While I was at VMWorld this week, I attended two great sessions on PowerCLI put on by Alan Renouf (Twitter). Alan is one of the top two PowerCLI experts and a VMware Technical Marketing specialist on PowerCLI and Automation. The two sessions that I attended were:
VSVC4944 – PowerCLI Best Practices – A Deep Dive – A presentation with Luc Dekens (Twitter). Luc is right up there with Alan in the top two of PowerCLI experts.
VSVC5931 – PowerCLI What’s New? Administrating with the CLI Was Never Easier
Before I talk about the two potential Flings, I want to mention a new PowerCLI command that is coming with vSphere 5.5 – Open-VMConsole. This command does exactly what it says on the tin – it opens up the VM console in a web browser. This feature allows administators direct access to a VM console without having to open either the Web Client or the C# client. Alan demonstrated one interesting application of this cmdlet during his talk – he built a simple PowerShell form using Primalforms that could be distributed to administrators to allow them to open the console without having to give them access to either client. My environment is fairly small with few administrators, so I don’t see too much of an application for this where I’m at. But there are huge potential uses for this in limiting access to the console of specific VMs without also giving application owners/administrators access to the vSphere client.
That’s not the only new addition to PowerCLI in 5.5. There are also new cmdlets for working with Inventory Tags and expanded cmdlets for working with Virtual Distributed Switches.
Two exciting new potential VMware Flings/features were demonstrated during these sessions that take PowerShell and PowerCLI to the next level – WebCommander, a web browser-based method of launching PowerShell scripts, and a PowerCLI window that can be launched from within the vSphere Web Client that was unofficially named “PowerWeb” by someone in the audience of the session I attended. Both of these options will allow administrators who run Linux or OSX on their desktop to utilize PowerShell for their
“PowerWeb” or the PowerCLI vCenter Web Client Option – This fling, which hopefully will make it into a future release of vCenter as a supported feature, adds links for a PowerCLI console and script window to the vCenter Web Client. Administrators can execute PowerShell and PowerCLI scripts from directly within their web browser. The current version only appears to work with the Windows version of vCenter, but it should be possible in the future to redirect the PowerCLI interface to a Windows Server when running the vCenter Appliance.
WebCommander – WebCommander is a web portal for facilitating automation by presenting PowerShell and PowerCLI scripts to end-users and Administrators. The scripts are run on a local Windows server and presented to the web via PHP. This fling will facilitate self-service options by allowing Administrators to publish out PowerShell scripts so that they can be easily executed.
I’m most excited for seeing the WebCommander fling as I have an immediate use for something like this in my $work environment as we shuffle around help desk operations.