VMware vSphere Automated Reporting with PowerCLI

Virtualization and IT automation are two of the fastest growing areas in the IT sector. This course will teach you how to automate reporting, anomaly detection, and configuration management with PowerCLI.
Course info
Level
Intermediate
Updated
Jan 19, 2018
Duration
2h 47m
Table of contents
Course Overview
Introduction to vSphere Reporting with PowerCLI
Getting All VMs Info into One Place
Displaying VMs Hardware at a Glance
Scripting VM Performance Monitoring
Listing ESXi Host Attributes and Information
Discovering a New Way to Look at VMware Storage
Reporting VMware Networking Status
Taking a Deeper Look at Advanced VMware Networking
Inspecting Advanced vSphere Options
Ensuring ESXi Host Image and Patching Compliance
Protecting vSphere with Security Reporting
Pulling It All Together
Wrapping It Up
Description
Course info
Level
Intermediate
Updated
Jan 19, 2018
Duration
2h 47m
Description

Virtualization is becoming more pervasive in the datacenter than ever before. As these environments scale, the requirement for administrators to do more with less is never-ending. In this course, VMware vSphere Automated Reporting with PowerCLI, you'll learn the ins and outs of querying for each component of VMware, automated report generation and web report development that propel your administration of VMware vSphere environments to the next level. First, you'll explore how to setup the programs and command line syntax needed to gather, format, and display vSphere environment information. Next, you'll focus in on specific powerCLI command syntax for each component of vSphere, ESXi hosts, virtual machines, storage, patching, networking, and more, all the while building the example automated web report piece by piece. Finally, you'll learn how to combine powerCLI commands, powershell functionality, and your critical thinking, to develop a monitoring solution tailored to your environment and integrate it into an already existing web display. When you're finished with this course, you'll have the skills and knowledge of VMware PowerCLI needed to immediately begin creating reports and custom heads-up displays that will increase productivity, uptime, security, and overall workflow of your vSphere administration work center.

About the author
About the author

Aaron M. Rosenmund is a cyber security operations and incident response subject matter expert, with a background in federal and business system administration, virtualization and automation.

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Section Introduction Transcripts
Section Introduction Transcripts

Course Overview
Hi everyone, my name is Aaron Rosenmund, and welcome to my course, VMware vSphere Automated Reporting with PowerCLI. I'm a virtualization and security specialist currently working with federal and state government, using skills like the ones in this course to save time and increase productivity. More information is available about the vSphere environment through the use of powerCLI queries that you can find in the vCenter or ESXi console. And more often than not, it's just the information you need to solve the day's major problem. In this course, we're going to explore not only how to pull information from every component of the virtual environment, but also how to format it and display it in a dynamic web report that will display real time alerts and data in a web-accessible heads-up display. Some of the major topics that we will cover include checking the hardware and resource allocation across all virtual machines, virtual machine and host performance monitoring, virtualized network configuration management and configuration control, and protecting the environment with intuitive VMware security auditing. By the end of this course, you'll know how to capture the data necessary to not only solve any problem you have in your data center, but to make sure it doesn't go unchecked in the future. Before beginning this course, you should be familiar with the VMware vSphere environment, basic PowerShell, and the VMware powerCLI modules. From here, you should feel comfortable diving into automated vSphere configurations with courses on automated vSphere and domain deployment with powerCLI, automated vSphere environment maintenance, and dynamic virtual machine control across multiple data centers. I hope you'll join me in this journey to learn powerCLI reporting with the VMware vSphere automated reporting in the powerCLI course at Pluralsight.

Displaying VMs Hardware at a Glance
Welcome back. With the foundations out of the way, I'm looking forward to getting deeper into the heart of virtual machines in this module, Displaying VMs Hardware at a Glance. As great as the potential for a custom VMware dashboard is, I can understand if you are a little underwhelmed by the use of the get-vm command. The basic output is pretty run-of-the-mill information. But now we are going to look deeper into the expanded properties that were revealed in the HTML file, as well as another way to look at virtual machine information using the Get-View command.

