Tag Archives: PowerCLI

Receiving alerts on if a VM has over a given number of snapshots

Last week I was asked if there was an easy way to get an alert once a VM had over a certain number of snapshots, this is a frequent request as it would seam some backup products like to keep snapshoting VMs and note removing them.

There are several ways this could be kicked off, including setting a vCenter Alarm on snapshots and getting it to run a script but in this case it was simple, they wanted to run a scheduled task once a day and get an email listing the VMs that had over x amount of snapshots and the details about the last one created, of course it was a 5 minute script but I thought I would blog it anyway for others to use if they needed it.  Enjoy


BTW, its also very easy to get this to work with gmail if you use that as your email provider, just replace the Send-EmailMessage line with the below:

$SMTPClient = New-Object Net.Mail.SmtpClient($SmtpServer, 587)
$SMTPClient.EnableSsl = $true
$SMTPClient.Credentials = New-Object System.Net.NetworkCredential(“my.email@gmail.com”, “mYpa$$w0rd”);
$SMTPClient.Send($EmailFrom, $EmailTo, $Subject, $Body)


Example email



Automated deployment of vCloud Networking and Security 5.5

A while ago I posted a PowerCLI method for deploying vShield 5.0 which can be found here, as mentioned in the comments of that post this did not work for vCNS 5.5, this is because the process of deploying it changed and actually became a lot neater than what it was before.  Before we had to reach inside the guest OS and mess around with configuration files.  In the 5.5 release the vCNS team made some changes to make this easier for people to automatically deploy,


I actually wrote this a while ago and forgot about it until recently when I was asked if it could be done, this was a great reminder for me to post the code for others to use.


You will see in the code that we need to specify some variables at the start of the script, you will see in the code that you need to specify a cluster to deploy vCNS to, as part of this script it automatically picks a random host and a shared datastore which has enough room to deploy the appliance to, this is just an example and can be changed to your requirements as needed – I was just having fun with a kind of automated placement Winking smile

You will need PowerCLI 5.8 R1 for this and don’t forget, once vShield has been deployed you can easily take the configuration further by using the vShield module I created here.   For other examples of deployment scripts for VMware appliances check out the repo here and contribute!

Example output



Automating Tags and Tag Category creation and assignment with PowerCLI

Fimageor a couple of releases now PowerCLI has been able to work with vSphere Tags, A tag is a label that you can apply to objects in the vSphere inventory.

After creating a tag, you can assign that tag to a category. Categories allow you to group related tags together. When you define a category, you can also specify the type of objects to which its tags can be applied to and whether more than one tag in the category can be applied to an object.

For example, if you want to tag your virtual machines by the owner, you can create a category called “Owner” and specify that it applies to virtual machines only and that only a single tag can be applied to a virtual machine at any time. The tags in this category could be Alan, John or Fred etc.

I have had a few people ask me how they can use PowerCLI to work with external systems, CMDBs, databases or even just a CSV file.

One example of this is where a company could have various information about hosts or datastores or virtual machines, like the project that purchased these, a cost code or an owner.  This data is generally stored somewhere else but it would be great to see this information straight in the vSphere Web Client where you manage the objects so that you can instantly contact the owner or work out which project the object is being used for etc.

The below video shows how we can use PowerCLI and this generic script I created to import the data, create the tags and tag categories and assign them to the machines, it uses a csv as input but this could obviously be changed to anything which can be read in PowerShell, like a API, database, application etc etc.

Automating tags and tag categories video

Example Script

This script is the script I created as an example which relates each of the items in the Name column to an object in the inventory then for each of the other column headers it will create a category and then the tags that are under the categories, once this has been done it will apply the tags to the objects in the Name column.

