PowerShell Virtual Chapter Interview

With Microsoft investing heavily in SQL PowerShell, there’s exciting enhancements now and in the future. PASS recently caught up with Aaron Nelson, Leader of the PowerShell Virtual Chapter, about how this VC is helping PASS data professionals meet their PowerShell training and professional development goals.

Q1. Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got involved with the PowerShell Virtual Chapter (VC).

I’m Aaron Nelson, Data Platform MVP. I’ve been involved with the PowerShell VC since the very beginning, back in October 2010.

I also work with three wonderful volunteers: Chrissy LeMaire, Laerte Junior, and Rob Sewell. Without their help, there’s no way we could be 1/10th as successful as we have been this year.

Q2. What do you see as the main challenges for DBAs and how can PowerShell help overcome some of these challenges?

DBAs are being challenged on many fronts these days. They are expected to understand the breadth of the product, and the size and amount of instances are increasing. It’s hard to keep up with the ever-increasing number of technologies that DBAs are expected to support, and with many areas moving to a monthly release cycle, this will only increase.

PowerShell enables you to manage multiple instances easily. It allows you to take a script you built for one database and run it against every database on every instance in your Registered Servers or CMS.

Also PowerShell works across many products so the skills and techniques that you learn using PowerShell with SQL can be applied to other technologies (e.g. Azure). Using PowerShell you can write scripts to move data from a wide range of technologies into, out of, and around the Data Platform

We have taken the lead in helping to get the word out about ways that SQL PowerShell can be improved. One way we have done that is to embed Power BI visuals into our VC page to show Connect items that have been filed. Our hope is that people will find a feature they need and Up-Vote those items.

Q3. What is the aim of the PowerShell VC?

To help every data professional (whether they are a Database Developer, Business Intelligence Developer, or DBA) access the skills, techniques, and knowledge to be able to automate tasks using PowerShell. Some will use it to enable them to spend more time doing what they love, working with data, and others to provide value to their business by automating business and IT processes.

Our goal is to make automating SQL Server tasks as well as completing tasks outside of SQL Server easier and faster for every data professional.

Q4. How does the PowerShell VC fill training gaps?

We present knowledgeable and experienced PowerShell and SQL PowerShell speakers via webinar every month.

Before, during, and after their sessions anybody can take part in the Q&A channel #poshvs_qa in the SQL Server Community Slack channel (, which we started to help community members collaborate with others when they run into issues with PowerShell and now is a place where the community is discussing all areas of the Data Platform. This enables people to be able to get help and assistance at any time of the day.

We record our sessions and they are available on our YouTube channel with 21 videos ( to help people get started working with PowerShell. We try to bring in a mixture of both SQL Server specific, as well as PowerShell specific speakers and topics to help everyone level-up their PowerShell skills. Those that subscribe to the channel get notified about new videos as we upload them.

Q5. What’s planned for the PowerShell VC for the rest of 2016?

We will continue to provide SQL PowerShell training and knowledge. We have already setup our speaker lineup through January of next year (SQL PowerShell seems to be an extremely hot topic lately) so we will continue to do that and post the recordings to our YouTube channel.

Webinars are broadcast on the third Wednesday of every month at 12:00 PM, Noon Eastern Time (GMT -4), 9 AM Pacific Time (GMT -7) using Go To Webinar. However, due to a speaker scheduling conflict, the next webinar is “Need to Speed: Pragmatic Problem Solving with PowerShell”, presented by Claudio Silva, on Tuesday, 13 September.

We’re also going to continue to help people make their voices heard and contribute ideas through the community Trello board ( to help everyone collaborate and prioritize what improvements they want to see next in SQL PowerShell.

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