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PowerShell Chef Cookbook

··3 mins

PowerShell for an Enterprise? #

While writing my last post I started adding most of what you’re about to read. Thanks to my wonderful group of editors (read: friends who I force into read my terrible prose) it was suggested to make this its own thing.

In my last post I told you about managing an individual profile. But what if you wanted to manage a System profile? What about doing that at scale? At Meta we use Chef, and we publish several cookbooks for the community to use. I’m proud to say that one of my major contributions was to the fb_powershell cookbook.

Some highlights:

  • Profile management
  • Module management
  • Installing/Upgrading PowerShell and Windows PowerShell
  • Managing telemetry on Pwsh

System Profiles #

I’ll spare you the long explanation of API Chef cookbooks ( learn more), but the short version is that you can include an API cookbook, and it won’t do anything until you set the appropriate attributes. All default settings are considered safe and sane. Here is an example of how you would configure the fb_powershell cookbook to manage the Systems profile.

node.default['fb_powershell']['profiles']['AllUsersAllHosts'] = <<EOH
# Warning: System Profile being Managed By Chef!
function Start-SuperSpecialEnterpriseApp {
  # Business logic
  # Acquiring brownie points for performance review

Installing/Upgrading PowerShell Modules #

The cookbook also includes a custom resource called fb_powershell_module which will use the PowerShellGet cmdlets to manage your modules. This is handy if you want your module code to be available to your Chef runs. It also takes advantage of Ruby’s Gem::Version to try to upgrade to specific major/minor versions if that’s what you want. This is especially nice if you stick to SemVer.

In this example, we would upgrade the ContosoModule to the latest 3.2 version. So if you had 3.2.0 installed, but 3.2.1 was available, it would upgrade. It wouldn’t attempt to update to 3.3 or 4.0.

fb_powershell_module 'ContosoModule' do
  action :upgrade
  version '3.2'

Disabling Telemetry #

In PowerShell 7 the PowerShell team began to collect telemetry about the shells usage and other stats. While I have no qualms sharing my own personal telemetry with the team, this is almost always a non-starter with security teams. To disable the telemetry a global variable $env:POWERSHELL_TELEMETRY_OPTOUT must be set to 1, true, or yes.

To easily do this with the cookbook you can set the following:

node.default['fb_powershell']['disable_telemetry'] = true

An important note: This must be set BEFORE the shell starts. That means it can’t be set by the Profile. This presents some issues with non-windows machines, and it’s likely something I’ll be exploring in the future.

References #

Photo by Henry & Co. on Unsplash

Gilbert Sanchez
Gilbert Sanchez
Not just good. Good enough.

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