EnergizeIT Certification Bootcamp slide decks now available

Whether you attended the EnergizeIT Certification Bootcamp 2008 National User Group Tour or not, you might want to check out the slide decks that were presented.  Kai Axford and I presented a ton of content over a 2½ to 3 hour period.  There were three sessions presented, as follows:

Session 1: Security in a Virtual World

Session 2: Windows Server 2008 & Virtualization

Session 3: Making Security a Career

I should note that the session order changed slightly and the content was tweaked after the first few stops on the tour.  Also as Kai and I mentioned during the tour there are additional slides included in these slide decks that were hidden during the tour, so now you can get access to those slides in addition to those we presented as well.

There is a lot of great material in these slide decks, so you should take a look.  I’ve linked the session names to the slide decks, but you can also find them on the official bootcamp website in the sidebar on the right-hand side near the bottom.

Do you use virtualization in your environment?  Are you sure you’re thinking about everything you need to with respect to virtualization security?  Check out the slide deck for session 1.  There may be some things you haven’t considered that you should definitely look at.  Or maybe you just want to learn more about Hyper-V and System Center Virtual Machine Manager — that’s in there too.

Windows Server 2008 brings a lot of new features and usage scenarios to the table.  Server Manager, Server Core and my personal favorite, PowerShell were demoed, and many other features were discussed.  Check out the session 2 slide deck for more information (including the PowerShell resources I talked about during the demos).

Are you doing the job today that you want to be doing 10 years from now?  Do you want to be telling your manager in 2018 that you just finished the automated rollout of Windows Server 2018 using PowerShell? That might sound pretty cool today (it sounds pretty cool to me today), but you might want to be the manager being told that the rollout is complete instead of the one doing the rollout by then, or maybe you have something completely different in mind for your future career.  The session 3 slide deck has some great content about career management.  The emphasis is on making a security career, but the content is very generic and can be applied to making many changes in your career.  Personally, I love the slides that talk about the three rules for recession proofing and have been following those for a while now.  I used these rules last year to redirected my career towards PowerShell and that lead to me joining the PowerGUI team where I continue to work happily today.  The rules are great for recession proofing, general career management and redirection as well.  If you are considering a career change in the future, internal to your current company or external, you should seriously check the session 3 slide deck out.

If you have problems accessing any of these slide decks, let me know and I’ll try to help work it out for you.

Kirk out.

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Provisioning users in Active Directory with PowerShell and the QAD cmdlets

As part of the EnergizeIT tour that I was on for the past three weeks, I did a quick introduction to PowerShell and then showed how the ability to automate tasks using PowerShell can make the job of an IT administrator much, much easier.  The scenario for the automation example I used was this: your HR department contacts you on Friday afternoon and tells you there are a bunch of new users coming in next week and you need to make the accounts right away.  The actual number is arbitrary because PowerShell scripts are the same for 1 user as they are for 1000000 users (exaggerated as that might be), but for my example I used a dozen users.

The point with this example was to show you how you can accomplish a task like this quickly regardless of the number of users being created and go home on time for date night, your son’s baseball game, etc.  This demonstration was very well received, and at the end of the demonstration I promised that I would post the script I wrote during the demo here in my blog.  The script that I post here may look slightly different from the script you saw me run at your tour event because I wanted to make sure shared the answer to a question someone asked me during the tour: How do I set the password for the new users when I create them?

For those of you who didn’t see the live demonstration, note that the csv file I used (C:\Users\Poshoholic\Documents\NewHires.csv) contained the following text:

Dmitry,Prosser,Software Developer 4
Oisin,Hill,Quality Analyst 1
Jeffrey,Shell,Senior Support Representative
Don,Munro,Software Developer 1
Charlie,Shaw,Project Manager
Marco,van Oursow,HR Assistant
Brandon,Russel,Product Manager
Keith,Hicks,Software Developer 3
Marc,Grehan,Product Marketing Manager
Karl,Jones,Quality Analyst 3
Kirk,Lee,Quality Analyst 1
Thomas,Sotnikov,IT Analyst 2

(FYI: if you think those names look familiar, I took the first names and last names of 12 PowerShell MVPs and mixed them up)

During the demonstration, the script below was built up iteratively within the PowerShell console so that you could see the thought process involved in creating a script that way.  In this blog post however, I’m simply going to post the finished script.  If you have questions about the demonstration or want to refresh your memory on how you could build a script like this iteratively, let me know.  The finished script to create the users from the csv file simply looks like this:

Import-Csv C:\Users\Poshoholic\Documents\NewHires.csv `
Add-Member -Name Name -MemberType ScriptProperty -Value {$this.FirstName + + $this.LastName} -PassThru `
Add-Member -Name SamAccountName -MemberType ScriptProperty -Value {($this.FirstName[0] + $this.LastName.Replace( ,)).SubString(0,20)} -PassThru `
New-QADUser -City Ottawa -UserPassword P4$$w0rd -ParentContainer poshoholicstudios.com/users

Please note the following if you want to use this as a basis for your own script:

  1. You can copy this script from my blog and paste it directly into the PowerGUI Script Editor where you can customize it to meet your needs (be careful of the word wrap – there should be four lines of script once you paste it in PowerGUI).  Alternatively if you want the script already in a ps1 file, you can download it here.
  2. This example requires the Quest AD cmdlets to create the new users.  Once you have those installed, don’t forget to load them in PowerShell using Add-PSSnapin or in PowerGUI using Libraries in the File menu.
  3. This shows the finished script I built during the demonstration, with the addition of the assignment of the default user password value as P4$$w0rd.  Whatever you use for the default password value, it must meet your password requirements in your lab.
  4. If you want to run this without making changes, don’t forget to append -WhatIf at the end of the last line in the script.

Don’t be afraid to ask me questions about any of this, whether you need help customizing this script to make it work in your environment or just want an explanation of how the script works.  I’m always happy to help!

Kirk out.

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EnergizeIT Certification Bootcamp – National User Group Tour 2008

Last night marked the last stop for the EnergizeIT Certification Bootcamp National User Group Tour 2008 here in Canada.  A little while back Microsoft invited me to present Windows Server 2008 features (including PowerShell) during this tour with Kai Axford, and I am absolutely thrilled that I was able to take them up on their offer.  Kai is a phenomenal speaker and it was a great privilege for me to be able to present at these events with him.

The tour spanned across the last three weeks and included 10 major cities in Canada, in the following order: Halifax, Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal, Winnipeg, Regina, Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.  Previously I had only been to the first four of these cities, so this was a great opportunity for me to get out and visit the rest of Canada.  There was a ton of interest in this tour and most stops sold out within 24 hours after they were announced.  Fortunately there were not many technical difficulties along the way at all, and for those technical difficulties that did occur, I sincerely apologize for the impact they had on the demonstrations.

One thing in common among each of these events that really made it fun for me as a presenter was the people.  The people that took the time to come out and try and learn something from these events were just great.  I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed being able to meet so many IT professionals face to face, hear about their problems or concerns, and hopefully show them something useful that will make their job easier.

Many thanks to Kai, Sim, Bruce, Nik, the user group leads, all of the attendees for coming out, and anyone else involved in making this event happen!  It has been a very rewarding experience for me!

Kirk out.

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