Category Archives: News

UCS Power Scripting Contest – Unleash the Power of Cisco UCS


Cisco UCS servers (both managed by UCS Manager and standalone rackmount servers) can be managed with PowerShell scripts. Cisco is running a contest looking for the best PowerShell scripts that manage, automate, monitor, and perform tasks like inventory gathering about UCS Servers and other connected infrastucture, like hypervisors, applications, and operating systems. The Cisco UCS Power Scripting Contest is now open and will run until May 11th, 2014. A winner will be announced in the DevNET Zone at Cisco Live on May 20th at 5PM PT. Head over to the contest site for more details on how to win great prizes, our celebrity judging panel and support your fellow community members! For more information head to:

UCS Scripting: http://communities.cisco.com/ucsscripting
UCS Communities: http://communities.cisco.com/ucs
UCS Developed Integrations: http://communities.cisco.com/ucsintegrations

About UCS PowerTool

Cisco UCS PowerTool for UCS Manager is a PowerShell module that helps automate and manage configurations within UCS Manager including service profiles, policies, pools, equipment, and network and storage management. Cisco UCS PowerTool for IMC is a PowerShell module that helps automate and manage configurations within a standalone C-Series rackmount server including BIOS settings, boot order, firmware updates, and administrative settings such as LDAP, syslog, SNMP, etc. Cisco UCS PowerTool enables easy integration with existing IT management processes and tools. The PowerTool cmdlets manipulate on the Cisco UCS Manager’s Management Information Tree (MIT). These cmdlets allow you to create, modify, or delete actions on the Managed Objects (MOs) in the tree.

Up Next: Microsoft Scripting Guy, Ed Wilson talking PSSAT007 and his new book


Join us Thursday Jan 23, 2014 as our guest will be the Microsoft Scripting Guy, Ed Wilson, as he talks about PowerShell Saturday 007 in Charlotte (Feb 8, 2014); his new book Windows PowerShell Best Practices and who knows what else. We record live at 9:30PM EST hope to see you then.

Up Next: Steve Roberts from Amazon talking about the AWS Tools


Join us this Thursday, Jan 16, 2014 at 9:30 PM EST as we talk with Steve Roberts from Amazon about the AWS Tools. Read more about it here: http://aws.amazon.com/powershell/

 

Tonight on the PowerScripting Podcast: Rick Claus and Symon Perriman talk about Build a Windows Server and System Center Environment with the PowerShell Deployment Toolkit


Join us tonight at 9:30 PM as Rick Claus and Symon Perriman talk about how to Build a Windows Server and System Center Environment with the PowerShell Deployment Toolkit.

 

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Need Desired State Configuration Modules?


You’ve probably been hearing about Desired State Configuration from a number of sources (Runas Radio, the PowerScripting Podcast, or the Channel 9 TechEd video for example).  If you haven’t go check out those previously mentioned resources, I’ll wait…

Ok, now that you have a basic understanding of what Desired State Configuration (DSC) is, I have an announcement.

PowerShell.Org is building a repository of DSC modules for the community to use and contribute to.

As I’ve started working with Desired State Configuration, I began building up a repository of modules I would use in configuring my systems.  I started to round them out with some basic documentation and decent logging messages and began pushing them to GitHub.

I’ve also seen several others starting to post some DSC modules on Github and elsewhere.  Since we are very early in the Desired State Configuration lifecycle (it’s still not RTM yet), I would like our community to come together on a central location for our community contributions.  I reached out to Don and the PowerShell.Org team and they graciously offered to host the contributions on the PowerShell.Org GitHub repository.  What that means is that this effort is no longer under the control of one person (me), but owned by the community, by PowerShell.Org.

There’s not much in the repository yet, so if you’ve been experimenting with DSC and would like to share your efforts with the community, feel free to send a pull request (if you’re into the whole GitHub thing) or file an issue on the GitHub site and we’ll figure something out.

There is some basic “Getting Started With Developing DSC Modules” information at the GitHub repository as well.

Would you contribute enterprise software reviews? [OFFTOPIC]


I’ve been working with a couple of folks lately who’ve been trying to review and pilot Active Directory auditing solutions. Both bemoaned the fact that, unlike consumer products of nearly any kind, IT products (specifically, enterprise software in this instance), don’t really get reviews from the admins who use those products.

So, I’m curious. If you could (a) anonymously, and (b) without giving your organization’s name, would you (c) leave reviews of enterprise software for other admins? You’d need to leave some obvious details, like the approximate size of your organization (number of users), what you expected the software to do, what it really did, what you liked, what you didn’t like, and so on.

Such a site would be a lot better (I think) than magazine or “professional” reviews, since you’d be reading the experiences of people who actually use the stuff every day. Yeah, as with any publicly-contributed content, review quality will vary – but you already know how to read between the lines, right? ;)

Drop a comment, or even send a tweet to @concentrateddon with “Reviews: YES!” or “Reviews: NO!” comment. Or if you prefer Facebook, leave that comment on my FB page. It sure seems like we IT professionals could use something like this – it’d be a good place to start researching solutions to particular problems, and a good place to share some real-world intel on how different solutions really work. Even if you don’t like writing reviews, would you use such a site as part of your research process?

“Super Secret” Snover Session at TechEd


So what’s with the “super secret” PowerShell session being given by Jeffrey Snover at TechEd 2013?

First, if you’ll be in New Orleans, plan to attend this. The deal is pretty simple: Microsoft has got a lot of information pertaining to v.Next under embargo, which means people can’t talk about it yet, or even tell you the title of the session. But trust me, if you’re interested in the world of DevOps (and if you use PowerShell, you are), you’ll want to be at this session. PowerShell MVPs were given a sneak peek at what Snover will be discussing, and it’ll frankly blow your mind. It will, over the long haul, put PowerShell in a completely new place – and you’ll want to get in on the ground floor.

Like most sessions at TechEd, it appears as if they’ll be recording this, so even if you can’t attend in person be sure to check back once the recording is live. That usually takes a day or two after the talk itself.

And spread the word a bit. There’s a bit of a worry that, because even the title of the session won’t be announced until TechEd formally commences, folks won’t have much time to realize the session exists and it’ll go empty. We don’t want that to happen – as with any new developments in PowerShell, it’s crucial to get folks thinking about it early, to get their feedback early, and to start planning for it early.

The new PowerShell Class is Coming to a CPLS Near You!


Looking for a great getting-started PowerShell class? Or perhaps you’d like to send a colleague or peer to some PowerShell “zero to hero” training?

We’ve just finished the official beta-teach of Microsoft’s 10961, Automating Administration with Windows PowerShell, and it went great. The sequencing of the class was spot-on, and we had an absolutely incredible group of students. Many were n00bs, which was perfect; a couple had “some” shell experience but wanted to learn “the right way.” And they did.

Through a series of 12 modules, you’re led through the basics all the way up to writing your own script. The grand semi-finale has you creating a script that provisions a brand-new, freshly-installed Server Core instance – all without logging on to that instance at all. The high moment for me was when one student, after struggling a bit to get started on the provisioning lab, concluded with a “well, that did it.” Everything came together for him: command discovery, help, scripting, variables, remoting, all of it. He did the task, from scratch, with practically no help. He’s there. 

10961 replaces MS course 10325, and it will soon be supplemented by a Microsoft Courseware Marketplace title that goes further into scripting, error handling, debugging, and more… what I’ve taken to calling toolmaking. We’ll hopefully continue to refresh both courses as PowerShell evolves.

So call your local Microsoft Certified Partner – Learning Systems (“training center”) and see when they’re offering 10961. A bit of caution: this is a class where, unfortunately, an inexperienced MCT will be really challenged. While the course book is a full, almost-500-page book (you’re welcome), it’s tightly timed and you’ll definitely want to check the credentials and experience of whatever trainer is running the class. You can’t just “read the slides” to stay a module ahead of the students on this one.

This class is strongly based upon Learn Windows PowerShell 3.0 in a Month of Lunches, in terms of how the material is presented, although the sequence and narrative was altered a bit to better accommodate Microsoft requirements and classroom logistics. I’m really proud of how the course turned out – so if you’ve got folks who need some PowerShell training, tell ‘em to look it up. Many CPLS centers offer remote training, too, meaning you can attend from the comfort of your own home or office.

If you take the class, I’d love to hear what you think.

Verify Your PowerShell Skills


A long time ago… about a year, in fact… Jason Helmick and I started talking about a community-owned PowerShell “certification.” It went nowhere. Well, not very far.

Some background on exams: Microsoft, in my opinion, will never do a PowerShell cert. I say this having been part owner of a company that did outsourced exam development for the company. The deal is that Microsoft tries to certify job tasks, not tools. Nobody (well, maybe me) wakes up thinking, “gonna do me some PowerShell today.” No, PowerShell is the means to an end: “gonna automate me some user creation today” is more likely. And Microsoft tries to certify that end. PowerShell’s an important tool, and it already shows up on certification exams here and there.