Listing ESXi Host Attributes and Information
Welcome to the Application Co-existence with Hyper-V Module. Oh, there's a mouthful. How you doing, Mark Wilkins checking-in, and, what we're going to look at in this module is specifically using virtualization, client-hosted virtualization, to help applications that just don't work on Windows 10. So, what are we going to talk about? The topics are, application compatibility and the use for virtualization. Microsoft likes to say, "Any applications work on Windows 10. " And that's true if you include virtualization, most of the time. So we'll take a look at enabling Client Hyper-V, you might not even be aware that it's built into the product. We'll also take a look at what's called offline hard drive client access, and that is client access, i. e. , Client Hyper-V access to physical hard drives on the host computers. We'll take a look at compatibility for legacy applications, and we'll also take a look at how I can manage the virtual machines that I spin up on the client. And then we'll do a wrap-up. Our company of choice for demonstrations, based in Denver, based in Toronto, Globomantics. And this will be our company that will try to simulate some real-life demos that hopefully match up with what you are facing and seeing in your supporting of the Windows 10 client. By the way, Windows 10, changing on a fairly regular basis.

Discovering a New Way to Look at VMware Storage
So again thinking of the components required for the virtual machines to do their job, we can check off the ESXi hosts themselves and now focus on another very important component, the storage. In this module, discovering a new way to look at VMware storage, we will focus on the methods by which to get configuration and utilization information about the storage attached to the vSphere system, and how to extract important metrics from those queries. Jeffrey is pretty comfortable that he can now monitor basic virtual machine problems like CPU utilization, frozen virtual machine OS's, and ESXi host configuration, but knows that he hasn't touched one of the most volatile components in his environment. Storage is hugely important for his company to operate and seems to always be an issue that needs to be monitored. Some of the basic exposed information is helpful for total capacity, but he needs to know more to make sure that he has a full handle on it. Using Get-Datastore, Datastorecluster, and Get-SCSILUN commands, we will expose the underlying structure of how the storage is presented, and look for values that can help Jeffrey be aware of the storage status and requirements moving forward.

Reporting VMware Networking Status
Welcome, and thanks for joining me in this module, Reporting VMware Networking Status, in which we will be discussing yet another critical component of your vSphere environment. We have looked at the virtual machines themselves, the ESXi hosts providing this CPU and memory, the storage, and now it's time to look at how it is all linked together and connected to the rest of your datacenter. So we are talking about virtual networking, but we are not talking about NSX. Some of you may be familiar with the term software defined networking in the NSX product that VMware provides. However, that is not the focus of this module. Virtual networking already exists in the virtual environment that links the ESXi hosts together into all the virtual machines well before the term software defined networking was everyday vernacular. That does not mean that the vSphere networking is not complicated. It does have many layers, and it is the basis for the new software defined networking solutions that are fast approaching. To make sure that the vSphere system stays stable with a predictable baseline, and most importantly, connected, Jeffrey is going to tackle how to gain visibility into the networking options, including the VM NICs, VM kernels, vSwitches, distributed virtual switches, port groups, and virtual machine NICs. This is a big subject, and as such, will be broken into two modules.

Taking a Deeper Look at Advanced VMware Networking
Virtual networking being the large subject that it is deserves to have a little bit more screen time. As such, we will be expanding on some of the networking concepts and PowerCLI capabilities in the module Taking a Deeper Look at Advanced VMware Networking. You've seen a little bit of the Get-ESXCLI command before, and how it connects to the ESXi host. As a system admin, this is one of my most used tools. I didn't have to enable and create an SSH session to run commands as if I was on each individual host. I will cover the syntax and methodology behind using Get-ESXICLI for virtual networking, as well as taking another look at distributed switches.

