Sep 27, 2013

Managing AWS with powershell - part2

Passing in User Data to server create command

Interestingly enough, you have to pass userdata to new instance in a specific format. It has to start with <powershell> and end with </powershell>

..but then in gets more interesting.

You have to pass in your custom script in the Base64 format.

Converting your file to Base64

$string64 = gc .\aws-userdata.ps1 -Encoding byte
$string64_string = [System.Convert]::ToBase64String($string64)

Creating node with user data

New-EC2Instance -ImageId ami-monkey -MinCount 1 -MaxCount 1 -keyname monkey -InstanceType m1.medium -Verbose -UserData $string64_string 

Managing AWS with powershell - part 1

So, as ironic as it may be, EC2 is significantly faster and easier to use than Azure. Like.. 2 minutes vs 15 per server faster. Not only that, to get Azure powershell running, you need to download 200 megs of crap, including SQL server lite, hello kitty theme, and aol 2.5. Amazon on the other hand is a 5 meg download which includes a couple of powershell cmdlets for managing all of Amazon... it does have a few caveats.

Get your creds automated


How to get AMI name for creating a server 

(Get-EC2ImageByName windows_2008_base).imageid

How to create a server:

New-EC2Instance -imageid <ami-monkeys> -mincount 1 -maxcount 1 -keyname monkeys -instancetype m1.medium

How to get connection information for the box (or 20 boxes) you've just cooked up 

$a = Get-EC2Instance
$b = $a | ?{$_.reservationid -like "whatever is the reservation you got from new-EC2Instance"}

$b.RunningInstance | select PublicDnsName, ipaddress, privateipaddres

How to get password for the node you just made?

Get-EC2PasswordData -InstanceId $c.RunningInstance.instanceid -PemFile 'C:\Users\monkeys\monkey.pem'
or in case of multiple boxes just make a loop

With all of the above said, and as awesome as AWS is, there is a horrible horrible default which makes absolutely no sense:

help New-EC2Instance -full
-MinCount <System.Decimal?>
Minimum number of instances to launch.  If the value is more than Amazon EC2 can launch,  no instances are launched at all.
         Constraints: Between 1 and the maximum number  allowed for your account (default: 20).

-MaxCount <System.Decimal?>
Maximum number of instances to launch.  If the value is more than Amazon EC2 can launch, the largest possible  number above minCount will be launched instead.
         Constraints:  Between 1 and the maximum number allowed for your account  (default: 20).

Sep 18, 2013

Powershell - converting array output into string (OpenSSL ...)

In my specific example, I was trying to get OpenSSL output to show up as a string in the least amount of typing (this is for a class I'll be teaching), meaning each student would have to read the slide, and type what's on it. Meaning that each extra bracket of code students type, could result in some unpredictable disaster which would stop the whole class from moving forward. So, I wanted to come up with the most elegant way possible.

PS\> openssl rand -base64 512

But what you really want is a string... The reason is, in Chef the data_bag object can be encrypted. So user names, password, data base keys are all safe and sound behind OpenSSL (pun retroactively intended). However, decrypt takes a string, and Powershell generates an array. So, I needed to convert array to string in powershell in the most elegant way possible.

I am not* going to bore you with the many failed attempts, so here is the best answer I came up with*:

PS\> -join $(openssl rand -base64 512)

Yup. That's it.

A really neat side effect, is that in every class I have a few people tell me this "join" is awesome and they had no idea it was possible.  This is why I dig what I do now.

* I didn't actually come up with the -join by itself, this dude here did:

I lied about not boring you... here are the various semi-failed attempts:

  •     [string]$(openssl rand -base64 512) -replace " ",""
  •     openssl rand -base64 512 | %{write-host $_ -NoNewline}
  •     Write-Host -Object $(openssl rand -base64 512) -Separator ""
  •     openssl rand -base64 512 | %{[string]$a+=$_}
  •     $result = $result -replace "`t|`n|`r",""
  •     ...this one is cool, but makes changes to $ofs:
              $ofs="";[string]$(openssl rand -base64 512)

Sep 16, 2013

Pushd / Popd / Powershell - let our powers combine

Simple, redefine your CD command as PUSHD

... I honestly cant believe that it just hit me now, after years of using powershell... this is just brilliant. I am a genius*!!!

remove-Item alias:cd
new-alias cd pushd

..and now any just fire off POPD any time you want to go back.
...and now that you're absolutely in love with this, you will never go back, so go ahead and make it a part of your profile

"remove-Item alias:cd;new-alias cd pushd" |out-file $profile -append


unrelated image:

*pending scientific study

Sep 6, 2013

Chef / Ruby... What editor to use?

Well... I've been living in the powershell world for the last few years, and writing Chef recipes (Ruby) has blown the lid off my teapot.. the number of brackets and commas, is borderline absurd.

Sublime to the rescue (it's totally free - minus one annoying occasional popup)

Single best feature of the tool is bracket / comma / braces / etc.. auto completion.

I've switched to Sublime exclusively for Ruby, but still using Notepad++ for Powershell... however! Today I was referred to two excellent plugins which look VERY promising: (Export highlighted code into RTF or HTML - great for Demos)

and (Syntax highlighting for powershell in Sublime)

A simple installation doc:

Completely unrelated image of the thing I'm building..Sous Vide Heating Immersion Circulator