Hello Readers!

Today I am happy to publish an updated version of the Gallery Resource Import Tool (GRIT).

This post summarizes the new features/enhancements in this version 1.2 and, of course, where to get it.


What is GRIT?

Let’s start with a short overview of the tool, understanding that full details and “how to use” instructions are available in the very first blog post about GRIT here.

Fully written in PowerShell, the “Gallery Resource Import Tool” (GRIT) aims at simplifying discovery and installation of VMRole Gallery Items in Windows Azure Pack (WAP), in addition to help reduce manual errors when tagging virtual disks. Through this single tool, all the configuration and import steps can be achieved.

With GRIT, you can:

  • Browse and download Gallery Resources available from Microsoft on the internet, or use a local copy from your disk
  • Review virtual disks prerequisites for that Gallery Resource, compare with your existing virtual hard disks, and optionnaly update these disks to match the requirements for the Gallery Resource
  • Import the Resource Extension and/or Resource Definition
  • List, update, remove Resource Extensions and Resource Definitions

Download location

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What’s new and changed in version 1.2?


Note: New features added in version 1.1 are also detailed here.

GRIT now works with remote SPF servers

Depending on the actions chosen, GRIT leverages VMM and SPF cmdlets, and previous versions had issues when the tool was run on another machine than the SPF server. With version 1.2, you can now run the tool on the SPF server, or any other machine. You still need network access to the VMM and SPF server, and the VMM cmdlets.

Bu default, you do not need to do anything different to benefit from this new feature: Just like before, you just specify the VMM and SPF servers in the tool’s parameters, directly in the script or via the command line, and GRIT will determine if the SPF server is local or remote, and run the SPF actions in the most appropriate way depending on the current configuration.

  • When the SPF server is local, GRIT uses the same SPF calls than in previous versions
  • When working with a remote SPF server, GRIT will execute remote PowerShell commands against the SPF server, through CredSSP authentication. When this happens, GRIT will ask you if you are OK with the CredSSP configuration to be modified (understanding that it will be disabled back again when the tool closes). If you CredSSP changes should be allowed and do not want to see this popup again every time you run the tool, you can set the $CredSSPChangesAlwaysAllowed parameter to $true.

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Optional warning popup before CredSSP configuration when SPF server is remote

 

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GRIT enabling and configuring CredSSP settings when launching and upon user approval (or if CredSSPChangesAlwaysAllowed is enabled)

 

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GRIT configuring CredSSP settings when launching, and disabling CredSSP on exit

 

Multiple selections are now enabled in the “Bonus Tools”

The “Bonus Tools” feature is the third tab in the tool and lets you list/update/remove Resource Extensions and Resource Definitions in an easy way in an existing environments. It is possible to just use this part of the tool without importing a Gallery Item (you still have to pick a gallery item when launching the tool, but could just go the “Bonus Tools” tab afterwards).

In version 1.2, the drop down list now allow for multiple selections. So, for example, you can remove multiple Resource Extensions at the same time, or simultaneously set multiple Resource Definitions to “private”.

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The list of Resource Extensions in the Bonus Tools tab now includes release and published information

Instead of just listing the Resource Extension name, release and publisher information are now also listed (just like for Resource Definitions). For example, this avoids confusion when there are multiple Resource Extensions with the same name, but different releases. This is also illustrated in the previous screenshot.

Special thanks to Charles Joy on this feature!

 

GRIT now checks if it’s running in elevated mode, and re-launches itself as needed

Some of the PowerShell cmdlets used by GRIT require elevated mode (“Run As Administrator”), and this was a documented requirement in previous release. With version 1.2, the tool checks if it’s indeed running as administrator and, if not, tries to re-launch itself in such mode. This simplifies execution of the tool, as there is no need to launch PowerShell ISE in administrator mode before launching the tool, or any other method. You can just right-click the script and execute it.

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Updated logging in the console window

For those of you familiar with other GUI-based tools available on our blog, GRIT now uses the same color-formatted, time-stamped logging as the SMART Documentation and Conversion Helper, and that can be seen in some of the earlier screenshots.

 


Wrap up

I hope you will find these new/updated features useful, as you work with VM Role Gallery Items in the Windows Azure Pack. Thanks for reading, keep the feedback coming on the tool, and make sure to share back with the community any enhancements/updates you may make to this PowerShell-based tool!