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Extract, Publish, and Register .dacpac Files

This topic describes four procedures that you can perform by right clicking a connected database in SQL Server Object Explorer:

  • Publish Data-tier Application

  • Extract Data-tier Application

  • Register Data-tier Application

  • Unregister Data-tier Application

Publish Data-tier Application

You can publish a .dacpac to a database. The publish action incrementally updates a database schema to match the schema of a source .dacpac file. If the database does not exist on the server, the publish operation creates it.

This action is also available by selecting the Databases node.

Select the .dacpac file. After you specify a .dacpac file, the DAC Properties button is enabled. The DAC Properties dialog box displays information about the .dacpac file.

Specify the connection string to the database server, and then specify the database name, if the database name is not in the connection string.

The Publish and Generate Script buttons are now enabled. If you generate a script, it opens in a document window and can be saved as required. If you choose to publish directly to the database, a summary of the update and the actual script used can be viewed from the Data Tools Operations window.

When checked, the Register as a Data-tier Application check box causes the resulting database to be registered as a data-tier application in the server metadata. If the database to which you are publishing is registered, you can cause publishing to fail if the schema of the database is different from its current registered dacpac.

Additional publishing configuration is available in the Advanced Publish Settings dialog box, which you can access by clicking the Advanced button.

Extract Data-tier Application

You can extract a .dacpac from a database. Extract creates a database snapshot file (.dacpac) from a live SQL Server or Windows Azure SQL Database that might contain data from user tables, in addition to the database schema.

Specify the .dacpac file to create. The DAC Properties button displays the DAC Properties dialog box, which lets you specify properties of the .dacpac file.

Modify, as needed, the configuration of the extract process. In the Extract Settings section, you can choose to extract schema only or to extract schema and include table data. If you choose to extract schema and data, you can select the tables for which you would like to extract data.

Register Data-tier Application

You can register a database as a data-tier application (DAC) within the instance. This stores a representation of the current state of the database schema in system metadata.

In the Register Data-tier Application dialog box, specify the properties of the registered DAC.

Unregister Data-tier Application

Unregistering allows you to remove the metadata for a registered data-tier application from the instance. Unregistering does not delete the registered database.

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