Tools to Help Document Azure Resource Groups

Sometimes is a good to go back an review any fundamental concepts. This way you can refresh and improve your skill sets. It’s true that practice makes perfect!

So, while reviewing the Microsoft Docs “Azure Architecture Fundamentals” . Here it discuss the use of Dashboards you can customized and organized your Azure resources. This course will help you setup a sandbox environment, so you can build a WordPress web application.


I went ahead to create my dashboard  documenting this exercise. Just keeping it simple!

For more information click on Azure Dashboard. You can create up to 100 ‘Private’ dashboards per user.

The next tool has recently got some attention: AzViz PowerShell module. This is module has the ability to generate a visual representation of your Azure Resources.

What was Great about this PowerShell module? For some time, I’ve created many sample demo resource assets within my subscription. This module show me the mess I have with my Azure assets in the cloud. See below image.

This is great tool for documenting your Azure Resources Group with a single one-liner help you create the the an image file of your Azure Resources Group assets.

## - AzViz example, after connecting to your Azure Subscription:
Import-Module AzViz
Export-AzViz -ResourceGroup 'your-azresourcegrp' -Theme light -OutputFormat png -Show -Direction top-to-bottom

Note: Keep in mind, you’ll need to manually rename the output.png file.

As you can see, much better picture presentation compare to the messy one.

This module will can be installed from the PowerShell Gallery, and any issues reported in Github.

As you can see, these tool not only help you to document, but also manage and organize your workloads.

Go Ahead and Try it!

Handling SQL Server Connection strings with PowerShell Secret Management

Finally, I came up with a practical example using the Powershell Secret Management module for storing SQL credentials. This is an excellent way of keeping your SQL connection strings information out of your scripting code. This way we just have it stored in our Vault.

Where do I start?

To install the Powershell Secret Management module, execute the following series of one-liners in a PowerShell prompt to install the latest version from the PowerShell Gallery:

Note: This module has finally reached GA (Generally Available) status.

## - install from the PowerShell Gallery both: SecretManagement, and SecretStore modules:
Install-Module Microsoft.PowerShell.SecretManagement, Microsoft.PowerShell.SecretStore

## - Register the vault with a given name:
Register-SecretVault -Name SecretStore -ModuleName Microsoft.PowerShell.SecretStore -DefaultVault

Now, we got the default “SecretStore” vault created. The vault password will ask once you start adding secrets.

The following cmdlets make it easy to manage your vault:

## - Module: Microsoft.PowerShell.SecretManagement

## - Microsoft.PowerShell.SecretStore

Note: By-Design. There can only be one vault available.

Take your time to learn these commands.

Let the fun begin

Let’s cut down to the chase and see how this works. I’m going to proceed to create my secret SQL Server connection string values.

Keep in mind, secrets management supports five types of objects: byte[], String, SecureString, PSCredential, and Hashtable. By DEFAULT, the secret will be stored as a ‘SecureString‘ object.

Be creative! Why not store my connection string(s) as a hash table object containing my credential information in the following way:

## - Create hashtable object containing the SQL Connection String:
[hashtable]$MysqlCred01 = @{SqlName = "localhost,1445";Sqlusr = "sa"; SqlPwd = '$MyPwd01!';};

## - This is to veryfy the hashtable object was Properly created:

Next after creating the hashtable object, is to save it in the vault with the following command “Set-Secret“:

## - Storing the secret in the vault:
Set-Secret -name MysqlCred01 -secret $MysqlCred01

Note: the first time you store a secret value to the vault, you’ll be prompted for a password.

As you save more secrets, use the following command “Get-SecretInfo” to list what you have in the vault:

## Displaying all stored secrets:

Now, to get your secret from the vault and use it in PowerShell:

## - Pulling the secret out of the vault into PowerShell variable as plain text:
$MysqlhashCred01 = Get-secret -name MysqlCred01 -asplaintext

## - Accessing hash table values:

You will notice that eventually, your access will time-out locking you out of the vault. Here’s you use the following command “Unlock-SecretStore” to temporarily unlock the vault:

## - Unlocking the vault to access your secrets providing the vault password:
Unlock-SecretStore -Password '$yourpwd!'

Now, the “Unlock-SecretStore” command is useful for script automation. when you want the script to quickly access the vault. You’ll need to do the following:

## - Unlocking the vault for automation:
Unlock-SecretStore -Password $(ConvertTo-SecureString -String '$yourpwd!' -AsPlainText);

This way SecretStore vault will not prompt for a password.

