Microsoft PowerShell: getting the basics on this system administration tool

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Microsoft PowerShell is an efficient management solution that automates your PC and network functions. It includes all the capabilities of the command prompt and is based on the .NET Framework platform. It has long been the tool of choice for IT administrators to manage large networks.

Learning how to use PowerShell allows you to facilitate several boring daily orders. In addition, you will be able to make changes across the entire network without having to make specific settings on each server. Recently, PowerShell plays an essential role in the operation of a complex network in the Cloud.

What can be done with Microsoft PowerShell?

PowerShell is an excellent way to stall and offers multiple possibilities to improve the productivity and efficiency of your network. In particular, it allows you to schedule some regular system updates.

It also allows you to view information on current tasks, manage services and more. Of course, many of these operations are can be done from the Windows graphical interfacebut PowerShell’s goal is to execute them more efficiently.

If a routine task takes several hours to complete and configure, then it is easy to create a single command from the same operation from PowerShell. Therefore, all you have to do is run the script with the name you gave and it will then run in the background the next time you use it.

Microsoft PowerShell: Introduction to Tools

PowerShell runs by default on Windows 7, Windows 10, and Windows Server 2008 R2 and later versions of the Microsoft operating system. The latest version of PowerShell provides new features and functionalities. It is implemented using the new version of Windows Management Framework (WMF).

The WMF 5.1 version is the version the most recent recommended for production start-up. In addition to the WMF version, several new functions are sometimes dependent on the operating system.

For users, two PowerShell tools are available: the PowerShell ISE (Integrated Scripting Environment) and the PowerShell Console. The latter is similar to the MsDOS command prompt, but with all the power of PowerShell. The PowerShell ISE also provides the ability to work simultaneously with multiple PowerShell scripts using tabbed browsing.

Folder and file processing

Virtually all system administrators spend a large part of their time dealing with folders and files. If redundant tasks are performed on many files, or if the same set of tasks is repeated, PowerShell saves valuable time.

The PowerShell control provides analog control in the form of the Get-ChildItem cmdlet, which allows you to quickly create a list of folders in a directory to be able to process these, either through a pipeline control or by assigning the output to a variable.

When working with files, it is often necessary to determine if a file exists and if the path is valid. PowerShell has a cmdlet that allows you to perform this validation thanks to its Test-Path function, that turns an argument true or false. TestPath is generally used to security precautions before attempting to delete or copy a specific file.

Comparison operators and conditional logics

On a daily basis, system administrators decide which maintenance operations to perform on the servers based on numerous parameters. Automating these repetitive tasks with PowerShell is often akin to use logic to replicate this decision process. There are a variety of methods to achieve the desired objectives. These include benchmarking, filtering, and some conditional logic.

The ability to check whether an operator exists, whether a file has been created, or whether a computer can connect to another computer, requires a reference to a value. Rather than using traditional comparison operators such as < ou >, PowerShell uses -lt or -gt to make the various comparisons..

One of the most common methods for controlling script flow and conditional logic is the use of declarations if. Under PowerShell, if statements are combined with elseif and else statements. These allow you to manage multiple scenarios.

As for the declarations, the “switch” function allows to realize a set of commands when certain parameters are respected. The big difference between if and switch is that switch commands validate a single criterion against multiple possibilities. If allows any instruction to be evaluated against a set of unrelated criteria.

The use of tables, hash tables and variables

PowerShell is simple enough for beginners to get started in learning the language. They will be able to use the instructions on the console and even write some pretty simple scripts.

As PowerShell scripts become more complicated, you will need to work on aspects of this language that will allow you to find the programming courses studied at the university. Variables, in particular, are essential to the realization of scripts, as they enable to transmit information between the different segments of your script.

It is possible to give notes to variables so that they can be referenced in the PowerShell script. By using variables, you ensure that the values remain constant throughout the script. This makes it easier to change the variable later on and in general, the script will be much easier to read.

Most often, tables are used to establish a series of values, such as a list of cities or user names. PowerShell offers different versions of tables, each of which can be assigned and consulted individually.

Remote server and session control

Like many systems management tools, PowerShell offers only advantages for companies that do not need to rely on multiple systems. In the majority of cases, it is necessary to execute cmdlets for example or PowerShell scripts so that operations are performed on remote systems.

Several classic PowerShell cmdlets used daily (Get-Process, Get-Service, Get-EventLog, etc.) can be used to Execute operations on work centers from a distance. Also note that the -ComputerName function allows multiple host names, which allows you to support a multitude of servers at the same time without having to throw the commander several times. Managing remote computers in this way bypasses some of the requirements for recurring PowerShell remote sessions.

What is the advantage of using remote sessions?

Performance is one of the reasons for using remote sessions. When you run a local cmdlet such as Get-Service on multiple computers, the local system performs the task and processes the data from each of the computers.

When using remote sessions, each of the computers runs the command. This distributes the workload across all computers. When it comes to PowerShell scripts running on hundreds or thousands of computers, performance is at the top of your priorities.

Using multiple command applets in a single session is also a reason to use remote PowerShell sessions. This allows the execution of several commands on each server. It can even run complete scripts remotely. In this way, the ability to use remote sessions from order automation to service planning in a data centeror any other process imaginable.

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