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Building SSIS 2012 using MSBuild – A Journey to DB deployment automation

Posted by kulmam92 on June 7, 2013

This post is the first in a series of entries I am planning to write detailing my experience while attempting to create a process in deploying a DB schema, SSIS and SSRS.

SQL Server Data Tools – Visual Studio Shell

SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) is an extension of the environment provided by Visual Studio 2010 Shell.


Wikipedia describes Visual Studio Shell

Visual Studio 2008 introduced the Visual Studio Shell that allows for development of a customized version of the IDE. The Visual Studio Shell defines a set of VSPackages that provide the functionality required in any IDE. On top of that, other packages can be added to customize the installation. The Isolated mode of the shell creates a new AppId where the packages are installed. These are to be started with a different executable. It is aimed for development of custom development environments, either for a specific language or a specific scenario. The Integrated mode installs the packages into the AppId of the Professional/Standard/Team System editions, so that the tools integrate into these editions.

The binary of the SQL Server Data Tools is devenv.exe typically found in C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Common7\IDE.



SSIS Deployment model in 2012

To give an explanation as to why I decided to use the Project Deployment model with EncryptSensitiveWithPassword as the protection level, I will briefly describe it here. I will cover the topic at a greater depth in a later series.

Project Deployment Model

The 2012 version of Integration Services supports two deployment models: the Project Deployment model and the Package Deployment model. The Project Deployment model enables you to deploy your projects to the Integration Services server. The Project Deployment model has many benefits compared to the Package Deployment model. You can read Deployment of Projects and Packages and SSIS Package Deployment Model in SQL Server 2012 to get more information about the differences between the two deployment methods.


If you build an SSIS project file using the project deployment model, a project deployment file will be created (.ispac extension). The project deployment file is a self-contained package that includes only essential information about the packages and parameters in the project. You can check it contents using a file archiver like 7zip.


If you double click the created (.ispac) file, the Integration Service Deployment Wizard will be launched. The Integration Service Deployment Wizard has a command line interface (ISDeploymentWizard.exe).  You can get the created command in the summary screen.


SSIS Catalog

The SSIS catalog is a new type of storage for SSIS. It’s a user database so you can query tables and easily backup/restore the whole repository. You may refer to SSIS Catalog and SSIS 2012 Configuration Guide – Part 1: Introduction for more information.

The SSISDB catalog is central to working with Integration Services (SSIS) projects that you’ve deployed to the Integration Services server.In an example case, you would need to set project and package parameters, configure environments to specify runtime values for packages, execute and troubleshoot packages, and manage Integration Services server operations.


Security for SSIS Packages

To protect the data in an Integration Services package, you can set the protection level.


Access Control for Sensitive Data in Packages give us an example of protection level settings based on the package life cycle.

Typically, you change the protection level as listed through the following steps as requirements change:

  1. During development, leave the protection level of packages set to the default value of EncryptSensitiveWithUserKey. This setting helps ensure that only the developer is able to see sensitive values in the package. You can also consider using EncryptAllWithUserKey, or DontSaveSensitive.
  2. When it is time to deploy your packages, the protection level should be changed to one that does not depend on the developer’s user key. Therefore you would typically have to select EncryptSensitiveWithPassword, or EncryptAllWithPassword. Encrypt the packages by assigning a temporary strong password that is also known to the operations team for the production environment.
  3. After the packages have been deployed to the production environment, the operations team can re-encrypt the deployed packages by assigning a strong password that is known only to them. Alternatively, they can encrypt the deployed packages by selecting EncryptSensitiveWithUserKey orEncryptAllWithUserKey and using the local credentials of the account that will run the packages.

Command line build of SSIS packages

You may assume that MSBuild will be able to support an SSIS project file (..dtproj extension) by default, though this is not the case. You may see the following error message when attempting to build.



As I have mentioned earlier, SSDT functionality can be utilized by running devenv.exe, which also provides access to a command line interface. You may refer to Devenv Command Line Switches for the available options. Building using devenv.exe works fine as long as your project’s protection level is not EncryptSensitiveWithPassword, or EncryptAllWithPassword. You can get devenv.exe by installing SQL Data Tools from the SQL2012.ISO. Just a note, The free SSDT tools from the web don’t have BI functionality. You can read Richard Fennell’s Getting SQL 2012 SSIS packages built on TFS 2012.2 for additional information.

D:\App_temp\SSIS\DeployDemo>”C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Common7\IDE\devenv” DeployDemo.sln /build “Development|Default”

Microsoft (R) Visual Studio Version 10.0.40219.1.
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corp. All rights reserved.
—— Build started: Project: DeployDemo, Configuration: Development ——
Build started: SQL Server Integration Services project: Incremental …
Starting project consistency check …
Project consistency check completed. The project is consistent.
File ‘D:\App_temp\SSIS\DeployDemo\DeployDemo\obj\Development\DeployDemo.dtproj’get updated.
File ‘D:\App_temp\SSIS\DeployDemo\DeployDemo\obj\Development\Project.params’ get updated.
File ‘D:\App_temp\SSIS\DeployDemo\DeployDemo\obj\Development\LEN-062_JY2012.nxa_repository.conmgr’ get updated.
Applied active configuration to ‘Project.params’.
Applied active configuration to ‘Package.dtsx’.
DeployDemo -> D:\App_temp\SSIS\DeployDemo\DeployDemo\bin\Development\DeployDemo.ispac
Build complete — 0 errors, 0 warnings
========== Build: 1 succeeded or up-to-date, 0 failed, 0 skipped ==========

However, if you change the protection level to either EncryptSensitiveWithPassword or EncryptAllWithPassword, a window will pop up and ask you to enter the protection password. There’s no switch that allows you to provide a password from the command line.