Implementing Secret in a GUI Application

Here’s an example of implementing secret in one of my SAPIEN PowerShell Studio GUI applications that check for SQL Server Database Index Fragmentation.

This is a multi-form Window application that where you can select a connection string stored in your SecretStore vault. then you can select the Database and click on the “Start-Job” button to list the status of Database index fragmentation. In this sample application, I can connect to both my local SQL Server and 2 of my Azure SQL Databases.

If you work with PowerShell, both SAPIEN’s Primalscript and PowerShell Studio is a good tool to have for any Administrators and DevOps. Try them out!

For more information

1. Secret Management Blog post.

2. Secret Management in Github. (Post any bugs and/or feedback here)

3. SecretStore in Github. (Post any bugs and/or feedback here)

Have a GREAT SQL PowerShell Day! This is the way!

PowerShell Working with SQL Logins Name

This blog post is following “Changing a SQL Server Login name with T-SQL“. Let’s take advantage of the .NET SMO framework assembly object model Namespaces with PowerShell to change a Windows account in a SQL Server Logins.

Remember to download the latest version of PowerShell.

There’s nothing wrong in using SSMS (SQL Server Management Studio) as our GUI application to manage our SQL Server engine. But soon, you will have the need to use PowerShell scripting for automating some daily tasks. And, Trust me! It will save you time.

Both Microsoft and the SQL Server Community provide you with some of the Awesome tools, such as the following PowerShell modules: SQLPS, SqlServer, Secretmanagement, and DBATools.

Let’s begin with creating  a list all SQL users on our SQL Server using the DBATools module  “Get-DBAuser” command:

Get-DBADBUser -SqlInstance 'localhost,1433'

As you can see, this command returns a lot of information you can export and dissect in many way.

Now, let’s take this a little further using SMO Object Model Namespaces.

Don’t be scare! in order to start using these SMO Classes. To start, all you need to have installed any of the following PowerShell Modules: SQLPS, SQLServer or DBATools, then execute the “import-Module” command:

## This will load SMO assemblies:
Import-Module SqlServer

Then all necessary SMO Assemblies are loaded and ready to be consumed during your PowerShell session. You can start building your own PowerShell one-liners or scripts/functions command to interact with the SQL Server engine.

Let’s cut to chase, and create a simple PowerShell function “Get-SqlLogins‘ to simply list all my SQL logins in my SQL Server:

## - function_Get-SqlLogins.ps1:

function Get-Sqllogins
[parameter(Mandatory = $true)]

## - Prepare connection to SQL Server:
$SQLSrvConn = `
new-object Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Common.SqlConnectionInfo($sqlname, $uname, $upwd);
$SQLSrvObj = new-object Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Smo.Server($SQLSrvConn);

## - Get SQL SERVER list of database names:
$global:itm = 0
$SQLSrvObj.logins | Select-Object @{ l = 'itm'; e = { $global:itm; ++$global:itm }; }, name, logintype;

$sqlname = 'localhost,1433';
$uname = 'sa';
$upwd = '$SqlPwd01!';

Get-Sqllogins -sqlname $sqlname -uname $uname -upwd $upwd

## - End-of-File

Note: Save this code as function_Get-Sqllogins.ps1. 

You can edit this file to run one liner at the time and explore the $SQLSrObj PowerShell object.

Use the following GET-Member(alias gm)command to explore the object content:

## - exploring .NET Objects:
$SQLSrvObj | gm | Out-GridView

This is a good way to learn about your PowerShell objects.  You’ll be surprised by the ton of information you can find for documentation.

Now, try listing all SQL logins names by typing the following:

## - shorthand  to list all values in a object proprety:

So, with a few lines of code, you can quickly get results.

Now, proceeding with looking for the Windows account I want to change the name in the SQL Login.

