Manipulating SSIS packages using PowerShell

Probably you have come to situation when you have a SSIS project with higher count of packages and you need to add for example a parameter or variable to all or most of the packages.  Normally you have to open each package and add variable/parameter to all packages one by one and specify all the properties in each package.

Using the PowerShell will save you a lot of manual work and tons of clicks inside the SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) or  Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) as PowerShell will allow you to automate the manual work. It’s very easy to manipulate the packages by PowerShell as SSIS packages are pure XML Files and PowerShell has a good XML support.

For writing, testing and running PowerShell script I suggest you download and install PowerGUI which has great IntelliSense support and is probably best PowerShell editor available. Also I suggest you to install the Run AddOn which allows you to execute only selected part of script.

Also before you start executing the scripts, ensure that you have properly set ExecutionPolicy to allow script execution. You have to run it with elevated Administrator privileges.

Enable Local not signed Script Execution
Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned

Example how to manipulate SSIS using PowerShell

In this example we will manipulate SSIS 2012 packages and we will add a new parameter to the packages.

First thing you have to do is to retrieve list of SSIS package to be processed. This can be easily done by the Get-ChildItem cmdlet.

$files = Get-ChildItem "C:MySSISProjects*.dtsx"

Once we have the list of file to be processed we can start processing file by file using the foreach structure. In this example we will add a SSISTaskID package parameter.

Get List of all relevat SSIS Packages
$files = Get-ChildItem "C:MyProjectsMySSISProject*.dtsx"

#process file by file
foreach($file in $files)
    #get the content of SSIS package as XML
    $dts = [xml](Get-Content $file.FullName)

    #create XmlNamespaceManager
    $mng = [System.Xml.XmlNamespaceManager]($dts.NameTable)
    #add a DTS namespace to the XmlNamespaceManager
    $mng.AddNamespace("DTS", "")

    #use XPath query to get DTS:PackageParameters node
    $params = $dts.SelectSingleNode("/DTS:Executable/DTS:PackageParameters[1]", $mng)

    #use XPath query to get eventual existing SSISTaskID parameter
    $param = $dts.SelectSingleNode("/DTS:Executable/DTS:PackageParameters/DTS:PackageParameter[@DTS:ObjectName='SSISTaskID'][1]", $mng)

    if ($param -eq $null) #parameter does not exists
        #Create New Package parameter with prefix DTS and correct namespace uri
        $param = $dts.CreateElement("DTS", "PackageParameter", "")

        $attr = $dts.CreateAttribute("DTS", "CreationName", "")

        #Parameter Data Type
        $attr = $dts.CreateAttribute("DTS", "DataType", "")
        $attr.Value = "3" #DataType = 3 is equal to integer

        $attr = $dts.CreateAttribute("DTS", "Description", "")
        $attr.Value = "This is a TaskID"

        #DTSID - unique GUID for created parameter
        $attr = $dts.CreateAttribute("DTS", "DTSID", "")
        $attr.Value = "{" + [System.Guid]::NewGuid().toString().ToUpper() + "}" #Each parameter has unique GUID in SSIS package, so let's generate one

        #parameter name
        $attr = $dts.CreateAttribute("DTS", "ObjectName", "")
        $attr.Value = "SSISTaskID"

        #Parameter Value property - setting the parameter value
        $paramValue = $dts.CreateElement("DTS", "Property", "");

        #setting attributes of Parameter Value Property
        $attr = $dts.CreateAttribute("DTS", "DataType", "")
        $attr.Value = "3"

        $attr = $dts.CreateAttribute("DTS", "Name", "")
        $attr.Value = "ParameterValue"

        #Set the value of the ParameterValue property
        $paramValue.InnerText = "0"

        #add the property to the Parameter

        #Add the Parameter to the Params collection

    #  Once the Parameter is created it is time to write the package back to disk

    #Create XmlWriterSettings as we want to format the SSIS package properly
    [System.Xml.XmlWriterSettings] $settings = New-Object -TypeName System.Xml.XmlWriterSettings

    $settings.Indent = $true #Indent child nodes
    $settings.NewLineOnAttributes = $true #put each attribude on separate line

    #Create XmlWriter with appropriate settings and path to overwrite the original package
    [System.Xml.XmlWriter]$writer = [System.Xml.XmlWriter]::Create($file.FullName, $settings)

    #Save the package using the XmlWriter

    #Close the writer
In the script we are using XPath query to get relevant Parameter Nodes. This can be easily used for locating whatever node in the XML source is necessary. For more details related to XPath you can take a look  XPath Reference on MSDN. I our example we take first DTS:PackageParameters node under the DTS:Executable node. For correct querying we have to use XmlNameSpaceManager as all the nodes in SSIS Package are prefixed with DTS name space. For checking whether the parameter we would like to add exists or not we again use XPath with appropriate filters to find it by Name. Then if the parameter doesn't exists, we create a new one. What attributes and child nodes are necessary for such parameter you find out easy. Create the parameter using BIDS or SSDT in one of the SSIS packages, then take a look into the source code of the package and you will be able to find all the information necessary. For example in our case the parameter node in the source XML looks as below:
    DTS:Description="This is a TaskID"

So we had to create a PackageParameterNode with CreationName, DataType, Description, DTSID and ObjectName attributes and also with child node Property, which represents default value of the parameter.

