Demo DSC – Part 2

In Part 1 of this series I talked about how I demo’d the building of a Domain Controller. In Part 2 I am going to talk about how I demo’d building a Pull Server, an App Server, and used the two servers to show how a Pull Server works and what needs to be done to make the magic happen. If you didn’t read Part 1, here is the disclaimer:

This was never intended to demonstrate all the features and capabilities of DSC (there’s a lot!), but instead was done to show at a high level the kinds of things that are possible and to start a discussion about where it fits into our organization immediately and going forward

The outline for this part of my Demo looked like this:

  1. Talk about the purpose of a Pull server (Can also be used to push and write Configurations)
    1. Show how nothing is configured (name, domain, roles/features, etc
    2. Open ISE, Run BuildPullServer Script
    3. Will reboot. While rebooting show the computer account on the DC
    4. Login as domain account
      1. Create share C:\WebServerFiles, share with everyone (explain why we need it later). Explain that this could have been done with DSC, I just choose not to.  This Share will come into play later.
      2. Copy website files to this share (I created a “website” in Word to use with a Web Server, that will come in the last part of this series)

Here is the Configuration script in its entirety.  It’s also available on Github.

With that done I then built what I called an App Server. Don’t think that I somehow deployed an Application using DSC (I didn’t) but with a Web Server the last part of my demo I needed to call it something that sort of made sense so I called it an App Server. The build script for the App Server is below, and you can see that it’s much smaller than the previous two build scripts. In this case I wanted to show a minimal configuration for a build script and then demonstrate the process of configuring the App Server to pull a new Configuration.

Here is the Configuration script in its entirety.It’s also available on GitHub.

With that done, the next step is to create a Configuration on the Pull Server for the App Server to Pull. All this Configuration does is change the TimeZone on the App Server. Nothing fancy here. There are also some other pieces at the bottom of the Configuration script I should talk about. I have hardcoded a GUID for the server in the Configuration. You can either use this one or change it to your own. I am setting the source and destination paths and sticking the GUID onto the end of the .MOF file, which is required when you are pulling a Configuration. This GUID is how the server knows which Configuration belongs to it (as we will see here shortly). I am then copying the file from the source path to the destination path, and then creating a Checksum file for the .MOF (which is also required).

Here is the Configuration script in its entirety. It’s also available on Github.

With that done, we need to do one other thing before this is going to work. I pre-copied various DSC Resources to the Pull Server, so now we need to .ZIP up the XTimeZone resource so that it can be copied to the App Server when it pulls it’s Configuration. You do this by creating a .ZIP file of the xTimeZone Module and appending the version number to the end of it. In this case, my file name after creating the .ZIP Archive is xTimeZone_1.0.0 . This file then needs to be placed in the “$env:PROGRAMFILES\WindowsPowerShell\DscService\Modules” folder, which is the ModulePath we specified in our Pull Server Configuration. Once that is done, we need to run the command below to also create a Checksum file for this Archive.

Next we need to create a Configuration to tell the App Server to Pull it’s Configuration. This is done by changing the Local Configuration Manager (LCM) settings on the App Server. In my demo I built this Configuration on the Pull Server and then pushed it to the App Server. The outline for this part of the demo looked like this:

  1. Create LCM Configuration. Comment out the Set line in the script. Explain the meta.mof file.
  2. Show LCM Configuration on App Server
  3. Show Consistency Task settings (there should be none)
  4. Push LCM Configuration from Pull Server to App Server
  5. Show LCM Configuration on App Server compared to previous
  6. Show Time Zone. Run Scheduled Task.
  7. Watch App Server for Time Change
    a. Change Time Zone again to something totally random
    b. Run Consistency Task again, watch Time Zone change again

Here is the Configuration script in its entirety.  It’s also available on Github.. You should also note in this script that the Configuration GUID from before makes an appearance here as well. This GUID is what tells the App Server which Configuration to look for on the Pull Server.

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