PowerCLI: An Aspiring Automator’s Guide

Getting into scripting can be daunting. It’s easier to just use existing scripts found online, but if you choose this route you’ll quickly run into limitations. If you take the time to learn how to create your scripts, trust me, you’ll never look back!

Automating vSphere is particularly useful for countless applications and the best way is through PowerCLI – a version of PowerShell developed specifically for VMware. Learn how to develop your own PowerCLI scripts with this free 100+ page eBook from Altaro, PowerCLI: The Aspiring Automator’s Guide.

Written by VMware vExpert Xavier Avrillier, this eBook presents a use-case approach to learning how to automate tasks in vSphere environments using PowerCLI. We start by covering the basics of installation, set up, and an overview of PowerCLI terms. From there we move into scripting logic and script building with step-by-step instructions of truly useful custom scripts, including how to retrieve data on vSphere objects; display VM performance metrics; how to build HTML reports and schedule them; the basics on building functions; and more!

Stop looking at scripts online in envy because you wish you could build your own scripts.

Get started on your path to automation greatness – Download the eBook now!

Deploy Azure Data Services with Terraform

June, 2021 Update: see details below

Terraform-based deployment of almost all Azure Data Services (default deployment settings are in the parenthesis):

  • Azure Service Bus (Standard, namespace,topic,subscription, auth. rules)
  • Azure Data Lake Storage (ZRS, Hot, Secured, StandardV2)
  • Azure Data Factory (w/Git or without)
  • Azure Data Factory linked with Data Lake Storage
  • Azure Data Factory Pipeline
  • Azure DataBricks WorkSpace (Standard)
  • Azure EventHub (Standard, namespace)
  • Azure Functions (Dynamic, LRS storage, Python, w/App.Insights or without)
  • Azure Data Explorer (Kusto, Standard_D11_v2, 2 nodes)
  • Azure Analysis Server (backup-enabled, S0, LRS, Standard)
  • Azure Event Grid (domain, EventGridSchema)
  • Azure SQL Server (version 12.0)
  • Azure SQL Database (ElasticPool SKU name, 5 GB max data size)
  • Azure SQL Elastic Pool (StandardPool, LicenseIncluded, 50 eDTU/50GB)

Properties and content

  • Over 1k strings and 26 terraform resources in total
  • Almost every string is commented out, multiple conditions in each resource, variable conditions to check it’s value before the deployment and etc. So, it’s flexible, not hardcoded and allows you to create infrastructure with your own set of resources.
  • Written a few years ago, updated once since then to fix deprecated features
  • June, 2021 Update: SQL Server, Database and Elastic Pool , added variable conditions (for example, sql password must be longer than 8 symbols and have upper-case, digits and special characters), added a sensitive variable (just for sample), new Terraform 0.15.5 syntax/features were added, multiple minor changes
  • Tested with the latest Terraform 0.15.5 and Azure provider 2.62.0 (the first version of the script worked fine with >=0.12 and AzureRM >=1.35, just check the syntax and try out)
  • auth.tf – provider authentication and version settings
  • main.tf – a desired Azure infrastructure
  • terraform.tfvars – controls deployment settings
  • variables.tf – variables list
  • outputs.tf – outputs useful information

Deployment settings (excerpt)

#--------------------------------------------------------------
# What should be deployed?
#--------------------------------------------------------------
servicebus       = true  # Azure Service Bus
datafactory      = true  # Azure Data Factory
datafactory_git  = false # Enable GIT for Data Factory? (don't forget to set Git settings in the Data Factory section)
databricks       = true  # Azure DataBricks
eventhub         = true  # Azure EventHub
functions        = true  # Azure Functions 
functions_appins = true  # Integrate App.Insights with Azure Functions?
eventgrid        = true  # Azure EventGrid
kusto            = true  # Azure Data Explorer (kusto)
analysis         = true  # Azure Analysis Server
sqlserver        = true  # Azure SQL Server 
sqlep            = true  # Azure SQL Elastic Pool
sqldb            = true  # Azure SQL Database

Resource block (excerpt)

#Azure SQL Database
resource "azurerm_mssql_database" "rlmvp-svc-sql-db" {
  count           = var.sqlserver == "true" && var.sqldb == "true" ? 1 : 0
  name            = "${var.prefix}sqldb${random_string.rndstr.result}"
  elastic_pool_id = var.sqlep == "true" ? azurerm_mssql_elasticpool.rlmvp-svc-sql-elastic-pool[count.index].id : null
  server_id       = azurerm_sql_server.rlmvp-svc-sql-server[count.index].id
  max_size_gb     = var.az_sql_db_maxsize
  sku_name        = var.az_sql_db_sku_name
  tags            = var.az_tags
}

Variable Conditions

variable "az_sqlserver_password" {
  type        = string
  description = "Azure SQL Server Admin's Password"
  validation {
    condition     = length(var.az_sqlserver_password) > 8 && can(regex("(^.*[A-Z0-9].*[[:punct:]].*$)", var.az_sqlserver_password)) # meets Azure SQL password's policy
    error_message = "SQL Server Admin's password must contain more than 6 symbols (lowercase + upper-case and special/punctuation characters!)."
  }
}

Usage guide

  • Open the terraform.tfvars file
  • Indicate the “What Should Be Deployed?” section
  • Use true/false to set your desired configuration
  • Check or change Azure services settings in the appropriate sections (naming convention (prefix/suffix), location, SKUs and etc.)
  • Run terraform init to get required Terraform providers
  • Run terraform plan to initiate pre-deployment check
  • Run terraform apply to start a deployment
  • (optional) terraform destroy to delete Azure resources

Requirements

  • The script uses Service Principal authentication, so define the subscription ID, client ID, tenand ID and principal secret in the auth.tf (or use another authentication type – Managed Identity, if your CI is running on Azure VMs, for instance)
  • If you are going to deploy Analysis Server (enabled, by default), provide valid Azure AD user(s) UPN(s) to set them as administrators of Analysis Server (az_ansrv_users variable, file – terraform.tfvars)

Result

P.S. feel free to share/commit/fork/slam/sell/copy and do anything that your conscience allows you 🙂