Tag Archives: PowerShell

VMworld 2015–San Francisco–PowerCLI Session

Firstly, I want to say I had a blast at VMworld SFO this year, it was a fantastic show and it really felt like everyone was buzzing with excitement and interest in VMware, the announcements, the partners and just about everything else that was going on.  I think this may be one of my favorite years to date.


On top of the general excitement there was of course the awesome group discussions, meet the experts, sessions and customer meetings which I took part in, I was lucky enough to present on some awesome topics this year, the normal PowerCLI deep dive I give with Luc (see below) and also a fantastic new technology called Instant Clone (AKA VMfork). The instant clone presentation is not yet available but for those who are into PowerCLI I wanted to let you know that Luc and my session was made available for everyone to view via PowerCLI, including the information we gave on best practices and also a technical preview of PowerCLI.


If you are going to VMworld Barcelona do not worry, we are already adjusting our session to be even better with more best practices and even more information on the awesomeness of PowerCLI.  Well worth attending and watching this as well.


PowerCLI 6.0 and vCloud Air

One of the great enhancements in the recently released PowerCLI 6.0 is the ability to connect to vCloud Air and vCloud Air Networks, Massimo has already started doing a great write-up on these over at the vCloud Air Blog here.

So why is this a great enhancement?  Well any new area that supports PowerCLI or PowerShell is a great enhancement to me, I mean being able to use PowerCLI to take your automation one step further is always a bonus!  I love the fact that we can now from one shell manage our vSphere environments and our vCloud Air environments for troubleshooting, reporting, provisioning and general automation.  This also goes along with VMware’s key focus of being able to use the same tools to seamlessly extend your datacenter into the cloud by allowing management with the same tools you use to manage your vSphere environment.  On top of this, the ability to manipulate data in both areas and integrate scripts between your on-premises datacenter and your vCloud Air datacenter opens up some great possibilities, imagine being able to automatically spin up new VMs in the cloud when a script works out you need more resources and automatically adding and removing these to a load balancer etc. True hybrid computing!


Anyway, I could come up with use cases for this all day but lets get down to business and explain how to get started, firstly, read Massimo’s great posts here, secondly lets talk about connecting, there are a couple of tricks I have been using for a while now in vSphere that are transferable skills and also work in the vCloud Air environment that make it more convenient to use.

Connecting to vCloud Air with Username and Password

Firstly its easy to connect to vCloud Air and specify your username and password, this would look like the following:


The first thing you will notice is that we didn’t specify a server to connect to, with the Connect-PIServer cmdlet if no server is specified it uses the default of vchs.vmware.com, one less parameter to specify but what id I don’t want to give my username and password as part of the script?  What if I am giving a demo and I don’t want people to see my password?

Connecting to vCloud Air with interactive prompt

If we want to specify a username and password interactively we can just use Connect-PIServer, this is assuming you have not stored credentials in the VICredentialStore, which we will cover next.


Storing your credentials

This is the method I use the most, with this method I can have a highly secure random password and not need to remember it to connect to vCloud Air, this uses the same method of saving credentials that we use for vSphere environments and even the same secure file.  There are a couple of ways we can do this, the first is with the –SaveCredntials parameter as below:


Or use the New-VICredentialStoreItem cmdlet to create a credential item for vchs.vmware.com


Once you have the credentials stored you can manage them with the Set and Remove –VICredentialStoreItem cmdlets.

Now this has been done if we do not specify a credential it will check the VICredentialStore for credentials and use these so connecting to vCloud Air now becomes a single cmdlet:


Listing the Datacenters and Connecting

Now we have made the initial connection to vCloud Air we can easily list the datacenters we have access to and connect to them, firstly lets list the vCloud Air Datacenters with Get-PIDatacenter and then connect to them with Connect-PIDatacenter (which is actually an alias to the Connect-CIServer cmdlet).


Now you have some tips and can see how easy it is to connect to vCloud Air, in future posts I will make use of this connection to start automating vCloud Air and providing PowerCLI enabled resources to use with vCloud Air.

Retrieving VM Metrics from vCloud Air

Recently I was working with vCloud air and PowerCLI and was asked if there was a way to retrieve the statics of a VM and export these to get a better idea of the utilization of that VM.

Working with vCloud Air and the API through the PowerCLI cmdlets I was able to use the GetMetricsCurrent() and GetMetricsHistoric() to retrieve both the current VM Metrics and also the historic metrics of a VM.  The type of metrics and their values is described here.

VM Current Metrics

Current metrics are instantaneous values collected at the time the request is processed. The GetMetricsCurrent() method retrieves a list of current metric values, one for each category. I put this into a handy function which can be found at the end of this post, with this function we can pass vCloud AIR VMs into it and retrieve the current metrics.


