VMworld Hackathon 2019 – PowerCLI team

The annual VMworld Hackathon hosted by the VMwareCode team is one of my favorite events of the year. We get to hang out with community members, eat, drink and pound on keyboards in a competition where anything goes. I’ve participated in each of the last 4 events (US only), and for the first time I was on the winning team! Very exciting! Thank you to the VMwareCode team for continuing to support such a fun event for the community! It’s honestly less about competing and more about learning new things. One of the best parts is getting messages weeks later stating that I helped someone with some little keyboard trick.


This year I put together a team and had a whole bunch of folks join to have some fun with the PowerCLI examples repository. The team was comprised of folks who had skills that ranged from novice to expert. Hopefully everyone learned a few things and could apply them to their normal jobs.

Huge thanks to all my team members. You guys were AWESOME & fun to work with!!

This Year’s Project:

The team would focus on creating an automated process around the PowerCLI Examples repository in GitHub. Some tasks would include:

  • Authoring a Build pipeline
  • Creating quality gates for deployment
  • Advanced Tasks
    • Resolve any current Lint Errors (There are Hundreds)
    • Implement auto-fix instructions during commits for common errors
    • Add Pester Tests for scripts

Why would this be a useful project?

The PowerCLI examples repository is simply a mess. A lot of folks have submitted useful scripts/examples/modules and other things to the repository but there is no consistency in the material. It’s unrealistic to think that one person or even a small group could provide the oversight needed on such a large repository to ensure that only quality/useful code was being published. Our Hackathon team focused on attempting to make this process a little more human friendly. Which would allow the repository owners to set up acceptance criteria and allow for the build process to determine if the code meets the requirements. Additionally it would be great for the consumer of the repository to have an easy method for downloading and using the PowerCLI examples.

What we decided on:

In talks with the team we adjusted the tasks for the night to focus on making the PowerCLI examples repository more user friendly from the Administrative and User side. This would include the following tasks for the night:

  • Create a new GitHub Repository to keep things clean
  • Only focus on the Scripts Directory
  • Convert all the Scripts to Functions
  • Package the Functions as a PowerShell Module
  • Scaffold a directory structure to support a PowerShell Module
  • Select a single Script, convert it to a function
    • Add Pester Tests for the Single script
  • Create CI/CD pipeline using AppVeyor
  • Publish new Module to the PowerShell Gallery
  • Review/Define quality gates
  • Run Linting tools against the newly created functions

What we accomplished:

The good news is that we were able to complete each of the tasks above, with only a few caveats.

  • All of the scripts were converted to functions and the Linting was run against them. However it would not make sense to blindly place all of these items in the Module.
    • The repository we worked from can be viewed on my GitHub page.
  • Only 1 function Get-MigrationsSet has unit tests, it would take some time to create the tests for all of the functions that were converted. See the first bullet.

How’s it work?

  1. The contributor 
    1. Forks the repository
    2. Creates a new Branch for their function
    3. Adds a Function file and appropriate test file
    4. Adds the appropriate Function and test code
      1. Can run tests locally 
    5. Commits code to their Branch and Fork
    6. Creates a Pull Request (PR) to the Master repository
  2. The Repository owner
    1. Reviews the Pull Request
      1. AppVeyor Results
      2. General code purpose
      3. Suggests any edits
    2. Approves or denies the PR
      1. If the PR is approved
        1. The Module is updated on the PowerShell Gallery
          1. Requires a string added to the Merge ‘!deploy’
  3. The Consumer
    1. Can Install the module from the PowerShell Gallery
      1. Install-Module PowerCLIExamples
    2. Can Update the module from the PowerShell Gallery
      1. Update-Module PowerCLIExamples


What does the future hold?

Here are my suggestions for the ‘PowerCLI Examples Repository’ of the future….

