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Tag Archives: PowerShell

Automating File-Based Backups of vCenter Server Appliance

Did you know the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) has file-based backup options?

This ability was actually released in vSphere 6.5. However, there was one feature in particular that was missing: a scheduler. I’m happy to say that as part of vSphere 6.7, the VCSA received a backup scheduler!

Recently, my teammate, Emad Younis released a couple cool walkthroughs to the vSphere Central site to manage file-based backup and restore actions. Under the covers, both of these actions are served up by vSphere’s RESTful APIs and therefore PowerCLI can also be used to automate these actions! One other benefit of using the API, you don’t have to hand out the root credentials. Users with the ‘SystemConfiguration.Administrators’ permission are able to perform all of the following tasks through the API and PowerCLI!

To perform a file-based backup with PowerCLI, we’ll need to make use of the CIS module. Since the CIS module is a low-level module, let’s see a couple examples of this in action.

Create a File-Based Backup

Let’s first start with the process to perform a backup.

First step, log in to the CIS Service for the VCSA:

Next, we need to find the appropriate service to perform a backup:

File-Based Backup Example: Listing CIS Services

Based on the output, we will want the ‘com.vmware.appliance.recovery.backup.job’ service. We will store that into a variable so we can easily interact with that specific service. To see the method we are going to use, take that variable and pipe it to ‘Get-Member’.

File-Based Backup Example - Working with the CIS Service

As part of the respose, we’ll see two important items. First, the ‘create’ method which we’ll use to actually create the backup job. Second, the ‘Help’ property. We can use ‘Help’ to help us form the input for the backup job with the following command:

We can now fill in each of the parameters with information for our environment. There are a couple caveats here. First, the ‘parts’ parameter is expecting an input of an array type. Second, each of the password parameters require a special type in order to be accepted.

Finally, having input all of our information, we can create the backup job!

File-Based Backup Example: Creating Backup Job

We can combine this into a nice script as follows:

Create a Scheduled File-Based Backup

Let’s now take a look at creating a scheduled backup job with PowerCLI.

Following a similar process to the last task, we will want to use one of the services we found previously called: com.vmware.appliance.recovery.backup.schedules

This time, we see two inputs are required. First, the schedule ID. Second, the specification which is similar to the prior example. The ‘Help’ property will be quite useful to create both specifications.

Much like the prior example, this one too has some caveats. The Schedule ID input can be a string of your choosing. For reference, performing this process in the UI creates a default ID of ‘default’. The scheduling recurrence configuration can be done in many ways through the ‘days’ property. If a daily backup is desired, there’s no need for any input and it can be left ‘unset’. If a specific day/s are desired, the input has to be of an array type.

Here’s a script which can be used to create a scheduled file-based backup:

Afterwards, if you log into the VCSA Appliance Management Interface (VAMI), your backup schedule should look much like the following:
File-Based Backup Example: Creating a Backup Schedule

Summary

The ability to create file-based backups of your vCenter Server is a function that is only available to the VCSA. This function is made possible by a set of RESTful APIs which PowerCLI can also consume, with the additional benefit of not being reliant on the root account! This blog post walked through examples of creating a file-based backup job and creating a scheduled file-based backup job.

More information about VCSA file-based backup can be found on the vSphere Central site: vCenter Server Appliance 6.7 File-Based Backup

Let us know in the comments how you’re automating your VCSA backups!

New Release: VMware PowerCLI 10.1.0

April has been a release heavy month for VMware. We have seen releases for vSphere 6.7, the entire vRealize suite, Site Recovery Manager 8.1, Horizon 7.4.1, and quite a few more. As of today, PowerCLI is being added to that list with the release of 10.1.0!

PowerCLI 10.1.0 offers the following updates:

  • Support for vSphere 6.7
  • Support for NSX-T 2.1
  • New VMware.Vim module
  • New cmdlets for managing Auto Deploy script bundles

Let’s take a look at those and some of the other updates.

Updated Support

Compatibility is something very important to PowerCLI. PowerCLI version 10.1.0 adds support for both vSphere 6.7 and NSX-T 2.1. This update gives you access to continue automating the latest and greatest VMware releases, plus have access to all those new APIs!

PowerCLI Compatability

New Module

This new version of PowerCLI brings our 20th module! This new module is named: VMware.Vim The goal of this module is to be able to allow you to have access to the latest vSphere APIs, including those available as part of VMware Cloud on AWS.

New Auto Deploy Cmdlets

Auto Deploy has two new cmdlets available to help with management of script bundles. These new cmdlets are:

  • Set-ScriptBundleAssociation
  • Remove-ScriptBundle

The Set-ScriptBundleAssociation cmdlet allows us to configure ESXi hosts to be associated with specific Auto Deploy script bundles.

The Remove-ScriptBundle cmdlet allows us to remove script bundles from Auto Deploy in an automated fashion. This functionality was actually requested by the community as PowerCLI Idea 114, so it’s really cool to see the direct impact the community can have.

General Updates

There’s a number of other improvements available in PowerCLI 10.1.0 as well. The first of which is to allow Import-VApp to support SHA-256 and SHA-512 hash algorithms. Next, we have deprecated the ‘Version’ parameter for the New-VM and Set-VM cmdlets. This parameter has been replaced by ‘HardwareVersion’. The same deprecation has been applied to the VirtualMachine object as a whole. Instead of referencing the ‘Version’ property, reference the ‘HardwareVersion’ property instead. Then, the Get-TagAssignment cmdlet has had the functionality corrected so we can query tags on datastore clusters. Another shout out to the community for this update, since that’s how this was brought to our attention! Also, we have made some updates to the process of migrating a VM to a VMware Cloud on AWS environment.

