PowerShell from Excel (oh oh, VMware again)

VMware are a competitor and so when things go wrong for them I'll point it out (and to answer Nick, a regular commenter: No, that's not FUD. Saying "VMware had a failure here, so you can extrapolate from that to unspecified future failures" would be spreading Fear Uncertainty and Doubt. I might lapse into that now and then, but aspire not to. If I do then I expect to get a tough time).

But competitors do good things sometimes, and I've praised them for their use of PowerShell before now. Using PowerShell was good for them (it's much easier for them to develop a PowerShell snap-in than a raft of command line tools), and it's good for customers (no need to learn special purpose tools).

Now they've done another clever thing with PowerShell: not rocket science, but great application of sense. Sometimes it makes sense to have your user interface in an Office application, like Excel (with the business logic implemented with Macros).  But sometimes this gives rise to tasks to be carried out from PowerShell. How do you knit together PowerShell scripts and Excel Macros (or any other scripting language).  Provided that a language can write files and invoke other programs you can do it. Someone pointed out this page on the VI Tool kit blog , it says

If an ESX host you want to manage doesn't appear in VirtualCenter, you need to add it. This is a bit tricker than reconnecting since there's no inventory in VirtualCenter to tell you the IP addresses of all the hosts you use, and you also need to know a host's password in order to add it. This is another case where entering things in a spreadsheet can really speed things up

Not only is there a video of the spreadsheet in use but it's available for download as well, so I had a look and (like so many good ideas) the code is remarkably simple, start by opening a file

    Handle = FreeFile

Open "script.ps1" For Output Access Write As #Handle

Then use Print # to output the lines of script to it

    Print #Handle, "add-pssnapin VMware.VimAutomation.Core" & vbCrLf

And when you've print #ed the whole script, close the file and run it

    Close #Handle

Call Shell("powershell -command .\script.ps1", vbNormalFocus)

Not exactly Rocket science, but smart use of the right tool for the job; I can't find a name on the blog post, but whoever you are a tip of the hat is due to you.


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Comments (7)

  1. James ONeill says:

    1. FUD is not the same as publishing negative facts. Saying "VMWare had [this] bug" doesn’t make you uncertain or doubtful. Saying "You never know when VMware might lock you out -after all it happened before" would be FUD. You keep repeating the claim that I’ve cast doubt on their testing QA etc. Go and re-read what I said. People won’t believe them if they lay claim to better testing, QA, etc. I don’t need to cast doubt on it as some form of inverted FUD, they’ve put it in doubt themselves in the most public way.

    2. Your example of new entrant B telling a lie about established company A wouldn’t work because it needs to be believable. A saying that B was in financial trouble and support for B’s product might go away, is FUD it’s believable. It could even have a little bit of truth in it, but it creates doubt in the customers mind to stop them switching.

    It doesn’t matter how long the small player has been been in a market.

    You must have something better to do than responding to everything I write ? And scouring the internet for slightly different definitions than the one you cited. Looking for a job maybe ? I certainly have and at some point soon I’m going to stop clicking the approve button …

  2. James ONeill says:

    Nick, I’ll have to disagree with you on this,

    When Amdahl sales people pointed out IBM’s flaws was that spreading FUD about IBM ?

    FUD is defensive tactic that you can only use if you are the established player. For example: Telling someone if they change their home computer to a Mac instead of Windows their camera won’t be supported. That would be FUD by Microsoft to stop someone leaving Windows. Apple suggesting that they are better protected against malware isn’t true, but that doesn’t make it FUD.

    Sometimes Microsoft is in the Role of IBM (e.g. with Apple in the Home) and sometimes in the Role of Amdahl (we’re the little guy against big, nasty VMWare)

    VMware had a nasty failure of their QA/Software testing. The result of that is  they won’t be able to get away with extravagant claims about their testing and QA in future – unless they can so in context of what they learned from the incident.

    Sorry, I got exactly what you were arguing about on that other post wrong. I said VMware made of defensive claims which were FUD, and that they could logically claim to be both the most advanced and oldest hypervisor on the market. My main point in that post was to say we’ve disproved one of VMware’s FUD points round scalability

    "Don’t leave IBM: Amdahl might not be able to X" is FUD, replace("IBM","VMware").replace("Amdahl","Microsoft")

  3. James ONeill says:

    Nick  there was a famous quote about a politician getting ready to respond to a rival and some from the audience yelled "Give ’em hell" and he answered "No, I just tell the truth and they think it’s hell".

    I’m interested you bring up Amdahl because he was up against a competitor who had a big share in his sector. (Like VMware have in Virtualization) IBM sales people created all kinds of FUD to keep people buying from them. By Amdahl’s reasoning, nothing I could say about virtualization would count as FUD because I’m not trying to stop people switching off Hyper-V onto VMware. On the other hand lots of things VMware say would qualify. When I held up their claim that only their drivers can cope with a large workload –  you argued with me about that – that’s FUD, BS, call it what you will. If they argue superior software quality then they’ve lost credibility there.

