What’s New in Microsoft Hyper-V in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

With the latest release of Hyper-V, Microsoft has made some great improvements to their Hypervisor. For many reasons, Hyper-V has become a major player in virtualization. In this article, Nicolas Prigent describes new Hyper-V updates and enhanced Hyper-V features that were introduced with Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016.… Read more

Building and Deploying Nano Servers

Microsoft has introduced an installation option of Windows Server 2016 that provides an operating system designed and optimized for Cloud operations. Microsoft's Nano Server is intended to support and run born-in-the-cloud applications and containers. In this article, Nicolas Prigent explains how to easily and quickly deploy Nano Servers in your server environment, using either PowerShell or a GUI.… Read more

Working with Windows Containers and Docker: Into your Stride

So far, in this series, Nicolas has shown how to get simple container instances up and running with just some basic background information. Now we need to understand the differences between Linux containers, Windows Server containers and Hyper-V containers. We can then define, create and run multi-container Docker applications, and port existing Windows Container VMs to Docker.… Read more

Working with Windows Containers and Docker: Up and Running

Deployments can be made easier, in many different ways, by using Docker and Windows Containers; but how do you set about working with them? As part of his practical series on Windows Containers and Docker, Nicolas shows how to deploy a Container Host to the Microsoft Azure cloud. retrieve Images from Docker Hub, build your own container image, and push your images to the Docker Hub. … Read more

Working with Windows Containers and Docker: The Basics

When you begin to work with containers, you will notice many similarities between a container and a virtual machine; but, in fact, these are two quite different concepts. Containers are going to change the way that we do Windows-based development work in the coming year, and they already underpin much of the devops work of speeding the delivery process. Nicolas Prigent explains how to use the Windows Containers feature.… Read more

Managing Hyper-V VMs using PowerShell Direct

Virtual machines are easier to manage via PowerShell than with the the Hyper-V Manager console. PowerShell Direct takes this further by allowing you to interact easily with the virtual machines on the Hyper-V host without needing network access. With Windows Nano Server, PowerShell Direct is an essential because this OS requires you to use remote management via PowerShell scripts. … Read more

Hyper-V and PowerShell: The Basics

Because it is important with maintaining Virtual Machine environments to be able to repeat routine tasks completely accurately, Windows PowerShell has grown in importance for the job. Now you can manage the Hyper-V environment via PowerShell without needing to use the Hyper-V Manager console. It opens up many opportunities for automation.… Read more

Managing Packages Using Windows PowerShell

Windows hasn't had a package manager in the style of the Advanced Packaging Tool (APT) of Linux distributions. Apt-get is a great way of installing packages and other software. We have Chocolatey, of course which has a growing library of software and even allows you to automatically update software. Now PowerShell has an 'official' way of using any system, such as NuGet, Chocolatey, GitHub or PSget. It is definitely useful and likely to mature into an indispensable tool for Windows users. Nicolas explains why… Read more

PowerShell Just Enough Administration

A major difficulty for a System Administrator who wishes to provide access for auditors, Helpdesk staff, developers and other IT people is that adminstrator roles give users more access than they need. It is too easy to make mistakes, or to make more changes than those that were signed-off. With JEA, it is possible to create role-based access control (RBAC) endpoints that define precisely what actions you’ll let your users carry out without needing a elevated, privileged administrator credentials, and which log and report all operations.… Read more

PowerShell Desired State Configuration: DSC Resources

Desired State Configuration (DSC) allows you to automate the way that you manage configuration data for software services as well as the environment in which these services run. DSC uses a set of built-in and custom 'resources' as the building blocks for a configuration. if you have specific requirements you may need to create the relevant resource to make the configuration happen. Nicolas Prigent provides a practical guide to DSC resources… Read more

PowerShell Desired State Configuration: Automating and Monitoring Pull mode

The Pull mode of Desired State Configuration (DSC) is more complicated to implement because you need to meticulously manage the MOF files and their naming conventions so as to ensure that you deploy your DSC configurations correctly. In this first article of a two-part series, Nicolas Prigent describes how you can best automate this, and then in a second part on monitoring DSC he describes techniques to help you to use the pull mode as a regular part of your admin work.… Read more

PowerShell Desired State Configuration: LCM and Push Management Model

PowerShell's Desired State Configuration (DSC) framework depends on the Local Configuration Manager (LCM) which has a central role in a DSC architecture. It runs on all nodes that have PowerShell 4.0 or above installed in order to control the execution of DSC configurations on target nodes. Nicolas Prigent illustrates the role of the LCM in the 'Push' mode of configuring nodes.… Read more

PowerShell Desired State Configuration: The Basics

'Desired State Configuration (DSC) is an essential part of the configuration, management and maintenance of Windows-based servers. It allows a PowerShell script to specify the configuration of the machine using a declarative model in a simple standard way that is easy to maintain and understand. Nicolas introduces the basic DSC concepts and provides a simple example of using the 'Push' model of DSC. … Read more

PowerShell Day-to-Day SysAdmin Tasks: Events and Monitoring

The automation of routine admin tasks isn't the end of the story. You have to be aware of whether they have succeeded, and how long they've taken. When you have a lot of tasks, you have to consider how you can oversee logs and results from a single console that provides both detail and overview, and warns of problems. Nicolas explains how.… Read more

PowerShell Day-to-Day SysAdmin Tasks: Securing Scripts

Although PowerShell is popular, for malicious intruders it represents a very attractive attack vector into your system. The obvious way of preventing this type of penetration is to detect when a script is altered. Not only must any script that is used for system or data administration be properly secured, but also any script that is used to maintain a PowerShell profile.… Read more

PowerShell Day-to-Day Admin Tasks: Monitoring Performance

By reading performance counters from services such as SQL Server or Exchange, you can get a wealth of performance information. By automating the process of gathering and storing appropriate counters, you can routinely check a range of devices quickly using visual tools such as PerfMon. By then creating your own counters, you can add counter-based metrics to anything that can be measured programmatically, such as services, applications, processes such as ETL, or deployments. … Read more

PowerShell Day-to-Day Admin Tasks: WMI, CIM and PSWA

WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation) is the basic way of querying and changing basic information about any windows server, including SQL Server or Exchange Server. It provides a logical structure and representation of systems and services that are hosted on the server and is essential for anyone who is keen to automate routine monitoring and administration work via PowerShell, especially where many servers are involved in the task.… Read more