Connect-viserver myvc.corp.local -user administrator@vsphere.local -pass Pa$$w0rd
$CMDBInfo = Import-CSV C:\Software\cmdbinfo.csv

# Get the header names to use as tag category names
$TagCatNames = $cmdbinfo | Get-Member | Where {$_.MemberType -eq "NoteProperty"} | Select -Expand Name

# Create the Tag Category if it doesnt exist
Foreach ($Name in ($TagCatNames | Where {$_ -ne "Name"})) {
    if (-Not (Get-TagCategory $Name -ea SilentlyContinue)) {
        Write-Host "Creating Tag Category $Name"
        New-TagCategory -Name $Name -Description "$Name from CMDB" | Out-Null
        # Create Tags under the Tag Categories
        $UniqueTags = $cmdbinfo | Select -expand $name | Get-Unique
        Foreach ($Tag in $UniqueTags) {
            if (-Not (Get-Tag $Tag -ea SilentlyContinue)) {
                Write-Host "..Creating Tag under $Name of $Tag"
                New-Tag -Name $Tag -Category $name -Description "$Tag from CMDB" | Out-Null
            # Assign the Tags to the VMs/Hosts
            $cmdbinfo | Where {$_.($Name) -eq $Tag} | Foreach {
                Write-Host ".... Assigning $Tag in Category of $Name to $($_.Name)"
                $TagAssignment = Get-Tag -Category $Name -name $Tag
                New-TagAssignment -entity $($_.Name) -Tag $Tagassignment | Out-Null

PowerShell User Group–Campbell–CA–Nov 5th

Are you interested in PowerShell? Do you want free Pizza? If the answer to either of these questions is YES then join us!

Are you in the Campbell, California area on 5th Nov 2014?

I will be presenting about PowerCLI and covering the following areas:

  • Introduction to managing VMware products with PowerShell
  • Reporting
  • Deployment
  • Automation
  • Integration
  • Community
  • Where are VMware headed?
  • Question time!

If you are not interested in managing VMware products with PowerShell then attend anyway, we will no doubt reference lots of PowerShell general tips and tricks and definitely have some great conversations about PowerShell in general.

When and Where?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

6:00 PM to 9:00 PM


Groupware Corporate Office

550 Division Street, Campbell, CA (map)


Make sure you sign up here.

PowerCLI in the vSphere Web Client–Announcing PowerActions

You don’t know how excited I am to write this!  Around a year ago I presented something we were working on internal as a tech preview for my VMworld session, the response was phenomenal, if you were there you would remember people standing up and clapping and asking when this awesomeness would be available, its taken a while but its here and its worth the wait.  So what is this that I am so excited about?


PowerActions is a new fling from VMware which can be downloaded here, it adds the automation power of PowerCLI into the web client for you to use your scripts and automation power back inside the client, have you ever wanted to right click an object in the web client and run a custom automation action, maybe return the results and then work with them further all from the convenience of the web client…. Now you can!

This works in 2 ways….


PowerShell console in the Web Client

Firstly you can access a PowerCLI console straight in the web interface, even in safari, this fling allows for a dedicated host to be used as a PowerShell host and this machine will be responsible for running the PowerCLI actions, once its setup you will access the console from within the web client and all commands will run remotely on the PowerShell host, it even uses your current logged on credentials to launch the scripts meaning you don’t have to connect the PowerCLI session.


You can use tab completion on your cmdlets and even use other PowerShell snapins and modules to control any PowerShell enabled infrastructure to extend your automation needs within the vSphere Web Client.


MenuRight Click your objects

Secondly you can now right click an object in the Web Client and create a dedicated script which will work against this object, have the ability to extend your web client and take the object as an input to use inside your script.

This comes with 2 options, Create a script and also execute a script.


My Scripts and Shared Scripts

Not only can you create your own scripts to run against objects in the web client but advanced admins can create scripts and share them with all users of the web client by storing them in the Shared Scripts section of this fling, read the documentation to find out more about how to do this.  This gives the great ability to have not only shared scripts but actually a golden set of scripts which all users of the web client can use while you keep your items in a separate area “My Scripts”, enabling each user to have their own custom actions.


Download and read more

Download the fling from the VMware Labs site here, also make sure you grab the document from the same site and also check out the great post on the PowerCLI Blog for more information here.


