At the Coal Face: Code for Debugging Deep PowerShell Execution

PowerShell is frequently the last mile worker at the coal face - 5 miles out in a tunnel at the bottom of a mine shaft.

This is because the breadth of Windows automation available through PowerShell results in it being embedded into almost every windows automation tooling stack - even when PowerShell is not the primary orchestration technology.

Whether you are using configuration management like Chef, Puppet, Ansible or Salt or a continuous deployment tool such as Team City, TFS or Octopus or cloud orchestration such as Cloud Foundry or Cloud Formation or even a traditional ops tool like Systems Center - at some point, somewhere you will be compelled to call PowerShell.

Being at the end of a deep call stack of automation technologies is the daily norm for PowerShell, but it can make troubleshooting and debugging problems difficult for the automation developer.

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NEW PluralSight Course: Securing AWS Environments with the CIS AWS Benchmark Security Standard

There is a storm front of two strong forces hitting modern IT shops. Force #1 is “Get to the Cloud” and Force #2 is “Don’t Be The Next Security Breach Statistic”. The Center for Internet Security (CIS) “benchmarks” are unique among security standards in that they are exceedingly practical, technology specific checklists. They also acknowledge, secure and leverage modern IT practices and technologies such as Cloud, DevOps, Agile and Automation. In addition, they are under continual development and improvement by a community of experts who speak into each benchmark.

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Chocolatey NuGet - Smooth and Sweet For Windows Software Deployment Automation

Chocolatey NuGet is smooth and sweet for Windows software deployment automation! I will be hosting the Birds of a Feather discussion “Chocolatey NuGet Packaging for Software Deployment Automation” at IT Dev Connections in Las Vegas on October 12th 2016. Whether you are looking to use it in Traditional Ops, DevOps or Continuous Deployment, I can field your questions. I’m also looking to learn a bunch about what and how you all are using it in your organizations!

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WOW - The AWS IAM Policy Reference You're Looking For!

The AWS reference documentation has an amazing level of depth and information. It’s organization, however, is lacking. Not unlike the “SDK Documentation” of previous eras. Creating AWS IAM policies is at the heart of creating secure AWS environments. And although there are many samples in the AWS documentation, eventually you have to dive into “What is ever conceivable way I could code an IAM policy to meet a very specific configuration requirement”.

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EVEN EASIER Automated OpenSSH Install for Nano Server

Yes, I already wrote something titled almost identically. No it’s not a duplicate! Last time I had you download a .nupkg, unpack it, then push the files to Nano and run a PowerShell script. This time you can do the install right at the Nano remote prompt - no preparatory steps and no file copy. In addition, it works on Nano TP5 - which still has some challenging limitations that should be eliminated in the RTM version.

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Automated SSH Install for Nano Server

The Microsoft PowerShell team has been working hard on their port of the open source SSH tools. The admittedly rough installation instructions call for many manual steps and for using at least one 32-bit tool that does not run on Nano which does not have 32-bit support (WOW64). Since March I have been doing a Chocolatey NuGet package that installs SSH - including installing the server if desired. I thought it might be nice if this work was directly re-usable on Nano - even though Nano can’t currently run Chocolatey.

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Securing AWS with the CIS AWS Foundations Benchmark Security Standard

Over the last several months I have been working to deploy a new AWS environment. Right as this project was starting I was delighted to learn that the Center for Internet Security had worked with Amazon and security professionals to publish a benchmark for the basic setup of an AWS account. I have been working to make the new environment build compliant with the CIS Benchmark and have learned a lot about security in general and security automation in AWS in specific.

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PowerShell Is Available for Linux, MacOS and is Open Source!

If you’re a PowerShell enthusiast you’ve been hearing a couple things for a long time. The first is Linux admin envy for something on Windows - yes the veritable PowerShell got the attention of many a Linux afficiando. The other thing is hearing Microsoft saying “Someday PowerShell will be on Linux.” Well someday has arrived! PowerShell is not only available on Linux, it is also now Open Source! I immediately took it off the shelf and tried it on CentOS 7.

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Binary Repos: Setting Up Your Own Private, Secured Chocolatey.org, Nuget.org, PowerShellGallery.com or hub.docker.com ($500 off IT Dev Connections)

Below is the session abstract for the session I will be giving at IT Dev Connections in October. Also, here is a code to get $500 off the conference: “500SPKR” Follow Me if you’d like to be notified of when the video is available! Binary Repos: Setting Up Your Own Private, Secured Chocolatey.org, Nuget.org, PowerShellGallery.com or hub.docker.com - Why and How The FossHub.com repository was recently hacked an all binaries had malware injected.

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New PluralSight Course: Chocolatey NuGet Essentials For Automation Pros

If you have background in traditional Windows software deployment automation, Chocolatey NuGet offers a great way to leverage those skills afresh for DevOps style automation. If you have a background in Continuous Integration or Continuous Deployment on Windows, then the familiarity with the underlying NuGet technology means it is an easy bridge for you to use to run all the other installers available on Windows (MSI, MSU, WindowFeatures, setup.exe). In fact, there are valid used cases for using Chocolatey for deploying your own CI code deploy NuGet packages.

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