Inspecting Advanced vSphere Options
I've got to tell you, Jeffrey is feeling pretty good about himself with the networking storage VM hosts in virtual machines accounted for. He is starting to get some more sleep at night, knowing that unless there is a bad metric or red indicator on his dashboard, he has most of the basic foundations for his system pretty squared away. But he isn't ready to take out that mortgage on his fat manager pay yet, because he knows that there is still something missing. Sometimes you can do everything right and things still go down. But that is when you rely on VMware's advanced features to do what they do best and save you. And that's what we will be looking at in this module, Inspecting Advanced vSphere Options. When you bring things together the way that VMware does, you get great options, like DRS, or distributed resource scheduling, for hosts or storage redundancy, HA for virtual machine or host redundancy, and the other cluster options that allow Jeffrey to ensure that even on the worst day in Globomantics, his services will still be up. We're going to cover how to query for information on these items and how to ensure that all these additional services are working and configured the way you need them to be to get the peace of mind that you're looking for. The VMware services for redundancy, like DRS and HA, require consistent configurations across your whole cluster. One vMotion NIC misconfiguration or rule mismatch, and the services will not perform the way you expect them to, and now you are left holding the bag with no answers. To make sure that uniformity is consistent, you can monitor those settings and options with PowerCLI to make sure that your backup systems are good to go.

Protecting vSphere with Security Reporting
So before this gets wrapped up, I'm excited to cover my favorite subject, security, in this module, Protecting vSphere with Security Reporting. Virtualization technologies are something I'm good at, and security is something I'm passionate about, and I try to bring this security spin to everything I do. Lucky for me and you, it first perfectly here, and a heads up dashboard is the perfect place to put information that can alert you to potential security incidents or vulnerabilities in your system. When talking about security with vSphere, you can think of the hypervisor level add-on, like McAffee MOVE, or even the new TrustPoint system leveraging Tanium. But there are simple, every day, baked in security configurations that need to be set to defend your vSphere infrastructure that don't require installation of new software or purchasing of new licenses. First is to control the available threat surface of the ESXi hosts themselves. If someone can own the ESXi servers, they can own all your VMs as well. There is tight control over the services running on the ESXi at any given point. And it is possible to pull information about whether the services running are required or not. Firewall rules simply apply as usual. There is a basic default policy for in or out, but there are also more granular rules that can be based on service allowed to connect or more custom. Finally, there is a role-based access control that can be very granular in its permission to allow only the access required by each individual and separate duties. Again, taking a look at the information flow from outside the ESXi to the virtual machines, the built-in ESXi host firewall allows us to block traffic as it's coming into the VMNICs that is not either required for a service or specifically authorized by you.

Pulling It All Together
Thank you for joining me in this module, Putting It All Together, where I will talk through the process of changing the massive amounts of data into a usable metric, informing it for display in a web dashboard. Learning the syntax, an exact way to code different modules and functions is wonderful, but if it's not used in a logical way that actually helps improve the way business is done, then it's just spinning wheels. This module will walk you through the logical process of focusing on the data that is important to your environment and therefore important to how your company does business to provide return on investment that they've put in you. First you have to use the knowledge that only you can have about the problem areas in your environment. If you don't have any idea where to start, it's just fine to use some guiding principles to get you pointed in the right direction. For this module, we will be focusing on baseline patch updates. That for any government group is especially important and driven not just by best practice policy, but by national policy. In some places your external access to the internet can be cut if you don't pass compliance inspections majorly based on whether or not your systems are patched up to date. Then you have to find the right information about the metric that you want to display, the information that will be most helpful to you. This will take into consideration the availability of that information elsewhere and its effect on the primary goal. Last is the fun part. You know what you want to see, so you choose the coolest way to display and make it happen.

Wrapping It Up
Here it is, the final module of the course. You have made it this far and now you deserve some encouragement, extra resources, and a look at what was covered in case you missed something. I am sure you also deserve some sort of certificate or something, but you wouldn't want to keep up with the renewal fees, so let's just skip that step. We will, however, cover briefly all of the topics in this course. It was a long course, and this will help if you missed something and you want to go back and cover it again, or if you need a little jog to the memory for something you wanted to use in your environment. A lot of commands were covered, but each tied to a capability that tied directly to your everyday job and increasing the sustainment and health of your environment. To take the torch from this point, you will need some resources to get you pointed in the right direction. And those will be provided, as well as the direction, for where and how to develop your skills from here.