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Microsoft Releases Reporting Module for PowerShell Desired State Configuration

Microsoft announced the availability of a new Windows PowerShell module this week that adds reporting capabilities for Windows operating systems maintained using Desired State Configuration (DSC).

The module, called "DSC Environment Analyzer" (DSCEA) version 1.1, runs reports on server resources that use the system's Managed Object Format (MOF) file. An MOF file is used as a reference to describe management information in the Windows Management Instrumentation repository.

DSC is a Windows PowerShell extension that lets users declare how Windows server software should be configured. A server gets polled to check if it's following those declarations per the DSC approach. However, a facility for getting compliance reports apparently was lacking.

"DSCEA's primary use case is to verify that your systems are actually configured the way you want them to be," Microsoft explained, in its announcement.

DSCEA will verify a single registry key setting. It'll check if baseline configuration settings are met. It will verify that Group Policy settings were correctly applied. In addition, DSCEA also work with Windows Server 2016 Nano Server, which lacks Group Policy control, according to the announcement.

Microsoft released DSCEA as open source software at the GitHub repository, which can be accessed at this page. It's also available from the PowerShell Gallery.

Users need to execute certain PowerShell scripts to get the compliance information. The information generated by DSCEA can be displayed in reports using HTML or Microsoft's Power BI business intelligence solution, as illustrated in the "Introduction" article at GitHub, where Microsoft shows screenshots. It's possible to use the Power BI Desktop application without an Office 365 subscription for reporting purposes, per an explanation on GitHub.

The new DSCEA module only works with Windows operating systems from Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 or later products. It requires the use of PowerShell 5 or greater and users have to enable "PowerShell Remoting and WinRM," according to the "System Requirements" document. It's possible to use DSCEA with servers housed in an organizations premises or at a service provider's location.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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