for what the /Database should look like
    /GoldServer="<server name>"       The server that the "gold copy" database can be found
    /ContinueOnFailure=(true|false)   Whether or not to continue on the failure of a package. Default is false. 

SBX to SBM packaging (/Action=Package)
    /Directory="<directory>"          Directory containing 1 or more SBX files to package into SBM zip files
Policy checking (/Action=PolicyCheck)
    /PackageName="<filename>"        Name of the SBM package to check policies on

Calculate hash/fingerprint (/Action=GetHash)
    /PackageName="<filename>"        Name of the SBM package to calculate SHA-1 hash value
Creating backout packages (/Action=CreateBackout)
    /PackageName="<filename>"        Name of the SBM package to calculate a backout package for
    /Server=<servername>             Name of the server that contains the desired state schema to "backout to"
    /Database=<databasename>         Name of the database that contains the desired state schema to "backout to"

Notes on Building

If you have installed the SqlBuildManager.Services.Host as a windows service in the bin\debug folder of the solution, you will need to run Visual Studio as an administrator. This is because VS will need to run net stop and net start on the service to get the build to complete.

Notes in Unit Testing

NOTE: There are currently some concurrency issues with the unit tests. You may get some failures in a full run that will then succeed after running aain, selecting only the failed tests

SQL Express

In order to get some of the unit tests to succeeed, you need to have a local install of SQLExpress. You can find the installer from here [] ( You should be able to leverage the basic install.

Remote execution server (running locally)

If you are leveraging a remote execution server (NOTE: this is a depricated feature) you will need to setup this service locally and make sure it is running. The service will need to run under a local administrator account.

Create the local administrator account

You might need to create a new local user on your machine to get the service host permissions to access the database. To do this:

  1. Create a new local account sqlbuildmanager (suggestion) to your machine - remember the password!
  2. Change the account type to Administrator - this is so that the account can start the local service

Add the new local account to SQL Express

  1. Connect to your SQLExpress local server via your favorite tool
  2. Run the following scripts (replace <machinename> with your machine name)
    USE [master];
    CREATE LOGIN [<machinename>\sqlbuildmanager] FROM WINDOWS;
    USE [msdb];
    CREATE USER [<machinename>\sqlbuildmanager] FOR LOGIN [<machinename>\sqlbuildmanager]
    sp_addsrvrolemember [<machinename>\sqlbuildmanager], 'sysadmin'

    Install the SqlBuildManager service with the new local account

  3. Open a command prompt as an administrator
  4. Navigate to the bin folder for the SqlBuildManager.Services.Host: SqlBuildManager\SqlBuildManager.Services.Host\bin\Debug
  5. Run the command: SqlBuildManager.Services.Host.exe /install /username=<machinename>\<new admin user> password=<new admin password>
  6. Check to make sure install was successful - open the srevices plugin by typing “Services” in the Windows 10 search bar
  7. On the Services control window, look for SqlBuildManager.Service
  8. Right-click on the service and Start the service

Troubleshooting test errors

If your tests are still failing, check the log file generated by the service. It will be located in SqlBuildManager\SqlBuildManager.Services.Host\bin\Debug\SqlBuildManager.Services.log. Reviewing the logs should give you some insight into the issue.

SQL Package

sqlpackage.exe is needed for the use of the DACPAC features of the tool. It should already be available in the Microsoft_SqlDB_DAC subfolder where you are running your tests. If not, you can install the package from here The unit tests should find the executable but if not, you may need to add the path to \SqlBuildManager\SqlSync.SqlBuild\DacPacHelper.cs in the getter for sqlPackageExe.

Setting up a test Azure Environment

Create Test Target databases

To test against Azure databases, you will need some in Azure! The following PowerShell will create an Azure SQL Server, an Elastic Pool and “X” number of databases for that pool. This can be done locally or via the Azure Cloud Shell (

  1. Create the Resource Group and Server (change your values accordingly)
$ResourceGroupName = "SqlResourceGroup"
$Location = "East US"
$ServerName = "TestServer001"

New-AzResourceGroup  -ResourceGroupName $ResourceGroupName -Location $Location 

New-AzSqlServer -ResourceGroupName $ResourceGroupName -Location $Location -ServerName $ServerName -ServerVersion "12.0" -SqlAdministratorCredentials (Get-Credential)

New-AzSqlServerFirewallRule -AllowAllAzureIPs -ResourceGroupName $ResourceGroupName -ServerName $ServerName

  1. Create the elastic pool
New-AzSqlElasticPool -ResourceGroupName $ResourceGroupName -ServerName $ServerName -ElasticPoolName $ElasticPoolName -Edition "Basic" -Dtu 50 
  1. Create databases within the pool for testing
New-AzSqlDatabase -ResourceGroupName $ResourceGroupName -ServerName $ServerName -ElasticPoolName $ElasticPoolName -DatabaseName $DatabaseName
  1. Or to create a collection of databases you can use
$DatabaseName = "SqlDemo"

For ($i=1; $i -lt 101; $i++) 
    $dbNumber = $DatabaseName + $i.ToString("000")
    New-AzSqlDatabase -ResourceGroupName $ResourceGroupName -ServerName $ServerName -ElasticPoolName $ElasticPoolName -DatabaseName $dbNumber

Creating a database target file

To create database target files for a parallel test execution, you can use the following script. Note that this will get every SQL Server and every database. You may want to add some customization to get only those that you want.

$outputFile = "C:\temp\databasetargets.cfg"
$servers = Get-AzResourceGroup | Get-AzSqlServer
foreach($server in $servers)
    $dbs = Get-AzSqlDatabase -ResourceGroupName $server.ResourceGroupName -ServerName $server.ServerName | Sort-Object -Property DatabaseName
    foreach($db in $dbs)
        if($db.DatabaseName -ne "master")
            $server.FullyQualifiedDomainName + ":client,"+$db.DatabaseName | Out-File -Append $outputFile