Automatic Seeding Error

In my lab, I decided to play around with the automatic seeding functionality that is part of Availability Groups. This was sparked by my last post about putting SSISDB into an AG. I wanted to see how it would work for a regular database. When I attempted to do so, I received the following error:

Automatic Seeding Error
Cannot alter the availability group ‘Group1’, because it does not exist or you do not have permission. (Microsoft SQL Server, Error: 15151)

This seemed odd to me. What would cause this error? What changed in my environment?

First, I realized that I did break down my AG and recreate it in management studio. When I created the group, I did not put any databases into the group, so I cold test automatic seeding.

Next, I decided to go through the process and instead of using the GUI, I scripted out the commands and would run manually. This way I could pinpoint where the process was failing.

:Connect sql2016n1

USE [master]




USE [master]


ADD DATABASE [WWI_Preparation];


:Connect sql2016n2



When I ran the above code, the steps that were to run on SQL2016N1, succeeded, but those that were to run on SQL2016N2, failed. Additionally, I received the below message:

Msg 15151, Level 16, State 1, Line 24
Cannot alter the availability group ‘Group1’, because it does not exist or you do not have permission.

I went and looked at the AlwaysOn High Availability folder in SSMS on SQL2016n2 and found nothing.


So, the group cannot be given permissions to create any database, because the group did not exist. Then it dawned on me as to why.

Creating an availability group, without databases using the GUI, only creates the group on the primary. It does not reach out to the secondary replicas to join those nodes to the group. This must be done manually. So to resolve the error, I had to run this code on SQL2016N2:

USE [master]

This allowed the secondary replica to join the AG that was established on SQL2016N1. Then I was able to proceed with the next step of running

USE [master]

Once this was completed, the database started seeding from one node to the other.

I think the biggest takeaway from this is the importance of using a script to do DBA actions instead of the GUI. It allows for a more focused and deliberate execution, where you can see things happen in order. This, in turn, teaches you and allows for greater flexibility, when things go bump.

Enabling AlwaysOn for SSISDB

I am at client where I get to do some fun work. I get to work on a brand new environment that is dedicated to SQL Server. It has some pretty cool specs. Biggest thing is that they are going all 2016. Both the OS and SQL Server will be 2016. This has let to a lot of fun and interesting discussions. One of those being how do we place the SSIS Catalog into an availability group.

This led me to ponder the possibilities. When AlwaysOn first came out, this was not supported. Sure, you could find clever work-arounds for this, but at the end of the day, they were not sanctioned by Microsoft. This would then leave the client in a bit of a bind if they ran into issues. However, starting in SQL Server 2016, this is now supported. Microsoft has made it possible to officially place the SSISDB into an availability group.

Which group you put the SSISDB in, will be a design question that you will need to answer for yourself. In short, it should go into a group that makes sense. If all your databases are in one group, then placing this in DB into the same group makes sense. If you have multiple groups, you may need to make a choice that best suits your application needs.

In this example, I will assume you already have an availability group set up with a listener. In my lab, I have a very simple setup. my availability group is called Group1 and my listener is called Listener1.

This video shows the steps I took to add the SSISDB into an availability group. I even show publishing a SSIS package to the listener name instead of a SQL Server Name.

In case you do not want to watch the video, below is the process I did to add the SSISDB into the availability group.

  1. On the Primary Replica, open SQL Server Management Studio
  2. Right click on Integration Services Catalog, click Create Catalog
  3. On the Create Catalog Dialog,
    Check the box to enable automatic execution of Integration Services stored procedures at SQL Server startup. Then enter a strong password.
  4. Open the Availability Group folder and navigate to the group you want to add the SSISDB to. Right click on Availability Database and click Add Database.
  5. Due to the encryption that the SSISDB uses, you will need to provide the password you used when creating the catalog. Put that password into the password field, click refresh and then click the check box next to SSISDB. Click Next
  6. On the Add Database to Availability Group dialog, ensure that Automatic Seeding is selected. Click Next.
  7. You will be presented with a list of the secondary replicas, connect to each one listed. Then click Next
  8. The information will be validated. As long as there are no failures, click Next.
  9. On the summary dialog, click Finish. SSMS will add the database to the availability group
  10. Click Close
  11. Once the database has been added to the availability group, go to the Integration Services Catalog folder, right click and click Enable AlwaysOn Support. (you may need to refresh this folder before the option is available to you)
  12. Click connect next to each secondary replica. Then click OK.

