“I Don’t Have Time to Automate” Yes, you Do.

“I don’t have time”. What these people mean when they say they don’t have time – especially when they say they don’t have time to automate, is that they genuinely don’t want to. Perhaps people don’t believe they have the chance to automate. Whatever the case may be – automation takes time to see any benefits. However, the current mindset is focused on immediacy rather than into the future; particularly in management. Perhaps you feel there are too many tickets to close. Or too many fires to quench. Understandably there are tickets to close, and there are always going to be fires to put out. There’s always going to be something that takes time away from a big automation project. What’s important is to be pro-active about the situation. Automation is a big proactive step. This isn’t particularly favored by management – because they aren’t able to track as closely […]

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A Scripting Automation Success Story

One day a few months ago a client of mine came to me with a dilemma. They had a massive employee onboarding process that consisted of creating a name badge, providing a laptop and phone, creating an account in their phone system, creating an Active Directory account, a home folder and a lot more activities. Every time a new employee came onboard, HR would send IT an email notifying them of the employee’s name, department, etc. IT would then create a bunch of help desk tickets for all of the required activities and send them off to the responsible parties. The IT director was frustrated because when the process was finally completed, multiple weeks would go by and usually the employee would always request something that the team had forgotten. The director was at his wit’s end, but someone on his team stumbled across my blog when trying to create […]

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Nothing Personal but I’m Taking Your Job

I mean no disrespect here and I realize that everyone needs a job to survive, but I intend to create a situation where your job is no longer needed. I’m not doing this as a personal attack and a big political statement. I’m also not removing your job because I think you’re lazy. I’m doing this because I believe in continually improving. I believe everyone should always be looking out for faster, cheaper and ultimately better ways to perform any task. If that means some temporary sacrifices, I’m willing to do that. I realize that this might seem scary at first especially if your job is the only skill you have. I’m not trying to downplay the immediate problems getting ousted from a job will have. However, you must think bigger than yourself here. We, as a society, must continue to improve. We must consistently find better ways to perform […]

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A Review of Softerra’s Adaxes AD Automation Software

Active Directory (AD) has been a critical piece of functionality in a huge majority of businesses. AD has provided us with single sign-on functionality for nearly 16 years now. Due to AD’s wide adoption, administrators have many years of experience with AD. They know that AD can be a beast of a system to manage. Everyone in the business depends on AD. It’s a critical system but at the same time can easily turn into an organizational mess if not properly maintained. This is where a product like Adaxes by Softerra comes in. I had a chance to review this product and, coming from my nearly 10 years of managing AD, it is the product I wish I had so many years ago. Adaxes is a product that aims to help nearly ever user in a business manage AD. It’s not simply an AD management product for administrators. Adaxes also […]

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How to Make Sysadmins More Human

Today’s post is a little different than my normal posts. This is a sponsored post from someone I’ve met recently that works for Softerra; Anton Pozdnyakov. Anton provided me this article and I thought it was perfect for you guys so I decided to post it in it’s entirety. – Adam If you ask an average person, what does a common sysadmin’s day look like, you will probably hear something about dealing with huge amount cables in server rooms filled with blue light or bashing out lots of hardcore code lines that result in some crazy processes that just fix all computers in the building and solve all the other problems in the company. Well, that is all nice and romantic and probably that is something that many sysadmins imagine their job would look like when they are just starting it. However, the reality is usually a bit different. It […]

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Successful Automation is All About Trust

Believe it or not some people don’t trust automation. Shocking, I know. They’re afraid of the unknown — or worse, that robots will take all our jobs and we will all end up subservient to the will of the supreme robot. Putting robot world domination aside, the most realistic pushback to automation is some folks simply don’t trust something that they can’t see. We’ve all probably seen that co-worker that blankly stares at the screen “just to make sure nothing bad happens,” minutes of his life ticking away as the installation progress bar creeps by. We’ve all been there at some point but it’s important to realize just how much time we’re wasting by hovering over an automated process. Automation is here to save time, not to make us all zombies just staring at our screens while the automation does all the work. Automation exists to handle all that mundane stuff […]

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Take your PowerShell to the next level with advanced functions

PowerShell has functions like nearly every other programming language. Functions are a way to share common code across your script, which makes your script simpler and more efficient. What makes PowerShell unique is it’s use of “cmdlets,” which could loosely be referred to as functions. Essentially, this is what makes PowerShell, PowerShell! Cmdlets are basically functions that have been written in languages like C# and compiled. All of the functions that come out of the box are cmdlets. Cmdlets offer many features that just writing your standard Powershell function won’t do. Wouldn’t it be nice to get native parameters like -Verbose and -WhatIf and have the ability to write your function that will accept pipeline input? Well, get ready to smile, because you can do that now with advanced functions. Advanced functions are exactly like they sound; PowerShell functions that are more advanced than your typical function. Advanced functions take what you can do […]

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Automated File Transfers Webinar (Scripts)

If you attended the Spiceworks Automating File Transfers Securely webinar on PowerShell and MOVEit Central by Ipswitch thanks for coming! It was a fun webinar to put on and I enjoy any excuse I can to write a few more PowerShell scripts to help out my fellow man (or woman). Feel free to download all of the scripts below that were mentioned in the webinar.  If you missed it, stay tuned to this post for a link to view the recorded webinar! WinSCP Module: http://bit.ly/winscpmodule FileMonitor Module: http://bit.ly/filemonitormodule Find/Replace Text File: http://bit.ly/findreplacetextfile GnuPG Module: http://bit.ly/gnupgmodule

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Automation Makes the Unmotivated Dumber

I recently saw an article come across my Twitter feed by Nicholas Carr on the Wall Street Journal online that I couldn’t disagree with more. The article was entitled Automation Makes Us Dumb. Based solely on the title you can see how this article and my philosophy could easily conflict. I urge you to read the article in its entirety and come back here after you’ve done so. Let me start with saying automation does not make “us” dumb. It makes some of us dumber. Automation takes our plane of knowledge to a different level all together. Computers take care of the minutiae. We don’t walk behind a horse-drawn plows anymore because we have tractors and I don’t hear anyone complaining about that! The “dumb” ones either are incapable of thinking at a different level or might be just lazy. They succumb to “button pushing” and become an assistant to […]

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Get-UpTime: A Handy Little Script for Remote Systems

One of the pieces of information I’m constantly needing is to know how long a server or user’s workstation has been up for. Using WMI and the LastBootupTime attribute makes this pretty easy! Introducing Get-Uptime! This is a simple, little script I use all the time. In fact I typically make this a function in a module. It’s great for when you’re in the console and want to check uptime real quick on a remote system.

Download this script on the Technet Script Repository

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