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This is a guest post by Luc Dekens. If you would like to be a guest blogger, get in touch with Alex Maier, VMware Community Manager.


You may have missed it in the recent flood of vSphere 5 blog posts and tweets, but the PowerCLI Community on VMTN just saw its 4000th thread.

PowerCLI4000

Not a big deal you’d think, there’s plenty of VMTN communities with many more threads. But if you consider what this specific community is about, it is a rather amazing number.  The entire PowerCLI community is about a free PowerShell snap-in that helps you automate your vSphere environment.

Since it is a PowerShell snap-in, the users are primarily system administrators with a Windows background and any other administrators who appreciate the ease of use and the simplicity of the tool. Until PowerCLI came around, you needed a solid *nix background to manage your favorite virtualization platform.

The PowerCLI community, formerly known as the VI Toolkit for Windows, started its life around Christmas 2007. At that time it was still a closed Beta community. It wasn’t until version 1.0 of the tool was released, on July 25th 2008, that the PowerCLI community went public.

Some PowerCLI Community facts

Did you know that:

  • On average, at least 9 people per day actively participate in the PowerCLI community.
  • Since the community went public there was a total of 42928 VMTN points awarded in it.
  • The highest number of awarded points on a single day is currently at 209, and that occurred on February 9th 2011.
  • There are on average 3.5 replies per PowerCLI thread.
  • There are 1446 threads actually marked as answered.  That is 36% of all threads.
  • The record number of threads started on a single day is 15, and this was on January 6th 2011.
  • There are 2135 individual unique users that have posted in the PowerCLI community at any time.
  • Jeffrey Snover, the inventor of PowerShell, attended VMworld 2010 US, where he said that the PowerCLI community was the 2nd most active PowerShell related community in the world. First was of course Microsoft’s own PowerShell community.

What is in all those threads?

The subjects of the threads are a mix of nearly all aspects of managing a vSphere environment.

First-time users frequently ask questions about reporting, in cases where the user may be tasked to produce a report, and now needs to find the values for it.

If you are just starting out, you can generate reports based on information that is immediately available through one of the PowerCLI Cmdlets. Later on, you can begin pulling in data that is not so readily available. The PowerCLI snap-in contains a handy tool that allows access to a collection of all public APIs, called the Get-View Cmdlet. The person responsible for adding this little gem to the snap-in deserves free drinks from PowerCLI users for the rest of his life!

A special case of reporting is the performance and capacity report, which is enabled by the Get-Stat Cmdlet. That Cmdlet, and the ease of handling large volumes of data that comes with PowerShell, makes the creation of performance and capacity reports a piece of cake.

Now, if the user wants to automate the lifecycle of their vSphere environment in part or in whole, whatever the regular Set- and New- Cmdlets don’t cover, can be achieved by calling the vSphere API.  Remember the Get-View Cmdlet I mentioned earlier on?

Since PowerShell itself was designed with the purpose of automation in mind, the PowerCLI snap-in brings this automation engine to the vSphere world.

And there is more

Following the release of the PowerCLI snap-in, other related tools were also released, some of which even have their own VMTN communities! For question about the Project Onyx tool, which will translate all your actions inside the vSphere Client into PowerShell code, go to the VMware Project Onyx community. The vSphere Update Manager has its own snap-in also, and you can ask your UM questions in the vCenter Update Manager PowerCLI community.

Product History

Name

Version

Build

Date

PS

VMware Infrastructure Toolkit for Windows

1.0

103777

25/07/2008

v1

VMware Infrastructure Toolkit for Windows

1.0 Update 1

113225

04/09/2008

v1

VMware Infrastructure Toolkit for Windows

1.5

142961

27/01/2009

v1

VMware vSphere PowerCLI

4.0

162509

21/05/2009

v1

VMware vSphere PowerCLI

4.0 Update 1

208462

19/11/2009

v1/v2

VMware vSphere PowerCLI

4.1

264274

13/07/2010

v1/v2

VMware vSphere PowerCLI

4.1 Update 1

332441

01/12/2010

v1/v2

Some useful links

If you want to find out a bit more about PowerCLI, the following links can come in handy.

Use one of the common search engines to find these, or simply ask in the PowerCLI Community 😉


Luc Dekens, aka LucD, is a three-fold vExpert and since more than 1 year a VMTN Community moderator. Luc contributes to the VMTN PowerCLI Community since the early beta days in 2007, and has recently co-authored a PowerCLI book. He regularly posts on his LucD notes blog, and you can find him on Twitter as @LucD22.