Check out the video for a quick introduction

To help with the details I shot a quick install and usage video that covers the basics, make sure you read the PDF that comes with the fling and make sure you are active, if you like this then let is know, if you want more then let us know…. basically give us feedback!

Deploying Log Insight with PowerCLI 5.8 R1 new features

PowerCLI 5.8 R1 was recently released and of the great new features included was the ability to now set the OVF/OVA properties of a VM or vAPP stored in an Open Virtualization format.

The new cmdlet allows us to query the file for the properties and interactively find out which entries we need to fill out, we can then fill these entries out and send them as part of the deployment of the VM when using the Import-vApp cmdlet which has been a part of PowerCLI for a while now.  For more information on how we do this check out the recent post on the PowerCLI blog here.

The bit I like about this cmdlet is that we can now dynamically work out which host, network and storage to put the VM on based on our own metrics, like say for instance I wanted to choose the host with the most amount of memory in a cluster or a datastore on that host that had the most room left:

$VMHost = Get-Cluster "Cluster Site A" | Get-VMHost | Sort MemoryGB | Select -first 1
$Datastore = $VMHost | Get-datastore | Sort FreeSpaceGB -Descending | Select -first 1

Another method to see the entries and what needs filling out as part of the OVF/OVA Deployment is to use the cmdlet to store the information inside a variable as shown in the video I created below, this can be used to browse through the properties and fill them out as needed or create a script for later deployment.  Another option for this is to load the settings into a variable and then use one of the advanced PowerShell editors like PowerGUI Script Editor to click through the variable in the variable pane and explore the options and their values as can be seen below:


The code

I want to automate the entire build out of my virtual infrastructure like this, I hear you say…. well why not help out, get involved, I started a new Github project where we can all contribute to make sure we are not reinventing the wheel, why not check out the github project here and add your own deployment scripts, so far there are scripts to deploy both Log Insight 2.0 (the one shown in the video) and also vShield Manager 5.5.x.


Video: Deploying Log Insight 2.0

VMware PowerCLI 5.8 R1 Released

imageToday VMware released PowerCLI 5.8 R1, in this release they add even more automation awesomeness to this already powerful tool.  It supports all the way back to vCenter and ESXi 4.1 so if your using this version or anything above this I think it’s well worth updating PowerCLI to make sure you take advantage of the new features, speed increases and bug fixes in this version.

The following list is an overview of the new features:

Faster startup – Enhancements have been made to improve the start-up speed of the first PowerCLI cmdlet in a session to ensure access to PowerCLI is now faster, this was something that I know was an issue in the past and Clint Kitson did an excellent post on things to check and making things faster, whilst the PowerCLI team handles manually compiling the .NET PowerCLI Serializers (notice the installer takes a couple of seconds longer) Clints post is still worth checking out as he lists some other things which can also help with the startup speed.

You can now manage storage policies with the Storage Policy-Based Management (SPBM) cmdlets. This functionality is included in a new snap-in for storage, which contains the following cmdlets:

  • Export-SpbmStoragePolicy
  • Get-SpbmCapability
  • Get-SpbmCompatibleStorage
  • Get-SpbmEntityConfiguration
  • Get-SpbmStoragePolicy
  • Import-SpbmStoragePolicy
  • New-SpbmRule
  • New-SpbmRuleSet
  • New-SpbmStoragePolicy
  • Remove-SpbmStoragePolicy
  • Set-SpbmEntityConfiguration
  • Set-SpbmStoragePolicy

This one is awesome and will ensure PowerCLI is an awesome tool for installing the vCloud Suite products, enhancements have been made to support deployment of OVF and OVA files with configuration parameters in the following areas:

  • Get-OVFConfiguration allows you to query an OVF or OVA for deployment properties
  • Import-vApp now has an OvfConfiguration parameter which allows for OVFProperties to be passed during deployment

Following the work in previous releases on automation of tags, you can now filter multiple objects by tag information. A tag parameter has been added to the following cmdlets:

  • Get-Cluster
  • Get-DatastoreCluster
  • Get-Folder
  • Get-ResourcePool
  • Get-DistributedSwitch
  • Get-Datacenter
  • Get-VApp

Enhancements have been made to error reporting by including more details in the error messages returned by the cmdlets, this includes more information from the APIs making sure users have the best information available when diagnosing why vCenter failed with a task.

