The Future of Windows Monitoring is PowerShell

John Proctor

What is PowerShell? Microsoft describes PowerShell as a task-based command-line shell and scripting language designed especially for system administration.  Ed Wilson, known as the Microsoft Scripting Guy, referred to PowerShell a few years ago during his TechNet Webcast entitled PowerShell Essentials for the Busy Admin as Microsoft’s management direction for the future. 

PowerShell is Microsoft’s preferred management interface and has been rolled into almost every Microsoft operating system and application over the last few years.  And, Microsoft continues to invest in PowerShell.  They announced at TechEd this summer PowerShell 4.0 as part of the new Windows Management Framework 4.0, which was released in conjunction with Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1 on October 18th.

Why PowerShell? PowerShell provides unprecedented flexibility to the Microsoft world.  Unix and Linux administrators have been scripting management tasks for years. And, PowerShell brings a similar capability to the Microsoft Administrator.  At ScienceLogic, we use it for tasks like collection and discovery.  Using cmdlets like Get-Counter, we gather numerous performance counters for Windows Server and applications like Exchange Server and Lync Server. 

We also use cmdlets like Get-CsTopology to discover the server roles present in a Lync Server implementation. PowerShell combined with Windows Remote Management (WinRM), both components of the Windows Management Framework, also provides some security benefits over WMI and DCOM.  WinRM is Microsoft’s implementation of the WS-Management Protocol, which uses Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) over HTTP and HTTPS, is considered to be more security friendly than WMI.

WinRM also enables PowerShell Remoting or the remote execution of PowerShell commands.  This allows you to establish a connection to one computer and then execute commands on many remote computers. 

This is especially beneficial to our Managed Service Providers who provide remote managed services as they often do not have direct connections to every computer behind a customer’s firewall.  Enterprise customers can also benefit from PowerShell Remoting to address the problems associated with duplicate private IP space; a problem common in the Enterprise after mergers and acquisitions.

Like it or not, PowerShell is here to stay; at least for now.  To help you learn PowerShell, Microsoft has some great free resources available to help: TechNet Webcast: PowerShell Essentials for the Busy Admin PowerShell Week: Learn It Now Before It’s an Emergency

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