  • Repository Ownership
    • It’s unclear the level of ownership that VMware should take for the repository and for the module(s). 
    • This comes down to legal responsibility and I cannot speak to what the outcome should or will be.
  • Modules
    • All of the current modules in the Module directory should be broken out into their own repositories. See first bullet.
    • All modules should still follow best practices outlined for the Module Quality gates that need to still be finalized
  • Scripts
    • All Scripts should be reviewed to determine if they are better suited as functions.
    • Scripts are okay, but are less user friendly as far as a Module goes.
    • Should still follow best practices outlined for the Module Quality gates that still need to be finalized
  • Functions
    • All functions should be reviewed to ensure they make sense. Are generally useful and not duplicated.
    • Should still follow best practices outlined for the Module Quality gates that still need to be finalized
  • Module Quality Gates
    • These need to be developed over time
      • Start small, Iterate often, Automate always
    • They will help every contributor write better code
    • Should not be overly complex for new contributors
      • Yes, there is still a learning curve

Raspberry Panthers

This year I have decided to spend more time at my children’s elementary school. I have volunteered to lead a STEAM club. Last year for career day I created a ‘Match Maker’ game using 2 Raspberry Pi’s and some PowerShell to demonstrate what I do each day at work. It was a hit! Several months later I’m still getting great feedback from the 10-minute demo.

Starting in the fall I will be partnering up with a teacher and work with the students to deploy indoor weather stations to each classroom(pending funding). But, I need your help!

The school board will not let the club use the existing network infrastructure for the club. All of the equipment for this club will need to be purchased and operated in a standalone type of environment. The club will need to purchase the Raspberry Pi devices, sensors, cables, laptops, keyboards, monitors, and network gear.

More details are available on the donation website: RaspberryPanthers

Please consider helping by donating. Thank You!


ReportCardPS – Use PowerShell to create VMware Clarity Reports

Finally! I’ve updated the ReportCardPS module to be more user friendly. I had some free time while attending the PowerShell and Devops Summit this past week. This module creates ‘Card’ based reports in HTML, using the VMware Clarity HTML/JavaScript library.ReportCardPS_dark


I think I need to add some text the the icon above…

In order to separate ‘form and function’ I have create a second module to address the VMware Clarity piece. This way you could plug in any HTML/JavaScript solution to ReportCardPS. But I’m kinda biased with VMware Clarity….


For the most part, unless you are building customized reports, you can forget about ClarityPS. Just know it exists, and that I still have quite a few more elements to expose to the PowerShell functions.

To get started, install ReportCardPS (This will auto-install Clarity PS:

Install-Module ReportCardPS

Review the available commands:

Get-Command -Module ReportCardPS

Get-ReportCardTemplateSet – This function can check directories for Json Files that can be used as a report template.

New-ReportCard – Ingests a JSON file and loops through the data to create the Cards within the report

If you run ‘Get-ReportCardTemplateSet’ with no parameters, it will return the default template files included with the module.


The current template file is named ‘vCenterHomeReport.json’ and provides the HTML file above. It’s as close as I could get to the vCenter Home page.

Here is a Link to the JSON file used to create the report

When you are ready, Connect to your vCenter:
Connect-VIServer -User administrator -Password VMware1!

Then you are ready to run your first report. Keep in mind this is still a new module, and there are no current output options. Please feel free to submit a request!

New-ReportCard -Title MyFirstReportCard -JsonFilePath "C:\Program Files\WindowsPowerShell\Modules\ReportCardPS\0.0.8\lib\VMware\vCenterHomeReport.json" | Out-File C:\temp\reportcardps\test.html -Encoding ascii

There you have it! Oh, it also comes with a built in theme switcher! If you like that kinda thing….ReportCardPS_light

All docs are updated for both modules. Enjoy!



Use PowerShell to create a GitHub Issue(s)

I was a bit surprised that I could not find some existing code that to do this (Google Fail?). Luckily I was able to find enough resources to solve this fairly quickly. If you know of another resource please let me know and I will add a link.

Here is my scenario for this code:

I’m working on an existing project with a few other guys, and we’ve just identified a large list of items that need to have issues created. I find it easier to break my work down in a bulleted list of tasks/features, then create issues. The problem is that using GitHub to create a list of issues(say 30-40) is a major time hog! So I wrote some PowerShell code to do the work for me! The goal is to create an Issue for a list of Tasks that each have a Title, Description(Body), and a label.

The most painful portion of this was the Authentication to GitHub, I wish more Enterprise vendors would support PowerShell, and provide examples! Be sure to update the Security Protocol:

[Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol = [Net.SecurityProtocolType]::Tls12
Next, Create an API token from the GitHub API (see screen capture below).
  • Log into GitHub
  • Click on the drop down of your avatar in the Top right
    • Select ‘Settings’
    • Select ‘Developer settings’
    • Select ‘Personal Access Tokens’
    • Click ‘Generate New token’
      • Confirm your password
      • Type a Name
      • Add the Appropriate Permissions
      • Click the ‘Generate token’ button
      • Finally you can copy the new token (Save it in a secure location)

Great job so far!! Now lets setup some headers for the REST call.

