Archive for the 'Quest Software' Category

PowerPack for non-Windows management in SCCM and SCOM

Quest loves PowerShell and many Quest teams have implemented powershell interfaces to their IT management products – I from my side am obviously willing to promote and encourage these efforts.

Our Quest Management Xtensions team is in charge of over 400 (!) extensions to Microsoft Systems Center, letting you use Operations Manager, Configuration Manager, and Opalis with variety of non-Microsoft platforms.

And today I am excited to announce that this team released a PowerPack for their tool! So not only can you get more out of your Systems Center tools, you can also now get extensible alternative user interface to the tools, and can further automate various operations with PowerShell.

You can learn more about Management Xtensions and download them here, and the PowerPack here.

Show your support: Vote for AD cmdlets, PowerShell, and PowerGUI

If Get-QADUser (or any other QAD cmdlet) or PowerGUI ever saved your day – now is a good time to show your love and spread the news. 🙂

Windows IT Pro magazine put us in their community award finals. So if you want to show your support:

1. Simply go to the award voting page,

2. For the first nomination, Best Active Directory & Group Policy Product, pick Quest Software ActiveRoles Management Shell for Active Directory (who would have thought that the official name was so long):

3. And obviously leave them a note in the Give us a killer quote about your winner! box.

4. Also, believe it or not 17. Best Microsoft Product has PowerShell as one of the options.

5. 21. Best Scripting Tool has Quest Software PowerGUI:

6. And obviously feel free to either ignore all other categories or cast your vote there as well.

Cast your vote now – before the contest is over.

Quest Software, Kirk, PowerGUI, PowerShell

The news of Kirk Munro leaving Quest has generated so much emotional response, often including bashing of Quest Software, that I thought I have to write this quick post to summarize my opinion on the situation. (And by the way, for the record, I was not the manager Kirk mentioned in his blog post. :))

Kirk has been a tremendous member of the PowerGUI team, and when your position gets cut it is not fun at all – so I understand the tendency of us seeing this as the “big evil ungrateful corporation doing bad things” kind of thing.

At the same time, I don’t think this is what actually happened.

For many years Quest has been the major contributor to the PowerShell community and this contribution continues. Yes, being a public company Quest has to protect the interests of its shareholders and when the economy is not doing well some of the expenses have to get cut, and PowerGUI became one of the products which budget got adjusted. This is the sad reality here and such things happen. From what I know, Quest handled this unfortunate situation quite well giving Kirk a good package and offering options to stay involved.

Back in 2006, in the Monad days, Quest supported me: giving me the investment I requested, and allowing me to spend my work time to start PowerGUI and AD cmdlets development. These tools were created free and remain free. You are not even required to provide your email address and get marketing emails for using the tools. For a lot of IT professionals I know – their PowerShell life started with either (or both) of these tools. I have met many Active Directory administrators who told me that QAD cmdlets literally had changed the way they work.

PowerGUI VSX is our free and open source effort to bring PowerShell into Visual Studio.

PowerGUI.org website – again, created and maintained with Quest investment, is the most active PowerShell community in the internet (more active than Microsoft’s PowerShell newsgroups) – where many people get their PowerShell questions answered every day.

Quest is the major sponsor of the PowerShell Deep Dive – which remains significantly subsidized (just check out the discount you get there compared to regular TEC price). Anyone who was at the event can attest that this was one of the most advanced, intense and amazing PowerShell experience they’ve ever had.

From what I know, in none of these efforts Quest is abusing the relationship. Instead the company keeps doing what it can to give back to the community and make lives of IT professionals easier.

From my personal perspective, my career and visibility in the IT community got catapulted to stratosphere thanks to these investments. Seriously, how many IT pros knew about me or Kirk before PowerGUI and AD cmdlets? Both of us became celebrities thanks to Quest’s contributions to PowerShell.

So, am I sad that this happened and Kirk had to leave? Absolutely. I enjoyed working with Kirk and he is a good friend of mine. And yes without Kirk, the rest of the PowerGUI team including myself will have to work harder to keep the project advancing.

Does this make Quest evil, greedy and bad to the PowerShell community? I don’t think so. I really don’t see any companies besides maybe Microsoft investing so much in keeping PowerShell growing, and I think we should all keep that in mind. If you guys like what we are doing here at Quest for the PowerShell community – help us: buy the commercial versions of the products, be active in our forums, spread the news and love towards these efforts – this will help us keep going and protect us against any further cuts.

