Coding, Scripting, Powershelling, etc etc, Dirty words in the mouth of Infrastructure guys across the globe.
When I was in college taking on my computer course, I had two options, Hardware and Networking, or Web Design. I went with my interests and skillsets, hardware and networking.
Coding to me is something I wasn’t interesting in when I became a geek, I wanted to provide the platforms for you to build and run your apps on, not be the guy building the apps. It looks like I screwed up, Job Security wise and Pay wise.
5 Years ago when I was getting into the IT industry, it was taking a number of days to provision a server ready for application installation and deployment. Now, thanks to virtualisation, this has been reduced to minutes. Something I think I’ll blog about on another day, the changes in the industry as I see it.
Here’s two slides showing this, provided by Joe Baguley (CTO, VMware).
So our dedicated core skills we developed are fading away. Take a look at the offering of Simplivity, where Compute, Storage and Networking is contained within one box, added with De-Dupe at ingress, removing the need for complex additional hardware such as WAN Accelerators. You configure it all from within a single pane of glass, and it’s so simple its untrue.
We are under threat, and now is the time for us to adapt. We have to take note of this whole Software-Defined way of life.
Actually that is a lie!!! Don’t treat it as a threat, this is an opportunity. IT is there to help a business and business agility, not to hinder. The offerings of today’s platforms remove the underlying issues that restricted growth and scalability. And now it’s time to automate this growth.
Implementing a more savvy infrastructure, such as taking advantage of the Simplivity device range, will free up your time in work. Take of advantage of this, if you’re doing less monotonous day-to-day tasks, such as provisioning and aligning storage, you now have a perfect opportunity to explore new skills within the technologies you already have.
Which is where coding and scripting comes in, we all need to at least adapt to learning PowerShell, every GUI based step you perform on a Windows Server 2012 R2 OS can be performed and achieved with more granularity and quicker in PowerShell.
Therefore at the bottom is a list for resources, I urge you to jump into to, you don’t have to become an iOS application developer, but by taking advantage of these tools and enhancing your skills for the job market.
How can it work for you?
Currently if you have Microsoft Exchange 2010 or 2013, or are migrating to Office 365, you will find a lot of the features to complete the backend work are contained within the PowerShell Command Line. Think about it though, these products are evolved around the providing of services to a large number of users, therefore it makes sense that the management of these users and their end-user experience is done at a command line basis, removing thousands of GUI based clicks.
Let’s attack this from another angle, but keeping with Exchange in mind, what about reporting? For exchange 2003 we had to resort to a third-party applications, and sticking fingers in the air to be able to pull out user statistics.
With a simple PowerShell query, you can pull all the mailboxes from a server, the size of those mailboxes.
Great, so what?
But we can do more than that, we can then sort these mailboxes by largest first, we can target a particular set of users, based on OU, security group membership, department, or even a custom attribute within AD.
So it’s now all displayed in a console, you can’t send screenshots to management meetings. So export all of these queried data to a CSV file.
And what if you need that data once a month for your management meetings? Rather than running that query you have built every month, schedule it.
The above screenshot is from the script “Mailbox Size Report for Exchange 2010/2013 & Office 365”.
Obviously the above is a very high level breakdown. So Let’s delve a bit deeper.
If you are deploying, say 50 DNS Servers, you have built your Virtual Machines in VMware in 5 minutes on a Nimble Storage unit (because they are blisteringly fast), you can use PowerShell to connect to these 50 machines at once, install the DNS role and configure as needed. I don’t need to point out the time savings here.
So here’s a list of resources I think you should look at to get you started.
- Veeam – Free Video Learning – Learn PowerShell from basics to coding star
- Veeam – Free Ebook – PowerShell for newbies: Getting started with PowerShell 4.0
- Amazon – Book – Learn PowerShell in a month of Lunches
- Blog – Alan Renouf
There are hundreds of more brilliant blogs, and training videos and guides online to help you in your particular knowledge area, just jump on that ship and start cruising to some new skills.