$UserToken = "a60b16b5c8b3b268abd8b29fc774be1aacf67b91"
$Headers = @{
Authorization='token '+$UserToken


First, here is the function to actually create the data in GitHub:

New-GitHubIssue – Located under the Invoke-Automation repo tied to my GitHub account. Click the link to view the Function code:


Next, a few lines to read a CSV and call the ‘New-GitHubIssue‘ function to create all the Issues.

Here is an example of the CSV(Fields: Title,Description,Label):


Here is the loop to process the CSV:

[string]$Owner = "jpsider"
[string]$Repository = "Invoke-Automation"
$csvFile = "C:\Temp\NewIssues.csv"
$Content = Get-Content -Path $csvFile
foreach($line in $Content) {
Write-Output"Entering Issue - Title:$Title,Description:$description,Label:$Label"
New-GithubIssue-Title $Title-Description $Description-Label $Label-owner $Owner-    Repository $Repository-Headers $Headers

Boom, Done. 30-40 Issues created in less than 10 seconds. Give it a Shot! Add different fields that suit your needs.

Creating a local SSL certificate hierarchy with Windows PowerShell

Often times when playing with new technologies you are required to utilize SSL certificates and not everyone has access to and enterprise Certificate Authority. Here is how you can create one with Windows PowerShell on Windows 10.

Create a simple hierarchy of certificates.

  • Local Root Certificate Authority (CA)
    • This will be used to sign the Server and Client certificate.
  • Server Certificate
    • This will be used to bind the HTTPS service to the specified port.
  • Client Certificate
    • This will be used when you access the SSL service.

Keep in mind that the purpose of these certificates is to verify that the client and server certificates have been signed by the same Certificate Authority.

Create the Root Certificate Authority

To get started here is a command to create the CA:

$rootCAparams = @{
  DnsName = 'PowerShellDemo.io Root Cert'
  KeyLength = 2048
  KeyAlgorithm = 'RSA'
  HashAlgorithm = 'SHA256'
  KeyExportPolicy = 'Exportable'
  NotAfter = (Get-Date).AddYears(5)
  CertStoreLocation = 'Cert:\LocalMachine\My'
  KeyUsage = 'CertSign','CRLSign' #fixes invalid certificate error

Create and view the Certificate

$rootCA = New-SelfSignedCertificate @rootCAparams

PSParentPath: Microsoft.PowerShell.Security\Certificate::LocalMachine\My

  Thumbprint Subject
  ---------- -------
  8576D38B872A1C3E7AA363BDC1DA0300CF2E7E88 CN=PowerShellDemo.io Root Cert

Add/Import the new RootCA to the ‘Root’ Certificate Store

$CertStore = New-Object -TypeName `

Now you can use the newly created RootCA to sign the Server and Client Certificate.

Creating the Server certificate:

$params = @{
  DnsName = 'Server.PowerShellDemo.io'
  Signer = $rootCA # <------ Notice the Signer is the newly created RootCA
  KeyLength = 2048
  KeyAlgorithm = 'RSA'
  HashAlgorithm = 'SHA256'
  KeyExportPolicy = 'Exportable'
  NotAfter = (Get-Date).AddYears(2)
  CertStoreLocation = 'Cert:\LocalMachine\My'

$ServerCert = New-SelfSignedCertificate @params

PSParentPath: Microsoft.PowerShell.Security\Certificate::LocalMachine\My

  Thumbprint Subject
  ---------- -------
  F17FD4BC4D14EF9E2CBE6A55A2D855D830FE23D0 CN=Server.PowerShellDemo.io

Creating the Client Certificate:

$params = @{
  DnsName = 'DemoClient.PowerShellDemo.io'
  FriendlyName = 'DemoClient'
  Signer = $rootCA # <------ Notice the Signer is the newly created RootCA
  KeyLength = 2048
  KeyAlgorithm = 'RSA'
  HashAlgorithm = 'SHA256'
  KeyExportPolicy = 'Exportable'
  NotAfter = (Get-Date).AddYears(2)
  CertStoreLocation = 'Cert:\LocalMachine\My'
$ClientCert = New-SelfSignedCertificate @params

PSParentPath: Microsoft.PowerShell.Security\Certificate::LocalMachine\My

  Thumbprint Subject
  ---------- -------
  B2B3497FE918666C5CCB7AEE178C8134D61E8F95 CN=DemoClient.PowerShellDemo.io

Doing ‘Stuff’ with Certificates

To view the newly created certificates use ‘Get-ChildItem’ on the Certificate Store path.

