PowerGUI® Pro and PowerGUI® 2.3 are now available!

Today I am happy to announce that PowerGUI Pro  and PowerGUI 2.3 are now available.  This is a really exciting release for all PowerGUI users because there are a lot of cool new features in this release.

For PowerGUI Pro customers, we’ve spent quite a bit of time on MobileShell and made the following enhancements:

  • More mobile device support!
    MobileShell now supports iPhone 3G, 3GS, and 4G, iPad, BlackBerry OS 5.0 and 6.0, Android OS 2.1 and 2.2, and even Windows Phone 7 OS devices!
  • Improved user experience for MobileShell on smartphones!
    Since smartphones have limited real estate for apps, we have redesigned MobileShell to better fit your smartphone device.  Now when you log in you will see your favourite scripts first, front and center, and optionally you can go to another tab if you want to do some ad hoc scripting.  If you are using an iPhone and prefer the old UI, you can specifically use that UI but the new UI is highly recommended for smartphone devices.  Larger devices such as desktop browsers and the iPad still use the old UI since they have more real estate to work with.
  • Improved favourite script management for MobileShell admins!
    Now admins can preconfigure the default favourites that are assigned to users when they first log on to MobileShell.  This makes it easier for you to set up the default commands you want available for your team once and then when they log in for the first time they will get assigned those commands automatically.
  • Role-based assignment of MobileShell commands!
    Admins can now associate modules with Active Directory users and groups so that when a user logs on to MobileShell, all public commands in any module associated with their user account or with a group they are a member of are automatically made available to them as favourites.  This allows you to manage your MobileShell commands in modules using the PowerGUI Script Editor, and whenever you publish a new version your MobileShell users will automatically have the commands from that version available on their handheld device when they log on!

We didn’t forget the freeware community either!  This release also includes the following features for both PowerGUI Pro and PowerGUI (freeware):

  • Virtualization support in PowerGUI!
    With version 2.3, the VMware PowerPack is now available as a core PowerPack included in the PowerGUI Admin Console.  This PowerPack is a fantastic way to manage your virtualization infrastructure.  If you want an example of how this might make a difference for you, have a quick look at this blog post.
  • HTML Reporting support in PowerGUI!
    We have had an Advanced Reporting PowerPack available for download from PowerGUI.org for a while now.  That PowerPack has recently been renamed the HTML Reporting PowerPack, and it now comes with PowerGUI.  This PowerPack allows you to generate HTML reports with features such as indenting, grouping, collapsible sections, and support for list or tabular format for any data you have in front of you in the PowerGUI Admin Console grid.  Just click on the “Create report…” action, configure the report you want to generate, and it will handle the rest for you!
  • Enter-PSSession and Exit-PSSession support!
    You asked, we answered.  Now you can use Enter-PSSession and Exit-PSSession from within the PowerGUI Script Editor to manage remote machines as if you were working on them locally.
  • Greatly improved snippet support!
    This one is a personal favourite of mine.  Snippets are a great way to create a lot of useful PowerShell functionality really quickly.  You just insert the snippet you want, fill in the input fields, and you’re done!  We have had this for a while, and now we have added more features to this support including:

    a) Support for user defined snippets!  If you have snippets you want to use in PowerGUI, you no longer have to have admin access to put them in the snippets subdirectory under the PowerGUI installation folder.  Instead, you can put them into your Documents\WindowsPowerShell\snippets folder and they will automatically be picked up by the PowerGUI Script Editor.  Even better still, if you have a snippet that comes with PowerGUI that you want to override, you simply use the same relative path in the snippets folder in your profile and your snippet will be used in place of the one that comes with PowerGUI!

    b) Support for snippets in modules!  If you import a module, and if that module has a snippets subfolder, then PowerGUI will recognize those snippets and they will be available in the Script Editor automatically.  This allows module authors to include snippets as part of their offering so that users can learn how to use the module commands much more easily!  If you author a module and share it with others, I strongly encourage that you add snippets to that module.  Your module users will thank you for it!

    c) Support for using snippets from any path on your system!  PowerGUI now uses a PGSnippetPath environment variable to decide where to look for snippets, allowing you to reference snippets from any path you include as part of that environment variable!