As each parameter, variable or whatever part in SSIS has it's own unique DTSID property, which is GUID, we have used the [System.Guid]::NewGuid() method to generate unique DTSID for our parameter.

Finally once the changes into the SSIS package are applied, it is necessary to write it back to the file system. By default the source of the SSIS package is indented and and each attribute is written on separate line. SSIS packages are written in that way to be more human readable and allow an easy processing and comparison by versioning systems.

To achieve the same formatting we have to create and use instance of the XmlWriter class with appropriate XmlWriterSettings. As you can see from the script we set Indent and NewLineOnAttributes properties to true.

Once the writer is constructed, we can write the package back to the file system. It is also important to close the writer once the saving is done otherwise you will keep open handles to the processed files.

In the example we are also overwriting the original package as we specify the $file.FullName as path for the XmlWriter class. If we want, we can provide whatever name for the package and save it under different name. In case we would like to add a "_modified" suffix to the file name, we can use:

System.IO.Path]::Combine($file.DirectoryName, $file.BaseName + "_modified") + $file.Extension


As we can see from the example, the SSIS manipulation using PowerShell is quite easy and after a small training with writing this modification also very quick and will save you a lot of manual work if you have to modify a higher count of packages. You can alter the above script slightly to do nearly whatever modification is necessary.

This example was done on SSIS 2012 package source, but can be relatively easy applied also on SSIS 2005 and SSI 2005 although the XML source of those packages are not so easy readable as the source of SSIS 2012.

Installing Custom SSIS Components into GAC Using PowerShell

In one of my previous posts SSIS 2008 Columns To XML Data Flow Transformation I have presented a custom SSIS Data Flow Transformation.

As mentioned in the post, to be able to use the component, it has to be put into PipelineComponents folder of the SSIS Installation (For SQL Server 2008 common location is C:Program FilesMicrosoft SQL Server100DTSPipelineComponents) and also it needs to be installed into GAC(Global Assembly Cache). The location in the PipelineComponents is important for the BIDS designer and the GAC installation is important for SSIS execution.

Placing the component assembly into the PipelineComponents folder is very straightforward as you simply copy/past the assembly .dll file into this directory.

On the other side, installation into the GAC can be a little bit tricky and depend on the OS and .Net Framework version for which the assembly is built.

Components for SQL Server 2005 and 2008 (.Net < 4.0)

If the component is build for SQL Server 2005 or 2008, then yo use .Net framework lower than 4.0 and the installation relatively easy.

Installation on Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP

Installation of the .Net 2.0 or .Net 3.5 assemblies on the Windows Server or Windows XP is relatively easy as the GAC is located in C:Windowsassembly directory and can be easily managed by the windows Explorer. Simply navigate into this directory and Drag-Drop the assembly .dll file(s) here.

<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-634" title="Sever 2003 GAC (.Net

If you need to uninstall the assembly, simply find your assembly in the GAC, right-click on it and choose Uninstall. You will need to uninstall the assembly if you would like to deploy an updated version (eg. because of bug fix or for whatever reason). In that case you have to uninstall such assembly first and the install it again.

Installation on Windows Server 2008, Vista ans Windows 7

Installation of assembly into GAC on the Windows Server 2008, Vista and Windows 7 can be a little bit trickier. However the assemtrickierbly has the same location as on Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP (C:Windowsassembly), those systems are missing the explorer integration for Installation purposes (you cannot Drag-Drop assemblies into that directory).

For that purpose you can use the gacutil.exe but this is not part of the standard installation. You have to install the Windows SDK. Once installed, then this utility is located in C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft SDKsWindowsv7.0ABin directory. You do not need to install the SDK on all the machines where you need to deploy the assembly. It is enough to copy the gacutil.exe and gacutil.exe.config files to the target machines and use it to install/un-install the assembly. You have to execute it from command prompt with administrative privileges, so in case of UAC enabled, you have to run the command prompt AS Administrator.