Lastly, PowerCLI 10.0.0 brought a bit of a change when it comes to handling vCenter and ESXi certificates. Instead of producing a warning when connecting to resources using invalid or self-signed certificates, PowerCLI now produces an error. We found some valid certificates were still producing an error and have corrected that process with PowerCLI 10.1.0.

If you do need to change PowerCLI’s configuration for handling certificate validation, the following code can be used to ignore those invalid or self-signed certificates:

Wrap-Up

PowerCLI 10.1.0 is the second release of the year and its only April! This release brought support for both vSphere 6.7 and NSX-T 2.1. A new module was introduced, VMware.Vim, making PowerCLI 20 modules strong. Two new cmdlets were added to help in the management of Auto Deploy script bundles! Plus, there were a number of other improvements added as well.

Remember, updating your PowerCLI modules is now as easy as ‘Update-Module VMware.PowerCLI’.

Example: Update-Module to PowerCLI 10.1.0

For more information on changes made in VMware PowerCLI 10.1.0, including improvements, security enhancements, and deprecated features, see the VMware PowerCLI Change Log. For more information on specific product features, see the VMware PowerCLI 10.1.0 User’s Guide. For more information on specific cmdlets, see the VMware PowerCLI 10.1.0 Cmdlet Reference.

New Release: PowerCLI Preview for VMware NSX-T Fling

A new Fling has been released for PowerCLI! The PowerCLI Preview for NSX-T Fling adds 280 high-level cmdlets which operate alongside the existing NSX-T PowerCLI module.

What do I mean by ‘high-level’ cmdlets? There are generally two forms of cmdlets available through PowerCLI, high-level and low-level. High-level cmdlets abstract the underlying API calls and provide an easy to use and understand cmdlet, like Get-LogicalSwitch. Based on that, you can assume the output will be logical switches. However, every API call does not have a corresponding high-level cmdlet and that’s where the low-level cmdlets come into play. Low-level cmdlets interact directly with the API and therefore have complete coverage of the available API calls. An example of a low-level cmdlet would be Get-View, or in the case of the NSX-T module it would be Get-NsxtService. More information about the low-level cmdlet usage of the NSX-T module is available in the following blog post: Getting Started with the PowerCLI Module for VMware NSX-T

Why is this being released as a fling? This module is still being developed and we need your feedback! What cmdlets are you using the most? What should the output look like? What cmdlets aren’t working the way you think they should? What cmdlets are missing? As well as any other feedback you can come up with! The preference is to leave the feedback on the fling’s comments section. However, if you post it as a comment here, I’ll make sure the right people receive it.

With that said, let’s get started using this new module!

Geting Started

First, we’ll need to head out to the VMware Flings site, browse for the fling and download the zip file. Direct link: PowerCLI Preview for NSX-T Fling

Next, extract the module and place it into one of your $PSModule directories. Better yet, do it with PowerShell:

We can then verify the module was placed in the proper location and is available for us to use:

Unzipping the Fling download

Note: If you don’t see the VMware.VimAutomation.Nsxt module, you probably need to install the latest version of PowerCLI. Walkthroughs on how to do that are available:

Now that we can see the module, I would suggest browsing through all of the 280 cmdlets available in the module. We can do that with the following command:

Browsing through all the available cmdlets in the Fling Module

One last step before starting to use the new cmdlets, we need to authenticate to the NSX-T server. This requires the VMware.VimAutomation.Nsxt module because it makes available the ‘Connect-NsxtServer’ cmdlet. We can authenticate to the NSX-T server with the following command:

Authenticating to the NSX-T Management Server

We are now authenticated and ready to start pulling information from the environment. Following along with the prior blog post, let’s start by pulling information about our cluster. We can do that with the ‘Get-ClusterNodeConfig’ cmdlet.

Example: Get-ClusterNodeConfig

We can clean up the output through the use of the ‘Select-Object’ cmdlet with the following command:

Example: Simplifying output for Get-ClusterNodeConfig

Another item we looked at in the last blog post, Transport Zones. The ‘Get-TransportZone’ cmdlet can be used, however if we want to clean it up a bit we can run the following command:

Example: simplified output for Get-TransportZone

One last example, we’ll get the status of the cluster. This can easily be done with the ‘Get-ClusterStatus’ cmdlet. However, the results are probably not what you expect. The ControlClusterStatus and MgmtClusterStatus each have an additional nested property of ‘Status’ which we’ll need to gain access to for this to really make sense. To do that, we’ll create a custom dynamic property with PowerShell! These custom properties will be made of hashtables used as part of the ‘Select-Object’ cmdlet. Each hashtable will need a ‘Name’ and an ‘Expression’. Here’s an example of this concept with the ‘Get-ClusterStatus’ cmdlet:

Example: Get-ClusterStatus and handling nested property values

Summary

There’s a great new fling available called the PowerCLI Preview for NSX-T Fling. This fling adds an additional 280 high-level cmdlets for VMware NSX-T, like Get-TransportZone, which means that automating NSX-T has never been easier!

As with all of our Flings, please leave feedback on the Comments section! We want to know what you think. What cmdlets are you using the most? What should the output look like? What cmdlets aren’t working the way you think they should? What cmdlets are missing? As well as any other feedback you can come up with!