Thank you for listening.

PowerShell for Multi-Factor Authentication solution updated

Another plug to my fellow Questees who have gone PowerShell (that’s the deal we have here at Quest – you add PowerShell to your product and get a special blog mention and lots of happy customers!). Quest’s Defender (Two-Factor/Multi-Factor Authentication solution) team has just updated their PowerShell module and there’s quite a few useful cmdlets for user provisioning, de-provisioning and general Defender auditing / administration.

For example, for User provisioning, there’s ability to batch-assign tokens to users and provide either unique Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) or set a known PIN to expire on first use so that end users can then create their own:

To assist with the de-provisioning of users accounts from Active Directory when a user has left the company simple commands such as Remove-AllTokensFromUser could be used to ensure all tokens that have been assigned to a user are removed.

For auditing and general administration a number of cmdlets are available, for example, it may be useful for auditing purposes to know which users have authenticated using Defender at any time or for a given period:

Here’s full list of what we’ve got in this release:

As you can see this is a lot more than what we could previously provide with the AD cmdlets integration that we had.

You can get a free trial of Defender here.

VDI and PowerShell

Here at Quest we strive to PowerShell-enable pretty much everything we see. 🙂 The newest Quest team to have gone PowerShell are our desktop virtualization folks – vWorkspace. They recently released a PowerShell module for vWorkspace that – as you could probably guess – adds great automation capabilities to the product.

(vWorkspace is a commercial product – so if you are not into desktop virtualization feel free to just consider this a commercial break – we will return to the free stuff in the next blog post. ;))

vWorkspace cmdlets include functionality such as:

  • Managing vWorkspace administrative accounts,
  • Turning on and off computers,
  • Remotely installing MSI’s, and
  • Setting a wide range of properties on the virtual machines and computers hosted by vWorkspace.

Additionally, vWorkspace offers a dynamic filtering syntax, much like Where-Object , that runs server-side rather than locally to speed up the query of large set s of objects. (As Don Jones put it in a session I once attended: “in PowerShell, keep your formatting as far to the right, and your filtering as far to the left as possible.”)

Get-QVWAdministrator –Filter { $QVWAdministrator.Name –like “mdivdi\*” –and  $QVWAdministrator.IsGroup –eq $true }

If you’re a vWorkspace customer, definitely check out the new module on the Quest Community site. They regularly make new versions available, adding more and more functionality each time. Often there’s also a beta of the new upcoming version of the vWorkspace PowerShell module available for anyone to test. In addition, there are some cool examples of how the vWorkspace PowerShell module can be used to ease day-to-day administration of vWorkspace.  Look for this kind of information in the Powershell section of the vWorkspace Community as well. I know the vWorkspace guys would love to hear some feedback on the module so please feel free to comment on their current release.

P.S. Thanks to Adam Driscoll from the vWorkspace team for helping me write this post. Also, if you have not checked out his interview at the recent PowerScripting podcast – you should. He is one of the smartest software engineers I know!

Recorded PowerShell Introductory Session from Quest Connect

What’s All This Talk about PowerShell Anyway?” which Kirk and I presented at the virtual tradeshow last week was recorded and is available here till January 22, 2010.

So, if you missed the session last week, check it out now (or send the link to anyone you wanted to get introduced to PowerShell.)

What’s All This Talk about PowerShell Anyway?

Tomorrow (Oct 21) morning Kirk and I will be doing a webcast on PowerShell within the Quest Connect virtual tradeshow:

What’s All This Talk about PowerShell Anyway?

10:00 am BST/5:00 am EDT/2:00 am PDT
Add this Webcast to my Calendar

Dmitry Sotnikov, PowerShell MVP and Kirk Munro, PowerShell MVP – Quest Software

So what exactly is PowerShell? How does it make life as an Admin easier? Join this session conducted by Quest’s PowerShell MVPs, Dmitry Sotnikov and Kirk Munro, to learn more about PowerShell and see some real life examples of how PowerShell and Quest PowerGUI make managing your Microsoft infrastructure (Active Directory, Exchange, Hyper-V and more) easier!

We will really start with basic overview of what PowerShell is, then compare it to other alternatives such as VBScript, then Kirk will dive into a step-by-step example of automating tasks such as provisioning in Active Directory, and then will answer any questions you might have.

Besides this session the agenda is packed with a lot of useful material on Windows Server 2008 R2, AD, Identity Management, Exchange 2010, Virtualization, Cloud Computing, SharePoint, SQL, Oracle – see full agenda here.