You can now pass SpbmStoragePolicy objects to the RelatedObject parameter of the Get-HardDisk and Get-VM cmdlets.

You can now provide a filter when working with Datastore Providers.

You can now filter on DistributedSwitch and VMHost when using the Get-VMHostNetworkAdapter cmdlet with provided parameters.

You can now work with vCloud Director and vCloud Air with support for the latest version of the vCloud Director APIs, again a great enhancement and less pain when working with the latest vCD APIs as you no longer need to force the API version for it to work correctly.

vCloud Director cmdlets have been extended to include the New-CIVM and Get-CIVMTemplate cmdlets.

The New-CIVapp cmdlet has been extended with a new parameter set, which allows you to create an empty vApp.

You can now work with the enhanced vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5.8 public APIs,these have been extended by the SRM release and PowerCLI will enable automation of even more areas now!


So why are you still reading this post?  Go download it now! or if you are a vCloud tenant you may want to just download the cmdlets that enable you to work with vCloud as a user from here.

WebCommander goes Open Source

You may have heard me talk about Webcommander before at VMworld or during a vBrownbag, if you haven’t and you don’t know about this project then you have been missing out!

WebCommander was designed as a framework to wrap your PowerShell and/or PowerCLI scripts into an easy-to-access web service, give each script a nice easy web form and show the results, give a simple icon on a web page to your end users and allow them to use your scripts and all they need is a web browser!

Have you ever wanted to give your users access to certain virtual infrastructure tasks instead of the entire vCenter Client? Have you ever written tasks in PowerShell which you wished you could easily hand off to the users to run on an ad-hoc basis? Now you can hand off the tasks your users need by simply adding a new script and giving them access to WebCommander.

Previously WebCommander was initially released as a VMware fling and updates were performed by VMware, the community was keen to jump on this and the feedback came in thick and fast, I was amazed to see how some customers were using WebCommander and how they took it to the next level.  The main engineer on the project (Jerry Liu) implemented the feedback fast and released update after update to bring the additions to the latest version.

The final part of this story and the great part is that Jerry has now released WebCommander to the community as an open source project on Github, this is fantastic news as it means more people can now get involved, add new contributions and make changes which can be checked back into the core code for everyone to use.  PowerCLI and PowerShell users alike.

So why wait, head over to the site here, download and contribute to this awesome project!


WebCommander Eye candy


Introduction to PowerCLI

Whenever I visit VMUGs or talk about PowerCLI I am constantly surprised by people who have not yet heard of PowerCLI or are unaware of the basics of how it works, let alone the power it has and time it can save people.  I wanted to address this and give people a head start learning PowerCLI.

The below video gives you an idea of what PowerCLI is, how it works and how you can get started. It’s the first of what will hopefully be a series of videos on PowerCLI concepts, please add a comment here for the kind of videos you would like to see.

Creating a manual VSAN Cluster with PowerCLI

In my previous post I showed how to create a datacenter, cluster, add hosts and create an automatic VSAN cluster allowing for the local SSDs and HDDs to be added to a new VSAN datastore, check it out here.

But what if you wanted to create a manual VSAN cluster and select the disks to add to the VSAN Diskgroup to create the datastore, this gives more control and allows for a precisely configured environment making the most of local resources and perhaps saving other disks for further use and alternate features.

In the below code you can see that instead of automatic we can easily set the cluster to manual and add the disks ourselves, with my code I have selected the disks I want to use as all blank SSDs and all HDDs but you could easily use PowerCLI to define the make, model, size or other factors to use before creating the diskgroup and manually adding the SSDs and HDDs.