For this, I need to add line numbers to the PSObject result. This way I can Isolate the Login ID:

$global:cnt = 0
$SQLSrvObj.logins | Select-Object @{ l = ‘cnt’; e = { $global:cnt; ++$global:cnt }; }, name, logintype

For the finale: Changing the SQL Login Name. I’m going to manually do this using SMO PowerShell One-liner:
I found that element #5 is the SQL login I need to change:

## - verify before making the changeto the SQL Login object;

So far we’ve been working with SMO .NET Objects properties. Here’s where we use SMO .NET methods which affect the object (element#5) I have manually selected using “$SQLSrvObj.logins[5]“:

Last steps for updating the SQL Login name:

Note: Keeping in mind, the actual change starts at the Windows Account level. 

1. The *.Alter() method sets the object ready to be changed:


2. followup by the *.rename(**string**) method which will affect the name object.


3. And, finally we use the *.refresh() to update all logins list with the name change.


AS you can see,  this open to some automation opportunities that can involve Windows Domain with SQL Server Accounts administration.

Don’t forget! always test your scripts. Practice makes a good scripter, and never be afraid of trying new stuff.

SQL PowerShell! It is the way!

Changing a SQL Server Login name with T-SQL

It’s been some time since my last blog post! Changing a SQL Server Login name uising  T-SQL.

Everyone who has tried at first, knows that it has its caveats. I couldn’t find a straight answer to the errors I was getting. You would think changing the sql login name should be simple. But, I was using the wrong approach.

First, we are working with “WindowsUser” login type. In SQLServer, I’m trying to fix a Windows User (local account)name  from “dev01” to “devUser01” using the following T-SQL statement:

ALTER Login [MXTLPT01\Dev01] WITH NAME = [MXTLPT01\DevUser01]

but, in  doing so I got the following error message:

“Windows NT user or group ‘MXTLPT01\DevUser01’ not found. Check the name again.”

Of course, “MXTLPT01\DevUser01” Windows user account doesn’t exist on my system.

So, I created the user I try to run the T_SQL statement:

ALTER Login [MXTLPT01\Dev01] WITH NAME = [MXTLPT01\Devtest01]

Nope, it didn’t not work ending with the following message:

Msg 15098, Level 16, State 1, Line 31
The name change cannot be performed because the SID of the new name does not match the old SID of the principal.

Basically, It translate to your Windows Account SID Object in SQL Server doesn’t match the object you’re trying to change.

In other word, you need to work with the Windows User originally created in WINDOWS (Locally or Domain), has changed first before executing the T-SQL statement “Alter Login… With Name=…”will be successful:

I ran the statement after the the change took place in my Windows system;

ALTER Login [MXTLPT01\Dev01] WITH NAME = [MXTLPT01\DevUser01]

This time it works.

Wait! What about using PowerShell?

Check out the next blog post “PowerShell Working with SQL Logins Name

Happy SQLAdmin!

Getting Ready for PowerShell 7.1 (GA)

This November, PowerShell 7.1 (GA) will become available, as well as PowerShell 7.2 Preview version. And it will come with some interesting features.
If you want more information on these upcoming releases, check out the following two videos:

* Taking your automation to the next level with PowerShell 7

* PowerShell Unplugged – Challenge Edition

Both videos will give you enough information about the history and what’s coming in PowerShell 7.1.
I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.

But wait! There’s more. Don’t forget to check out any of the existing modules found in the PowerShell Gallery, such as:

* Microsoft.PowerShell.SecretManagement and Microsoft.PowerShell.SecretStore

* Microsoft.PowerShell.GraphicalTools and Microsoft.PowerShell.ConsoleGuiTools

* Microsoft.PowerShell.UnixCompleters

Remember, PowerShell has become the cross-platform automation tool of choice for Windows, Linux, and macOS.
It’s never too late to get on the PowerShell bandwagon!

Fixing the SQL Server Configuration SERVERNAME function value after renaming the computer name

You own a personal computer, and you want to learn about SQL Server. Then, you probably installed the SQL Server Developer Edition, which is free. But, there will be times when you may decide to change the computer name. And, because you have already installed SQL Server, you will find there are a few things in the SQL Server configuration that will need to be corrected.

The first sign of something wrong!

In my case, I renamed my computer name from ‘DESKTOP-K6AKFTA‘ to ‘MAXTLAPTOP1‘ with SQL Server previously installed. Then, while executing an SSIS SQL job, the job failed to execute giving me the following error:

Keep in mind, the User-id was added to the SQL Server security logins group with the previous computer name. Here is where you’ll find that something is not right.