Get-ChildItem -Path Cert:\LocalMachine\My\

PSParentPath: Microsoft.PowerShell.Security\Certificate::LocalMachine\My

  Thumbprint Subject
  ---------- -------
  F17FD4BC4D14EF9E2CBE6A55A2D855D830FE23D0 CN=Server.PowerShellDemo.io
  B2B3497FE918666C5CCB7AEE178C8134D61E8F95 CN=DemoClient.PowerShellDemo.io
  8576D38B872A1C3E7AA363BDC1DA0300CF2E7E88 CN=PowerShellDemo.io Root Cert

Also be sure to validate that the RootCA is listed in the Root Certificate store:

Get-ChildItem -Path Cert:\LocalMachine\Root\

  PSParentPath: Microsoft.PowerShell.Security\Certificate::LocalMachine\Root

  Thumbprint Subject
  ---------- -------
  CDD4EEAE6000AC7F40C3802C171E30148030C072 CN=Microsoft Root Certificate Auth...
  BE36A4562FB2EE05DBB3D32323ADF445084ED656 CN=Thawte Timestamping CA, OU=Thaw...
  A43489159A520F0D93D032CCAF37E7FE20A8B419 CN=Microsoft Root Authority, OU=Mi...
  92B46C76E13054E104F230517E6E504D43AB10B5 CN=Symantec Enterprise Mobile Root...
  8F43288AD272F3103B6FB1428485EA3014C0BCFE CN=Microsoft Root Certificate Auth...
  8576D38B872A1C3E7AA363BDC1DA0300CF2E7E88 CN=PowerShellDemo.io Root Cert
  7F88CD7223F3C813818C994614A89C99FA3B5247 CN=Microsoft Authenticode(tm) Root...

# This list was cropped, expect to see additional entries.

Using Certificates as PowerShell variables/objects

To set a certificate to a variable run the following command specifying which Common Name (CN) you want, and you can specify properties of the object, such as the Thumbprint:

$ServerCert = Get-ChildItem -Path Cert:\LocalMachine\My\ |
Where-Object { $_.Subject -eq 'CN=Server.PowerShellDemo.io'}

$ServerThumbprint = $ServerCert.Thumbprint

That’s it! You now have a simple Certificate Hierarchy with a RootCA, Server and Client certificate to use in a lab!

VMworld 2018 is around the Corner

I’m always excited this time of year. We are just a few weeks away from the best Technology conference of the year! I get to see quite a few familiar faces and the community is always a very positive one.

This year I am presenting two VMware {Code} Sessions and one vBrownBag community session.

You can view them in the Content Catalog (Search for Sider) and add them as a place holder on your schedule.

PowerCLI Lint [CODE5540U] – This session will focus on writing better code, and what tools are available to help you during this process.

PowerRestCLI, A community PowerShell Module [CODE5550U] – This session is all about using the RESTful API’s with PowerShell. This is really focused on learning new things while playing with PowerShell.

Getting Started with GitHub for PowerCLI users [VMTN5605U] – This session is focused on trying to explain GitHub to new users. I will do my best to relate the terms and tools to everyone.

Lastly I am super excited to attend the ‘VMware {code} Hackathon [CODEHACK]‘ for the third straight year. It’s always a great time with great people!

If its possible, please see if you can get your company to sponsor #vGolf.

See you at VMworld! #SiderHouseRules

The PowerShell Conference Book

Hey Everyone! It’s been quite some time since I last posted on my blog. I’ve been very busy with work and extra curricular activities. One of the projects I worked on was The PowerShell Conference Book. It was a terrific experience, I am very thankful to be included. By purchasing a copy of this book, you not only get the opportunity to immerse yourself into nearly 30 different PowerShell topics, you also get to support the OnRamp scholarship program!

My chapter is titled ‘Building Secure RESTful Endpoints with PowerShell’ and is focused on my PowerShell Module RestPS, which is available in the PowerShell Gallery.

Huge thanks to Mike Robbins, Jeff Hicks, and Micheal T. Lombardi for their work in organizing and delivering this project!

Pick up your copy today!