Installing PowerCLI 10.0.0 on MacOS

PowerCLI 10.0.0 was released just a few weeks ago and one of the key updates was the added support for MacOS and Linux operating systems. It’s still amazing to think about! PowerShell and PowerCLI available to users on OSes other than just Windows. Wow!

Let’s put this to action and get PowerCLI installed on a MacOS system.

Prerequisite: Installing PowerShell Core – Package

The minimally required version for MacOS is PowerShell Core 6.0.1. There’s a couple different ways to install PowerShell onto a MacOS system. This first method is downloading the PowerShell package and installing it through GUI installer.

We can start by browsing to the PowerShell GitHub repository, and clicking on the ‘Releases’ button. Alternatively, here’s a direct link: PowerShell Releases page

Example: PowerShell Repo Releases Page

On the PowerShell Releases page, we will want to download the latest MacOS package to our local system. Now, we will want to run through the installer. Accepting all of the defaults worked in my environment.

Example: PowerShell Core Package Install

Prerequisite: Installing PowerShell – Homebrew

The other main way of installing PowerShell is through Homebrew. Homebrew is a package manager. It will easily allow us to install, update, and remove packages, like PowerShell, directly from the command line!

If you don’t already have Homebew installed, it too can be installed from the command line with the following within Terminal:

Next, we’ll need to install Homebrew-Cask. Homebrew-Cask is extension of Homebrew to allow for the downloading of additional, pre-compiled, applications. We will perform the install with the following command within Terminal:

Now, we’re ready to install PowerShell onto our MacOS system! This can be done with the following command within Terminal:

Example: Installing PowerShell Core through Homebrew Cask

Installing PowerCLI

We have our prerequisite of PowerShell installed on our MacOS system. We’re now ready to install PowerCLI!

Start by opening Terminal and starting our PowerShell session by entering:

Example: Launching the PowerShell Core terminal

At this point, we’re in PowerShell so we install PowerCLI just like we have for the past couple versions!

Example:

Example: Installing PowerCLI with PowerShell Core

At this point, we’re all set! We can start using PowerCLI just like we normally have on Windows systems for years!

Example: Connecting to a vCenter Server

Couple Things to Keep in Mind

There are still a couple things to keep in mind as you move forward in the excitement of having PowerCLI on a non-Windows system. PowerShell Core, as well as the underlying .NET Core, are not feature complete to their non-Core counterparts. Make sure to test your scripts thoroughly prior to using them. A recent example that was brought up within the PowerCLI channel in the VMware Code Slack group: ConvertFrom-SecureString doesn’t currently work, as per Issue 1654. Therefore, if you have any scripts containing secure string objects, PowerShell Core will not be able to decrypt them.

The PowerCLI 10.0.0 release starts with support for the following modules, and the rest of the modules will be added over time:

  • VMware.VimAutomation.Cis.Core
  • VMware.VimAutomation.Common
  • VMware.VimAutomation.Core
  • VMware.VimAutomation.Nsxt
  • VMware.VimAutomation.Vds
  • VMware.VimAutomation.Vmc
  • VMware.VimAutomation.Sdk
  • VMware.VimAutomation.Storage
  • VMware.VimAutomation.StorageUtility

Some cmdlets, even though they may be in the above list, also still may not function properly. Examples:

  • Get-VICredentialStoreItem
  • New-VICredentialStoreItem
  • Remove-VICredentialStoreItem
  • Get-VMHostHardware
  • Open-VMConsoleWindow

Wrap-Up

The PowerCLI 10.0.0 release added the much requested support for MacOS and Linux systems! In this blog, we walked through two different methods to make PowerShell Core available on MacOS and how to install PowerCLI.

Let us know what you’re most excited about now that PowerCLI works on multiple OSes!

New Release: VMware PowerCLI 10.0.0

We are only two months in to 2018, but it has already been pretty exciting from an automation standpoint. Let’s review some of the big news. Microsoft open-sourced and released PowerShell 6.0. They also made it available on a number of operating systems, from Windows to Linux to Mac OS. Then, PowerCLI hit 2,000,000 downloads from the PowerShell Gallery! Today, we are releasing VMware PowerCLI 10.0.0!

Let’s talk about the version change for a second. If you’ve been a PowerCLI user for a couple years, you have probably noticed quite the transformation here recently. One item of note was when the name was changed from vSphere PowerCLI to VMware PowerCLI. This was due to PowerCLI’s ability to manage more than just vSphere. With this release, we are taking that next step to remove ourselves from being in lockstep with vSphere’s versioning. Why did we go with 10? Well, PowerCLI recently celebrated its 10th birthday so it seemed like the perfect number!

Time to take a look at everything that’s new!

Multi-Platform Support

PowerCLI 10.0.0 adds support for Mac OS and Linux! The only pre-requisite is to have PowerShell Core 6.0 installed. The installation process is also the same:

PowerCLI 10 Install Example on a MacOS System

This release brings support for the following modules:

  • VMware.VimAutomation.Cis.Core
  • VMware.VimAutomation.Common
  • VMware.VimAutomation.Core
  • VMware.VimAutomation.Nsxt
  • VMware.VimAutomation.Vds
  • VMware.VimAutomation.Vmc
  • VMware.VimAutomation.Sdk
  • VMware.VimAutomation.Storage
  • VMware.VimAutomation.StorageUtility

Future releases of PowerCLI will continue to add support for the remaining modules.

Default Certificate Handling

This version changes the way certificates are handled when connecting to a vCenter server or ESXi host with the Connect-VIServer cmdlet. If your connection endpoint is using an invalid certificate (self-signed or otherwise), PowerCLI would previously return back a warning. The handling has been updated to be more secure and now return back an error.