To install use the gacutil.exe with the /i switch:

gacutil.exe /i "C:Program FilesMicrosoft SQL Server100DTSTE.SSIS.DataFlow.dll"

To list all the assemblies in GAC you can use /l switch:

gacutil.exe /l

Eventually you can put assembly name filter after the /l switch (it will list all installed versions of the assembly, as GAC support multiple versions of the same assembly to be installed at the same time):

gacutil.exe /l TE.SSIS.DataFlow

To uninstall an assembly from GAC use the /u switch:

gacutil.exe /u TE.SSIS.DataFlow

Components for SQL Server 2012 (.Net  4.0) and .Net 4.0 GAC Structure

With SQL Server 2012 the things start to be a little more tricky than with previous versions as components needs to be compiled under .Net framework 4.0.

In .Net 4.0 the GAC location has been changed and is located under C:WindowsMicrosoft.NETassembly directory.

As we can see, the structure has changed and there are separate directories for each platform. When building the components for SSIS we build them for MSIL (as it is platform independed and allow us to run the packages in both x32 and x64 runtime). In fact the structure is the same as for c:windowsassembly, but for the c:windowsassembly it is hidden in explorer. If you list the c:windowsassembly directory by dir command, you should see the same three directories on x64 system.

Each assembly has another directory in the GAC corresponding to the assembly name and under this directory there are directories for each version of the assembly and are named using the assembly strong name. Then  under this strong name directory are located the assembly .dlls

Installing .Net 4.0 assembly into GAC

As mentioned above, the GAC location and structure has changed in .Net 4.0. Also it is not possible to use the tools for .Net 3.5 and lower (I men gacutil.exe for older framework) and for security reason, you cannot also use simply Copy-Paste into GAC directory as it was for .Net < 4.0 on Server 2003 and Windows XP.

Again in you install Windows SDK and go through the directory structure, you will find tools for .Net 4.0 under the C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft SDKsWindowsv7.0ABinNETFX 4.0 Tools

In this directory you will find also the gacutil.exe for .Net 4.0. I was able to use it and install the assembly into GAC without problems on Windows 7 in the same way as it was mentioned above.

But when I try to copy it and use it on Windows Server 2008, I was not able to get the gacutil.exe for .net 40 working on it. gacutil.exe only prints a copyright information and that’s all.

 PowerShell the ultimate GAC installation solution

As I was not able to install the assemblies using the gacutil.exe I was starting to search for alternate solution of GAC installation and found the PowerShell.

You are able to install the assemblies to GAC on all above mentioned systems using a simple PowerShell Script.  For this purposes PowerShell will utilize System.EnterpriseServices.Internal.Publishh class which is able to install and uninstall the assemblies from GAC.

Only note to the Publish class. When you use it and make some typo or something, the GacInstall and GacRemove methods do not print any error message. So you have to be careful when typing the paths etc. To verify that the assembly was successfully installed /uninstalled to/ from GAC, simply browse to the GAC directory using Explorer and search for your assembly.

Install script we will use GacInstall method of the Publish class.

#Load System.EnterpriseServices assembly as it contain classes to handle GAC

#Create instance of Publish class which can handle GAC Installation and/or removal
[System.EnterpriseServices.Internal.Publish] $publish = new-object System.EnterpriseServices.Internal.Publish;

#Install dll into GAC using GacInstall method (Provide full path to the assembly)
$publish.GacInstall("C:Program FilesMicrosoft SQL Server110DTSTE.SSIS.DataFlow.dlll");

To uninstall an assembly you can use the GacRemove method of the Publish class. When uninstalling, you have to provide the complete path to the assembly dll.

#Remove from GAC using GacRemove method (Provide full path to the assembly in GAC)

You can save the script into a script file e.g. GACInstall.ps1 and execute it from command line:

powershell.exe -noprofile -executionpolicy RemoteSigned -file c:scriptsGACInstall.ps1

Alternatively you can run the PowerShell console and run the command by command. Again PowerShell needs to be executed with Administrative privileges so take UAC in mind.

If you would like to use the PowerShell ISE (Integrated Scripting Environment) and execute the script form there, don’t forget set the Execution policy appropriately:

#Enable Local not signed Script Execution
Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned;

If you want to use the ISE also on Windows Server 2008, you have to enable that feature on the server first, as the PowerShell ISE is not installed and enabled by default on Windows Server 2008. So go to Server Manager,  choose Add Features and add the PowerShell ISE Feature.

Using the PowerShell, you are independed of any tools like gacutil.exe etc. and you are able to install whatever assembly on whatever system which has PowerShell available.

Hope this post will help you saving troubles when deploying custom SSIS packages to server.