Write-LogLevel – PowerLumber – PowerShell Logging Module

Are you a lumberJack?

Ever have difficulty implementing logging for long running or large scripts? Did they take up too much space because you either log EVERYTHING, or nothing? Or did you leave the logging you were doing while writing and troubleshooting your script, in the real script, and now you are creating too much noise? I was constantly changing my logging, adding, removing, commenting things out, then back in, etc. It was a mess, not consistent and a pain in the…… Not anymore! I’ve added a new function to the PowerLumber Module ‘Write-LogLevel’ that can increase or decrease the noise based on how the messages are defined in the script/module/function. This is just like Log4j that Java uses, although my implementation is a little different.

The PowerLumber Module is available in the PowerShell Gallery, and the source code is github.

Install-Module -Name PowerLumber

Import-Module -Name PowerLumber

Using the module you define each message with an option from ‘-MsgLevel’. The Options are currently:


At runtime you define ‘-RunLogLevel’, based on the relationship between the options the message will get printed to the console, written to the log file, or both. The Options are currently:


You can turn all logging off (‘-RunLogLevel OFF‘), and only output to the console(‘-RunLogLevel CONSOLEONLY‘), which is great for active debugging, without having to edit all of your log commands! If you are using a loop you also have the option of pulling in the -RunLogLevel from a property file so that you can edit the noise level on the fly.

Check out my example script, the console output versus the log output to see what I’m talking about. Sorry, its a bit redundant, but I wanted to make a point. Below we run the internal function 3 times, generating quite a few “messages” and a lot of console noise, but not all message are written to file…..

Write-Warning "Setting the RunLogLevel Variable controls the level of logs written to the logfile."
Write-Warning "All Message will print to the console unless 'OFF' is specified."
$script:RunLogLevel = "ERROR"
$logfile = "c:\temp\testing.log"
$Msg1 = "This is a TRACE Message"
$Msg2 = "This is a DEBUG Message"
$Msg3 = "This is a INFO Message"
$Msg4 = "This is a WARN Message"
$Msg5 = "This is a ERROR Message"
$Msg6 = "This is a FATAL Message"
$Msg7 = "This is a CONSOLEONLY Message"
$Msg8 = "This message has a hardcoded value for -RunLogLevel of ALL"

Write-Warning "You could force a message to appear, by specifying all as the -RunLogLevel"
Write-LogLevel -Message $Msg8 -Logfile $logfile -RunLogLevel ALL -MsgLevel TRACE

function Invoke-DemoLogLevel {
    Write-Warning "See which items write to the log file as you change -RunLogLevel"
    Write-LogLevel -Message $Msg1 -Logfile $logfile -RunLogLevel $script:RunLogLevel -MsgLevel TRACE
    Write-LogLevel -Message $Msg2 -Logfile $logfile -RunLogLevel $script:RunLogLevel -MsgLevel DEBUG
    Write-LogLevel -Message $Msg3 -Logfile $logfile -RunLogLevel $script:RunLogLevel -MsgLevel INFO
    Write-LogLevel -Message $Msg4 -Logfile $logfile -RunLogLevel $script:RunLogLevel -MsgLevel WARN
    Write-LogLevel -Message $Msg5 -Logfile $logfile -RunLogLevel $script:RunLogLevel -MsgLevel ERROR
    Write-LogLevel -Message $Msg6 -Logfile $logfile -RunLogLevel $script:RunLogLevel -MsgLevel FATAL
    Write-LogLevel -Message $Msg7 -Logfile $logfile -RunLogLevel $script:RunLogLevel -MsgLevel CONSOLEONLY
$script:RunLogLevel = "WARN"
write-Warning "You could force a message to appear, by specifying all as the -RunLogLevel"
Write-LogLevel -Message $Msg8 -Logfile $logfile -RunLogLevel ALL -MsgLevel TRACE
$script:RunLogLevel = "FATAL"
write-Warning "You could force a message to appear, by specifying all as the -RunLogLevel"
Write-LogLevel -Message $Msg8 -Logfile $logfile -RunLogLevel ALL -MsgLevel TRACE
 So keep in mind this is just a sample to show you what it can do, its kinda messy and a very stupid script. Here is what the console looks like:
BUT WAIT! There’s LESS, YES LESS in the log file! Check out what actually got written to file:
It’s very clear that this function can clean up your logs, when you choose.

I’m open to feedback, I’m not sure I’m sold on the parameter names yet, but I love the functionality!