If you are using an invalid certificate, you can correct the error with the ‘Set-PowerCLIConfiguration’ cmdlet. The parameter needing to be configured is ‘InvalidCertificateAction’ and the available settings are Fail, Warn, Ignore, Prompt, and Unset.

The following code will configure the ‘InvalidCertificateAction’ parameter to be Ignore:

Deprecated Cmdlets and Property

There are five cmdlets being deprecated. These cmdlets are found in the VMware.VimAutomation.Core module. They are:

  • Get-VMGuestNetworkInterface
  • Set-VMGuestNetworkInterface
  • Get-VMGuestRoute
  • New-VMGuestRoute
  • Remove-VMGuestRoute

These cmdlets are replaced with the use of the Invoke-VMScript cmdlet.

Sample code to change the IP Address of a Windows VM:

One other deprecation is to the Client property. If you have any scripts that are making use of the ‘Client’ property, you’ll want to get those updated to use the ServiceInstance managed object. More information can be found at the following: ServiceInstance

Resolved Issues

First, I want to thank the community for this section. There was an overwhelming amount of feedback that came in and I’m quite excited about how many items we were able to get resolved! Let’s check some of them out:

  • Piping the Get-Datacenter cmdlet output to Get-Cluster now works when more than one datacenter is present
  • Configuring manual MAC addresses with the New/Set-NetworkAdapter cmdlet now accepts all addresses, not just MAC addresses in the 00:50:56 range
  • VMs with snapshots can be Storage vMotioned to VMFS6 datastores without hitting a ‘redoLogFormat’ error
  • Lots of updates to the Get-TagAssignment cmdlet, including when connected to two vCenter Servers and also displays the Tag Category as expected

Summary

Today, we release PowerCLI 10.0.0. This release adds support for PowerShell Core 6 which can be run on Linux and Mac OS systems. There are also a handful of VMGuest related cmdlets which have been removed from the release. Their functionality can be replaced with the usage of Invoke-VMScript. Lastly, there have been several corrections. Many of which are thanks to our amazing community for bringing them to our attention.

Remember, updating your PowerCLI modules is now as easy as:

For more information on changes made in VMware PowerCLI 10.0.0, including improvements, security enhancements, and deprecated features, see the VMware PowerCLI Change Log. For more information on specific product features, see the VMware PowerCLI 10.0.0 User’s Guide. For more information on specific cmdlets, see the VMware PowerCLI 10.0.0 Cmdlet Reference.

Getting Started with the VMware Cloud on AWS Module

VMware Cloud on AWS is a new on-demand service that enables you to run applications across vSphere-based environments plus access to a broad range of AWS services. PowerCLI already helps to automate your VMware Cloud on AWS tasks! This includes tasks such as creating SDDCs, adding or removing ESXi hosts, managing firewall rules, and so forth.

The VMware Cloud on AWS (VMC) module was released as a low-level, API access only, module and will feature the following cmdlets:

  • Connect-VMC
  • Disconnect-VMC
  • Get-VmcService

Let’s take a look at how we can get started using this new module.

Getting Started

When getting started with the VMC module, we’ll notice immediately that it has a little different authentication process than the other PowerCLI connection cmdlets. This module requires you first acquire the OAuth Refresh Token from the VMware Cloud Console:
Example: VMware Cloud on AWS Console - OAuth Refresh Token

Copy the refresh token, open a new PowerShell session, and connect to the VMC service with the following command:

Now that we are connected, let’s start by doing some discovery. The more you work with this module, and the VMC API as a whole, the more you’ll notice the need to be able to easily recall the organization (Org) ID. Therefore, let’s start by looking into how we can discover information about our org. First, we want to figure out what the service is itself with the ‘Get-VmcService’ cmdlet. Notice that we can use the standard PowerShell filtering and wildcard usage to help make the discovery process a bit simpler. Example code:

Next, we’ll make use of the ‘Get-Member’ cmdlet which will show us the available properties and methods for each issued command. We can pipeline the return from the ‘com.vmware.vmc.orgs’ service to the ‘Get-Member’ cmdlet and discover there’s a ‘Get’ and a ‘List’ method available. Since we don’t have any current information about the Orgs within this environment, we’ll opt for the ‘List’ method. Example code:

Example: Service and Org Discovery

Now that we have our org information, the next thing we will want to discover is information about the org’s SDDC. That information can be found with the following commands:

Example: SDDC Discovery

Notice, there’s quite a bit of information to parse through. Let’s look at a simple way to pull out some information about the SDDC’s ESXi hosts. Example code:

Example: ESXi Host Information

VMware Cloud on AWS uses NSX under the covers to provision all of the networking. Therefore, we will also want to have an understanding of the Edge nodes that are available in the environment. This information is actually in a separate service. Remembering what we’ve done previously, here’s some example code to discover some basic information about the SDDC’s Edge nodes:

Example: NSX Edge Discovery

Another good area to be aware of in your SDDC are the firewall rules. These are also easily retrievable through the ‘Get-VmcService’ cmdlet as well. Example of the firewall rules associated with the edge-2 node:

Example: Firewall Rule Discovery

Last example, let’s do something exciting! How about we automate the creation of an SDDC? This is going to require quite a bit of what we’ve learned so far, plus some new tricks. We can find the ‘Create’ method against the com.vmware.vmc.orgs.sddc service. We see that input requires the Org ID and an ‘sddc_config’ input. This is where it gets tricky.