Fixing the Computer Name for the User-Id

Use the SQL Server Object Explorer and navigate to the “Security\Logins” folder. Here you can find the local user with the wrong machine name.

To correct the User-Id, just right-click and select “Rename” to change the computer name.


Next, right-click in the User-Id, select “Properties“, and then go to “Securables“. Here you’ll find the SQL Server Instance Name is wrong.


This needs to be fixed!

Check the current SQL Server Configuration Server Name

To verify the SQL Server configuration system name use the “@@SERVERNAME” function by executing the following T-SQL script:

## - Execute the following T-SQL command:
-- Get SQL Server first time "Installed" Servername with Instance Name:
-- Note: Assuming this is run after the system has been renamed.
Select @@SERVERNAME CurrentSvrNameWithSqlInstanceName;


As stated in the Microsoft documentation, this function will display the value saved after the SQL Server installation. This value is will not be updated if the computer gets renamed.

By executing the above T-SQL script you’ll notice the return will not match the new computer name.

Fixing the SQL Server Configuration Server Name

To fix the SQL Server Configuration “@@SERVERNAME” function value you’ll need to use two of the Security Stored Procedures: “sp_dropserver” and “sp_addserver“. Below, I created a Dynamic SQL (T-SQL) Script solution to take care of this issue:

First, using the “sp_dropserver” to drop the server name:

-- Drop the wrong SQL Server Configuration @@Servername:
Declare @TSql1 nvarchar(max);
Declare @cfgSvrNameWithSqlInstName nvarchar(50);
Set @cfgSvrNameWithSqlInstName = (Select @@SERVERNAME);
Set @TSql1 = 'sp_dropserver ' + '''' + @cfgSvrNameWithSqlInstName + '''';

print @Tsql1;

exec sp_executesql @TSql1;

Next, I use the “sp_addserver” to add back the correct server name:

-- Fix the SQL Server Configuration @@SERVENAME with SqlInstance Name:
Declare @TSql2 nvarchar(max);
Declare @fixSvrNameWithSqlInstName nvarchar(50);
Set @fixSvrNameWithSqlInstName = (Select convert(nvarchar, SERVERPROPERTY('servername')));
Set @TSql2 = 'sp_addserver ' + '''' + @fixSvrNameWithSqlInstName + ''''+ ', local';

print @TSql2;

exec sp_executesql @TSql2;

Then, to verify the change works, use the following T-SQL statement:


Or, in SSMS, use the SQL Server Object Explorer, navigate to the “Security\Logins” folder, right-click in the User-Id, select “Properties“, and then go to “Securables“. Then, you’ll see the server name has been fixed.

Now, can this be automated? Yes, we can use PowerShell to automate this process.
That’s the next step.

Stay tuned for more!

Installing PowerShell 7 in Ubuntu 20.04

Everyone knows, that sometime soon, Microsoft will support the PowerShell installation in Ubuntu 20.04. But, in the meantime, there’s another way. And, this also applies to WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux) Ubuntu 20.04.

It is the way!

First, you must follow the instructions for installing .NET Core for Ubuntu 20.04 from the Microsoft Documentation:

Basically, the following commands will install both the .NET Core SDK and the Runtime components:

## Install the SDK

wget -O packages-microsoft-prod.deb
sudo dpkg -i packages-microsoft-prod.deb

sudo apt-get update; \
sudo apt-get install -y apt-transport-https && \
sudo apt-get update && \
sudo apt-get install -y dotnet-sdk-3.1

## Install Runtime

sudo apt-get update; \
sudo apt-get install -y apt-transport-https && \
sudo apt-get update && \
sudo apt-get install -y aspnetcore-runtime-3.1

sudo apt-get install -y dotnet-runtime-3.1

So, after the .NET Core gets installed, then proceed to install the “.NET Global” tool:

## - Install .NET Interactive:
dotnet tool install --global Microsoft.dotnet-interactive

## Install PowerShell Global:
dotnet tool install --global PowerShell

Almost there! There’s one more step we need to do. If you try executing PowerShell, the system can’t find the program.

To resolve the issue of PowerShell not found, we need to add the path to the .NET Global Tools components so that PowerShell can start.

In my case, I open my VIM editor using “sudo” so I can modify the “~/.bashrc” file.