    Can you tell I love the snippet features? Smile

Of course we also included some bug fixes as usual.  One worth highlighting is that the PowerGUI Script Editor can now be used to debug files that are in a path containing paired square brackets.  We have had several customers let us know that they use these types of paths and that our new debugger wouldn’t stop on breakpoints for them, and this issue is now fixed.

This is a totally awesome release, and I’m really happy that I can finally share it with you!  If you are already a PowerGUI Pro or PowerGUI user, you’ll probably notice the auto-update notify you of the new release when you start it up very soon.  If you don’t want to wait though, you can always force PowerGUI to check for updates using the “Check for Updates” menu item in the help menu, or you can update it manually by downloading it from Quest SupportLink if you use PowerGUI Pro or from the PowerGUI.org download page if you use the freeware version.

I will be recording screencasts for some of these specific features very soon so that you can see how they work first hand, but don’t hesitate to try them out in the meantime and ask questions if you have any.  Also please share any feedback you have for this release, I’d love to hear what you think of it and what you would like to see in future releases!

As always, thanks for your continued support, PowerGUI would not be what it is if we didn’t have such a great community!

Happy scripting!

Kirk out.

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Virtualization EcoShell and the VMware Infrastructure PowerPack

Wow, have I been busy.  In case you hadn’t noticed from my blog posts late last year and early this year, I’ve been working very hard at putting together multiple back-to-back updates for the VMware Infrastructure Management PowerPack for the past several months.  This has involved working long hours with many thousands of lines of PowerShell script and figuring out how to do some really cool things with both PowerShell and VMware’s PowerCLI (formerly known as the VI Toolkit).  The end result is always fulfulling, and I’m usually pretty good at setting up the really cool functionality so that I can leverage it in any PowerPack so all my hard work pays off in the long run.

A few weeks ago I finished off yet another update with some really cool new features, however this update isn’t available for the PowerGUI admin console just yet.  That update is coming shortly after we release the next version of PowerGUI, which has some functionality that it is dependent on.  If you can’t wait until then though, you can take a look at the new functionality now as part of the first public beta release of the Virtualization EcoShell that came out on April 15th.

What is the Virtualization EcoShell?  The Virtualization EcoShell is a project started by Scott Herold that was designed to provide an administrative experience that is tailored for virtualization administrators.  It is powered by PowerGUI and comes with a script editor and an admin console just like PowerGUI.  The out of the box experience is different though because it doesn’t come with PowerPacks for Exchange and Active Directory.  Instead it includes functionality that virtualization administrators care most about.  At the moment this is simply the VMware Infrastructure Management PowerPack, but over time this will grow to include other virtualization-related administrative functionality (think: additional VMware features, functionality to work with virtualization platforms from other vendors, and capabilities to extend into important technologies surrounding virtualization such as storage).

If you want a preview of the next generation of the VMware Infrastructure Management PowerPack a little early as well as a look at a new virtualization administration platform, all you have to do is pop over to the Virtualization EcoShell site and download it.  You can install and use it side-by-side with PowerGUI, so you won’t need any secondary systems or a VM to run it on either.  Once you’ve taken a look, let us know what you think or what you would like to see next on the forums!  Your feedback directly influences the features we add, and we’re listening!

Kirk out.

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VMware Infrastructure PowerPack 2.1.5 released

The PowerGUI VMware Infrastructure Management PowerPack seems to be really popular with people, so I’ve been spending a lot of time over the past four months significantly enhancing that PowerPack.  Some of the enhancements are things that we wanted to put in and others are things that community members had requested (note to the reader: if you like a particular PowerPack and would like to see it improved, speak up on the PowerGUI Forums…we really take your feedback very seriously! :)).  Today I just finished posting another release of the VMware Infrastructure Management PowerPack with a few more enhancements, and I’m particularly happy with this one.

This release greatly improves usability through the new icons that were added (and I mean *greatly* improves…the value the icons add is huge).  It’s also the first PowerPack release that takes advantage of some really cool Visio scripts that I’ve been working on.  The Visio scripts I’m referring to were largely inspired by Alan Renouf’s vDiagram script, although the Visio script I ended up with doesn’t look anything like the original.  I’m itching to talk more about those scripts, but I want to write a blog post specifically on that topic so watch for more on this soon.  For now I’ll simply point out that to use the Visio functionality, you have to download the additional VESI_Visio.zip file that was added to the VMware Infrastructure Management PowerPack document page and install it as per the instructions in that document (see the “How to enable vDiagram support” section).  Visio 2007 is required.