The SSISDB is now established in an availability group and will failover based on the group rules.

Spring Cleaning

The birds are singing, the grass is able to be seen, the air is warm, the sun is shining, more importantly, baseball has started. I finally get to go enjoy some down time at America’s most beloved ballpark. Fenway Park for the non-New Englanders. Yes, Spring is finally here and with Spring generally, comes some cleaning up. I have a VM lab that I run on my Surface Pro 4. Nothing crazy, just a bunch of VMs to test out different versions of SQL  in different scenarios. Recently I had to build up a 3 node cluster to test with Windows and SQL Server 2016 Always On Availability Groups for a client. The tests required me to tear down and install SQL Server multiple times while I tested out a set of scripts to install and configure SQL, and later test out failover scenarios. More on that later though.

As I was going through my environment, I realized I created a new domain controller for my tests. This DC has a new name and domain name which is different from my other VMs. I quickly realized that this will cause me issues later with authentication. No worries. I will just boot up the VMs and then and join them to the new domain. Easy-peasy. Now let met go test out my SQL Servers.


I received a login failure with access is denied. Using Windows Authentication with my new domain and recently joined server is not working. Why?…..Oh right, my new user id does not have access to SQL Server itself. As I sit there smacking myself in the head, I am also thinking about the amount of time it will take me to rebuild those VMs. Then it hit me!!!

Powershell to the rescue!!!

More specifically, dbatools to the rescue.

Now if you have not heard of dbatools, you have to check this out. Head over to and look around on the site. This set of Powershell cmdlets, started out as a project by Chrissy Lemaire to make database migrations super simple. Now with a couple of cmdlets, she can migrate an entire server and sit back enjoying a beer. Now, with the help of a few MVPs and input from the SQL Community, this has evolved into a fairly comprehensive set of cmdlets to aid DBAs everywhere in their day-to-day tasks. I highly recommend checking this out.

One of the cmdlets in dbatools is a command called Reset-SQLAdmin. This is a super useful script. You point this at a SQL Server and it will either reset the sa account or add an account to your SQL Server with sysadmin access. It is meant for you to use as a tool when you have lost access to your SQL Server. This fits my needs perfectly. The command is as easy as running the below command.

Reset-SqlAdmin -SqlServer sqlserver\sqlexpress -Login ad\administrator

That is it. It will go through its process and after a few seconds, you will have access to your SQL Server. Want to see it in action? Check out the video on the site. One thing to note, this process does require an outage as it will stop and start your SQL Services. So do not use this in production. 

So back to my issue….I ran this against my 6 VMs, and voila, I am in. I had access to my old VMs with little to no effort what so ever. This saved me hours of time and effort. Now I am able to reorganize the VMs in my lab and clean up old users and database.

Powershell and dbatools making things easy-peasy!



T-SQL Tuesday #85

For the last T-SQL Tuesday of the year, this month is being hosted by Kenneth Fisher (b|t) and is about backup and recovery.

Any DBA knows that backups are crucial to their job. Without good backups it is very difficult to ensure that the environment is protected from dangers that lurk all around. Any DBA knows the BACKUP and RESTORE commands fairly well. They have scripts handy that can do a backup or a restore of database ready to go at the slightest whisper of a problem. However there are new commands that are available via Powershell to assist a DBA in getting a backup or a restore completed. These can possible aid in doing those items faster, as you do not need to wait for SSMS to load. Lets take a look at these commands at their basic level. I am going to use WideWorldImporters and my SQL 2016 instance.