    Saying so is just stating a fact. If you want to see how you can take that fact and stretch it to FUD, see http://www.deploylinux.net/matt/2008/08/all-your-vms-belong-to-us.html

  4. nick says:

    Hi James. Thanks for highlighting the VMWare issue in your eariler post and additionally casting doubt on their ‘about testing, quality assurance and the like’.

    FUD as defined by Gene Amdahl who coined the phrase is:

    "the fear, uncertainty, and doubt that IBM sales people instill in the minds of potential customers who might be considering Amdahl products".

    Now… try swaping ‘IBM sales people’ for ‘Microsoft’s IT Evangelists’ and ‘Amdahl products’ for ‘VMWare products’ in the phrase above…

  5. nick says:

    Hi James. I get the impression that you’d argue black was white with me as I really fail to see the logic that you’ve used to twist Gene Amdahl’s quotation so far so that now, in your eyes, you’ve got free reign to say and claim whatever you like about VMware and none of it can be counted as FUD?  

    Look at the Amdahl analogy again:  Amdahl founded Amdahl Corp, a competitor to IBM.  IBM launched a campaign to persuade customers that it was safer to stick with IBM by implying negative and questionable information about their competitors products (Amdahl’s products specifically in this example) regardless of the relative technical merits.  Amdahl coined the phrase FUD for the marketing tactic used by IBM; the ‘share of the sector’ and size of the competitor is irrelevant: it is the tactic.  So, in summary, the negative marketing campaign employed by IBM against their competitor Amdahl is known as FUD.

    Now, I’ll spell my point again so hopefully it will make more sense to you this time around.

    By using your Microsoft blog to highlight your competitor VMware’s bugs and simultaneously casting doubt on their ‘testing, quality assurance and the like’ you are, whether intentionally or not, employing the tactic of fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD).  It is a pretty obvious attempt to discourage would-be VMware customers and, as you rightly say, you are not “trying to stop people switching off Hyper-V onto VMware.” but in fact, quite the opposite; you are obvious trying and paid to switch people off VMware onto Hyper-V.  I see FUD and I’m calling you on it.

    Also, contrary to your message above, I’ve never engaged or argued with you over VMware drivers and have made no claims or comments on either Microsoft’s or VMware’s drivers.   I think you’re referring to a discussion where I simply tried to reason with you (in vain) using your own logic that your sweeping statement that “a design that’s more than 7 years old and wasn’t designed to exploit the latest Intel and AMD technology is also the most advanced?” regarding ESX was also FUD.

  6. nick says:

    Hi James, of course you disagree with me! Like I said, it sometimes just seems you’d argue black was white with me…

    I’m sorry I mentioned Amdahl because you now seem to be particularly blinkered about the irrelevant areas of his scenario specifically (in relation to the irrelevant size of Ahdahl Corp compared to IBM) as an excuse rather than recognise the simple tactic that he coined the phrase about!

    Again, FUD has nothing whatsoever to do with being an ‘established player’ or the size of your competition; it is simply the tactic of spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt about a competitor.  

    You’ve already told me that ‘Hyper-V is not our first step into virtualization, and we’re talking about the second generation of a management tool’ but, under your definition that currently negates you of any accusations of FUD, when will Microsoft officially become an ‘established player’ in the virtualisation market?  Also, how you go about measuring the ‘established-ness’ anyway in your example?  Is handing out negative and vague information about a company with say 40% of the market share FUD or does it have to reach perhaps 60% to be officially classed as FUD in your marketing tactics terminology rulebook?!  And is that global market share or can we have regional FUD or is it perhaps based on the number of years the competitor has traded?!  There’s a whole bunch of similar definitions on the web but this lifted straight from wikipedia ought to give you the right idea: FUD is generally a strategic attempt to influence public perception by disseminating negative (and vague) information. Note: NO mention of size of competitor, established players or the like.  As a little example: I could set up a company with a product directly in competition to the fictional, massive and long established ‘company A’.  I could then go out and tell people TODAY ‘don’t buy long established company A’s product because I’ve heard company A are just about to stop supporting their product’.  It may be dishonest; it may be lies but the tactic…? FUD.

    So, you highlighting this VMware bug and casting doubt on their ‘testing, quality assurance and the like’ is…?  I’ve given you the definitions and examples but I’m pretty sure you still won’t agree!  

    On your other post regarding the drivers, it looks to me like you were trying to counter and disprove VMware FUD with more FUD.

  7. nick says:

    [Post not approved]

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