For those of you who were fortunate enough to attend VMworld Europe in Cannes at the end of February, this release contains the icons and Visio features that Scott Herold was showing off during that show.  You can see a live demo of the new features on Scott’s website, here.

If you want to learn more about this PowerPack, including version history and other details, you can go here.  You can download the PowerPack from that location as well.

Kirk out.

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VMware Infrastructure PowerPack 2.1 released

Hot on the heels of the new release of the VMware VI Toolkit, I just finished uploading version 2.1 of the VMware Infrastructure Management PowerPack for PowerGUI.  This PowerPack facilitates management and automation of VMware Infrastructure servers using the VMware VI Toolkit with PowerGUI’s extendable administrative console.

Version 2.1 of the VMware Infrastructure Management PowerPack includes the following highlights:

  • Significant performance improvements when loading datacenters and clusters.
  • New top-level container nodes to facilitate viewing objects without having to browse into the Managed Hosts node.
  • Links allowing you to browse into log files from hosts.
  • Support for the VMware VI Toolkit 1.5 release.
  • VMotion support for virtual machines.

In addition to these changes, several links have been added and quite a few defects have been fixed.

You can learn more about this PowerPack, including version history and other details here.  You can download it from that location as well.

As always, feedback on this PowerPack and all others is welcome and appreciated.  If you want to see something in the PowerPack, just ask!  You can either contact me directly (see my about page), or you can post your request using the PowerGUI forums.  We’re listening!

Kirk out.

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VMware Infrastructure PowerPack 2.0 is now available

Were you  curious what was hiding inside that gold box in theimage  PowerGUI train?  Keeping with the spirit of giving, I just finished publishing version 2.0 of the VMware Infrastructure Management PowerPack.  A lot of effort went into this PowerPack, which ended up including a complete restructuring of the elements in the tree, as well as the addition of a lot of new functionality that was not available in previous versions, all for free just like the many other PowerPacks that are available for PowerGUI.

A few highlights in this version include:

  • Easy management of multiple VMware Virtual Center, ESX, ESXi or Virtual Server hosts from within one console.
  • Single sign-on to multiple hosts that use the same credentials.
  • Support for browsing through any of the inventory hierarchical views that are available in Virtual Center.
  • Management of virtualization elements within one host or across many hosts through the same set of links and actions.
  • Reporting and management of sessions, datacenters, clusters, resource pools, hosts, folders, virtual machines, templates, snapshots, networks, datastores, files, tasks and log files.

You can learn more about this PowerPack, including version history and other details here.  You can download it from that location as well.

Still not convinced you should give the VMware Infrastructure Management PowerPack a look?  Below you can click on a few screenshots to get a taste of what you’ll find if you do.

Browsing the Virtual Center hierarchy while managing snapshot files

Managing host sessions

Managing virtual machines

Looking into log files

If you manage VMware hosts or if you are interested in writing scripts against VMware hosts using PowerShell, I strongly encourage you to give this PowerPack a look.

As always, feedback on this PowerPack and all others is welcome and appreciated.  If you want to see something in the PowerPack, just ask!  You can either contact me directly (see my about page), or you can post your request using the PowerGUI forums.  We’re listening!

Happy Holidays everyone!

Kirk out.

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Introduction to the Hyper-V PowerPack Screencast

I recently published a new screencast on the PowerGUI Documentation page called “Introduction to the Hyper-V PowerPack“.  If you want to learn a little bit about what this PowerPack can offer you and how you can get started using it, take a few minutes and watch the screencast today!

In case you haven’t had a chance to see some of the functionality that this PowerPack provides you with, I’m including a few screenshots below to give you a quick preview.  Or, if you want to see the list of custom functions that drive the functionality in this PowerPack, read my blog post titled, “Use PowerPacks to Learn PowerShell“.

Managing VMs using the Hyper-V PowerPack:

Managing Snapshots using the Hyper-V PowerPack:

Kirk out.

