When I talk to our MSP partners about using automation in their RMM platform, I often hear comments like: “But we don’t have any scripting/coding experience. We can’t do this.” This isn’t 100% accurate with the SolarWinds MSP platforms, as Automation Manager takes a lot of the coding away. You only need to understand the basics of scripting.
To get started, you can watch the Automation Boot Camp recordings on the MSP Institute website or attend one of the live events we host quarterly. If you want to go deeper than this then, typically, you would need to learn some scripting. While you could learn any of the major languages—Bash, Python, Batch, VBScript—with PowerShell now supported across platforms, it makes sense to learn start there. Importantly, PowerShell is also well documented and supported, and a host of third-party platforms integrate or build functions for it.
Applying your skills
So now that you have set your eyes on learning that shiny new PowerShell scripting language, what do you do? If I was to recommend one thing, it would be to check out sites like Lynda.com or Skillshare and go through a PowerShell intro course. If that’s too expensive for you, there are free online courses on sites like YouTube or Microsoft’s subscriber portal.
Once you’ve gone through an intro course and spent a few hours practicing you should be able to do some basic coding, so you can put your new skills to the test. Find a simple use case you want to automate, such as checking files or folders for a condition, or doing some cleanup. Next I would recommend doing a quick Google search to see what others have done, and build your own learning that way. It’s not plagiarizing; it’s learning through osmosis.
Taking it to the next level
Now you’re on your way to getting more proficient with it. At this point, it’s not magic. It’s all about practice. If you’re looking for inspiration, subscribe to Kelvin Tegelaar’s blog https://cyberdrain.com, where he talks about everything scripting. It’s a great resource, but it can be a bit advanced if you’re just starting out.
If you have suggestions for other things to add to this, please reach out to me directly at [email protected] or on twitter at @automation_nerd
Automation policy showcase
This week I thought I would showcase a policy I built for an MSP recently. He wanted to monitor what folders are shared in Windows on his client’s computers to help ensure that only approved shares were found.
This simple custom service allows him to monitor that information in near real-time: https://success.solarwindsmsp.com/kb/solarwinds_n-central/Windows-Share-Monitoring
If you have created an automation policy and would like to share it with the community, please feel free to email me at [email protected]
As always, don’t forget to go look in the Automation Cookbook at www.solarwindsmsp.com/cookbook if you are interested in other automation policies, script checks, and custom services.
Marc-Andre Tanguay is head automation nerd. You can follow him on Twitter at @automation_nerd.