Creating PowerShell RESTFul EndPoints

Yes, you can do this. No, its not ready for prime time……  yet! So what am I really talking about here? This is the beginning of creating very useful PowerShell applications on a modern application framework. It will allow you to use the same API calls to your PowerShell scripts that you might use with other services in your infrastructure.

Quick links:

okay….  but WHY?

  • Consistency
  • Flexibility
  • Versioning
  • Scalability
  • Ease of use
  • Security (kinda, only expose Endpoints you want/need)

This is a great platform to develop a ‘PowerShell Application Server’ that you can access with other Powershell scripts and other services can now access the same information that your PowerShell scripts can generate.

Now, the Why nots…

  • While its easy, its another layer.
  • Security (no SSL yet)
  • Memory (you MUST properly remove variables, and garbage collect!)
  • No SwaggerUI (hopefully you know what this is!)

So lets Dive in with a basic use case of getting some process information off of the OS.

First, just install the module from the PowerShell Gallery:

Install-Module -Name RestPS

There is only one exported function ‘Start-RestPSListener’ which requires no parameters. I do suggest you use them!

  • -Port (default is 8080)
  • -RoutesFilePath (Default uses the built in Routes which is not recommended!)

You can copy the file ‘Invoke-AvailableRouteSet.ps1’ to ‘c:\temp’ and specify this as your Routes file path. (I also recommend adding ‘Invoke-AvailableRouteSet’ as the last line of this file). This will allow you to reload the routes with each REST API call to your server.

Now, your first endpoint can be started up like this:

Import-Module -Name RestPS

Start-RestPSListener -Port 8081-RoutesFilePath "c:\temp\Invoke-AvailableRouteSet.ps1"

From a second console you can now run web requests to this new Endpoint.

Invoke-RestMethod -Method Get -Uri "http://localhost:8081/proc"

Invoke-RestMethod -Method Get -Uri "http://localhost:8081/process?vmware-tray"

It’s that simple! The Web listener will execute any command or script defined in your Routes file. If the Route is unknown a message will be sent back ‘Invalid Command’.

To shut the Endpoint down, send the following comand:

Invoke-RestMethod -Method Get -Uri "http://localhost:8081/Endpoint/Shutdown"

Below is an image of the Calls from each console.


You can see this is a very easy project to get started with. You can now put a pretty simple web front end on any of your scripts. Give access to outside users to run your scripts. Just use some caution! You only have to expose endpoints/scripts you want folks to have access to. I have not started the road down SSL yet.

Check it out, have some fun, give some feedback!

Reference projects:



Got vSphere API’s? PGH little hack, WPVMUG, and Ariel – not the Mermaid

I’mmmmmmm  back!

I’ve been quite quiet since VMworld, sorry! Life has not slowed down at all. Anyway enough about the boring stuff.

This past week I got to spend 2 days up in Pittsburgh to attend a TAM round Table headlined by Kyle Ruddy, a little Hack organized by Ariel Sanchez Mora & Carl Capozza, lastly the WPVMUG.

First, let me say, the people were GREAT! I’m sure I cannot mention them all, but here are a few: AJ Kuftic, Dave Kalaluhi, Dan Barr, Doug DeFrank. All of these guys were great to hang with and were super welcoming. I cannot thank them enough for their hospitality!

At the TAM meeting, there were a lot of great conversations with wide ranging topics. It was great to be in a room with very smart folks! Not to mention the diversity in skill sets. Its amazing how everyone uses the technology, but we all use it differently. It just proves that we all have so much to learn.

The PGH Little Hack was fun! I’m not sure that anyone accomplished a specific task. But I know that we all walked away with more knowledge! Just like the larger hackathons I think keeping scope small is key. It’s way too easy to get off topic.

Lastly the WPVMUG, these events are great, we get to see presentations from experts in our field with direct access to the presenter. Additionally my favorite part is that new speakers get their time to shine. This time it was Doug DeFrank and boy did he shine. You could tell he was a bit nervous before the start of his presentation, but as soon as it started he blew me away. His passion for his topic was unprecedented, the topic hits home for me, as I got started scripting the same way he described. I’m sure that Ariel will be posting a video, if I find it I will post the link. So thank you Ariel for getting Doug to speak, and Thanks to Doug for delivering a very good presentation. The workflow diagrams were great, but the passion will keep me coming back, I hope I get to see you on stage again soon! Check out his blog here.

