Thursday, November 25, 2010

PowerShell Training

I’ve been doing quite a lot of PowerShell training of late for organisations big and small. The biggest organisation was Microsoft’s Hotmail team where I ran a week long class over the summer – organisations with that many servers to manage could not function as well with out PowerShell. But despite it having been around for few years, many (most?) IT Pros don’t really know PowerShell – well not yet anyway. Microsoft’s broad adoption of PowerShell has meant a lot of my customers moving over to doing things with PowerShell. This is a good thing – but there’s a lot of resistance that needs to be overcome.

As see it, organisations must acknowledge that PowerShell is here, is part of Microsoft’s Common Engineering Criteria (what every team in MS must do). PowerShell will only become more pervasive. In short, it matters. So it’s time to start learning it and adopting it as an enterprise tool.

While I can talk about PowerShell being a strategic task automation platform, IT Pros need to work with Powershell itself and the product specific cmdlet set(s). And they need to understand how to write scripts – detecting the errors that will happen, dealing with credentials, working with .NET/WMI/COM, etc. There is a bit of a learning curve here, and that’s something Microsoft can work on as they develop PowerShell Version 3 (which would be expected to ship inside the next version of windows in a couple of years).

So how do you learn PowerShell. Well – for those who are motivated there is a plethora of on-line material, ranging from blog posts, twitter references, web tutorials, free e-books, etc, etc, etc. Use your favourite search engine to mine a vast amount of content – most of it pretty good. For those who are self motivated, the internet is a good source of learning material.

If you prefer the structure of a formal class, as I know I do, then you have a number of options. Microsoft has issued two PowerShell official training courses:

Microsoft CPLSs also offer another 5-day class, PowerShell for Administrators. This is a 3 day class covering PowerShell V1.

As an alternative: I offer two 3 and 4 -day PowerShell classes: an Introduction to PowerShell class and an Advanced PowerShell Class. I find that, with PowerShell, this is enough time to get someone started. Armed with the knowledge and practice gained during those sessions, delegates begin their journey, and come back in a few months for more advanced topics like XML, database access, error handling, etc.

How you learn PowerShell is really up to you – you have options! So go on – you know it makes sense!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

IPv6–Are You Ready?

Last week, I got the chance to teach a nice Microsoft networking course up in York at the University’s IT Academy. It was a great week! For me one of the highlights was talking about IPv6. The delegates had heard of it, but by and large it was somewhat foreign. So I dived into as much detail as I could, and used Joseph Davies’ most  excellent IPv6 book  as a reference. I know Joseph well – he and I collaborated on two TCP/IP books (TCP/IP for Windows Server 2000, and TCP/IP for Windows Server 2003).

I’ve been writing about IPv6 for over a decade. In the first TCP/IP book I co-wrote (TCP/IP Blueprints), I provided some details on what was then (the book was first published in 1997!) the state of IPv6. At that time IPv6 was a cool concept, it was hard to make much of a case for it. My view then was that once Microsoft produced a decent IPv6 stack as standard, folks would flock to it. Well – they did – a good stack was produced for Window XP/Wiv6. Windows Server 2003 – but I was wrong and there was little groundswell for IP. With Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2, Microsoft produced a killer IPv6 feature, Direct Access (see for details on this feature). But even with Direct Access, the rush to IPv6 is not really visible.

Well last week, Vint Cerf, the guy responsible for much of what we know as IP today, wrote that we’re running out of time. In an article titled: Google vice-president issues a start internet warning, Cerf says "There's no question we're going to be out of address space by springtime of 2011”. To back him up, here’s an online counter you can use to see just how close to the end of IPv4 address availability:

When I popped this counter up yesterday morning, it showed 101 days till X-day (the day when there will be no more IPv4 address blocks for the regional IP registries to dish out). Later in the day, the counter showed 100 days,  but by this morning, it’s down to 98 days. As the counter is real time – the estimated X-day may well be earlier than 2 March 2011.  What’s worse is that when the number of blocks available (currently there 11)

Frankly, this counter scares me a just a little. Now of course, the world will not end on 3 March, or whenever the day after X-day is. We’ll be able to limp along for many more years thanks to the use of NAT and more aggressive public IPv6 address reuse.

But there are two things that really are clear to me: First, the days of IPv4 really are numbered (and this time we really, really mean it!). Secondly, it's really is now time to learn and deploy IPv6.  I look forward to the discussions with my ISP over IPv6!

What are YOUR plans for IPv6??  You do have some, don’t you!!


