Planning VMware Upgrades

System upgrades are a fact of life in the world of IT.  As systems grow more complex and interrelated, upgrades become more and more difficult to plan, as each of those interacting systems creates a dependency that may or may not support the new version!  In the VMware world, there's a couple of great tools that I use every time one of my customers asks for help with an upgrade project... so I figured that I'd write about them here! If the customer wants to upgrade their ESXi servers (which they almost always do), the first thing that I check is the VMware Compatibility guide .  When I'm using this tool, I typically select the new ESXi version under Product Release Version  and then just use the search bar to find the hardware platform that the customer is using.  After selecting the right server, the page will show us what firmware versions on that server platform are supported (or other interesting notes to be aware of).  These days, it's pretty rare for a server plat

Secure Credentials in PowerShell Scripts

The scripts that I write occasionally need access to specific user account credentials in order to do their work, so I wanted to write a quick note about how to securely store those credentials for scripts (especially if they're going to be run as a scheduled task)!  It all revolves around the get-credential cmdlet. The get-credential cmdlet is made for this; by default, the object that it creates is encrypted to the account that executed it as a secure powershell object.  This means that you can easily save those credentials to a secure file with these two commands: $creds = get-credential -message "Enter credentials" $creds | export-clixml $credsFile Many PowerShell cmdlets can take credentials in the form of a credentials object (frequently with the "-credential $creds" syntax), but even when you need to supply a username and password, they're really easy to get out of that $creds object: $creds.UserName $creds.GetNetworkCredential().password If some othe

Powershell Script to start a lot of Robocopy Jobs

 We were recently helping a customer with a domain consolidation where we had to copy a bunch of files from several different domains over to a new file server.  We decided to break the task up into a few steps, the first of which was to simply get the data onto the destination!  To do that, we decided to use Robocopy, but we were going to need to copy data from several different domains without trust relationships, meaning that we'd have to get a bit creative with gaining access to the source data. In the end, I put together a script!  This guy takes several important input parameters: foldersList, drivesList, and logFolder. FoldersList is the path to a CSV that lists all of the folders that are being migrated.  This script ultimately depends on two columns in that CSV: SourceDrive and DestinationDrive, although we put SourceUNC and DesintationUNC fields in that file to help with later steps.  At its core, the FoldersList CSV is used to make the robocopy commands, defining the sou

Authenticating to the NSX-T API via PowerShell

I've had the chance to work on some NSX-T scripting lately, as we work to integrate some other solutions with the tool.  I don't have a ton of experience with API access, but I have been slowly learning... and one of the big hurdles that I had to overcome was just figuring out how to authenticate with the system!  So, that's where I'm going to start here. First, let's talk about the basics of how authentication works when accessing the API.  To use Basic authentication, you need to put together your credentials in the format of "username:password" and pass them to NSX-T.  Since this is being passed through a web request and special characters could mess everything up, so you need to Base64 encode that authentication string.  Once you've got it encoded, you need to put that into the Headers of your requests so that NSX-T will know who you are.  So, let's look at how to actually do that process! First, I'm going to prepare two variables.  One wil

Using Powershell to Edit Substrings

On my 3D Printing blog , I recently realized that Blogger made a change to the way that images are displayed.  It used to show the full size image when you clicked it, but it has changed to only show a slightly larger version of the image.  That has almost no impact on this blog since I rarely post images, but I frequently write tutorials that have screenshots from Blender or PrusaSlicer... and it's pretty important that the settings in those images be legible!  Well, some google-fu revealed an easy work-around; just change the href links to point to a different subfolder, so that the full resolution image will be displayed.  That's great, except that manually editing the HTML from my blog posts and changing the file path is a highly repetitive and boring task... well, you see where this is going.  PowerShell to the rescue! I've done a fair amount of string manipulation with PowerShell, so I thought this was going to be a trivial task... but this one had a bit of a wrinkle

Using the NSX-T API

I've been writing some PowerShell scripts to automate NSX-T configuration lately, so I figured that I should put together a primer with notes about how to get started!  Firstly, if you're working with the API, you're going to want to be able to reference the official documentation .  There's a lot that can be done via the API, and that guide will tell you what calls to make to do most of it!  If you're like me and haven't spent a lot of time working with APIs before, that document will present a pretty steep learning curve... so I'm writing out my notes here, to make it easier for people to get started! At its most basic, using the API is just sending a web request to the NSX-T manager and then reading the response.  Since this is potentially sensitive information, you're going to have to authenticate with the server though, so you'll need to include a Header with that login information.  If you want to change anything, you're also going to need

Reporting Systems that use KMS

 I was helping a customer resolve an issue with their KMS server recently and we decided that we'd like to get a look at which systems were actually using it, instead of just looking at the total number of systems as displayed by slmgr /dlv.  I couldn't find any slmgr switches that looked like they'd generate a report with this data, but my customer pointed out that we could find it in the event logs (under the Key Management Service grouping), but that it'd be a pain to go through all of the events and pull out the client names.  Well, you can probably guess where this is going - I put together a quick script to do exactly that! This is a really quick and dirty script; I built it to run on the KMS server and generate a table with the client ID in one column and a list of client computer names in the other.  Why is it a list of client computer names?  Well, this particular customer is running a VDI environment and there can be a bit of a problem with KMS and Instant Clo