PowerShell

Using Credential Manager to authenticate Office 365 scripts

When I initially started delving into the management of my Office 365 tenancies, I was looking for a secure way of providing a username and password, with which to authenticate (connect) to MSOL.

I didn’t particularly like the idea of putting plain text usernames and passwords into my scripts. However, shortly after getting my ADFS servers up and running, I applied the Microsoft Office 365 Federation Metadata Update Automation Installation Tool. If you look at how this works, you see that it uses Credential Manager to store the username and password. It extracts these when needed to connect to MSOL. This seemed like a nice clean solution, so I “borrowed” the methodology for most of my O365 scripts.

Take note that the Windows Credential Manager is profile specific, so if you need a service account to run some of your scheduled tasks of the like; then you need to create the credential under that profile. If you ever want to change the password of the account stored in credential manager, you can change it via the GUI, but remember that you need to do it for every profile that might use it.

So, first we need to create the credential that we want to use in our scripts:

Note line 31 – $TargetName = “LicenceManagment” – this is the label of the “Credential”, this is what is used in the subsequent scripts to get the credential.

OK, so now we have the credential stored, lets test it – I often end up using this generic connection script, when I want to have a quick look at something in MSOL:

Thus, this Generic connection script is the basis for most of my management scripts, the rest is just bolted onto the bottom.

Mail notification process continued…

After all of the previous work, defining the pieces to get the mail notifications working, I noted that I was still getting mails that had blanks for the users details – where the attributes were being referenced like [//Target/AccountName] in the email template.

I understood the “why” – the accounts had been deleted – thus they were a transition out, but the object going through the workflow no longer had any attributes! Now to find a solution….

I put a post on the Technet forums: https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/b9bf96b9-ac1f-4039-889d-8063fe45058f/mail-notification-with-blank-targetaccountname?forum=ilm2, to which Brian offered some useful suggestions.

I thought that a custom workflow would be the most elegant solution and would give me a good opportunity to learn, although it might have been a little overkill to solve the issue, it would be a simple workflow. Oh, how wrong I was ūüôā

I started trawling around looking for examples to get me started, mostly in C# – which I’m not particularly comfortable with! Of particular note was http://www.fimspecialist.com/fim-portal/custom-workflow-examples/¬†and this https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/66924b6d-8331-4389-a34e-8e45ab9cc765/custom-workflow-activity?forum=ilm2, which helped with the method to get the AccountName attribute.

So, after a fair few failed attempts, with mysterious compilation errors, I think I finally have it; a workflow that takes the current request and looks for the AccountName attribute – it even builds successfully (wow)!. So lets see if just that little bit works – in debugging mode….. Oh, so I also need an AIC to be created – looking at the documentation – I try this and that, getting nowhere and frustrated…

So, then I find Carol Wapsphere’s VB.net logging example¬†http://www.wapshere.com/missmiis/the-fim-2010-custom-logging-activity-in-vb-net. Great, lets use this as a basis. But first make sure I can get it working on its own…… Failure again…Why?? AIC?

By now I have really had enough – its not really like me to give up, but for now I’m through with this black magic! I’ll come back later to dig into this again, just not now… I need a workaround to the issue for now and I know that the PowerShell Workflow will answer it – everything is possible with PowerShell!

Over the weekend I have been mulling over what I need to do using the PowerShell Workflow (http://fimpowershellwf.codeplex.com/). Looking at the Logging example script, I see that this should be easy. So, I start playing… OK, so I have my target requestor – how do I get the attribute values from it? The documentation is very good in terms of getting going, but does not offer much in the way of examples – e.g. getting the data from the PSObject. Using Get-Member, I can see that all of the attributes that I want are present, but when I refer to them in the script, by $Target.AccountName, it appears that the returned value is $NULL when run in the PS workflow. However, I can see that this is not the case in a standalone PS window.

Eventually, I find a way of getting the data out – e.g.: $Target.Get($_).AccountName, I’m pondering over why I need to jump through the hoops to get the data, but am happy that I got there in the end. I published my initial “solution” to my original question on TechNet and Brian comes back suggesting that I don’t need to use this convoluted way of getting the data – $Target.AccountName should just work!

After a few exchanges, it seems that by not including the -OnlyBaseResources switch on the Export-FimConfig cmdlet, I am getting referentially linked objects as well as the object that I have requested. By adding this switch, I can now get the data cleanly via $Target.AccountName.

To make use of this process, I now have to modify transition out process. Delete the transition out Email Template then change the workflow, so that is uses the PowerShell workflow – with the path to each PS script for each type of OU move. The html files used previously for the move operation also need to be modified to allow them to make use of the data/attributes being assigned to variables in the script.

So, here is the script that I put together, I need a copy for each move type, plus an amended html file for each move – no big deal, just some simple search replace.

Script to send email notification only if the AccountName exists:

The Email body file is also amended as shown:

Exchange Mailbox Delegation

This is another of my old, but nice scripts. There was some discussion at the time about how different Exchange team people, who work at different geographical sites, were dealing with mailbox delegation. There was no consistency.

I read at the time about using EWS for Exchange management Рnotably this: http://gsexdev.blogspot.com/2009/04/add-delegates-to-mailbox-with.html. I wrapped that method in a bit more PowerShell to provide a consistent, simple to use interface for the Exchange team members.

Note that this script runs repeatedly (up to 60 times – 30 minutes) until it sees that the calendar permissions are set correctly. This was introduced to allow permissions to be set when our exchange infrastructure had been failed over to our other main site – a rare occurrence. The replication interval between those sites is set to 15 minutes. Hence, it should have successfully completed by 30 minutes or something more fundamental has gone wrong!

Using Ryan Newington’s Lithnet FIM PowerShell Module to improve performance of group membership (ComputedMember) reports

In my earlier post about Automatic Group management via the portal (https://blog.oholics.net/fim-2010-automatic-group-management-via-the-portal/), I provided a sample script to get the ComputedMembers of my auto groups:

While this script did the job, it took a rather long time to process, it was an overnight job. If it had failed overnight, I had to wait another day before doing the comparison against production auto groups.

In the August¬†FIM Team User Group, Ryan Newington presented his work –¬†https://youtu.be/3tQzJPi2K7s

I had been planning to try out the PowerShell module (https://lithnetrma.codeplex.com/), so yesterday I got the chance!

Here is the re-written script:

In terms of performance, the Lithnet PowerShell module is much faster. My standard script took ~7 hours to run, while the Lithnet script only took 3 hours!

I can see that I’m going to get a lot more use out of the module in terms of making changes as well as getting information from the portal. Thanks Ryan!

So, as per the comments, Ryan’s suggestion really improves performance of the script! Here is the new script for reference: