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Monthly Archives: January 2009

VI Toolkit 1.5 Released!

PCLI_Blog I’m happy to announce that we’ve released VI Toolkit 1.5! You can download it right now! Why are you still reading this and not downloading???

We’ve added 32 new cmdlets, enhanced our existing cmdlets, and fixed tons of bugs. If you’re the sort of person who loves fine print, you can also have a look at our release notes. The release notes has a great table that shows all the differences between 1.0 and 1.5.

To get a feel for the new features, check out our launch videos. If you’re wondering how any of these videos were made, you can download the source from the PowerShell Demos folder.


Lastly but not leastly, I also want to congratulate the VI Toolkit 1.5 team for a great release! Here’s a picture of (almost) the whole team that’s given you such a useful tool. Great work everyone!


VI Toolkit at VMworld Europe 2009

It’s official, we will have a VI Toolkit session at VMworld Europe 2009. The session will feature me presenting all the slideware, Andrey Anastasov (the VI Toolkit architect) doing some really cool demos, and Dennis Zimmer from Icomasoft showing off a few tricks of his own. Don’t miss it!

Not only that, but we will also have a VI Toolkit hands-on lab where you can try all of this really great stuff out for yourself in a sandbox environment. Look for the labs to be announced later this week or early next week. The lab this year will also be a huge improvement over last year’s lab, as everyone will get a complete, realistic virtual infrastructure environment with multiple ESX servers, multiple datastores and plenty of VMs where you’ll be able to test drive all the new storage, network and guest automation features of our upcoming VI Toolkit 1.5 release. I hate to repeat myself but don’t miss this one either!

(Slightly) off topic: WASP is awesome!

If you' haven’t seen Joel “Jaykul” Bennett’s Windows Automation Snapin for PowerShell (WASP) you really need to check it out. WASP lets you automate UI interactions with PowerShell. You can select windows, send mouse clicks, keystrokes, and a whole lot more. Think of it as AutoIt with a much, much better scripting language underneath.

This has a lot of implications for VMware users. For example, sometimes when you upgrade VMware Tools you’ll get a message asking you if you want to reboot, or other messages that can block the upgrade. Right now, console interaction is the only way to deal with these. Another example is if you upgrade your VM’s virtual hardware from version 4 to version 7. This causes lots of driver upgrades that Windows will complain about. With WASP you can dismiss all of these pop-ups automatically with no console interaction.

If you combine WASP with the VI Toolkit’s upcoming ability to run scripts inside guests you’ll be able to do all this automation from a single command line! In fact, this is one of the things we’ll be showing off at VMworld Europe, so if you’re there be sure not to miss it.

A couple of scripts to check out.

Hugo Peeters has a nice script that can help you identify configuration problems with a VI cluster. To give a common configuration problem, if you put a bunch of ESX servers in a cluster and one of them does not have access to the same shared storage as the others, it will cause problems for DRS. Hugo’s script helps you identify these problems before they bite you in production.

Also, Cody Bunch has a script to query and answer VM questions. VM questions are those seldom-seen dialogs in VI Client that pop up when ESX decides it cannot safely continue executing a VM. This can include changes that prevent startup, like in Cody’s blog, but VM questions can also happen at runtime, for instance if a VM with a snapshot attempts to write to a full datastore.

Eric Gray over at vCritical has some useful scripts you should check out.

Eric over at vCritical seems to be having a bit of fun with the VI Toolkit, and has published a couple of scripts you should check out.

If you’ve used SCVMM to manage VMware vCenter, you may have discovered that it’s a bit like that brother-in-law that drinks all your beer and tracks mud all over the house. It’s kind of rude and doesn’t like to clean up after itself. Eric’s script is a way of very kindly suggesting that it save up for a hotel room before its next visit. (Full disclosure: I’m on a new compensation plan where I get paid by the analogy). Eric’s script will remove unwanted permissions and portgroups, as well as moving VMs back to the portgroup of your choice.

Second is a script to locate VMs with thin-provisioned disks. Thin-provisioned disks are great because they can lead to a more efficient allocation of storage, but the downside is they can lead to an inaccurate picture of your true storage needs, since thin-provisioned disks can expand at any time without warning.

Thanks Eric!

Managing VMware Lab Manager with CTP3

PowerShell v2 CTP3 makes it pretty easy to connect to a web service. VMware Lab Manager has a really good web service interface, so even though there are no Lab Manager cmdlets it’s still pretty easy to use PowerShell to automate Lab Manager.

First, you’ll need some library code that defines a few helper functions to get you started. I’ve posted this over at PoshCode. Download that and save it to a file called LabManager.ps1

Next, start a PowerShell session in the same directory as LabManager.ps1. The code below shows how to use this to connect to and automate Lab Manager.

The complete reference to the Lab Manager API is also online.

Here’s a video showing it in action.

 Managing VMware Lab Manager with PowerShell CTP3

A nice new resource for the VI Toolkit:

In addition to being available on poshcode, I’m going to start putting all my demos on my Skydrive folder for easy access. If you ever need some ideas or a quick demo to convince your coworkers they should be using the VI Toolkit, it’s a great place to look. If you’re interested, add it to your RSS reader and stay tuned for some great updates.

Managing VMware with PowerShell at Virtualization Congress 2009

One really great idea the organizers of Virtualization Congress 2009 had was to hold open voting for the sessions that would be presented.

Looking through the proposals, one of the early leaders is Automating VMware Virtual Infrastructure with PowerShell. If you're going to attend Virtualization Congress 2009 this is a great way to pick up some tips and techniques that will help you get the most out of your Virtual Infrastructure.