If we remember back in the PowerCLI 6.5.3 release, there was the addition of the ‘Create’ method to a couple cmdlets. This method is also available with the ‘Get-VmcService’ cmdlet. The whole point of this method is to allow us to create a specification in an easy manner. For this example, we’re reference the ‘sddcSvc’ variable, the ‘Help’ property, then the create property. This shows us a property of ‘sddc_config’. This is the specification we’ll need to use. The ‘sddc_config’ property has this ‘Create’ method available so we can automatically build out the specification. Pretty simple, right?

We’re not quite done quite yet though. Each SDDC can have multiple VPC subnets. Therefore, we also need to populate the spec’s customer_subnet_ids list object with the ‘Add’ method.

Example code:

Example: SDDC Creation

The output above from our last create method is a task object. There’s a service for those too! Since the call we made is asynchronous, you can also have a bit of fun and build a progress checker as well!

Here’s some example code I tossed together while waiting on the SDDC to deploy:

Example: SDDC Creation Progress Output

Summary

VMware Cloud on AWS is a fantastic new service that enables you to run applications across vSphere environments as well as accessing a broad range of AWS services. Within this service, PowerCLI is one of the best ways to automate your VMware Cloud on AWS tasks! In this blog post we covered how to discover the available services, explore was methods are available as actions against each of those services, and how to start interacting with those services. We obtained detailed information about our organization, that org’s SDDC and its accompanied configuration including firewall rules, and then had some fun while deploying a brand new SDDC!

Check PowerCLI’s functionality in your own VMware Cloud on AWS environment today and let us know your feedback!

PowerCLI Offline Installation Walkthrough

Can you believe it? PowerCLI is closing in on a year of being in the PowerShell Gallery! We’re up to 20 different modules and, wait for it, over 2,000,000 downloads of those modules!

VMware Profile on PowerShell Gallery

As exciting as that is, there’s still quite a few questions on how to install PowerCLI to systems that do not have internet access. We’re going to take a much closer look at that with this post.

Preparing the Offline System

First things first, we need to uninstall any prior instance of PowerCLI that was installed by way of the MSI. This can be done by:

  • Open the Control Panel
  • Look beneath the ‘Programs’ section, select ‘Uninstall a Program’
  • Select ‘VMware PowerCLI’, click ‘Uninstall’

Uninstalling Prior PowerCLI Versions

One last thing to check, ensure there is no folder containing PowerCLI as part of the title in the following directory: C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\Infrastructure\

We can verify whether such a folder exists or not with a oneliner:

Accessing the PowerCLI Modules

We’re now ready to download the PowerCLI modules. This task will require a system with internet access. This section has a couple of variables which depend on the version of PowerShell available on your online system and whether or not you’ve ever accessed the PowerShell Gallery previously by way of the PowerShellGet module.

The easiest way to figure out which version of PowerShell you have is by using the PSVersionTable variable. Based on the output of that, follow the set of instructions below that matches the output.

PowerShell PSVersionTable Output

Online System with PowerShell 5.x:

  • Open PowerShell
  • Use the ‘Save-Module’ cmdlet to download the PowerCLI modules locally. Example:

    • If requested, update the NuGet provider
    • If requested, trust the ‘Untrusted repository’ that is named PSGallery
      Note: This is a local system trust, not something that has something to do with an SSL certificate
  • Copy those downloaded module folders to a location that can be made accessible to the offline system.
    Example: USB Flash Drive, Internal File Share, etc.

Online systems with the older PowerShell versions of 4.0 or 3.0, may need to have an additional module installed to access the PowerShell Gallery. The module is called ‘PowerShellGet’. We can verify whether the online system has the ‘PowerShellGet’ module available with the following command:

If there’s a response, you have it already! If there’s no output, you’ll need to make it available. Depending on the output, follow the instructions below.

Online System with PowerShell 4.0 or 3.0 with the PowerShellGet module:

  • Open PowerShell
  • Use the ‘Save-Module’ cmdlet to download the PowerCLI modules locally. Example:

    • If requested, update the NuGet provider
    • If requested, trust the ‘Untrusted repository’ that is named PSGallery
      Note: This is a local system trust, not something that has something to do with an SSL certificate
  • Copy those downloaded module folders to a location that can be made accessible to the offline system.
    Example: USB Flash Drive, Internal File Share, etc.

Online System with PowerShell 4.0 or 3.0 without the PowerShellGet module:

  • Download and install the ‘PowerShellGet’ module by way of the PackageManagement PowerShell Modules MSI.
  • Open PowerShell
  • Use the ‘Save-Module’ cmdlet to download the PowerCLI modules locally. Example:

    • If requested, update the NuGet provider
    • If requested, trust the ‘Untrusted repository’ that is named PSGallery
      Note: This is a local system trust, not something that has something to do with an SSL certificate
  • Copy those downloaded module folders to a location that can be made accessible to the offline system.
    Example: USB Flash Drive, Internal File Share, etc.

Save-Module Example and associated output

Adding PowerCLI to the Offline System

It’s now time to put the PowerCLI modules on to the offline system. To take advantage of the magic that is module auto-loading, we’ll want to copy and paste those downloaded folders in one of the locations listed in the PSModulePath variable.

By default, the PSModulePath variable contains the following directories:

  • $home\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Modules
  • $pshome\Modules

When everything is all said and done, you should have one of the directories listed above looking a bit like this:
Directory Structure with PowerCLI Modules on the Offline System

That’s it! Open a PowerShell session and start using your PowerCLI commands as you did before!