It was due to this issue that I explored using MSBuild for the build process.


It’s important to know what MSBuild is in order to understand how the new solution works. Let’s read the description from MSDN’s MSBuild page:

The Microsoft Build Engine is a platform for building applications. This engine, which is also known as MSBuild, provides an XML schema for a project file that controls how the build platform processes and builds software. Visual Studio uses MSBuild, but it doesn’t depend on Visual Studio. By invoking msbuild.exe on your project or solution file, you can orchestrate and build products in environments where Visual Studio isn’t installed.

Visual Studio uses MSBuild to load and build managed projects. The project files in Visual Studio (.csproj, .vbproj, .vcxproj, and others) contain MSBuild XML code that executes when you build a project by using the IDE. Visual Studio projects import all the necessary settings and build processes to do typical development work, but you can extend or modify them from within Visual Studio or by using an XML editor.

In short MSBuild uses an XML-based project file format to retrieve the necessary configuration:

MSBuild.exe MyProj.proj /property:Configuration=Debug

You may consider reading Walkthrough: Creating an MSBuild Project File from Scratch to understand more about the MSBuild Project file (AKA MSBuild script). The error message I got when I tried to build an SSIS project file (.dtproj extension) earlier indicated that the XML format of an SSIS project file is not recognized by MSBuild.

SSISMSBuild and MSBuild script

There’s a codeplex project (Microsoft SQL Server Community Samples: Integration Services) where you can create Microsoft.SqlServer.IntegrationServices.Build.dll. You can also get an MSBuild script that links Microsoft.SqlServer.IntegrationServices.Build.dll from here: msbuild script for building and deploying a SSIS .ispac file. Below is the MSBuild script from that link.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="Windows-1252"?>
<Project  xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/developer/msbuild/2003"
  <!--Requires a property called $(SSISProj) to be defined when this script is called-->
  <UsingTask TaskName="DeploymentFileCompilerTask" AssemblyFile="C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Common7\IDE\PrivateAssemblies\Microsoft.SqlServer.IntegrationServices.Build.dll" />
  <Target Name="SSISBuild" Condition="'$(SSISProj)' != ''">
    <Message Text="**************Building SSIS project: $(SSISProjPath) for configuration: $(CONFIGURATION)**************" />

  <UsingTask TaskName="DeployProjectToCatalogTask" AssemblyFile="C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Common7\IDE\PrivateAssemblies\Microsoft.SqlServer.IntegrationServices.Build.dll" />
  <Target Name="SSISDeploy" Condition="'$(SSISProj)' != ''">
    <Message Text="**************Publishing SSIS project: $(SSISProj) to: $(SSISServer) to folder: $(PROJECTNAME)**************" />

This MSBuild script performs two functions: SSISBuild and SSISDeploy. I saved the code to a file called “SSIS.MSBuild.proj” and executed MSBuild.exe illustrated below.

D:\App_temp\SSIS\DeployDemo\DeployDemo>MSBuild SSIS.MSBuild.proj /t:SSISBuild,SSISDeploy /p:SSISProj=”DeployDemo”,Configuration=”Development”,ProtectionLevel=”EncryptSensitiveWithPassword”,ProjectPassword=”1234″,SSISServer=”LEN-062\JY2012″,ProjectName=”DeployDemo”


How to build Microsoft.SqlServer.IntegrationServices.Build.dll

I will explain how to compile Microsoft.SqlServer.IntegrationServices.Build.dll using the source code from the codeplex project (Microsoft SQL Server Community Samples: Integration Services). I’d like to mention the small challenges that I faced while trying to compile the source code.

  1. Prerequisites: The following should be installed on a machine that you are going to use.
    1. MS SQL Server 2012
    2. Visual studio 2010
  2. Download source code
  3. Unzip downloaded file
  4. Go to SSISMSBuild project folder (sqlsrvintegrationsrv-100610\main\SSISMSBuild).
    There are two projects under SSISMDBuild, 2008 and Project. Project is for 2012 is C:\sqlsrvintegrationsrv-100610\main\SSISMSBuild\Project
    SSIS Junkie mentioned SSISMSBuild is included in MSBuild extension pack. However, that integration is done only for a 2008 project.
  5. Reference hint path modification
    Open C:\sqlsrvintegrationsrv-100610\main\SSISMSBuild\Project\Microsoft.SqlServer.IntegrationServices.Build.csproj from the text editor.image_thumb26Change the highlighted part to full path.image_thumb29
  6. Open C:\sqlsrvintegrationsrv-100610\main\SSISMSBuild\Project\Microsoft.SqlServer.IntegrationServices.Build.csproj using visual studio.
    If you try to compile it, it will generate an error due to a missing key file. You can see the following line from the project file.
  7. Sign an AssemblyWith the project node selected in Solution Explorer, from the Project menu, click Properties (or right-click the project node in Solution Explorer, and click Properties). In the Project Designer, click the Signing tab. Then you will see the following screen.
  8. Choose new and provide file name and uncheck Protect my key file with a password.

    Check Signing an Assembly in Visual Studio for more details
  9. Compile
  10. Copy created Microsoft.SqlServer.IntegrationServices.Build.dll file to the following folder
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Common7\IDE\PrivateAssemblies


It took me quite a while to figure this out and I hope this can save you time when setting up an automated build process using MSBuild. I think it would be great if MSBuild adds support for SSIS projects by default in the future.


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