VM Historic Metrics

Historic metrics are collected and stored for 14 days. A call to the GetMetricsCurrent() method retrieves the past 24 hours of metric history.  again I created a function that allows us to select a VM (or multiple) and get the historic data for this VM.


You will see that this time the method returns a collection of results in the Sample entry, we can then expand this to return the results for the metric over the last 24 hours.


Creating a VM Statistical report

Of course with this being PowerShell we can add value to these results, I mean who wants to look at a long list of numbers, wouldn’t you rather see a pretty graph?  We can easily use Luc’s great Export-XLSX function to export the results for each metric straight into Excel and even create us a nice graph for each statistic:



The Functions

Make sure you download Lucs Export-Xlsx function from here, and below are the functions I used to retrieve this information from vCloud Air.

Function Get-CIVMMetric {
	Param (
	Process {
		foreach ($VM in $CIVM) {
			If ($VM.Status -ne "PoweredOn") {
				Write-Host "$VM must be Powered On to retrieve metrics"
			} Else {
				$Metrics = $CIVM.ExtensionData.GetMetricsCurrent()

Function Get-CIVMHistoricalMetric {
	Param (
	Process {
		foreach ($VM in $CIVM) {
			If ($VM.Status -ne "PoweredOn") {
				Write-Host "$VM must be Powered On to retrieve metrics"
			} Else {
				$Metrics = $CIVM.ExtensionData.GetMetricsHistoric()

# Get the Current Metrics for the VM
Get-CIVM sql-w-01a | Get-CIVMMetric

# List the Available Historical Metrics for the VM
Get-CIVM sql-w-01a | Get-CIVMHistoricalMetric

# Get the CPU Historical Metrics
Get-CIVM sql-w-01a | Get-CIVMHistoricalMetric | Where {$_.Name -eq "cpu.usage.average"} | Select -ExpandProperty Sample

$VMName = "sql-w-01a"
Foreach ($stat in (Get-CIVM $VMName | Get-CIVMHistoricalMetric)){
    Foreach ($Entry in $Stat) {
        $Data = $Entry.Sample | Select Timestamp, @{Name=($Entry.Name);Expression={$_.Value}}
        Export-Xlsx $Data C:\Temp\$VMName.xlsx -WorksheetName ($Entry.Name) -ChartType "xlXYScatterSmooth" -AppendWorksheet

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!

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


PowerShell your world cup

A little Friday night fun here, of course the first thing i thought when i saw the below tweet from Will.I.Lam was, Ooooo that wouldnt take long to use in PowerShell.


And of course just 20 mins after finishing work I had a few functions, here is how you use them.

1. Go to the kimono website and sign up for an account, this will get you an APIkey, Click your name once you have logged in and select account.

2. Copy the API key and paste it below in the script and have fun!

The Functions


Function Get-WorldCupPlayer ($Country) {
    If ($Country) {
        $TeamID = (Get-WorldCupTeam -Country $Country).id
        Invoke-WebRequest -Uri ("http://worldcup.kimonolabs.com/api/players?teamId=$($TeamID)&apikey=$($ApiKey)") | ConvertFrom-Json
    } Else {
        Invoke-WebRequest -Uri "http://worldcup.kimonolabs.com/api/players?apikey=$($ApiKey)" | ConvertFrom-Json

Function Get-WorldCupTeam ($Country, $TeamID) {
    If ($Country) {
        Invoke-WebRequest -Uri ("http://worldcup.kimonolabs.com/api/teams?name=$($Country)&apikey=$($ApiKey)") | ConvertFrom-Json
    If ($TeamID) {
        Invoke-WebRequest -Uri ("http://worldcup.kimonolabs.com/api/teams?id=$($TeamID)&apikey=$($ApiKey)") | ConvertFrom-Json

    If (!$country -and !$TeamID) {
        Invoke-WebRequest -Uri "http://worldcup.kimonolabs.com/api/teams?apikey=$($ApiKey)" | ConvertFrom-Json

Function Get-WorldCupStat {
    Invoke-WebRequest -Uri ("http://worldcup.kimonolabs.com/api/teams?sort=goalsFor,-1&apikey=$($ApiKey)") | ConvertFrom-Json

Bring on the World Cup Fun

#Display the best team in the World Cup

Get-WorldCupTeam -Country “England”


Get-WorldCupStat | Format-Table


Get-WorldCupPlayer | Format-Table


Get-WorldCupPlayer -Country “England” | Format-Table


#Who has scored the most goals in the Netherland team so far?

Get-WorldCupPlayer -Country “Netherlands” | Foreach { $_ | Where { $_.goals -gt 0 } | Select firstName, lastName, goals } | sort goals –Descending


#View the Logo of the team who is going to win
$logo = (New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadFile(((Get-WorldCupTeam -Country “England”).logo), ($env:TEMP + “\Logo.png”))
Invoke-Item $env:TEMP\Logo.png