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Use PowerPacks to Learn PowerShell

The Hyper-V PowerPack for PowerGUI that I published last month is one of my favorite PowerPacks so far.  It’s a great example of how you can take a task that is pretty complicated for someone who doesn’t program for a living (like using PowerShell to manage Hyper-V via WMI), simplify it with rich PowerShell functions that look and feel like cmdlets, and then build a user interface on top those functions to perform management and automation tasks.  Since all of the PowerShell script behind the PowerPack is freely available through the PowerGUI Admin Console, using a PowerPack like the Hyper-V PowerPack is a great way to learn PowerShell because it allows you to get familiar with how specific administrative tasks translate into PowerShell scripts that you can then use for automation, provisioning, scheduled tasks, etc.

The scripts powering the Hyper-V PowerPack are particularly interesting because there are no cmdlets available yet to manage Hyper-V unless you use Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008.  The prescribed way to manage Hyper-V via script with the release of Windows Server 2008 is WMI.  Since working with WMI directly is not much fun after you have become spoiled with the ease-of-use you get with PowerShell cmdlets, not to mention quite difficult, I have included a lot of useful functions (over 30 of them so far) that wrap the WMI management code inside of a cmdlet-like experience complete with support for pipelining so that you can write scripts to work with your Hyper-V servers much more easily.  Here’s a complete list of the functions that are included in the current revision of the Hyper-V PowerPack:

Job Management

Get-HyperVJob
Wait-HyperVJob

Server Configuration

Get-HyperVServerSettings
Set-HyperVServerSettings

Service Management

Get-HyperVService

Physical Network Adapter Management

Get-HyperVPhysicalNIC
Set-HyperVPhysicalNIC

Virtual Network Management

Get-HyperVVirtualNetwork
New-HyperVVirtualNetwork
Remove-HyperVVirtualNetwork
Rename-HyperVVirtualNetwork
Set-HyperVVirtualNetwork

Virtual Machine Management

Checkpoint-HyperVVirtualMachine
Export-HyperVVirtualMachine
Get-HyperVVirtualMachine
Import-HyperVVirtualMachine
New-HyperVVirtualMachine
Remove-HyperVVirtualMachine
Rename-HyperVVirtualMachine
Restore-HyperVVirtualMachine
Set-HyperVVirtualMachine

Virtual Network Adapter Management

Add-HyperVVirtualNIC
Get-HyperVVirtualNIC
Remove-HyperVVirtualNIC
Set-HyperVVirtualNIC

Virtual Ide Drive Management

Add-HyperVVirtualIdeDrive

Virtual Scsi Drive Management

Add-HyperVVirtualScsiDrive

Snapshot Management

Get-HyperVSnapshot
Set-HyperVSnapshot
Remove-HyperVSnapshot
Rename-HyperVSnapshot
Update-HyperVSnapshot

Virtual Hard Disk Management

Get-HyperVVirtualHardDisk
New-HyperVVirtualHardDisk

These functions do not provide comprehensive coverage of all Hyper-V features and there are many more that I plan to add in a future update, but it’s well on it’s way to becoming a comprehensive set of functions.  If you are looking for specific functionality that doesn’t appear to be available through these functions, I encourage you to take a look at the methods on the rich objects that are output by these functions.  There is a whole lot more functionality available than you might think!  I just haven’t had time to expose all of the method-based functionality as cmdlet-like functions yet.

To use these functions in your own scripts you simply have to copy them out of the Hyper-V PowerPack.  Be sure to keep an eye on dependencies and make sure you get all the functions you need.  Most of the PowerPacks I’ve been working on lately come with useful functions like this, for the explicit reason that I want people to be able to use them inside and outside of PowerGUI.  I’ll blog about them as time permits, but until I make time for that I wanted to at least make you aware that they are there as a resource and as a learning tool.

If you want to write PowerShell scripts to manage your Hyper-V servers, doing yourself a favor to take a look at the Hyper-V PowerPack and the functions that it contains.  They might go a long way to helping you get your work done faster and more easily, either by using the functions themselves in your scripts or by looking at the PowerShell code behind the functions and learning how to get WMI to do what you want to do.

Kirk out.

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