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SQL Build Manager is an all-in-one database management tool to easily update your fleet SQL Server databases - from one to tens of thousands.

Leveraging Azure Container Instance (ACI) for database builds

Why use ACI?

If you have a fleet of databases to update, it could take a very long time to run your build on a single machine, even if you leverage the threaded model. Similar to leveraging Azure Batch or Kubernetes, to ensure you can complete your updates in a timely fashion, SQL Build Manager can target ACI to distribute you build across multiple serverless containers - each leveraging their own set of concurrent tasks. You can control the level of concurrency to maximize throughput while not overloading your SQL Servers (see details on concurrency management) To leverage ACI, you will need an Azure subscription with several Azure resources deployed.

Getting Started

Container Image

The default container image can be found in GitHub Container Registry at, or you could build your own from source using the following command from the /src/ folder

docker build -f Dockerfile .. -t sqlbuildmanager:latest

If you don’t have Docker desktop or would rather off load your container builds, you can leverage Azure Container Registry build tasks with the Azure CLI from the src directory. This will build your image and save it to the registry:

az acr build --image $nameAndTag --registry $azureContainerRegistryName --file Dockerfile .

Environment Setup

While the ACI execution process will create the ACI for you, it also leverages Azure Service Bus, Azure Event Hub, Azure Key Vault and Azure Blob Storage. You can create your own resources either through the Azure portal, az cli or Azure PowerShell. The only special configuration is with Azure Service Bus which requires a Topic named sqlbuildmanager.

It is recommended that you can create the resources via the included PowerShell create_azure_resources.ps1. This script will create all of the resources you need and an option for 2 SQL servers and 20 databases in elastic pools. It will also create a new folder and pre-configured settings files in a folder ./src/TestConfig. The settings files are needed for running integration tests but also serve as excellent references for you to create your own settings files.

Example and How To

1. Save the common settings to the config files

The recommended way to run an ACI deployment is to first save the settings that you will leverage in a --settingsfile. Since ACI always leverages Key Vault, not secrets are stored in the file and as such, no --settingsfilekey is required! Instead, the secrets will be saved directly into Key Vault.

sbm aci savesettings --aciname "<ACI Name>" --acirg "<ACI resource group>" --identityname "<Managed Identity Name>" --idrg "<Managed identity resource group>" -sb "<service bus topic connection string>"  -kv "<Key Vault Name>" --settingsfile "<settings file name>" --storageaccountname "<storage acct name>" --storageaccountkey "<storage acct key>" -eh "<event hub connection string>" --defaultscripttimeout 500 --subscriptionid "<azure subscription id>" --force 

You can automate they collection and saving of secrets with the included PowerShell script:

#Collects resource keys, saves them to Key Vault and creates settings file
create_aci_settingsfile.ps1 -path "<path to save the files>" -resourceGroupName "<resource group with the KV and identity>" -keyVaultName "<name of Key Vault>" -aciName "<name of ACI" -storageAccountName "<Name of storage account>" -eventHubNamespaceName "<Name of event hub namespace>" -serviceBusNamespaceName "<Name of service bus namespace>" -identityName "<Managed identity name>" -sqlUserName "<SQL user name" -sqlPassword "<SQL Password>"

2. Upload your SBM Package file to your storage account and create customized ARM template

The ACI containers retrieve the build package from Azure storage, this command will create a storage container with the name of the --jobname (it will be lower cased and any invalid characters removed) and upload the SBM file to the new container. It will also create a customized ARM template which will be used to deploy the ACI containers in the deploy step.

sbm aci prep --settingsfile "<settings file name>" --tag "<container version tag>" --jobname "<job name>" -P "<sbm package name" --outputfile "<name for ARM template>" --containercount "<number of containers>" --concurrency "<concurrency value" --concurrencytype "<concurrency type>"

3. Queue up the override targets in Service Bus

IMPORTANT: If using arguments, the jobname and concurrencytype values MUST match the values used in the prep steps otherwise the messages will not get processed.

sbm aci enqueue --settingsfile "<settings file name>" --jobname "<job name>" --concurrencytype "<concurrency type>" --override "<override file name>"

4. Deploy Container and Monitor progress

Next is to deploy the ACI to create the containers. The --templatefile value is the file you created in the prep step as the --outputfile. By default, once the deployment is complete, it will start monitoring progress against the Service Bus and Event Hub. You can change this behavior by setting the --monitor argument to false. This step will extract the jobname and concurrencytype from the values already saved in the --templatefile. The --override argument is not required, but it will allow the monitor to track the target database count and stop monitoring when all targets have been processed.

sbm aci deploy --settingsfile "<settings file name>" --templatefile "<ARM template file>" --override "<override file name>" --monitor 

if you would rather run an extra step (for whatever reason), you can run a separate monitor command:

sbm aci monitor --settingsfile "<settings file name>" --jobname "<job name>" --concurrencytype "<concurrency type>" --override "<override file name>"

All of the run logs will be transferred from the pods to the storage container specified in the jobname argument. When monitoring is complete, it will output a Blob container SAS token that you can use in Azure Storage Explorer to easily view the logs.

IMPORTANT: After the sbm aci deploy (with monitoring) or sbm aci monitor completes, as part of the clean-up, it will remove the Service Bus Topic associated with the build. This will deactivate the running containers.