Thursday, 12 March 2009

Get-Scripting Guys Take Over the March UK Powershell User Group

Myself and Alan Renouf from the Get-Scripting Podcast will be presenting this month at the UK Powershell User Group on Thursday 26th March at Microsoft in Reading.

First up on the night will be Richard Siddaway talking to us about using Regular Expressions in Powershell. This was requested at a previous event and I know that Richard is really looking forward to talking about that subject ;-)

Then the Get-Scripting guys will take over:

I will be talking about some of the features that are part of Active Directory in Server 2008 R2 , currently in beta, in particular the native AD Powershell cmdlets which will ship as part of that product and what I have learned about them so far.

vExpert Alan Renouf will then tell us about the VI toolkit, which for those of you not in the know are the cmdlets shipped by VMware to enable you to manage their ESX product.

A good mixture I think of general scripting skills, third-party added value to your Powershell learning and future technologies.

If you can't make the event in person then as usual it will be broadcast by LiveMeeting (details here). It wouldn't be a UK Powershell event if the LiveMeeting part doesn't go 100% to plan, but we will endeavour to ensure we avoid the usual trick of the microphone going on mute.

If you wish to attend the event in person you should contact Richard via his blog so that he can have a badge for you at the welcome desk. If the prospect of us presenting isn't enough to attract you then as always there will be pizza at half-time :-)

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Today's UK VMware User Group

Today's UK VMware User Group was a great community content event. Of course there was a sponsor presentation (Veeam) without whom these type of events can't be put on, but there were also a lot of contributions from people in the group.

We had:

1) Veeam talking about their reporting and backup products.

2) Mike Laverick from RTFM education talking about Site Recovery Manager and not the VMware view of it, rather real world struggles - warts and all as he put it. Its great to see this kind of content because you get to find out how these products really function in reality. He also gave away a few copies of his book on Site Recovery Manager which I'm sure is a must read for this topic.

3) Get-Scripting's very own vExpert Alan Renouf gave us a debrief from VMworld Europe in Cannes. By the sounds of it a great event, but possibly could be extended to include an extra day and maybe needs a bigger venue given the issues some people had getting into sessions.

4) A presentation from another community member about technology futures, 'the cloud', advances in mobile devices, stuff like that, and how they may affect the corporate world. This is now the second event I have been to which has talked about employee owned IT, i.e. you turn up to a job with your own laptop and corporate IT supply you either with a VM to run corporate applications or all delivered through a browser. The demand coming from cool, young, hip people (like me :-) ) who won't stand for the constraints of a corporate environment.

"Why can't I run facebook / second life / quake / twitter on my macbook / ipod/ pink netbook and just run your apps on the same machine too?"

5) Steve Bruck and Alan Renouf (again) with an update about the recently released VI toolkit V1.5 . Some good examples, also lots of interest in Alan's getting started guide.

6) Finally finished off with more community content, this time about the upcoming vCenter Heartbeat product.

It was great to see slightly more audience participation than normal this time, which I think might have come from the slightly smaller room and more, but shorter sessions. I really enjoyed it anyway.

If you want to hear REAL people talking about how they really use VMware based products then this is the event for you.

Next one 14th May! More details can be found here.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Counting the Number of Sessions Per Citrix Server

Whilst monitoring some newly provisioned Citrix servers running on VMware hosts today, I soon became very bored with manually checking how many sessions were on each Citrix VM as the load on each one increased, whilst trying to get it to the optimum level.

I knew it was possible to use Powershell to connect with Citrix servers, but had never really looked into it before. Not surprisingly it turned out to be very straightforward.

By using some technology known as MFCom we can connect with the Citrix farm and get some cool information out.

In the below example we create a new com object using MFCom, then initialise the connection. We are then able to access some methods and properties of that object. In this case we are looking at the Sessions property, we group all of the results by ServerName and then produce some output with the name and number of sessions on that Citrix box.

$farm = New-Object -com "MetaframeCOM.MetaframeFarm"
$farm.Sessions | Group-Object ServerName | Sort-Object name | Format-Table Name,Count -auto
which will give you something like:

Name Count

CitrixServer01 38
CitrixServer02 45
CitrixServer03 41

This would return all of the servers in the farm. In this particular instance I only wanted a particular selection of servers, so I stored them in a text file, got PS to read that file and then filter the query by only looking at servers in that list.

$servers = Get-Content c:\scripts\servers.txt

$farm = New-Object -com "MetaframeCOM.MetaframeFarm"
$farm.sessions | Where-Object {$servers -contains $_.ServerName} | Group-Object ServerName | Sort-Object name | Format-Table Name,Count -auto

Once again Powershell very easily gets rid of a really dull manual task.

If you wish to take this a step further check out Powershell MVP Brandon Shell's blog where he has loads of Powershell / Citrix examples.