Wait… It’s Not Working For Me!

What happens when you go through the above instructions and it’s not working?

The most common scenario we’ve come across is where the ‘Save-Module’ cmdlet was used with an online system that has PowerShell version 5.x. When this happens, there are an additional level of folders created between the top-level module folder and the module files themselves. This is extremely beneficial because we can then have multiple versions of the same module available on the local system. The issue though, older versions of PowerShell do not recognize those folders and therefore cannot load the modules.

When I say issue, I truly mean it. Jake Robinson, the PowerCLI Product Manager, actually created a GitHub issue for PowerShellGet calling out this problem: Offline installation of modules from Save-Module does not work on PS <5.x

Good news though, there are a couple workarounds available!

First option: Upgrade your version of PowerShell on the offline system to 5.x with Windows Management Framework 5.0.
Second option: Find an online system that has PowerShell versions 4.0 or 3.0 installed and use ‘Save-Module’ on that system.

Those two options are simple enough, but generally in an ‘easier said than done’ manner. With that said, I’m very excited to show off a third option. This option doesn’t require installing any software or powering on that older VM you hadn’t decommissioned quite yet. This option is a simple script that is run on the offline system. The script simply looks for the folders that already exist in any of the PSModulePath listed directories, searching specifically for PowerCLI module folders, and then removes that additional nested level of version-based folders.

The script is openly available on the PowerCLI Community Repository and is named: PowerCLI_FixNestedFolders.ps1

Here’s an example of the script in action:
Fixing the nested PowerCLI folders on older versions of PowerShell

Here’s an example of the results: (Left is the before, right is the after)
Directory Structure Before, left, and After, right

Wrap-Up

PowerCLI has seen a lot of success on the PowerShell Gallery. A set of modules with over 2,000,000 combined downloads is pretty impressive! However, there’s still a lot of questions over the installation process for systems that are offline. This blog post walked us through the offline installation process, covers the most common issue users hit, and provides a new solution to help overcome that issue.

Don’t delay, upgrade your version of PowerCLI on all your systems to ensure you’re getting access to the most up-to-date features, performance improvements, and bug fixes today!

If you’re looking to install PowerCLI and have direct internet access, use the following link: PowerCLI – Online Walkthrough
If you’re looking to install PowerCLI on a MacOS based system, use the following link: PowerCLI – MacOS Installation Walkthrough

Getting Started with the PowerCLI Module for VMware NSX-T

PowerCLI 6.5.3 was released a few short weeks ago and one of the biggest additions was the module to manage VMware NSX-T! This version of NSX provides network virtualization to not only VMware environments, but also multi-cloud and multi-hypervisor environments too.

Before diving into the module itself, there are a couple things we should cover first. This module was released as a low-level, API access only, module. That means the module comes with the following cmdlets: Connect-NsxtServer, Disconnect-NsxtServer, and Get-NsxtService. The first two cmdlets should be fairly straight forward, but the third is where it gets interesting. The Get-NsxtService cmdlet allows us to have full access to NSX-T’s public API! This module also gives users the capability to use a ‘create’ method to create PowerShell objects. These objects can then be modified and used as input back to the endpoint. This really helps simplify and streamline the interaction between PowerCLI and the NSX-T API endpoint!

For more information about the NSX-T 2.0 release, see the Network Virtualization blog: NSX-T 2.0 is Here!
For more information about the NSX-T 2.0 API, see the VMware Code API Explorer

Getting Started

First things first, open up a PowerShell session and authenticate to your NSX-T Manager with the ‘Connect-NsxtServer’ cmdlet.

Output Example:
Connect-NsxtServer Example

We are now ready to start exploring the NSX-T API with the ‘Get-NsxtService’ cmdlet. Running that cmdlet as is will return every named call for the NSX-T API, so this may be a little overwhelming at first. To make this easier, remember to reference the API Explorer as well as PowerShell’s ‘where-object’ cmdlet to help filter the names for what you need.

Example: Getting NSX-T Manager Information

For the first example, we are looking for information about the NSX-T Manager node. Searching through the VMware Code API Explorer for NSX-T for ‘nsx manager appliance’, we see a ‘GET’ method against ‘/node’ that is probably the most relevant call.

NSX-T API Explorer Example

To consume this in the PowerCLI module, we will use the ‘Get-NsxtService’ cmdlet to search for a name that ends in ‘node’ with the following code:

We can then save that service in a variable to easily reference for future commands:

We can now explore the methods available by piping the ‘nodeSvc’ variable to PowerShell’s ‘Get-Member’ cmdlet. Example:

There, In the output from ‘Get-Member’, we will see a ‘get’ method. We’ll want to perform that with the following code:

Combined Command Example:

Output Example:
NSX Manager Node Information Retrieval Example

Example: Retrieve Transport Zone Information

In our second example, we will retrieve information about the configured Transport Zones. We can do this as easily as we did the NSX Manager node. Referring back to the VMware Code API Explorer for NSX-T, we can search through the available namespaces for ‘transport zones’. We’ll find one in particular that has a description of ‘List Transport Zones’.

Based on that information we can infer that the service name is going to end in ‘zones’. We’ll run the following command to find the service:

We’ll then store the ‘com.vmware.nsx.transport_zones’ service into a variable. We’ll pipeline that variable to the ‘Get-Member’ cmdlet to find the available methods we can use. An example:

This service offers a couple methods which could fit our scenario of retrieving information about the environment’s Transport Zones. The methods available are a ‘get’ and a ‘list’. In order to perform the ‘get’, we would need to have the ID. Since we don’t have that information yet, we’ll run the ‘list’ method and store that into a variable with the following command:

Refering to the ‘tZones’ variable we can see some information, but the info about the Transport Zones themselves are within the ‘results’ property. We can refer back to the ‘tZones’ variable but specifying the ‘results’ property and find the information we’re looking for.

