An Administrator's guide to PowerShell

Friday, January 5, 2007

A Powershell Adventure: Chpt1 ‘Trial by Fire’

Ok... let’s face it. I’m a procrastinator. I love to learn new things, but always seem to have hard time getting started. I don't want to bore you with a Monolog, but I think examples are always great way to explain things. So... off we go

Begin Monolog

Not too long ago I was a MS employee. I loved it. It was an incredible experience. I learned so much. I worked there three times as a consultant. As consultant I was in 95/98 phone support the first time. The next two times I was in Directory Services. In my third run as a consultant I got a blue badge opportunity on the ROSS team (Rapid Onsite Support Service.) As a ROSS guy I traveled to customers sites and fixed problems that couldn't be resolved over phone support. That said… you could imagine that these were horrifically bad problems. I will provide an example... of course due to NDA's I can’t use customer names and such.

My specialty at MS was Directory Services (AD) so normally when we had a ROSS that was DS related. I got the privilege to go. One such engagement was at a Large Customer that (at the time) had the largest AD site topology in the world. They had approximately 2900+ DC's in about 2500 sites. If anyone is interested I can post the technical problems we came across, but that is beyond the scope of this post. Long story, short... I had to rebuild their entire Replication topology... Could you imagine having to logon to 2900+ DC's to fix this? I was kicking myself for not learning VBScript sooner, but I had no choice. I had to learn it now... and quick. So... I bit the bullet and I learned VBScript (at least what I needed to know) in a week. In my first week of VBScripting, I wrote scripts to create text files for the Branch Office Deployment Guide (MS Thing.) I also had to write AD replication/FRS replication Test. It was bitter/sweet experience. LOTS of long nights, but... I FINALLY learned VBScript. It took me years to make myself do it, but it was worth it.

This brings me today... and my powershell adventure.

End Monolog

Because of that experience I decided that when powershell came out... I wasn't waiting again.

My Learning style is to "Learn by doing," but I am not much for wasting time either. So generally I will only stop to learn something if I can find an application I can use it for. I was lucky with powershell... I had a project (more on this in later post) and time frame.

My experience with Powershell has been trying, mostly due to my utter lack of Development experience. I didn’t know a class from function. Every reference to .NET was Greek. I can say that the news groups have been tremendously helpful although… to be honest… most of the frequent posters are Dev guys so I don’t get a lot of what they say (they do put up with me though… Thanks GUYS!) Jeffrey and his team have been amazing to. Like I said… I have worked at MS and it is not at all like people think. It is not some giant SOFTWARE superpower with no care of what its consumers want. The attitude at MS is very customer centric although it is hard to see that sometimes… Jeffrey’s team does a GREAT job displaying this. You can tell by their post… they truly and honestly want to make the product better.

My biggest problem with PowerShell is the learning curve for Admins. Don’t get me wrong… it is necessary, but it’s still a problem. I think this is my main motivation for this blog. I hope to somehow I can help other Admins come over to the dark side ;) I approach Powershell from an Admins point of view and I’m sure my blog(s) will push that as well. From a Dev point of view Powershell is useful… from and Admin point of view its Life Changing!

Anyway… This was WAY longer than I had intended. I will take my leave now… Stay tuned :)

1 comment:

PReetamZ said...

It was nice reading, I was too sometime employed in MS, same phone support.And surely a knowledge of VBScript has helped me a lot. And title of your blog makes more sense. Even I felt like changing the topic of my blog on similiar lines. Thank you once again.

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