For the most part, I agree with Microsoft’s reasoning, there. The argument can be summarized as saying “bosses don’t hire IT pros based on their ability to operate a low-level tool, they hire them to perform job tasks, which encompasses the tool.” Except that, in the case of PowerShell, I think it’d be tremendously useful for an employer to use PowerShell expertise as a discriminating factor in hiring. I mean, “someone who can automate stuff” is more valuable than “someone who can only do stuff manually,” in any situation.

So “PowerShell Verified” was intended to be a way for someone to prove – at least to themselves – that they’ve taken their PowerShell skills to the minimum level necessary to be an effective automator. Not a guru. Not an expert. Not Poshoholic. Minimally effective, who could then grow from there with experience.

So that’s what I’m going to put together.

I want to explain why I’m not using the word “Certification,” though. In my mind, certifications come from, mainly, first-parties like Microsoft. Microsoft has to jump through a lot of hoops to make sure their exam content is accurate, legally defensible, blah blah blah. They worry about security, brain dumps, and other stuff that diminishes the value of the certification. I don’t have that kind of bandwidth or their resources, so in many ways my little program will be less effective than a “real” certification. Plus, few bosses will give a rat’s patooty what that Don Jones guy said about your skillz (I can’t even convince bosses to buy you guys 12-core 64GB workstations for your desk). So my “Verified” program is going to be low stakes, meaning you take it to prove something to yourself.

Here’s how this is going to go.

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PowerShell Summit: Best Conference Deal Ever!


What’s the average tech conference cost these days? $1500? $2000? And that’s just to get in, to say nothing of hotel, air, food, and whatnot.

The PowerShell Summit North America 2013 has an idea. Lets do a community-owned event, with a goal of breaking even and supporting an annual event, but not worry about a profit.

Lets say you live in the US. A ticket to Seattle in April will run you $500-700 after taxes. Maybe less if you can get on a discount carrier like Southwest – they fly to SEA. Hotel will run you under $450 for three nights. Say you decide to splurge on a car for four days, probably for under $200 (including all the ridiculous taxes on rental cars). Toss in another $250 for food? That takes you to under $1600. PowerShell Summit only costs $550 – less if you register during one of the Early Bird tiers; as low us $450, in fact. That’s $2100-2200 total, or just a bit over what some conferences charge for their registration fee alone!

What about quality? Well, you’ll get the same food Microsoft employees get. So that can’t be all bad. You’ll attend sessions delivered by Microsoft product team members, along with independent experts. You’ll interact directly with PowerShell team managers, too, in a small-event format that lets you provide product feedback directly to them. Heck, with under 100 fellow attendees, you’ll get plenty of face time with everyone.

It’s going to be a great event, and it will definitely be affordable. It’s being run by members of the community, not a conference company. This will hopefully become OUR event, an annual gathering of PowerShell enthusiasts, experts, and team members. A chance to network, to learn, to share, and to grow.

I hope you’ll be able to join us!

PowerShell Summit “I’m Feeling Lucky” Tickets on Sale – $400 each!


That’s right, for just $400 you can guarantee yourself a seat at the PowerShell Summit North America 2013, to be held at Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, WA. Just 10 tickets will be made available at this low-low-low price, which is $150 off the normal registration rate.

Why so low? Why are they called “I’m Feeling Lucky” tickets? Because while we’re committed to an April 2013 date, we haven’t actually locked in dates with Microsoft, yet. So to purchase these, you’ve got to be feeling flexible… or lucky!

But it’s not a marriage. The tickets are completely refundable, up to 30 days prior to the event. So if we manage to lock in the three dates you can’t attend, we’ll give you your money back. You can also transfer the ticket to someone else, at any time (although they’ll be paying you directly for the ticket, and we won’t get involved in that transaction).

Once these sell out, or we lock in our dates, we’ll commence the Early Bird period, with a rate of $475 and just 30 tickets available. That rate will be good through the end of December, unless we sell out. Full rate of $550 kicks in after that, when we’ll sell the remaining tickets to fill our roughly 100-person venue.

Thinking about presenting? Start submitting topics in the Forums! You can get all the other juicy details on the Summit’s dedicated site, and catch the Summit’s Twitter feed for ongoing announcements.