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PowerShell Knocks Off System Center 

Redmond columnists are not just dopes off the street (present company excluded), but are real IT pros and noted authors, with a real world view and actionable advice.

Brien Posey is just one such writer. Posey's insight and Microsoft contacts recently let him to an interesting thesis -- that PowerShell could be used in place of System Center, making the management package far less relevant.

A chance hearing of what could have been an off-hand comment started the wheels turning. It seems Posey was in Redmond when a presenter mentioned that "PowerShell was going to be the preferred method for managing Windows Server."

The company is really pushing server core and this headless OS is perfect for management via PowerShell. This is especially the case since PowerShell has done nothing except get better and better.

Posey has tested the limits of PowerShell. Having spent time with System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012, Brien began looking at how much of what this product does could also be done through PowerShell. The answer is "a lot."

Another factor is the fact that more and more IT pros know PowerShell, something Microsoft has been pressuring them to do.

How far do you go with PowerShell and is Brien on or off track? You tell me at

Posted by Doug Barney on 12/14/2012 at 1:19 PM

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Reader Comments:

Sat, Dec 15, 2012

As usual you have trivialised and simplified the whole subject. If your systems actually worked I'd have unsubscribed years ago

Fri, Dec 14, 2012 Nate Portland Oregon

Yes, let's just go back to using Unix.....

Fri, Dec 14, 2012 Sal DiStefano Saint Paul, MN

Seems like an over simplification and lack of awareness of what System Center's feature set can provide to an environment. Of course for management tasks you can use PowerShell rather than System Center. System Center probably uses PowerShell scripts to complete many of it's tasks. Each tool has it use. Using one tool for everything is not usually the optimal approach.

Fri, Dec 14, 2012 Dan Iowa

To put it another way, System Center will be managed by Powershell, and you'll only get the System Center Powershell modules by installing System Center. That does not mean there aren't other modules available for managing your systems, or that you can't write your own, but if you don't want to roll your own, you can buy System Center. ;-)

Fri, Dec 14, 2012 Daniel Weissenborn

Agree 100% John: There will always be a divide of administrator ‘technical levels’. The PowerShell is indeed intended to be the remote administration tool of choice. However in the context of System Center, the GUI will always be part of the suite if for nothing other than self-service portals. Users are evolving to understand self-service in a way that hasn’t been possible with previous generations. Preview projects such as codename Katal highlight Microsoft’s emphasis on hosting infrastructure, whether it be for another company, or one of many internal departments. The real nugget of PowerShell’s push forward is the SPF framework. The SPF creates a web interface for Powershell services. Future tense administration is devoid of GUI interation or even VPN requirements. Powershell commands to secure remote SPF frameworks are all that will be needed for any windows based service. The current SC suite’s SP1 release further emphasizes this movement and is in direct alignment with Azure services. Bringing this full circle: System Center will never be replaced by PowerShell, however it will be tailored to provide advanced utility and portability for the PowerShell Administrator with SPF frameworks eventually in place for all SC components and other Microsoft products.

Fri, Dec 14, 2012 BigMacK Harrisburg, PA

Several of the management tools already use PowerShell to do the work. For example, the Exchange Management Console is a GUI front end that produces PowerShell commands that are run in the background. Same thing with the new Active Directory management tool and I think the new SharePoint management tools. Seems to be the direction and makes perfect sense. Use the GUI to create your script, and if you think you'll run it more than 1 or 2 times, save the script so you don't have to run through the GUI again. If you really think about it, Group Policies are mainly a GUI way to update the registry as opposed to writing .REG files.

Fri, Dec 14, 2012 John Joyner

Brian is right on--that PowerShell (PS) can augment, and take the place of, many conventional agent-based management and monitoring solutions becuase PS modules are built-into Windows Server and other MIcrosoft applications . System Center 2012 SP1 adds a new Service Provider Framework (SPF) that lets Microsoft customers start using this new paradigm, which is essentially delivery of remote management information and commands via PS. Now imagine a tailored, streamlined portal with buttons that launch the PS commands (Windows Azure Services for Windows Server) and you have a picture of the future of infrastructure management.

Fri, Dec 14, 2012 Howard Wading River, NY

Yes, this makes sense. Why use a GUI to get things done when you can spend your time memorizing commands, parameters and syntax. This whole Windows thing was just a phase, the command line is the future. Its just so much more intuitive.

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