Validate a DAC package

Applies to: SQL Server (all supported versions) Azure SQL Database Azure SQL Managed Instance

It is a good practice to review the contents of a DAC package before deploying it in production, and to validate the upgrade actions before upgrading an existing DAC. This is especially true when deploying packages that were not developed in your organization.

Methods to upgrade a DAC package include:

Untrusted DAC packages

We recommend that you do not deploy a DAC package from unknown or untrusted sources. Such DACs could contain malicious code that might execute unintended Transact-SQL code or cause errors by modifying the schema. Before you use a DAC from an unknown or untrusted source, deploy it on an isolated test instance of the Database Engine, run DBCC CHECKDB (Transact-SQL) on the database, and also examine the code, such as stored procedures or other user-defined code, in the database.

View the Contents of a DAC

There are two mechanisms for viewing the contents of a data-tier application (DAC) package:

  • import the DAC package to a SQL project in SQL Server Developer Tools
  • publish the DAC package to a test instance

Import a DAC in SQL Server Developer Tools

  1. Open the File menu, select New, and then select Project....

  2. Select the SQL Server project template, and specify a Name, Location, and Solution name.

  3. In Solution Explorer, right click the project node and select Properties....

  4. On the Project Settings tab, in the Output Types section, select the Data-tier Application (.dacpac File) check box, and then close the properties dialog.

  5. In Solution Explorer, right click the project node and select Import Data-tier Application....

  6. Use Solution Explorer to open all of the files in the DAC, such as the server selection policy and the pre- and post-deployment scripts.

  7. Use the Schema View to review all of the objects in the schema, particularly reviewing the code in objects such as functions or stored procedures.

Publish the DAC package to a test instance

Multiple tools are available to publish a DAC package to a test instance. The SQL Server Dacpac extension for Azure Data Studio contains the Data-tier Application Wizard. We will walk through publishing a DAC package to a test instance.

  1. If needed, deploy a test instance using the deployment wizard.

  2. Connect to your test instance in Azure Data Studio and right-click on the server node. Select Data-tier application wizard from the context menu.

  3. On step 1 of the wizard, select Deploy a data-tier application .dacpac file to an instance of SQL Server

  4. One step 2 of the wizard, input the file location and select New Database for target database. Enter a database name.

  5. On step 3 of the wizard, review the summary before selecting Deploy.

  6. Once the deployment has completed, review the contents of the database in object explorer.

  7. OPTIONAL: Right-click the database in object explorer and select Create project from database to generate a SQL project from the database.

View database changes

After the current version of a DAC was deployed to production, changes may have been made directly to the associated database that might conflict with the schema defined in a new version of the DAC. Before upgrading to a new version of the DAC, check to see if such changes have been made to the database. Under several scenarios you may want to view the difference between a database and a DAC package. For example, changes may have been made directly to the associated database that might conflict with the schema defined in a new version of the DAC.

All databases

View database changes by using schema compare

View database changes by using SqlPackage CLI

The SqlPackage CLI can be used with the DeployReport action to view the differences between a .dacpac and a database through the actions that would be taken if the .dacpac were published to the database.

Databases registered as a data-tier application

View database changes by using a wizard

  1. Run the Upgrade Data-tier Application wizard, specifying the currently deployed DAC and the DAC package containing the new version of the DAC.

  2. On the Detect Change page, review the report of the changes that have been made to the database.

  3. Select Cancel if you do not want to continue with the upgrade.

  4. For more information on using the wizard, see Upgrade a Data-tier Application.

View database changes by using PowerShell

  1. Create a SMO Server object and set it to the instance that contains the DAC to be viewed.

  2. Open a ServerConnection object and connect to the same instance.

  3. Specify the DAC name in a variable.

  4. Use the GetDatabaseChanges() method to retrieve a ChangeResults object, and pipe the object to a text file to generate a simple report of new, deleted, and changed objects.

The following example reports any database changes that have been made in a deployed DAC named MyApplication.

