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PowerCLI Customer Spotlight #1: Josh Atwell


PowerCLI Customer Spotlight

I am pleased to announce that we are starting a blog series that spotlights users in the community, their accomplishments, and their successes with PowerCLI. I look forward to introducing members of this great community and their experiences to you. I hope that you will all be able to learn from each individual and that it will inspire you to continue to learn and leverage PowerCLI to help you in your current and future endeavors.

Customer Spotlight – A little about Josh


Josh Atwell is a Cloud Architect for SolidFire focusing on developing VMware and automation solutions.  Over the last 10+ years he has worked very hard to allow little pieces of code to do his work for him through various automation tools.  Most recently Josh worked as a vArchitect for VCE where he worked with customers to architect solutions to meet their infrastructure needs.  He also served as a VMware and cloud champion, as well as being selected as a technical team lead.  Prior to VCE Josh worked at Cisco on the Virtualization Infrastructure Operations team where he focused on automation for VMware, Cisco UCS, and architecting Splunk for all of IT.

Josh is a contributing author to the popular Mastering vSphere series and the Devops for VMware Administrators book.  He is highly involved in the virtualization community where he’s been active leading technology based user groups and the vBrownBag podcast.  Josh holds a degree in aerospace engineering from North Carolina State University and has maintained residence in the Raleigh, NC area.

Josh has also been the host of several podcasts including vBrownBag, VUPaas, and Elements of SolidFire. He has also made an appearance on the PowerScripting Podcast – episode 276, and most recently on The Geek Whisperers – Episode 75 

How did you learn about PowerCLI in the beginning?

I’m pretty confident it was either an online trade magazine or VMware blog.  I had started learning PowerShell for managing Exchange and replacing some of my old batch and VB scripts.

What have been three accomplishments, scripts, or major wins for your job because of PowerCLI?

1. I developed a script for reconnecting thousands of ESXi hosts as part of an SSL certificate update.  Updating the cert naturally caused all of the hosts to disconnect and required a reconnect.  I had one script to validate that the default root credentials were correct ahead of the change window.  During the 3 day change window we accomplished the entire task in under 3 hours.

2. I wrote a function that would allow application admins the ability to clone a full list of VMs.  Some groups preferred to do this before large change windows, and it freed up incredible amount of IT team resources.  This function is in my GitHub repo (see above).

3. I wrote an advanced function that would run the CheckMigrate method (this does the check that vSphere does when initiating a vMotion, to ensure that the virtual machine can be successfully migrated before attempting) against a host, cluster, or set of VMs.  This was seriously powerful during change windows where we would do rolling upgrades, placing each ESXi host in a cluster into maintenance mode.  We were having issues where one VM might not migrate and killing the change window.  The function could be run days in advance and return a report of VMs that may have issues migrating. We could remediate the issue in advance of the change window.  This function is also in my GitHub repo.

Any other words of wisdom you’d like to share with the community?

Always remember that today’s miracles are tomorrow’s expectations.  If you’re using PowerCLI to automate and save the day once then make a point to find ways of using PowerCLI as often as possible.  Use the forums and communities and learn how to use the scripts and functions others have written.  Getting comfortable borrowing code and making it fit your environment will take you from having an occasional win to fundamentally changing the way you manage your environment on a daily basis.  Finally, learn version control. I took this to heart way too late in life.  Version control will save you one day.



Thank you Josh for taking the time to share some experiences and PowerCLI achievements with everyone. Stay tuned for our second spotlight later this month!

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Brian Graf

About Brian Graf

Brian Graf is a well-known VMware evangelist in the IT community. Over the past 5 years, Brian has done Technical Marketing for PowerCLI Automation and ESXi Lifecycle, Product Management of vCenter Distributed Resource Management features (DRS & HA), and is currently working as a Technical Marketing Manager for VMware Cloud on AWS. Brian is a co-author of the PowerCLI Deep Dive 2nd edition book. He has helped develop VMware certification courses and exams and presents around the world at VMware User Conferences, AWS Summits, Interop, as well as other industry Conferences. Brian is also a Microsoft MVP.

One thought on “PowerCLI Customer Spotlight #1: Josh Atwell

  1. Cedric Onsruth

    great article from Josh


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