Lets get to some Technical stuff…

One of the problems we had with the little Hack (and I could see in future events) is that we did not know what to do. Everyone had some idea’s but we never really ironed the details out. Now I don’t think that every little detail has to exist before you start one of these events, but having a plan or general direction is always nice. One of the constant themes we had over the 2 days was hearing folks say “I want to learn more about the vSphere API’s”. But no one really knew how to get started, or a way to really have it hit home. So I am here to propose the following, at least for folks with a similar skill set to my own…..  which consists of quite a bit of PowerShell.

I’ve started a new PowerShell Module called “PowerRestCLI”, which is just a PowerShell wrapper to the vSphere API. Now, I want to be clear: THIS IS NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR POWERCLI! This is not my goal, it is not the purpose of this Module. This is just a tool for folks to learn a new skill. Honestly my goal, whether it be for the Little hacks that involve the VMwareCode community, or if someone just wants to learn a little, is for them to contribute to the Samples.

I have submitted a Pull Request that includes the Module to the vSphere-Automation-sdk-Rest project on the VMware Github site. If the folks in charge do not agree that the samples/module belongs, I will simply support the module on my personal GitHub repository. This is not new information, as I pulled stuff from the following blogs, Luk Dekens (go figure…lol), Chris Wahl (no surprise here) and Chris Bradshaw. I am just extending their work, to hopefully help others in the community.

Here are the skills that I believe folks will learn while contributing:

  • Deeper PowerShell skills
  • How Rest interfaces work
  • GitHub methodologies
  • vSphere Rest specific knowledge

I’m sure I am missing something, but these are the things that all the guys were asking about while I was in Pittsburgh.

Here is a peek at the module I started and what it includes:

  • Download the module (not available in the PowerShell Gallery yet).
  • Edit the ConnectionVariables.ps1 file to update the Name/IP of your vCenter
  • Import the Module
  • Connect to the vCenter
  • Pull the list of VM’s

Yes, I know, its not much. But its a start, and the formats are fairly similar.

Module Name – PowerRestCLI, Go ahead and import it.

Import-Module <PathToModule>\PowerRestCLI.psm1

Next, connect to your vCenter:

# This will prompt you for UN/PW
Connect-rVIServer -vCenter $vCenter
# Or specify the UN/PW
Connect-rVIServer -vCenter $vCenter -User Administrator@corp.local -Password VMware1!
# Or use a Credential already set
Connect-rVIServer -vCenter $vCenter -Credential $creds

This command returns:

Name Port User
---- ---- ---- 443 administrator@corp.local

Once you are connected its easy to get the list of VM’s!


Notice all of the commands have a lower case ‘r’, to designate this as a “REST” command vs. a normal PowerCLI command. Note, ‘Get-rVM’ does not support filtering yet! Add this to the next little hack!

All of this sounds really cool, but do we get the same information? YES! kinda.

Here is the typical formatted return of PowerCLI’s ‘Get-VM’

PowerCLI output
Name PowerState Num CPUs MemoryGB

---- ---------- -------- -------

Win_7_Test_vm PoweredOff 1 2.000

Win_10_test_vm PoweredOff 1 4.000

CentOS_6_test_vm PoweredOff 1 2.000

Embedded-vCenter-... PoweredOn 2 10.000

And here is ‘Get-rVM’ output:

name power_state cpu_count memory_size_MiB

---- ----------- --------- ---------------

Embedded-vCenter-Server-Appliance POWERED_ON 2 10240

Win_7_Test_vm POWERED_OFF 1 2048

Win_10_test_vm POWERED_OFF 1 4096

CentOS_6_test_vm POWERED_OFF 1 2048

Sorry, wordpress kinda sucks with formatting. Notice any differences?

PowerState(PowerCLI) is different than power_state(PowerRestCLI). CPU/Memory also have differences. Note that in the second example, the full name of the VCSA is displayed by default. These can be overcome with some code, but it is interesting that the returns are slightly different. I’m curious if this is something nice PowerCLI does for us in the background.

It is clear that the information is available, and that is the goal of this module! I hope that it is accepted into the Samples, and that more and more folks can learn how to use the vSphere API through PowerShell. There is also potential that at some point in the future that the vSphere API may have a setting available that PowerCLI does not, Now you have the power to make the change in PowerShell!

Thanks for reading! Hit me up on Twitter if you have any questions! @jpsider