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Well, once Carter spilled the beans, everybody is now waiting with bated breath for VMware to release the beta of our new curiously-named VI Toolkit (for Windows). The toolkit is powered by Windows PowerShell, a shell/scripting technology that Microsoft appears to have gotten very right indeed. The VI SDK, while extremely powerful, is not for the faint of heart. This toolkit takes that power and wraps it up in a very simple syntax which creates a compelling tool for VI admins.

I’m a Perl guy from way back, and I have to say seeing PowerShell
scripts, er, cmdlets do all sorts of tricks with my VMs without breaking a sweat
makes me grin like a maniac. This is going to be a real boon to VI
admins.

Here’s an example from the VMworld hands-on lab manual Automating VMware with PowerShell Lab Manual. How can you not like this? You don’t even need a manual to understand what it does.


get-vm | get-snapshot | where { `
  $_.Created -lt (get-date).addmonths(-1) `
}

Here’s a round-up of the blog reactions so far.

Dave Marshall played with it at VMworld. Link: VMware administrators find value
in Microsoft PowerShell

I in fact also attended the lab during the show
and found it quite interesting and compelling. For me, this was the
first time I had actually used the PowerShell cmdlets to operate and
manage a VMware environment. I spoke with VMware’s Product Manager of
API & SDK, Carter Shanklin at length. Like the people being exposed
to PowerShell for the first time, Shanklin seemed very energetic about
the possibilities that this scripting feature brings to VMware
environments.

Eric Sloof has been working with the toolkit for a while and posting his progress. Link: VMware PowerShell – NTPRO.NL. Here are some of his posts:

Hal is looking for good nuts to crack with our new nutcracker. Link: Call for Script Ideas: VMware PowerShell Toolkit.

Calling all ESX admins!  I am looking for novel ideas for scripts to
write for the upcoming VMware Toolkit for Windows PowerShell.  Yes–I am
offering to do the writing.  I am doing research for a project (details
of which to be announced in the coming weeks), and I could use some
really great ideas of missing functionality or fixes to problems you
have seen while working with VMware Virtual Infrastructure 3.  Pointers
to something cool you have seen done with the VMware Perl Toolkit are
good too.  It’ll be amusing to see how much simpler those will be in PowerShell.  :D

Hal and Andrew Kutz are also having a great discussion about relative complexity and our Perl vs PowerShell toolkits here: TechProsaic
– VMware Perl Toolkit versus PowerShell VI Toolkit
. I don’t think either one really is saying my scripting language is better than yours, but more that the VMware team has done a great job of providing the right level of interface for what admins need to do. Jeffrey Snover actually puts it best on the Windows PowerShell team blog. Link: Windows PowerShell : The Semantic Gap.

Someone could read this blog and walk away thinking, "PowerShell is
great and Perl is crap" – you’d be both right and wrong.  PowerShell is
great but Perl is not crap.  (Hats off to superstar Larry Wall
and Perl, very few people and technologies that have had the level of
(positive 🙂 ) impact these 2 have had on the industry.  The world is
a better place because that guy was born!)   The difference between the
2 examples is the semantic gap.  The PowerShell example has a very small gap between what you think and what you type. The Perl example has a very large gap.

At
the end of the day, the semantic gap is "owned" by the people that
provide the instrumentation.   VMWare could have just as easily
provided a PowerShell Script that took just as many lines as the Perl
example or they could have provide a Perl library or script which
provides the semantics of the Get-VM cmdlet.

The good folks at SAPIEN Technologies have a new VI Toolkit (for Windows) book coming out. Link: Coming Soon: Managing VMWare with Windows PowerShell

We’ve a new book in the works: Managing VMWare with Windows PowerShell: TFM. Read about it at http://www.sapienpress.com/vmware.asp,
where you can also read about the author and (once we have them
available) download preview chapters. We’ll be looking for community
reviewers before long, so if you’re an ESX Server user, stay tuned to
this blog for your chance to participate and earn some cash!

Dave Stein wins the award for the best title so far: Oh No They Didn’t!  VMware Getting all Uppity with Mac Daddy PowerShell

I have no doubt you or your RSS reader should stay glued to the VI PowerShell and Developer Center blogs — the VI Toolkit (for Windows) beta is coming your way soon.