Wednesday, May 7, 2014

PowerShell Summit NA Recap

The 2014 PowerShell summit has now come and gone. This was my first time attending the PowerShell summit, or any PowerShell specific conference, and it has shot up the list as my favorite conferences to attend. It is definitely one of the smaller conferences out there (about 200-250 attendees), but the content and the knowledge gathered is second to none.

Sunday, there was a Pre-Conference mixer at the Blue Martini that was basically a laid back meet and greet. It was nice to see and be able to talk to so many people that I follow on blogs and twitter. Everyone was open to any conversation including the "Godfather" himself Jeffrey Snover. The perfect networking event.

The conference officially kicked of with Don Jones and Jeffrey Snover giving welcome and brief house keeping talk over breakfast. Which was some of the best food I have ever had at a conference. I usually wondering off site to the nearest restaurant to get some decent food. The first session of the day for most people was a talk by Jeffrey Snover about JEA or Just Enough Admin. The presentation centered around dropping the old convention of granting someone "keys to the castle" to perform 1 specific tasks. If you are familiar with Exchange server 2007 and higher, it similar to Roles Based Access Control or RBAC. Although it is far more extensible as you can limit a user access to specific servers and command as well as limit the amount of time the access is granted. He will be speaking more about it during TechEd 2014.

For me, day 1 included a lot of talk on Desired State Configuration (DSC). Let me just say that was the recurring theme throughout the conference as it is Microsoft's main focus for PowerShell. So if you don't know about DSC yet then put high on your priority lists of things to learn as you will only see and hear more about it. The sessions were given by the current king of DSC Steven Murawski. He walked through a number of DSC scenarios as well as dropped those little nuggets of information that you won't find on TechNet but only by trial and error.

To end day 1, was the Iron Scripter challenge. It involved 3 challenges in the theme of a chef making a 3 course meal. There was a appetizer task which involved getting BIOS and OS information from a computer in a specific format while keeping it to the shortest one-liner possible. The Main course, was a task of creating a full script to also gather computer information while yielding specific results with proper error handling. The last "dessert" task was a good debugging a already written script to make sure it runs correctly.

The highlights of Day 2 for me involved a session by GoateePFE about AD recovery. It takes a different twist on recovery than what you normally know about recovery. Using AD snapshots to do attribute level restores, yep attribute level. Read more about it at

The day ended with a series of lightning demos by members of the PowerShell development team. Just about all of the individuals that were present worked/are working on DSC. Once again, I can't stress enough how much attention DSC is getting. They included demos showing debugging in DSC, DSC to build Azure VMs, and using DSC against Linux boxes. Yep managing Linux from Windows via DSC!

Day 3 was cut a little short for me because of travel plans but the session on using web services in PowerShell given by Trond Hindenes was awesome. I code against internal web services at work for many different things and the session was able to break down different methods of connecting to web services whether they be SOAP based or RestApi's. Check out his slides for more details.

Quotes of Note
"Invoke-Expression is the path to hell" -Jeffrey Snover
"It is inevitable that we will open source PowerShell" -Jeffrey Snover
"Put a pager on a developers belt and you get better code" -Jeffrey Snover
"Q:What do you call a group of developers? - A: A merge conflict!" -Jim Christopher

If you use PowerShell in your job, you NEED to make plans to attend the next PowerShell Summit (in Charlotte, NC) or the Summit Europe. There is no conference that you will get this amount of content with such a dedicated group of individuals.  See ya next year!