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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Microsoft Releases Lync Documentation

Continuing the tradition started with OCS, the Microsoft UC team have released a mountain of documentation for Lync 2010. As with OCS, there’s both a set of detailed documents, and a .CHM (complied HTML Help file) with all the documents in one place. Even better, you can get the detailed documents as downloadable .DOC files and as web documents you can read on line. A nice job!
To get to the detailed documents, you can go to this page in TechNet: The .CHM file is at:
The UC team is to be congratulated for producing such comprehensive and accessible information. If only ALL software teams were so good!

Monday, November 22, 2010

More PowerShell Training

It must be the season – but I’ve got another 5-day PowerShell course coming up in December. I’ll be teaching in London from December 13th – December 17th at Global Knowledge’s Baker Street centre. I’ll be running the full 5-day 10325 PowerShell V2 Microsoft official class. Five fun days – with lots of great labs. This is a great course and I’m looking forward to teaching it. If you are interested, contact me and I’ll ensure you get the details and can get booked on the event. And, for the lucky few, I’ll have a few copies of PowerShell Plus to give away. So book early!!

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

PowerCamp Weekend PowerShell Session–FULL!

WOW – I know PowerShell is on the minds of a lot of IT Pros, but the reaction to the weekend PowerCamp has been pretty overwhelming. We’re full but are taking names of folks for standby should some of the currently committed folks need to backout. However, we’re looking at some more options.

First, I’m hoping to run some more Weekend PowerShell PowerCamps. I have no committed dates yet, but I’m looking at a date in York late winter and Thames Valley in the spring. As things firm up, I’ll blog them. Where would you most like to spend a weekend – and would you?

Secondly, if you want to really master PowerShell, I am teaching the much longer 5-day Microsoft Class (course 10325) in December. This is longer than the weekend retreats, and has more hands on labs. (and you can more probably pay for the class using SA Vouchers which may help the Enterprise SA folks). The plan is to run this course in London – although the exact location is not yet clear. I’m firming up the location this week and should know by early next week.

Please let me know if you have any interest for any of these PowerShell training sessions!!!

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

PowerShell Weekend PowerCamp is Full!

In a blog post last week, I announced a weekend PowerShell PowerCamp event. At the time of writing, we had a few folks interested.  But following Jon’s article in PC Pro and my blog post – the event has generated a huge amount of interest. The original plan was for 10-15 attendees, but demand has exceeded that. The hotel has responded with a a bigger room. So the event is definitely happening and I’ll have a full house! There is a waiting list just in case folks have to drop out – and of course, I’ll be running other, more formal training sessions on PowerShell in the coming months.  And if there is sufficient demand, a further weekend PowerCamp might be a possibility!!

For those who are coming – I look forward to welcoming you on the day and to covering a massive amount of content in just two days. For those NOT coming, you will miss a very interesting and fun event!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Weekend PowerShell Camp Event On The Cards

I’ve been advocating PowerShell to folks far and wide over the years – including evangelising it to my pal Jon Honey ball of PC Pro fame. His problem, like a lot of folks, is that there just is never the time to learn it – plus he knows VBS so that’s good enough, right?  Well, I think I have convinced him that that is the way dinosaurs think and that he really needs to to make the great conversion.

So he’s come up with a wizard idea: a weekend event in, where the dinosaurs and others have a fun time as they come up to speed and finally learn PowerShell. Maybe not EVERYTHING about PowerShell – that would be a pretty tall order for 2 days. But certainly gaining a good comfort factor backed up with lots of resources to help you when you get back home. In other words, a Weekend PowerShell Camp.

The way we’d work it is that I’ll run through the core aspects of PowerShell – and you follow along on your own laptop. I’ll have some exercises you can work through to demonstrate PowerShell’s key features. In preparation, you setup and configure your own laptop - you pick the virtualisation platform and load the VMs yourself. Then, you plug into the wireless and follow along with me. We’ll spend 2 long days drilling into the core of PowerShell and look at what you can do with it. And a nice meal on the Saturday. costs are likely to be around 100GPB for the weekend, including the wireless during the day, coffee/tea all day and lunch in the hotel (you can stay in the hotel overnight should you wish – but you would need to arrange that yourself).  We are planning for the 1st weekend in December at the Marriot in Huntingdon Cambridgeshire. 

As it happens, Jon announced the idea in the December of PC Pro magazine’s Real World Computing section. He has had a number of requests to come along already – with a bit of luck the weekend may already be a sell out.  But if you’ve not registered interest, get in touch with either Jon or myself and we’ll send you the fuller details.

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