Combined Command Example:

Output Example:
Transport Zone Example

Example: Logical Switch Management

We have now covered much of the basics on how to get started, so let’s start doing some other tasks. In this example, we are going to list out the Logical Switches and then create a new one!

First, we’ll retrieve information about our existing Logical Switches using the knowledge we built from the first two examples. This can be done with the following commands:

Referring back to the output from the ‘Get-Member’ cmdlet, we noticed a ‘create’ method was available. This is where the ‘Help’ property is going to become very important. We can obtain some additional information about the requirements of the ‘create’ method by calling the variable’s ‘help’ property. We can also target the help for our example by further calling the ‘create’ property. We can do that with the following command:

The output includes a lot of valuable information such as the required and optional parameters, expected output, potential errors, and so forth. The last property, ‘logical_switch’, is the important one. We can refer to this as the structure the ‘create’ method is looking for. We can take that a step further and actually create a specification based off of that information as well with the command:

Checking the output of the variable ‘logSwitchSpec’ we can now see a PowerShell object that can be modified to be included as part of our ‘create’ action. The required parameters are the Logical Switch name, Transport Zone ID, and admin state. However, since this is an overlay logical switch, we can also specify the replication mode as noted in the ‘Help’ output. We can make those modifications with the following commands:

Lastly, we will run the original ‘create’ method against the ‘logSwitchSvc’ variable. Example command:

Combined Command Example:

Example Output:
Logical Switch Creation Example

Example: IP Pool Management

The last example will be taking a look at managing IP Pools.

Much like the prior examples, we’ll start by retrieving information about the existing IP Pools with the following commands:

However, we’d like the output to be a little more readable and include information which is nested within a property. This can be accomplished by using PowerShell’s ‘Format-Table’ cmdlet. We will take the ipPools variable output and pipeline that into the ‘Format-Table’ cmdlet. There we can use the ‘property’ parameter to specify only the properties that we are concerned with viewing.

Command Example:

Output Example:
IP Pool Information Retrieval Example

With our custom output, we realize there happens to be an IP Pool which doesn’t have any IPs assigned to it. We’ll want to remove that IP Pool so someone doesn’t try to use it. Performing a ‘Get-Member’ against the ipPoolSvc variable, we see there’s a ‘delete’ method we can use to remove that unneeded IP Pool. To find more information about what the method requires, we can call the ipPoolSvc’s ‘Help’ property and even further specify the ‘delete’ property. There we can see the IP Pool’s ID is the only required input while the ‘force’ input is optional. We are then ready to use the ‘delete’ method with the following commands:

Output Example:
IP Pool Removal Example

Summary:

PowerCLI 6.5.3 introduced a great new module to manage VMware NSX-T environments. In the NSX-T module’s current release, it has three cmdlets to connect and disconnect from the NSX Manager while the third is used to interact directly with the NSX-T API. This blog post went through several examples including retrieving information about the NSX Manager node, Transport Zones, Logical Switches, and IP pools. We then took a look at using the API access to create a logical switch and remove an IP Pool.

Let us know in the comments how you’re using the NSX-T module to manage your environment!

What PowerCLI Version Am I On Anyways?

When PowerCLI was converted to modules, it introduced the ability to pick and choose which modules are loaded. Taking it a step further, it also allowed users to specify which versions of those modules are loaded. Historically, PowerCLI was released as one large ‘bundle’ of modules, and was not a great release practice. This meant that even though most modules were not touched, we were still required to go through our release processes to get them out the door. This is not scalable when trying to get features to you more frequently.

With modules in the Powershell Gallery, we can now release individual modules asynchronously from other modules. The first release to really take advantage of that is PowerCLI 6.5.2. For those whom have already updated their VMware.PowerCLI module from the Microsoft PowerShell Gallery, you noticed there were only 3 modules which were updated and needed to be downloaded.

The Better Way

In prior releases, we could use the ‘Get-PowerCLIVersion’ cmdlet and receive a high-level look at the overall PowerCLI version which was installed. Previously, our versioning scheme was not supported in PowerShell, so it took a cmdlet to print the version out (Example: VMware PowerCLI 6.5 R1). That is gone now. We’ve made the change to semantic versioning in 6.5.1. This means there will be no more R1, R2, or R3 releases!

Starting with PowerCLI 6.5.2, the process to get module versions has changed. Running the ‘Get-PowerCLIVersion’ cmdlet now results in a warning message indicating that it is deprecated and to use the ‘Get-Module’ cmdlet instead.

Example of the deprecation notice for Get-PowerCLIVersion

Using Get-Module

There are a couple ways to use the ‘Get-Module’ cmdlet to help us determine our versioning. The reason for that is because the ‘Get-Module’ cmdlet only shows the modules which have been imported.

The first way is to get the overall PowerCLI version, which is dependent on the ‘VMware.PowerCLI’ module. We can determine the version by first importing the module (if it’s not already imported) and then running the following command:
Get-Module -Name VMware.PowerCLI | Select-Object -Property Name,Version

Example: Obtaining the version of the VMware.PowerCLI module

From the above example, we can see that we’re using PowerCLI version 6.5.2.

