Microsoft Previews PowerShell's Cross-Platform Future at SpiceWorld

Jeffrey Snover, PowerShell's inventor, is telling the the software development community about the tool's cloud-enabled, cross-platform future.

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At the SpiceWorld conference here in Austin, Texas, Spiceworks' annual gathering of IT professionals, Microsoft technical fellow Jeffrey Snover a spent a couple sessions instructing attendees on how to get the most out of PowerShell and tell them about the tool future.

Snover is the inventor of PowerShell and serves as chief architect for the Azure Infrastructure and Management group at the Redmond, Washington software and cloud services giant.

While many of the technology professionals attending SpiceWorld got some tricks and tips to help them run a tighter, more efficient IT ship when they return home, Snover also had a message for PowerShell users. PowerShell's evolution will take a dramatic turn sometime later this year when Microsoft officially releases version 6.0 of the command line shell and scripting language.

The community of IT administrators and developers that rely on the technology are already used to the seismic changes. More than a year ago, on Aug. 18, 2016, Microsoft open sourced PowerShell and ported it to macOS and Linux.

PowerShell 6.0 will make it official, removing the beta tag and welcoming heterogeneous IT environments and hybrid cloud setups. "PowerShell has a new mission," Snover told eWEEK, that will push his creation, and the IT professionals who use it, well beyond the tool's Windows-only past.

Snover explained PowerShell's "new mission is to be the tool that unifies companies to be able to manage everything. So we don't want to have companies that have Windows teams and Linux teams, we want to have companies that have management teams, and they use a common tool, PowerShell, to be able to manage Windows and Linux, whether it's running in Azure, AWS [Amazon Web Services] or Google," he said.

Of course, enterprises can also to run it on-premises, using VMware or Microsoft's own virtualization technology, Hyper-V, and use it with "any storage stack or any networking stack," he said.

Although PowerShell got its start as a Windows technology, in many respects, the newer cloud-enabled, cross-platform version still adheres to his vision of a tool that both administrators and developers can use to eliminate roadblocks that often impede delivery of IT services and applications.

Snover noted that developers and IT operations workers have often used different management tools. A key aim, as described in the 2002 document, "Monad Manifesto" authored by Snover that detailed his goals for PowerShell (codenamed "Monad"), was to create a single tool that could meet the needs of both camps. "So, I like to say we were DevOps before DevOps was cool," he said.

Snover acknowledged that Powershell was originally geared a little more towards IT systems managers, although subsequent releases became more developer-friendly over time. In version 5.0, the company struck a good balance, he added.

Meanwhile, the Spiceworks community and IT professionals at large are waiting patiently for PowerShell 6.0 to officially arrive. A roadmap, of sorts, is available in this July 14 blog post from Joey Aiello, a program manager at Microsoft PowerShell.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...