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Hyper-V PowerShell and ForEach loops save time, boost power

Not all cmdlets are made alike: Here's a how-to guide to reduce administrative overhead and get the most of out of Hyper-V with PowerShell and ForEach loops.

Hyper-V PowerShell cmdlets can reduce the time it takes to perform a task -- especially repetitive jobs. PowerShell...

cmdlets can also eliminate the need for using the Hyper-V Manager graphical user interface for daily operational tasks. While there are many Hyper-V PowerShell cmdlets available, not all cmdlets are useful for daily management tasks. Let's look at some of the most commonly used PowerShell cmdlets and see how adding a ForEach loop can help you save time.

Complete a replica VM failover

The Complete-VMFailover cmdlet is used as part of the Hyper-V replication process. It allows you to complete the failover of a replica VM. Completing failover for a replica VM deletes all the recovery points on the replica server. You can specify a single VM name or use an asterisk to initiate a "complete failover" process for all replica VMs on the server. For example, to initiate a complete failover process for a single VM on the local replica server, you can use the following command:

Complete-VMFailover –VMName ReplicaVM.

If you need to complete the failover on a remote replica server, you can do so by specifying the replica server name in the –ComputerName parameter:

Complete-VMFailover –VMName ReplicaVM –ComputerName ReplicaServer1.

If you need to initiate a complete failover for more than one replica VM, you can specify multiple VM names separated by commas:

Complete-VMFailover –VMName ReplicaVM1, ReplicaVM2, ReplicaVM3 –ComputerName ReplicaServer1.

Suspending and stopping VM replication: Hyper-V PowerShell offers Suspend-VMReplication and Stop-VMReplication cmdlets to suspend or stop the ongoing replication of VMs. In particular, the Suspend-VMReplication cmdlet comes in handy when you want to suspend ongoing replication for all VMs if you are troubleshooting network-related issues between primary and replica sites. For example, Suspend-VMReplication * suspends replication for all VMs on the local Hyper-V host.

You can also perform the same task from the Hyper-V Manager by right-clicking on each VM, and then selecting "pause replication" from the VM's context menu. Both the Suspend-VMReplication and Stop-VMReplication cmdlets accept multiple VM names and multiple Hyper-V host names, as shown in the following example command:

Suspend-VMReplication –VMName ReplicaVM1, ReplicaVM2, ReplicaVM3 –ComputerName ReplicaServer1.

Granting and revoking VM connect access: In Hyper-V 2012 R2 hosts, you can grant or revoke users' access to certain VMs using the Grant-VMConnectAccess and Revoke-VMConnectAccess cmdlets. For example, if you want to allow User1 to connect to ExchangeVM, you would use the following command:

Grant-VMConnectAccess –VMName ExchangeVM –Username TechTarget.com\User1.

If you wanted to revoke users' access to the ExchangeVM, you would instead use:

Revoke-VMConnectAccess –VMName ExchangeVM –Username TechTarget.com\User1.

Adding the ForEach loop to your cmdlets

Most Hyper-V PowerShell cmdlets support the –ComputerName parameter, which allows you to execute commands on remote Hyper-V hosts, and the –VMName parameter, which allows you to extend the action to more than one VM. While you can specify multiple VMs and multiple Hyper-V host names, you couldn't use a single command to specify that one VM should be moved to a specific host, while another VM should be moved to a different host. 

Although PowerShell cmdlets can be useful for many management tasks, for more complex or repetitive tasks, you may need to incorporate the ForEach loop. A ForEach loop allows you to execute a PowerShell command multiple times, but for different VMs and Hyper-V hosts. For example, if you wanted to specify the host on which VMs should be failed over, you could create a .CSV file that contains the VM and Hyper-V host names. Your command could then reference this list and process the command via ForEach loop, as shown in the example below:

$VMFile = Import-CSV MyVMs.CSV
ForEach ($Items in $VMFile)
{
Complete-VMFailover -VMName $VM.VMName –ComputerName $VM.Hyper-VServer                                                                                       }

You can create a .CSV file that contains the VM and Hyper-V host names
You can create a .CSV file that contains the VM and Hyper-V host names

This process can work with other commands, as well. For example, if you want to allow multiple users to access ExchangeVM, use a .TXT file containing the username and the ForEach loop, as shown in the command below:

$AllUsers = Get-Content Users.TXT
ForEach ($ThisUser in $AllUsers)
 {
Grant-VMConnectAccess -VMName ExchangeVM –UserName $ThisUser
 }

Hyper-V PowerShell cmdlets help you increase productivity and automate repetitive tasks, but Hyper-V PowerShell cmdlets alone do not solve every problem. In some cases, you might want to use the ForEach loop to help you better execute cmdlets to specific VMs and Hyper-V hosts.

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This was last published in November 2015

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