Desired State Configuration Blog Series – Part 1, Information about DSC

Desired State Configuration Blog Series – Part 1, Information about DSC

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Over the next couple of months I plan to author a regular contribution to Building Clouds Blog focused on PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC).  This is an important tool for the Microsoft platform and I believe a crucial concept for anyone working in a DevOps culture.  I have a long list of topics to cover-off including lessons I have learned, practices I have found to be repeatable, and my thoughts on how DSC can be integrated with other tools to build “better together” scenarios.

Recently I authored a number of DSC resources to bring myself up to speed.  This was an educational process that involved hours of reading and going over content across many sources.  For Part 1 I would like to give you an advantage by helping to organize some of the content I found valuable in to easily digestible groups.  The table below serves as a “curated list” of links that would be valuable to anyone looking for a starting reference.  The problem with anything like this is it will be outdated almost as soon as I publish, so take it under advisement that this is a good point to “ramp” as of April, 2014 and never underestimate the power of Bing to discover new content!

Web sites I used as a training ramp:

Content

TechEd 2013 Session – Desired State Configuration in Windows Server 2012 R2 PowerShell
http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechEd/NorthAmerica/2013/MDC-B302

Description I attended this session live and knew right away that DSC is something I would be focusing on in the future.  The session is available on Channel 9 and is a great way to get up to speed on DSC concepts in an hour and twenty minutes.  I especially recommend this for “visual learners” who would need to be inspired before they find motivation to do a lot of reading (I’m looking in the mirror when I describe this behavior).

 

Content

TechNet Documentation – Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn249912.aspx

Description If official product documentation is more your style, TechNet is the source.  If you are new to DSC I definitely recommend reading over this content, and then leveraging the PowerShell team blog to explore more advanced concepts.

 

Content

The PowerShell Team Blog
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/powershell/

Description One of the challenges with reading blogs as a method of training is that the content is arranged in chronological order by publish date.  I am making an attempt to arrange the content by topic and level of advancement.

Introduction and General Knowledge Building:
Configuration in a DevOps world - Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration
Understanding CONFIGURATION keyword in Desired State Configuration
How to Deploy and Discover Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration Resources
Understanding Meta Configuration in Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration

Authoring Resources:
Hungry for more Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration Resources?
Resource Designer Tool – A walkthrough writing a DSC resource
Want to secure credentials in Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration?

DSC Push/Pull Server Concepts:
PowerShell DSC Resource for configuring Pull Server environment
Push and Pull Configuration Modes

More Advanced Concepts:
Configuring a SQL High Availability Group with DSC
Reusing Existing Configuration Scripts in PowerShell Desired State Configuration
Want to Automatically Configure Your Machines Using DSC at Initial Boot-up?
Configuring an Azure VM using PowerShell DSC

DSC Resource Kit Content (published resources):
Holiday Gift – Desired State Configuration (DSC) Resource Kit Wave-1
Need more DSC Resources? Announcing DSC Resource Kit Wave 2
DSC Resource Kit Wave 3

Diagnostics/Troubleshooting:
Using Event Logs to Diagnose Errors in Desired State Configuration
DSC Diagnostics Module– Analyze DSC Logs instantly now!
Debug Mode in Desired State Configuration (WMF 5.0 CTP)

 

Content

Hey, Scripting Guy! Blog
http://blogs.technet.com/b/heyscriptingguy/

Description Hey, Scripting Guy! is a blog dedicated to uncovering every detail and complex topic around the PowerShell scripting language.  I look forward to the “Weekend Scripter” posts as that is my Sunday paper.  Recently there was a series published on digging in to the details of writing DSC scripts.

Weekend Scripter: Intro to PowerShell 4.0 Desired State Configuration
Weekend Scripter: Troubleshoot with PowerShell DSC Diagnostics Module

PowerTip: Find PowerShell 4.0 DSC Cmdlets
PowerTip: Use DSC to Remediate a Server
PowerTip: Use PowerShell to Display DSC Resources

Using PowerShell 4.0 DSC Parameters
Using PowerShell 4.0 DSC to Control Configuration Drift
Use Configuration File to Apply PowerShell DSC to Multiple Servers
Configure SMB Shares with PowerShell DSC

 

Content

PowerShell.org
http://powershell.org

Description PowerShell.org is a community resource for PowerShell and a number of great articles have been published on the topic of DSC.  The “PowerScripting Podcast” includes episodes specific to DSC.  On the “DSC Hub” you will find reference to a DSC eBook and most notably a link to a community GitHub repository for additional DSC resources.

Posts tagged with ‘DSC’:
http://powershell.org/wp/?s=dsc

DSC Hub:
http://powershell.org/wp/dsc-hub/

GitHub Community Repo:
https://github.com/powershellorg/dsc

 

Content

PowerShell Magazine
http://www.powershellmagazine.com/

Description PowerShell Magazine is a community resource with a LOT of information about PowerShell in general.  There are 3-4 articles per month specifically on DSC topics so this is another resource worth keeping an eye on.

Articles tagged with ‘DSC’:
http://www.powershellmagazine.com/tag/dsc/

 

Content

PowerShell.com
http://www.powershell.com/

Description PowerShell.com is a great place to find articles written by community members about the scripts they have written, with full snippets.  Great resources to find something “along the lines of what you want to do” and look at home someone else decided to solve the problem.

Articles tagged with ‘DSC’:
http://powershell.com/cs/search/SearchResults.aspx?q=dsc&o=Relevance

 

Content

Independent Community Articles
http://www.bing.com/search?q=powershell+dsc

Description I’m not being snarky in posting a link to Bing.  Searching the web for the most up to date content is a great way to get over a hurdle when you are stuck or just not confident you are taking the right approach.  Here are just a few articles that share depth on DSC.

Building Clouds Blog! – Introducing PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC)
http://blogs.technet.com/b/privatecloud/archive/2013/08/30/introducing-powershell-desired-state-configuration-dsc.aspx

PowerTheShell.com – Killer Feature in PSv4: Desired State Configuration
http://www.powertheshell.com/dsc_ps4preview/

$hell Your Experience !!! – PowerShell V4 Desired State Configuration – My Precio… ops… Desired !!!!!
http://shellyourexperience.com/2013/09/12/powershell-v4-desired-state-configuration-my-precio-ops-desired/

 

Content

Windows Management Framework 4.0
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=40855

Windows Management Framework 5.0 Preview
http://www.microsoft.com/en-pk/download/details.aspx?id=42316

Description DSC was released as a built-in component of Windows Server 2012 R2, but it is backwards compatible with previous versions of Windows if you install Windows Management Framework 4.0.  In addition, WMF 5.0 is now in preview and includes updates specifically around DSC.  You don’t have to use 5.0 but if you would like to test the new features you can download the preview.

 

Content

This DSC blog series!

Description I’m hoping this content will be of value to you.  I will reserve this space for a table of contents as I get additional write-ups published.
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