## Set a SMO Server object to the default instance on the local computer.  
CD SQLSERVER:\SQL\localhost\DEFAULT  
$srv = get-item .  
  
## Open a Common.ServerConnection to the same instance.  
$serverconnection = New-Object Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Common.ServerConnection($srv.ConnectionContext.SqlConnectionObject)  
$serverconnection.Connect()  
$dacstore = New-Object Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Dac.DacStore($serverconnection)  
  
## Specify the DAC instance name.  
$dacName  = "MyApplication"  
  
## Generate the change list and save to file.  
$dacChanges = $dacstore.GetDatabaseChanges($dacName) | Out-File -Filepath C:\DACScripts\MyApplicationChanges.txt  

View database changes by using SqlPackage CLI

The SqlPackage CLI can be used with the DriftReport action to view the changes that were made to a database since it was last registered.

View upgrade actions

All databases

View database changes by using SQL project publish

View upgrade actions by using SqlPackage CLI The SqlPackage CLI can be used with the DeployReport action to view the differences between a .dacpac and a database through the actions that would be taken if the .dacpac were published to the database.

Databases registered as a data-tier application

Before using a new version of a DAC package to upgrade a DAC that was deployed from an earlier DAC package, you can generate a report that contains the Transact-SQL statements that will be run during the upgrade, and then review the statements.

Report upgrade actions by using a wizard

  1. Run the Upgrade Data-tier Application wizard, specifying the currently deployed DAC and the DAC package containing the new version of the DAC.

  2. On the Summary page, review the report of the upgrade actions.

  3. Select Cancel if you do not want to continue with the upgrade.

  4. For more information on using the wizard, see Upgrade a Data-tier Application.

Report upgrade actions by using PowerShell

  1. Create a SMO Server object and set it to the instance that contains the deployed DAC.

  2. Open a ServerConnection object and connect to the same instance.

  3. Use System.IO.File to load the DAC package file.

  4. Specify the DAC name in a variable.

  5. Use the GetIncrementalUpgradeScript() method to get a list of the Transact-SQL statements an upgrade would run, and pipe the list to a text file.

  6. Close the file stream used to read the DAC package file.

The following example reports the Transact-SQL statements that would be run to upgrading a DAC named MyApplication to the schema defined in a MyApplication2017.dacpac file.

## Set a SMO Server object to the default instance on the local computer.  
CD SQLSERVER:\SQL\localhost\DEFAULT  
$srv = get-item .  
  
## Open a Common.ServerConnection to the same instance.  
$serverconnection = New-Object Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Common.ServerConnection($srv.ConnectionContext.SqlConnectionObject)  
$serverconnection.Connect()  
$dacstore = New-Object Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Dac.DacStore($serverconnection)  
  
## Load the DAC package file.  
$dacpacPath = "C:\MyDACs\MyApplication2017.dacpac"  
$fileStream = [System.IO.File]::Open($dacpacPath,[System.IO.FileMode]::OpenOrCreate)  
$dacType = [Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Dac.DacType]::Load($fileStream)  
  
## Specify the DAC instance name.  
$dacName  = "MyApplication"  
  
## Generate the upgrade script and save to file.  
$dacstore.GetIncrementalUpgradeScript($dacName, $dacType) | Out-File -Filepath C:\DACScripts\MyApplicationUpgrade.sql  
  
## Close the filestream to the new DAC package.  
$fileStream.Close()  

Compare DACs

Before upgrading a DAC, it is a good practice to review the differences in the database and instance-level objects between the current and new DACs. If you do not have a copy of the package for the current DAC, you can extract a package from the current database.

If you import both DAC packages into DAC projects in SQL Server Developer Tools, you can use the Schema Compare tool to analyze the differences between the two DACs.

Alternatively, unpack the DACs into separate folders. You can then use a difference tool, such as the WinDiff utility, to analyze the differences.

See Also

Data-tier Applications
Deploy a Data-tier Application
Upgrade a Data-tier Application