Restore Database


USE [master]
RESTORE DATABASE [WideWorldImporters]
FROM  DISK = N'E:\Backup\WideWorldImporters-Full.bak'
MOVE N'WWI_Primary' TO N'E:\SQLData\WideWorldImporters.mdf',
MOVE N'WWI_UserData' TO N'E:\SQLData\WideWorldImporters_UserData.ndf',
MOVE N'WWI_Log' TO N'E:\SQLLog\WideWorldImporters.ldf',
MOVE N'WWI_InMemory_Data_1' TO N'E:\SQLData\WideWorldImporters_InMemory_Data_1',


$RelocateData1 = New-Object Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Smo.RelocateFile('WWI_Primary', 'E:\SQLData\WideWorldImporters.mdf')
$RelocateData2 = New-Object Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Smo.RelocateFile('WWI_UserData', 'E:\SQLData\WideWorldImporters_UserData.ndf')
$RelocateLog = New-Object Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Smo.RelocateFile('WWI_Log', 'E:\SQLLog\WideWorldImporters.ldf')
$RelocateData3 = New-Object Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Smo.RelocateFile('WWI_InMemory_Data_1', 'E:\SQLData\WideWorldImporters_InMemory_Data_1')
Restore-SqlDatabase -ServerInstance 'sql2016' -Database 'WideWorldImporters' -BackupFile 'E:\Backup\WideWorldImporters-Full.bak' -RelocateFile @($RelocateData1,$RelocateData2,$RelocateData3,$RelocateLog)

Backup Database


BACKUP DATABASE [WideWorldImporters]
TO  DISK = N'E:\Backup\WideWorldImporters-Full.bak'
NAME = N'WideWorldImporters-Full Database Backup',
STATS = 10


Backup-SqlDatabase -ServerInstance 'sql2016' -Database 'WideWorldImporters' -BackupFile  'E:\Backup\WideWorldImporters-Full.bak'

As you can see, these basic commands are very similar. With some additional review and time, the possibilities to automate a backup or restore of a database, or a group of databases, becomes quite easy. Better yet, these commands are native T-SQL and Powershell statements.

What if you want to go deeper? What if you want to answer the following questions

  1. When was my last database backup?
  2. What is the list of the last backups that were done?
  3. When was the database restored?

DBAs have scripts that will answer these questions relatively quickly using T-SQL. If they do not, they will spend time writing the code themselves or spend time searching online for a query that someone else has published already that answers the questions. What if you want to do this via Powershell? At this time, there is no native command provided by Microsoft to answer the above questions. However, the SQL Community has taken it upon themselves to create Powershell commands that will answer the above questions and do much more.

Chrissy LeMaire (b|t), a Data Platform MVP out of Belgium, and few other DBAs and MVPs have teamed up to create a suite of Powershell commands aimed at DBA. I encourage you to check out their site, , and download their module. The suite covers a bunch of common DBA tasks as well as database migration tasks. Here I will highlight 3 commands that will answer the above questions.

When was my last database backup?

This is a simple question that we as DBAs get asked, and ask a lot. With the dbatools Powershell module, this question can be answered in one line.

Get-DbaLastBackup -SqlServer sql2016 | Out-GridView

The above simple command returns back the below data


What is the list of the last backups that were done?

This is another question we all need to answer from time to time. Generally, we will need to answer this question when we need to a restore and need to know what files have been created recently and where they exist.

get-dbabackuphistory -SqlServer sql2016 -Databases WideWorldImporters | Out-GridView

This above one liner, returns back the below output. This tells me that my latest backups were a transaction log and a full backup. From here I can go and perform the restore if I so desired.


What is great about a command like this is that I can take this and create subsequent restore commands in Powershell and automate the restore.

When was the database restored?

Lastly, at times we need to know when a database was restored and from what file it was restored from. Again, a Powershell one liner from dbatools comes to our rescue to quickly and efficiently answer the question.

Get-DBARestoreHistory -SqlServer sql2016 -Databases WideWorldImporters -Detailed | Out-Grid

Here is the output:


Powershell is a great tool for the DBA to become more efficient in the normal day to day work. The above commands that I have highlighted above is just scraping the surface. To learn more in depth info about these commands, please read Chrissy’s blog which explains this new functionality much deeper and with videos.

The team that is putting together the dbatools suite, is doing a great job coming up with commands that are useful now to all DBAs. I hope you explore what they have to offer and incorporate them into your daily work.