The script

import-module VMware.VimAutomation.Extensions
Connect-VIServer -User root -Password vmware
$Datacenter = "DC01"
$Cluster = "VSAN Cluster"
$ESXHosts = "", ""
$ESXUser = "root"
$ESXPWD = "vmware"
$VMKNetforVSAN = "Management Network"

# If doesnt exist create the datacenter
If (-Not ($NewDatacenter = Get-Datacenter $Datacenter -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue)){ 
	Write-Host "Adding $Datacenter"
	$NewDatacenter = New-Datacenter -Name $Datacenter -Location (Get-Folder Datacenters) 

# Create the initial cluster
if (-Not ($NewCluster = Get-Cluster $Cluster -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue)) { 
	Write-Host "Adding $Cluster"
	$NewCluster = New-Cluster -Name $Cluster -Location $NewDatacenter 

# For each of our hosts
$ESXHosts | Foreach {
	Write-Host "Adding $($_) to $($NewCluster)"
	# Add them to the cluster
	$AddedHost = Add-VMHost -Name $_ -Location $NewCluster -User $ESXUser -Password $ESXPWD -Force
	# Check to see if they have a VSAN enabled VMKernel
	$VMKernel = $AddedHost | Get-VMHostNetworkAdapter -VMKernel | Where {$_.PortGroupName -eq $VMKNetforVSAN }
	$IsVSANEnabled = $VMKernel | Where { $_.VsanTrafficEnabled}
	# If it isnt Enabled then Enable it
	If (-not $IsVSANEnabled) {
		Write-Host "Enabling VSAN Kernel on $VMKernel"
		$VMKernel | Set-VMHostNetworkAdapter -VsanTrafficEnabled $true -Confirm:$false | Out-Null
	} Else {
		Write-Host "VSAN Kernel already enabled on $VmKernel"
		$IsVSANEnabled | Select VMhost, DeviceName, IP, PortGroupName, VSANTrafficEnabled
# Enable VSAN on the cluster and set to Automatic Disk Claim Mode
Write-Host "Enabling VSAN on $NewCluster"
$VSANCluster = $NewCluster | Set-Cluster -VsanEnabled:$true -VsanDiskClaimMode Manual -Confirm:$false -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue

$ESXHosts | Foreach {
	Write-Host "Finding disks for $($_)"
	# Find the blank SSDs for the current host
	$disks = Get-VMHost $_ | Get-VMHostDisk
	$SSDs = $disks | Where { $_.scsilun.extensiondata.ssd }
	$BlankSSDs = $SSDs | Where { -not $_.Extensiondata.Layout.Partition[0].partition }
	Write-Host "Blank SSDs"
	$BlankSSDsArray = ""
	$BlankSSDs | Foreach { $BlankSSDsArray += $_.scsilun.CanonicalName }
	# Find the blank Magnetic disks for the current host
	$HDDs = $disks | Where { -not $_.scsilun.extensiondata.ssd }
	$BlankHDDs = $HDDs | Where { -not $_.Extensiondata.Layout.Partition[0].partition }
	Write-Host "Blank HDDs"
	$BlankHDDsArray = ""
	$BlankHDDs | Foreach { $BlankHDDsArray += $_.scsilun.CanonicalName }
	New-VsanDiskGroup -VMHost $_ -SSDCanonicalName $BlankSSDsArray -DataDiskCanonicalName $BlankHDDsArray | Out-Null

If ($VSANCluster.VSANEnabled){
	Write-Host "VSAN cluster $($VSANCLuster.Name) created in $($VSANCluster.VSANDiskClaimMode) configuration"
	Write-Host "The following Hosts and Disk Groups now exist:"
	Get-VsanDiskGroup | Select VMHost, Name | FT -AutoSize
	Write-Host "The following VSAN Datastore now exists:"
	Get-Datastore | Where {$_.Type -eq "vsan"} | Select Name, Type, FreeSpaceGB, CapacityGB
} Else {
	Write-Host "Something went wrong, VSAN not enabled"