Monday, April 16, 2018

Tips to use Azure Automation for SharePoint online with PowerShell

Azure Automation delivers a cloud-based automation and configuration service that provides consistent management across your Azure and non-Azure environments. It consists of process automation, update management, and configuration features. Azure Automation provides complete control during deployment, operations, and decommissioning of workloads and resources. This article provides a brief overview of Azure Automation and answers some common questions. For more information about the different capabilities, visit the links throughout this overview.

We have a project that requires a back end scheduled job using PowerShell scripts to process many SharePoint online list items and send notifications. We have evaluated the Azure function, Webjob, and Azure automation. Azure automation looks like the best fit. Since this is the first time we are using Azure automation, there are few tips we would like to share so you could jump start this good feature. You should check best practice here first before going forward.

1. How to import packages required for PowerShell?
Since we need to use Microsoft.SharePoint.Client CSOM packages, we need to to use two package dlls listed below.


This is the way to upload the packages to Azure. You need to zip the dlls into a single zip file. I've zipped them into one file named

Then search the "mudule" in the Azure automation account. Click "Add a mudule". Select the zip file you like to add. The module will be uploaded for you to use as listed below.

2. How to refer the dlls uploaded to module?
You can refer the dlls using the following syntax. Please note the uploaded zip file name "Microsoft.SharePoint.Client" in the path.

Add-Type -Path "C:\Modules\User\Microsoft.SharePoint.Client\Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.dll"

3. How to use encrypted password in the scripts?
In most cases Azure automation needs to connect to external system with user name and password. We could save the password in the Azure automation account object "Credentials". You can add a credential as in the below screenshot.

Then you can use the password in the PowerShell like this.

$creds = Get-AutomationPSCredential -Name 'halotest' 
$userName = $creds.UserName
$password = $creds.Password 

$cred = New-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.SharePointOnlineCredentials($userName, $password)
$ctx.Credentials = $cred

4. How to write the standard output?
You need to change "Write-Host" to "Write-Output" to print out to console. One example is listed below.

write-Output "Connection to SPO successfully " $web.Title

5. How to invoke other PowerShell from PowerShell?
You need to create PowerShell runbook for each PowerShell first. Then refer the other PowerShell like listed below. Please note the slash instead of back slash.


Please note the PowerShell refereed need to be published first!

Now, you should have few PowerShell to run and configure as schedule job.


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