Another way is to just reference the modules which have been loaded automatically. I have an example where we connect to our vCenter Server and then run the following command to find the versions of all the PowerCLI modules which are in-use:
Get-Module -Name VMware.* | Select-Object -Property Name,Version

Example: Obtaining the version of PowerCLI when using module autoloading

From the above example, we see that we’re only using a single PowerCLI module and it happens to be versioned at 6.5.2.

Running a couple additional, random, commands, we re-run the above command and see there’s now a bit more of a mix amongst our loaded modules.

Example: Obtaining the version of active PowerCLI modules

Summary

The new method to obtain what version of PowerCLI you’re using is through the ‘Get-Module’ cmdlet. This update was made for many reasons. This new method takes advantage of how our the PowerCLI modules can be loaded independently of each other on an as needed basis. It also takes advantage of how the PowerCLI module releases can now be done asynchronously from each other. Lastly, since we’ve changed the PowerCLI versioning over to align with the standard PowerShell versioning, there’s no need for a custom cmdlet anymore!

If you’re using ‘Get-PowerCLIVersion’ in your scripts or modules, make sure you’re aware of this and update your resources to reflect this change!

Updating PowerCLI through the PowerShell Gallery

PowerCLI 6.5.2 has been released! This is the second release of PowerCLI to the PowerShell Gallery, so it’s time to figure out how to update your PowerCLI versions to the latest and greatest.

We’ll cover a couple scenarios:

  • Updating from PowerCLI 6.5.1, installed online from the PowerShell Gallery
  • Updating from PowerCLI 6.5.1, installed offline from the PowerShell Gallery
  • Updating from PowerCLI 6.5 R1 or prior

Updating from PowerCLI 6.5.1, Online

This will be the easiest update process PowerCLI has ever offered! Open a PowerShell session, type the following command:
Update-Module -Name VMware.PowerCLI

Update Module Example

That’s it, you’re now running the latest and greatest PowerCLI release!

However, if you happen to have run into the following error it’s possible that PowerCLI was installed by the offline method:
Update-Module : Module ‘VMware.PowerCLI’ was not installed by using Install-Module, so it cannot be updated.

There’s two main ways to resolve this:
Option 1. Remove the PowerCLI modules from where they currently reside
1a. Run the following command:
Get-Module VMware.* -ListAvailable
1b. There should be a ‘Directory’ label at the top of the response. Browse to that directory and remove all the directories starting with ‘VMware.*’

Example Usage of Get-Module

1c. Perform the following command:
Install-Module -Name VMware.PowerCLI -Scope CurrentUser

Option 2. Use the force… And by that, I mean perform the Install-Module command with the ‘Force’ parameter
2a. Perform the following command:
Install-Module -Name VMware.PowerCLI -Scope CurrentUser -Force

Updating from PowerCLI 6.5.1, Offline

This process will work exactly the same as the installation process.

1. From a computer that has internet access, run the following command:
Save-Module -Name VMware.PowerCLI -Path C:\Path\To\Desired\Folder
2. Take the downloaded modules and make them available to the offline system
3. Copy and replace the individual PowerCLI module folders to the location where the prior modules were placed.

Copying over the PowerCLI modules after saving them locally

Updating from PowerCLI 6.5 R1 or prior releases

If you happen to be running an older version of PowerCLI which involved an MSI installer, we can verify that by running the following command:
Get-Module VMware* -ListAvailable

Example on showing a list of available PowerCLI modules

If the majority of PowerCLI modules are versions listed at 6.5.0 or older, as shown above, proceed through the following steps.

PowerCLI 6.5 R1 (or older) Uninstallation Steps:
1. Uninstall PowerCLI through the Control Panel
2. Browse to the following directory: C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\Infrastructure\
3. If there is a ‘vSphere PowerCLI’ directory, delete it

Uninstalling Prior PowerCLI Versions

PowerCLI 6.5.2 Online Installation
This works exactly the same as how the installation did for PowerCLI 6.5.1.

Within a PowerShell session, type the following command: $PSVersionTable

PSVersion Table Sample Output

If the PSVersion is a Value of 5.0 or above:
1. Run the following command:
Install-Module -Name VMware.PowerCLI –Scope CurrentUser
2. If asked to update ‘NuGet Provider’, choose ‘Y’ to install and import the newer version.
3. If asked to ‘install modules from an untrusted repository’, choose ‘Y’ to accept.

Install Module usage to PowerCLI 6.5.2

If the PSVersion is a Value of 4.x or 3.x:
1. Install a current version of PowerShellGet through one of the following two options:
1a. Install Windows Management Framework 5.1
1b. Install PackageManagement PowerShell Modules
2. Run the following command:
Install-Module -Name VMware.PowerCLI –Scope CurrentUser
3. If asked to update ‘NuGet Provider’, choose ‘Y’ to install and import the newer version.
4. If asked to ‘install modules from an untrusted repository’, choose ‘Y’ to accept.

PowerCLI 6.5.2 Offline Installation
1. From a computer that has internet access, run the following command:
Save-Module -Name VMware.PowerCLI -Path C:\Path\To\Desired\Folder
2. Take the downloaded modules and make them available to the offline system
3. Copy and replace the individual PowerCLI module folders to one of the following locations:
3a. Local User Usage: $home\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Modules
3b. All User Usage: $pshome\Modules

Example file structure for an offline PowerCLI Installation

The PowerCLI Installation Walkthrough Video also works in this scenario too. However, following the instructions in the video will now result in PowerCLI 6.5.2 being installed: