Sunday, February 21, 2021

Automated PowerShell Script v2.1 to Recreate My Business Central Docker Containers

 By Steve Endow

UPDATE:  I have posted version 3 of the script here

In July 2020 I posted an earlier version of this script.  This updated version has a few refinements, such as removing and importing BcContainerHelper to ensure the latest version is being used, adding Flush-ContainerHelperCache to remove old helper files, and removing old Docker images.

Automate, Automate, Automate

I setup a "Dev Container" task in Windows Task Scheduler to run this script every morning at 6:45am so that I always have a fresh BC container based on the latest BC artifacts.  I call my main Container "dev17", based on the current 17.x version of Business Central.  Do NOT name your container just "dev"--see my video here on why that will cause problems.

And you'll notice that I have a second "container TEST" task setup in Windows Task Scheduler that creates a second Container, called test17.  If for some reason dev17 isn't working or wasn't created properly, I can usually rely on test17 to be working.  I just did a livestream that demonstrated why this is valuable--my dev17 container build script failed due to a download error, but I was able to easily work with my test17 container.

Changes you will probably want to make to my sample script:

1. Optionally change the container name to suit your preference

2. Set the DNS IP to your preferred DNS server. I have an internal Pi-Hole DNS server, but you will likely use an external DNS server, such as

3. Change the path for your transcript files to a drive & directory that works for you

4. Change the email addresses and SMTP server

5. Create a secure string password file containing your email password using the included command

6. Set your container BC password if you use something other than admin and P@ssw0rd to login

7. Change the parameters for the New-BcContainer command to meet your needs (e.g. license file, includeTestToolkit, etc.

Below is version 2.1 of the script, as of February 2021.

 #v2.1 - February 21, 2021  
 #Define the host, container, and image names  
 $server = $env:COMPUTERNAME  
 $containerName = "dev17"  
 $imageName = "i" + $containerName  
 $dnsIP = ""  
 #Define date values  
 $simpleDate = Get-Date -Format "M/d/yy"  
 $dateTime = Get-Date -Format "M/d/yy HH:mm"  
 $fileDateTime = Get-Date -Format "yyyy-MM-dd HHmm"  
 #Specify file location for activity transcript log file  
 $transcriptFile = "D:\BCPowerShell\Logs\" + $fileDateTime + " " + $containerName + " Container Build Log.txt"  
 #Start recording transcript  
 Start-Transcript -Path $transcriptFile  
 #Record the start time  
 $StartTime = $(get-date)  
 #Define email configuration  
 $emailFrom = ""  
 $emailTo = ""  
 $smtpServer = ""  
 $port = "587"  
 #Email password file created using: Read-Host -AsSecureString | ConvertFrom-SecureString | Out-File -FilePath D:\BCPowerShell\Gmail.securestring  
 $passwordFile = "D:\BCPowerShell\Gmail_password.securestring"  
 $securePassword = ConvertTo-SecureString (Get-Content -Path $passwordFile)  
 $smtpCred = New-Object -TypeName PSCredential ($emailFrom, $securePassword)  
 $subject = $server + ": " + $simpleDate + " BC Build Log for Container: " + $containerName  
 $started = "Start time: " + $StartTime  
 $body += $started + "`n"  
 $errFlag = $false  
 $warnFlag = $false  
 #Output startup info  
 Write-Output $subject  
 Write-Output $started  
 Try {  
   Remove-Module BcContainerHelper -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue  
   Import-Module BcContainerHelper -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue  
   #Remove old artifacts and images  
   Flush-ContainerHelperCache -cache bcartifacts -keepDays 7  
   #Remove existing container if it exists  
   Remove-BCContainer $containerName  
   #Remove old images without deleting base OS image  
   docker images --format "{{.Repository}}\t{{.Tag}}\t{{.ID}}" |    
    Select-String "businesscentral" -notMatch |   
    ConvertFrom-CSV -Delimiter "`t" -Header ("Repository","Tag","ID") |   
    Sort-Object Tag | % ID | % { docker rmi $_ }   
   #Call New-BcContainer - Use New-BCContainerWizard to generate the script/params for your environment  
   $password = 'P@ssw0rd'  
   $securePassword = ConvertTo-SecureString -String $password -AsPlainText -Force  
   $credential = New-Object pscredential 'admin', $securePassword  
   $auth = 'UserPassword'  
   $artifactUrl = Get-BcArtifactUrl -country us -select Latest -type Sandbox #-version 16.5 #-type 'Sandbox' -version '' -country 'us' -select 'Latest'  
   New-BcContainer `  
     -accept_eula `  
     -containerName $containerName `  
     -credential $credential `  
     -auth $auth `  
     -artifactUrl $artifactUrl `  
     -dns $dnsIP `  
     -updateHosts `  
     -licenseFile "D:\BCLicense\BCv17.flf" `  
     -assignPremiumPlan `  
     -includeTestToolkit `  
     -includeAL `  
     -imageName $imageName  
   Catch {  
     #If the script fails or has an error, output to error stream  
     Write-Error "Um, something didn't go well:"  
     Write-Error $_  
     #Capture error in email body   
     $body += "`nERROR:`n`n" + $_ + "`n`n"  
     $errFlag = $true  
   Finally {  
     #PROTOTYPE - This is fairly fragile and needs improvement  
     #Search for the Container OS Build number and compare it to the Host OS build number  
     [string]$containerOSVersion = Select-String -Pattern "Container OS Version: " -SimpleMatch -Path $transcriptFile  
     $trimBefore = $containerOSVersion.IndexOf("Version: ")  
     #This is pretty crude parsing, so there is presumably a more elegant method  
     $containerOSBuild = $containerOSVersion.Substring($trimBefore+9, ($containerOSVersion.Length-($trimBefore+9))).Split(" (")[0].Split(".")[3]  
     $osVersion = (Get-ItemProperty -Path "HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion" -Name UBR).UBR  
     If ($containerOSBuild -ne $osVersion)  
       $warnFlag = $true  
       $buildWarning = "`nWARNING: Container OS Build " + $containerOSBuild + " does NOT match Host OS Build " + $osVersion  
       Write-Error $buildWarning  
       $body += "`n" + $buildWarning + "`n"  
       $output = "Container OS Build " + $containerOSBuild + " matches Host OS Build " + $osVersion  
       Write-Output $output  
       $body += "`n" + $output + "`n"  
     ipconfig /flushdns;  
     #Record end time  
     $EndTime = $(get-date)  
     $output = "End time: " + $EndTime  
     $body += "`n" + $output   
     Write-Output $output   
     #Calculate elapsed time  
     $elapsedTime = $EndTime - $StartTime  
     $totalTime = "{0:HH:mm:ss}" -f ([datetime]$elapsedTime.Ticks)  
     $output = "Elapsed time: " + $totalTime  
     $body += "`n" + $output   
     Write-Output $output  
     $body += "`n`nFull log file is attached"   
     If ($errFlag)  
       $subject = "ERROR: " + $subject  
       $greeting = "Greetings human.`n`nIt appears there was an error building your Business Central Docker Container: " + $containerName + "`n`n"  
     elseif ($warnFlag)  
       $subject = "WARNING: " + $subject  
       $greeting = "Greetings human.`n`nI prepared your Business Central Docker Container: " + $containerName + ", but detected potential issues.`n`n"  
       $greeting = "Greetings human.`n`nI have prepared your Business Central Docker Container: " + $containerName + "`n`n"  
     $body = $greeting + $body  
     #Finish the transcript recording  
     #The Transcript must be stopped before trying to send the email,  
     #otherwise the log file will be locked, causing the email to fail  
     #Send the email  
     Send-MailMessage -From $emailFrom -To $emailTo `  
       -Subject $subject `  
       -Body $body `  
       -Attachments $transcriptFile `  
       -SmtpServer $smtpServer `  
       -Credential $smtpCred `  
       -Port $port `  

Steve Endow is a Microsoft MVP in Los Angeles.  He works with Dynamics 365 Business Central, Microsoft Power Automate, Power Apps, Azure, and .NET.

You can also find him on Twitter and YouTube

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