Send email on Azure Automation runbook failure

One of the downsides of using Azure Automation runbooks is the visibility of the runbook-outcomes. That’s one of the few downsides I could actually find when I wrote my “Running database maintenance on Azure SQL DB with Azure Automation” post. But because we execute the runbooks against our production environment, visibility is of high importance to us.

To get some more insights into this, I’ve implemented a try-catch block in every runbook we have, and send an email to our ITOps team when a runbook fails. So how did we do this?

Create an email runbook
To keep it a bit modular (and I know it could be set up even better), I’ve made a runbook that is only used to send an email to our IT Operations team. This email includes the runbook name and the error that occurred.

Because we are going to include sensitive account information in a Azure Automation runbook, it’s a wise idea to store the username and password of your Office365 account into a “Credential” in Azure Automation. This safely stores your account information, and allows you to use that in your runbook later. This option can be found in the Automation Account’s left menu.

Now that we’ve done that, let’s create a runbook that sends an email:

workflow EmailError
    # Input parameters
    [Parameter (Mandatory = $true)]
    [string] $RunbookName,

    [Parameter (Mandatory = $true)]
    [string] $MessageBody

    # RetrieveOffice 365 credential from Azure Automation Credentials
    $O365Credential = Get-AutomationPSCredential -Name "CredentialName"
        # Create new MailMessage
        $Message = New-Object System.Net.Mail.MailMessage
        # Set address-properties
        $Message.From = ""
        $Message.replyTo = ""
        # Set email subject
        $Message.SubjectEncoding = ([System.Text.Encoding]::UTF8)
        $Message.Subject = "Failed job: $Using:RunbookName"
        # Set email body
        $Message.Body = "Error message: <br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> $Using:MessageBody"
        $Message.BodyEncoding = ([System.Text.Encoding]::UTF8)
        $Message.IsBodyHtml = $true
        # Create and set SMTP
        $SmtpClient = New-Object System.Net.Mail.SmtpClient '', 587
        $SmtpClient.Credentials = $Using:O365Credential
        $SmtpClient.EnableSsl   = $true
        # Send email message

This runbook sends an email from “” to “”, and includes the input parameters (RunbookName and MessageBody) in the subject and body of the email. You can customize this based on your preferences.

Call the runbook
The way we use this runbook is by calling this from another runbook that runs our database maintenance. This runbook is copied from this post, except for the try-catch block.

By adding the $ErrorActionPreference and try-catch block, it’s possible to receive an email if a runbook fails:

workflow DBM_Servername_Databasename
        # Set error action preference
        $ErrorActionPreference = 'Stop'

                # Output status to console
                Write-Output "Creating connection..."

                # Create connection to database
                $DatabaseConnection = New-Object System.Data.SqlClient.SqlConnection
                $DatabaseConnection.ConnectionString = "Data;Initial Catalog=DatabaseName;Integrated Security=False;User ID=UserName;Password=Password"

                # Output status to console
                Write-Output "Creating command..."

                # Create command to execute
                $DatabaseCommand = New-Object System.Data.SqlClient.SqlCommand
                $DatabaseCommand.Connection = $DatabaseConnection
                $DatabaseCommand.CommandText = "EXEC dba.ExecuteMaintenance"
                $DatabaseCommand.CommandTimeout = 0;

                # Output status to console
                Write-Output "Executing payload..."

                # Execute the query

                # Output status to console
                Write-Output "Closing connection..."

                # Close connection to database
        # Output status to console
        Write-Output "Catchie catchie..."
        # Set $errorMessage
        $errorMessage = $_
        # Call EmailError-runbook in order to send a failure-email
        EmailError `
		-RunbookName "DBM_Servername_Databasename" `
        -MessageBody $errorMessage

        # Output status to console
        Write-Output "Mail sent..."

I’ve included a bunch of “Write-Output” lines in there, so that if I test it through the Azure portal I can see the status of the runbook. You can remove those if you want to have a clean runbook of course.

By using PowerShell to automate this type of work its easy to extend your jobs like we did. Adding an email component is just as easy as altering the payload in your runbook. This extensibility and modular approach is the way to go, if you want to deliver a solution that is easy to maintain and scalable.

And let me tell you something, that PowerShell is going to be big someday, mark my words! 😉

One Response to Send email on Azure Automation runbook failure

  1. Thanks a ton for sharing valuable information. You have saved my many days of work.

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