Mar 15

PowerCLI 5.5 R2, they do listen to you !

About a week ago I was so fortunate to being able to visit the Team behind PowerCLI.

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I did already meet some of the PowerCLI Dev Team members on previous occasions, but this time I was able to see the complete team on their own turf.

Sometimes you immediately feel the chemistry that is present in a Team. And you know, even before you see what they produce, that great products will come out. This Team was for me a typical example of that.

Add on top of that, a dedicated and enthusiastic Product Manager, and voila, magic is in the air.

PowerCLI might be a free product, but you wouldn’t be able to tell that from seeing how this Team, located in Sofia Bulgaria, is dedicated to bringing a new build to you on a tight schedule.

And although PowerCLI might look like a simple products from the surface, you would be amazed at seeing the brainstorming, prototyping and reviewing that hides behind each new PowerCLI build this Team rolls out.

And they did it again with the PowerCLI 5.5 R2 build.

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Jan 01

How to run View PowerCLI

During my recent presentation at the 20th VMUGBE+ session, I showed different ways to run View PowerCLI cmdlets and scripts.

Several of the methods I showed, are already discussed on other blogs (to which I will include the links of course), but there is a new PowerShell feature that hasn’t been used until now (afaik).

view5

And since I never found a complete overview of all the available methods, I decided to create this post.

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Oct 27

Rename an ESXi 5.x host

Another one from the PowerCLI Community. User internetrush1 wanted to know how he could rename an ESXi server through PowerCLI.

esxi-rename

In fact I was amazed there obviously is no cmdlet nor scripts available to perform this rather basic task. Luckily I had some code snippets laying around that did the job. Basically, I followed KB1010821 to do the ESXi 5.x host rename. But I decided it would be better to provide a real function to do the job.

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Sep 02

Event-O-Matic

One of the questions, related to working with vSphere events and tasks, that often appear in the PowerCLI Community, is how do we know which events to select for a query.

To make that task a bit easier, I wrote the Event-O-Matic script. It’s a GUI that allows you to pick a number of events, and the script will generate the PowerShell code, and place it in the clipboard. The Event-O-Matic script was mentioned during our VMworld 2013 US session VSVC4944.

event-o-matic-3-2

Update September 7th 2013:

  • added at least PowerShell v3 test
  • added PowerCLI core pssnapin loaded test

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Aug 27

SiW – Robust Sessions and PowerCLI

One of the new features that came with PowerShell v3 was the introduction of “robust” or “persistent” sessions. This is, imho, a huge improvement on the concept of remote sessions who were introduced in PowerShell v2.
In short, before robust sessions, you had to keep the the client, that created the session, open to keep the remote session alive. With robust sessions, the client side can be closed, and you can reconnect to the robust session, even from another client.
This new remote session concept is something that can be used to solve a number of known PowerCLI “issues”.

                        siw-icon

Siw stands for Server in Waiting. We selected that term since we liked the sound of it, no double entendre should be suspected :-)

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Jul 12

HL Tools – Part 2 – Create a Nested Hypervisor

During last year’s VMworld #NotSupported sessions one of the hot topics was William Lam‘s vInception talk. “Nested ESXi” has since then become indispensable in the homelab of everyone tinkering with virtualisation !

As a follow-up to that session, William posted several blog posts on the subject. You can find them all in a handy overview.

nested-esxi-sierpinski

But as much as I like his clear instructions on how to set up nested ESXi, I wanted to automate the process :-) In my homelab I create, and remove, ESXi VMs on a regular basis. So with the “If you do it more than once, automate it” in mind, I decided to create a function for the process.

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Jun 30

HL Tools – Part 1 – Clone a VM without vCenter

In my homelab I try to automate as much as possible. I have a number of scripts and functions that help me setting up test environments in my homelab.  Since I got quite a number of requests on this, I decided to start a series on my homelab tools.

One of the tasks I automated is the provisioning of VMs. Quite easy when you have a vCenter that manages the cloning process. But in layer 1 of my homelab I’m running ESXi standalone on a PaaS provided server, so no vCenter.

With the Copy-DatastoreItem cmdlet it is easy to clone the files of a VM, but this kind of copy doesn’t know about the different types of VirtualDisk you can have in a VM. As a result, your Thin vdisks become Thick vDisks in the clone. The function in this post avoids that problem by using the VirtualDiskManager for copying the VMDK.

clone-vm-no-vc

Note that there are a couple of prerequisites: the master VM needs to be powered off and have no snapshots. And till now I only tested this with VMs that run a Windows guest OS.

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Jun 01

Task Data Mining – An improved Get-Task

Quite frequently there are questions in the VMTN PowerCLI Community for scripts that report on the tasks that ran in a vSphere environment.

The PowerCLI pssnapin provides a Get-Task cmdlet, but that only provides information about the recent tasks. An alternative is to use the Get-VIEvent cmdlet and extract all the TaskEvent entries.

But why not use the TaskHistoryCollector and it’s methods ? It provides many filtering options, and since this filtering is done in vSphere itself, this way of working is inherently much faster than using a filter in your script.

In analogy with the Get-VIEventPlus function, I published in my Get the vMotion/svMotion history post, here is the Get-TaskPlus function !

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Apr 06

HA VM failover tracking

Another interesting question in the PowerCLI Community today.
David wanted to know if it was possible to track which VMs had been failed over to another ESXi host by HA.
With the Get-VIEventPlus function from my Get the vMotion/svMotion history post it is easy to get that informatiom from the Tasks and Events that are kept in the vCenter database.

HA-failover

But which event to look for ?

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Apr 01

Remove old VM monitor dump files

When you need to move the content of one or more datastores, you sometimes stumble upon files that you didn’t know where there. One such type of files are dump files that are stored in a VM’s directory on the datastore.

The files I encountered were named like this:

  • vmware64-core*.gz
  • vmware-vmx-zdump.*

There isn’t a lot of information available on what exactly these files are used for, besides that they seem to be created when the VM Monitor encounters a crash or a serious problem.

Since these files were quite old, and since I didn’t have any open tickets with VMware, I decided to remove these files. But of course in the PowerCLI way with a function ;-)

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