Thursday, 27 April 2017

Schedule Pause/Resume of Azure Analysis Services

Azure Analysis Services (AAS) is a little bit too expensive to just let it run continuously if you are not using it all the time. How can I pause and resume it automatically according a fixed schedule to save some money in Azure?
Pause and Resume Azure Analysis Services

If you are are using AAS for testing purposes or nobody is using the production environment outside the office hours then you can pause it with some PowerShell code in Azure Automation Runbooks. This could potentially save you a lot of money. If pausing is too rigorous for you and you are not already using the lowest tier then you could also schedule a downscale and upscale.

Update Dec 31 2019: new script with Az module

1) Automation Account
First we need an Azure Automation Account to run the Runbook. If you don't have one or want to create a new one, then search for Automation under Monitoring + Management and give it a suitable name, then select your subscription, resource group and location. For this example I will choose West Europe since I'm from the Netherlands.
Azure Automation Account

2) Credentials
Next step is to create Credentials to run this runbook with. This works very similar to the Credentials in SQL Server Management Studio. Go to the Azure Automation Account and click on Credentials in the menu. Then click on Add New Credentials. You could just use your own Azure credentials, but the best options is to use a service account with a non-expiring password. Otherwise you need to change this regularly.
Create new credentials

3) Connections
This step is for your information only and to understand the code. Under Connections you will find a default connection named 'AzureRunAsConnection' that contains information about the Azure environment, like the tendant id and the subscription id. To prevent hardcoded connection details we will retrieve these fields in the PowerShell code.
Azure Connections

4) Variables
An other option to prevent hardcoded values in your PowerShell code it to use Variables. We will use this option to provide the Resource Group and the name of your Analysis Server. Go to Variables and add a new variable for ResourceGroupName and add the name of the Resource Group that is used by your AAS. Then repeat this for the name of your AAS (not the Server Name value that starts with asazure://) and call it AnalysisServerName.
Add variables

5) Modules
The Azure Analysis Services methods (cmdlets) are in a separate PowerShell module which is not included by default. If you do not add this module you will get errors telling you that the method is not recognized.
The term 'Get-AzureRmAnalysisServicesServer' is not recognized
as the name of a cmdlet, function, script file, or operable program.

Go to the Modules page and check whether you see AzureRM.AnalysisServices in the list. If not then use the 'Browse gallery' button to add it, but first add AzureRM.Profile because the Analysis module will ask for it. Adding the modules could take a few minutes!
Add modules

Click here for more information about all Azure Analysis Services cmdlets that are included in the AzureRM.AnalysisServices module.

6) Runbooks

Now it is time to add a new Azure Runbook for the PowerShell code. Click on Runbooks and then add a new runbook (There are also four example runbooks of which AzureAutomationTutorialScript could be useful as an example). Give your new Runbook a suitable name and choose PowerShell as type.
Add Azure Runbook

7) Edit Script
After clicking Create in the previous step the editor will we open. When editing an existing Runbook you need to click on the Edit button to edit the code. You can copy and paste the code below to your editor. Study the green comments to understand the code. Also make sure to compare the variable names in the code to the once created in step 4 and change them if necessary.
Edit the PowerShell code

# PowerShell code
# Connect to a connection to get TenantId and SubscriptionId
$Connection = Get-AutomationConnection -Name "AzureRunAsConnection"
$TenantId = $Connection.TenantId
$SubscriptionId = $Connection.SubscriptionId
# Get the service principal credentials connected to the automation account. 
$null = $SPCredential = Get-AutomationPSCredential -Name "SSISJoost"
# Login to Azure ($null is to prevent output, since Out-Null doesn't work in Azure)
Write-Output "Login to Azure using automation account 'SSISJoost'."
$null = Login-AzureRmAccount -TenantId $TenantId -SubscriptionId $SubscriptionId -Credential $SPCredential
# Select the correct subscription
Write-Output "Selecting subscription '$($SubscriptionId)'."
$null = Select-AzureRmSubscription -SubscriptionID $SubscriptionId
# Get variable values
$ResourceGroupName = Get-AutomationVariable -Name 'ResourceGroupName'
$AnalysisServerName = Get-AutomationVariable -Name 'AnalysisServerName'

# Get old status (for testing/logging purpose only)
$OldAsSetting = Get-AzureRmAnalysisServicesServer -ResourceGroupName $ResourceGroupName -Name $AnalysisServerName
$OldStatus = $OldAsSetting.ProvisioningState 

Write-Output "Resuming $($AnalysisServerName). Current status: $($OldStatus)" 
$null = Resume-AzureRmAnalysisServicesServer -ResourceGroupName $ResourceGroupName -Name $AnalysisServerName

#Write-Output "Pausing $($AnalysisServerName). Current status: $($OldStatus)" 
#$null = Suspend-AzureRmAnalysisServicesServer -ResourceGroupName $ResourceGroupName -Name $AnalysisServerName

# Show done when finished (for testing/logging purpose only)
Write-Output "Done"

Note 1: This is a very basic script. No error handling has been added. Check the AzureAutomationTutorialScript for an example. Finetune it for you own needs.
Note 2: There are often two versions of an method like Get-AzureRmSqlDatabase and Get-AzureSqlDatabase. Always use the one with "Rm" in it (Resource Managed), because that one is for the new Azure portal. Without Rm is for the old/classic Azure portal.
Note 3: Because Azure Automation doesn't support Out-Null I used an other trick with the $null =. However the Write-Outputs are for testing purposes only. Nobody sees them when they are scheduled.
Note 4: The code with the Resume is commented out with a hashtag. Either use the two suspend rows or the two pause rows.

7) Testing
You can use the Test Pane menu option in the editor to test your PowerShell scripts. When clicking on Run it will first Queue the script before Starting it. Running takes a couple of minutes.
Testing the script in the Test Pane

8) Publish
When your script is ready, it is time to publish it. Above the editor click on the Publish button. Confirm overriding any previously published versions.
Publish the Runbook

9) Schedule
And now that we have a working and published Azure Runbook, we need to schedule it. Click on Schedule to create a new schedule for your runbook. For this pause script I created a schedule that runs every working day on 9:00PM (21:00). The resume script could for example be scheduled on working days at 7:00AM. Now you need to hit the refresh button in the Analysis Services overview in Azure to see if it really works. It takes a few minutes to run, so don't worry too soon.
Add Schedule

In this post you saw how you can pause and resume your Azure Analysis Services instance to save some money in Azure during the quiet hours. The screenshots only show the pause script, but the resume script is commented out. For pause and resume you have a couple of options. You could create one script with a parameter that indicates a pause or resume. An other option is to use a fancy if-construction that uses the current status and/or time to decide whether you need to pause or to resume. Or just create two separate scripts for pause and resume.


  1. This is something I've been trying to get my head around for months without success... until I read this!

    Thank you for writing it.

  2. Hey, thank you for your very basic post! I did it all the way like you described it in your step-by-step guide. Unfortunately by testing the script in the Runbook Test pane (After changing the variables for my needs) I'm getting an error for "Login-AzureRmAccount" back, that the sequence contains no elements. Do you have an idea whether I fogot something? Thanks in Advance!

  3. Is there a way to do that in c# ?


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