## Add .NET Tools path in Bashrc
$ sudo vim ~/.bashrc
## - Add path to .NET Tools:
export PATH=$PATH:~/.dotnet/tools

## - Refresh session after updating bashrc:
$ source ~/.bashrc

At this point, now you can start using PowerShell 7 in Ubuntu 20.04.

But, how to update PowerShell?

Simple! The following two commands will update .NET Tools when the update becomes available:

dotnet tool update -g --add-source "" Microsoft.dotnet-interactive
dotnet tool update -g powershell

And, the following command will confirm the latest version of both the .NET Tools installed in the system:

dotnet tool list --global

Now, go ahead and have fun with PowerShell.

Happy PowerShelling!!

Available in the Microsoft Store – PowerShell Preview

Yes! If you haven’t noticed by now, PowerShell Preview is available for download from the Microsoft Store.
Just do a search for “PowerShell

It just takes less than a minute to install.

One thing you’ll miss from installing Powershell Preview using the MSI installation! That is, setting the additional options.

After the installation from the Microsoft Store, the PowerShell Preview application settings can be found under the Windows 10 Settings “Apps & features” section.

Then, click on the “Advanced options” to see additional information or make any changes to the application.

Now, the next time there’s an update to the PowerShell Preview, Windows 10 will take care of it automatically.

Happy PowerShelling!

Updating your .NET Tools components

Have you installed any of the .NET Tools? Such as “.NET Interactive” and “PowerShell Global“, then you’ll need to remember, to update these tools manually.

These tools give you the ability to use create Jupyter Notebook using Python Kernel but also with C#, F#, and PowerShell 7 kernels.

Check Current Version

First, need to list which .NET Tools are currently installed by using the following command:

dotnet tool list --global

In this sample, I opened a PowerShell 7 console and executed the command.

Manual Update

To update the tools, use the “dotnet tool …” command as follows:

1. To update the “Microsoft .NET Interactive” tool to the latest version:

dotnet tool update -g --add-source "" Microsoft.dotnet-interactive

Completion message: (As of 07/30/2020, 16:20 PM)

Tool ‘microsoft.dotnet-interactive’ was successfully updated from version ‘1.0.136102’ to version ‘1.0.137901’.

2. To update PowerShell Global tool to the latest version:

dotnet tool update --global PowerShell

Completion message: (As of 07/30/2020, 16:20 PM)
Tool ‘powershell’ was successfully updated from version ‘7.0.2’ to version ‘7.0.3’.

*Note: If you have installed Anaconda, a manual update will be needed.

Keep in mind, these tools are not managed by Windows Update. So, you need to periodically run the update yourself.

This also applies to WSL 2 (Windows Subsystem for Linux).

More Information

WSL 2 – PowerShell Update-Help cmdlet is not working

Just recently I discovered, when executing the Update-Help cmdlet in WSL 2, that it doesn’t do anything.

Behavior: Run with no progress bar and no error messages at the end of the process. 

I have reported in the PowerShell Github repository and it will be addressed to the proper product group. This is on Windows 10 Version 2004, including Windows 10 Insider edition.

There are two workarounds to this issue:

Workaround #1

The workaround is shown below, thanks to Aditya Patwardhan (Microsoft PowerShell Developer) who provide the hint.

There are two Linux Bash environment variables that need to be updated: LANG and LC_ALL.

Check the current values using the echo command and, in my case, it shows:

## Current values:
(base) maxt@sapien01:~$ echo $LANG
(base) maxt@sapien01:~$ echo $LC_ALL
(base) maxt@sapien01:~$

Use the following “export” commands to change their values to be “en_US.UTF-8“:

(base) maxt@sapien01:~$
(base) maxt@sapien01:~$ export LC_ALL='en_US.UTF-8'
(base) maxt@sapien01:~$ export LANG='en_US.UTF-8'
(base) maxt@sapien01:~$
(base) maxt@sapien01:~$ echo $LC_ALL
(base) maxt@sapien01:~$ echo $LANG
(base) maxt@sapien01:~$

This will fix the issue temporarily during your WSL session, and the Update-Help will work properly.

For now, it may be needed to add these “export …” lines to the “~/.bashrc” file until the fix is available.

Workaround #2

Simply use the “Update-Help” specifying the UIculture:

Update-Help -uiculture en-us

That’s it!!

Keep PowerShelling!