This online show is a great learning alternative if you cannot make it to TechEd Europe this year. It is co-sponsored by Quest, Microsoft, Dell, NetApp, Vizioncore, Scriptlogic, Techrepublic, Oracle Magazine, Redmond Magazine, and The Code Project. The speaker line up is also pretty good. The show last year was a success – see some feedback here – so hopefully this year it will be even better.

Register for the event here and don’t forget to attend our PowerShell session! 😉 Virtually see you tomorrow!

Audit PowerShell changes in AD

How do you capture and analyze what your (or other administrators’) PowerShell scripts are doing to your Active Directory?

This was the question I lately got from one of our customers so I thought I would also blog my answer for everyone’s benefit.

If this kind of auditing is something that you need – you can fairly easily achieve it by making AD cmdlets access Active Directory via Quest ActiveRoles Server.

Basically, AD cmdlets have a mode (which you can for example switch on in your PowerShell profile) to apply all changes to AD via ActiveRoles proxy, which would then apply all you policies, approvals, and auditing to all changes – no matter where they originate from: UI, command-line, or scripts:

AD cmdlets and Quest ActiveRoles Server

So for example, if I change phone number for all users from Portland:

Change phone number with PowerShell

ActiveRoles will start showing this change in the change history for each of these accounts (including old value, new value, date, time, who made the change and so on):

See AD object change history

The same information gets also output to Windows event log:

AD change events in eventlog

It also becomes available in SQL Reporting Services reports – so you can sort, filter, export to various formats and so on:

AD object change report

Note that unlike QAD cmdlets this is actually a commercial product so there is cost involved. You can get a trial license from the product page. If you are a Microsoft MVP you can also get a free NFR license by applying here.

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AD Recovery from PowerShell

Want to roll back any Active Directory change with a PowerShell one-liner? We’ve just published an online reference to the cmdlets shipped with Quest Recovery manager for Active Directory.

These cmdlets use backups so they are not limited to tombstone reanimation (as regular cmdlets).

For example, if you restore a user you get all the attributes including group membership and so on.

So to restore a deleted object you simply call Restore-RMDeletedActiveDirectoryObject and have the tool handle everything.

However, what makes it way more cool is that you have full power to restore any attributes of any users. So you are not limited to just undeleting stuff. Let’s say you had some kind of script/tool go wild and corrupt an attribute or two across all user accounts. Good luck restoring just these 2 attributes manually or with any kind of UI tool.

With these cmdlets it is as easy as:

# Select the backup you want - e.g. the latest
$b = (Get-RMBackup –Domain dom1.local | Sort-Object –Property Date)[-1]

# For every user in AD restore extensionattribute1

Get-QADUser | foreach {
Restore-RMActiveDirectoryObject –Backup $b.Path –Object $_.DN –Attribute extensionattribute1
}

Is it cool or what? 😉

Here’s the full list of cmdlets linked to the help info for each of them:

Note that unlike AD cmdlets these are actually a part of commercial product so there is cost involved. You can get a trial license from the product page. If you are a Microsoft MVP you can also get a free NFR license by applying here.

(Get-RMDeletedActiveDirectoryObject dc1.dom1.lab.local) | Where-Object { $_.Properties["objectclass"] –contains "user" }

C:\PS>foreach ($u in $users) { Restore-RMDeletedActiveDirectoryObject –Name $u.Properties["name"] –DirectoryHost dc1.dom1.lab.local }

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Interview with AD cmdlets product manager

Guys from PowerScripting Podcast have just published the episode they did with Bob Bobel – Quest’s Product Manager for AD cmdlets, ActiveRoles Server and a few other products.

Bob managed to see the potential behind the idea of PowerShell-enabling his commercial products and releasing free AD cmdlets to the community back in 2006 (which seems a loooong time ago!) – so in a sense myself and others were having a lot of fun at his expense. 😉

  • Does PowerShell make any money for Quest?
  • Will AD cmdlets go on once Microsoft ships their cmdlets in Windows Server 2008 R2?
  • How many developers are working on AD cmdlets?

Learn that and much more from this podcast.

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The posts on this blog are provided “as is” with no warranties and confer no rights. The opinions expressed on this site are mine and mine alone, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer - WSO2 or anyone else for that matter. All trademarks acknowledged.

© 2007-2014 Dmitry Sotnikov

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