AMA: DSC, DevOps… is This Right?

Stephen asks:

When I worked for a huge leading IT company, I was often tasked with writing “quick n dirty” scripts to collect data reports. These problem areas would be fixed with either new scripts or GPOs. Along side this, some of these reports lead into compliance reports for external auditing.

Now I have a bit of time on my hands, I’d like to make a master dev ops tool. The problem with what I did before, we would end up with several reports in CSV format floating about / edited / not deleted on various file stores / emails etc.

I’ve heard a little about DSC and wonder what are your thoughts about when you should / shouldn’t use DSC?

I want to develop a tool which scrapes / presents the data into a database / with a front web interface. I’ll have the web tool, scrape AD for server objects and add it into a database. From here, I want to contact these servers and then collect further information eg, what Drives / space there are. What local groups and accounts exist. What password policies are in place. What event logging settings are etc. What GPOs are applied etc and what AV is in place. As well as many other useful bits of data. I’d like to store these findings in the database, so I can run queries against to produce web based results — this then can be used by the rest of the team … eg, which servers don’t have AV installed, which servers aren’t password compliant etc.

So before I start converting my scripts into advanced functions or DSC … what would you consider?

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Smart Home: Alexa vs. Siri

Although I guess technically it’s Amazon vs HomeKit or something. Anyway, I’ve recently been “dual-homing” most of my condo’s smart devices so I could control them in either Alexa or Siri. If you’ve not taken the plunge on one or the other, I thought I’d share the main difference between them.

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AMA: Can PowerShell “Go Inside” a Service?

Javier writes:

Suppose I have a Windows service in a productive environment that does some kind of work. It’s secured and everything, and I have a very limited way of interact with it to maybe adjust its configuration or perform a maintenance work on it.

I thought it would be awesome if I could use Powershell to tap into that services and be able to check for internal objects and maybe change some configuration on the fly.

The idea would be to host a Powershell inside the service, easy job, create a runspace and a pipeline in which specific objects are exposed in the form of variables, no problem, and then be able to run Powershell code in that pipeline.

Easy done if the service had a GUI or if it was interactive in some way so it would just ask for an input, and I could push that input into the pipeline and maybe display the info from the returned PSObject. But, no GUI at all and neither I would like for it to have it. I made a proof of concept using a REST kind of interface to pass along the powershell code and execute it in the pipeline, and the look of it was really promising.

Now, since Powershell is built thinking of remoting, I was wondering if there could be some way of creating a remote session to invoke commands but not on the Powershell environment of the computer, but in the pipeline of the Powershell hosted inside my windows service.

There are tons of examples of Powershell self hosting applications but none takes remoting into consideration, from the server perspective. I’m not sure what was the intention in being able to host a powershell engine on a .NET application, but I think it would only be natural if I could initiate a remote connection to that engine, don’t you?

I don’t know if I’m terribly misguided. If that would be the case, what would be in your opinion the best way to use Powershell to interact with a windows service? Something like the way we use powershell to interact and configure Exchange for example.

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AMA: Will DSC Make It?

Jeremy writes:

With dsc headed for it’s third major rewrite in nearly as many years, is it something that you think will turn into a fully fleshed out and complete product? Or will it just end up as an interesting footnote that never found its place? Or something different altogether?

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AMA: Did We Miss the PowerShell Boat?

Patrick writes:

As a teacher I often use your phrase “Learn PowerShell or learn do you want fries with that” to underline the importance of PowerShell. That was a few years ago. Do you still think so, or has your opinion changed?

I truly believe that all systems will get smaller and smaller over time and that PowerShell will become more and more important.

However, my experience shows that many Windows administrators still use the old vbs or bat strategy when it comes to scripting. My experience also shows that at least 7/10 are not familiar with PowerShell at all (European Region, small and middle sized companies). So I’m worried if we’ve missed the boat.

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AMA: How Can Our Small Team Embrace DevOps?

Bryan writes:

How can a small, mainly click-next-admin team/culture best get started on the journey toward Infrastructure-as-code, build-test-deploy / Release Pipeline? I see many blogs and books about more mainstream DevOps, but our shop is more like the one referred to in the Microsoft / Chef Release Pipeline whitepaper, where we only create and maintain our own infrastructure operations management files and scripts, mainly for internal corporate facing apps and systems. We don’t need to worry about any customer facing or other style of high visibility web pages or mobile apps, but I think we could definitely improve our efficacy of managing the on-premises environments we have, with a lean, properly trained, empowered staff. We have mainstream skills across VMware, Windows, NetApp, SQL, Exchange and Citrix technologies; all of which also play nice in a PowerShell-centric world. We have a few people with foundational PowerShell skills, but have not yet reached a tipping point where we really use it the way I think we could / should. Instead, we feel stuck in the rut of jumping through RDP to fix our Production ‘snowflakes’, instead of working out automated fixes in a ‘lab’, then using a DevSecOps style pipepine to get the fix to production.

Have a question of your own? Please ask.

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AMA: How Can I Just do PowerShell All Day?

Allen writes:

Let me Begin by saying thank you, thank you for providing tons of material and resources on PowerShell. You have helped me boost my IT career and climb my way up the ranks in my agency with PowrShell scripting. My question is how can I find a job where all I do is PowerShell scripting (or is at least concentrated)? I know that they exist somewhere out in the world; I genuinely enjoy scripting in PowerShell and would it to be my full time job.

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