Run scripts in guest OS with vRA ABX Actions

Technology keeps moving but this post has not.

What you're about to read hasn't been updated in more than a year. The information may be out of date. Let me know if you see anything that needs fixing.

Thus far in my vRealize Automation project, I've primarily been handing the payload over to vRealize Orchestrator to do the heavy lifting on the back end. This approach works really well for complex multi-part workflows (like when generating unique hostnames), but it may be overkill for more linear tasks (such as just running some simple commands inside of a deployed guest OS). In this post, I'll explore how I use vRA Action Based eXtensibility (ABX) to do just that.

The Goal

My ABX action is going to use PowerCLI to perform a few steps inside a deployed guest OS (Windows-only for this demonstration):

  1. Auto-update VM tools (if needed).
  2. Add specified domain users/groups to the local Administrators group.
  3. Extend the C: volume to fill the VMDK.
  4. Set up Windows Firewall to enable remote access.
  5. Create a scheduled task to attempt to automatically apply any available Windows updates.

Template Changes

Cloud Assembly

I'll need to start by updating the cloud template so that the requester can input an (optional) list of admin accounts to be added to the VM, and to enable specifying a disk size to override the default from the source VM template.

I will also add some properties to tell PowerCLI (and the Invoke-VmScript cmdlet in particular) how to connect to the VM.

Inputs section

I'll kick this off by going into Cloud Assembly and editing the WindowsDemo template I've been working on for the past few eons. I'll add a diskSize input:

 1formatVersion: 1
 3  site: [...]
 4  image: [...]
 5  size: [...]
 6  diskSize:
 7    title: 'System drive size'
 8    default: 60
 9    type: integer
10    minimum: 60
11    maximum: 200
12  network: [...]
13  adJoin: [...]

The default value is set to 60GB to match the VMDK attached to the source template; that's also the minimum value since shrinking disks gets messy.

I'll also drop in an adminsList input at the bottom of the section:

 2  poc_email: [...]
 3  ticket: [...]
 4  adminsList: 
 5    type: string
 6    title: Administrators
 7    description: Comma-separated list of domain accounts/groups which need admin access to this server.
 8    default: ''
10  Cloud_vSphere_Machine_1:
Resources section

In the Resources section of the cloud template, I'm going to add a few properties that will tell the ABX script how to connect to the appropriate vCenter and then the VM.

  • vCenter: The vCenter server where the VM will be deployed, and thus the server which PowerCLI will authenticate against. In this case, I've only got one vCenter, but a larger environment might have multiples. Defining this in the cloud template makes it easy to select automagically if needed. (For instance, if I had a bow-vcsa and a dre-vcsa for my different sites, I could do something like vCenter: '${}' here.)
  • vCenterUser: The username with rights to the VM in vCenter. Again, this doesn't have to be a static assignment.
  • templateUser: This is the account that will be used by Invoke-VmScript to log in to the guest OS. My template will use the default Administrator account for non-domain systems, but the lab\vra service account on domain-joined systems (using the adJoin input I set up earlier).

I'll also include the adminsList input from earlier so that can get passed to ABX as well. And I'm going to add in an adJoin property (mapped to the existing input.adJoin) so that I'll have that to work with later.

 3  Cloud_vSphere_Machine_1:
 4    type: Cloud.vSphere.Machine
 5    properties:
 6      image: '${input.image}'
 7      flavor: '${input.size}'
 8      site: '${}'
 9      vCenter:
10      vCenterUser:
11      templateUser: '${input.adJoin ? "vra@lab" : "Administrator"}'
12      adminsList: '${input.adminsList}'
13      environment: '${input.environment}'
14      function: '${input.function}'
15      app: '${}'
16      adJoin: '${input.adJoin}'
17      ignoreActiveDirectory: '${!input.adJoin}'

And I will add in a storage property as well which will automatically adjust the deployed VMDK size to match the specified input:

 2      description: '${input.description}'
 3      networks: [...]
 4      constraints: [...]
 5      storage:
 6        bootDiskCapacityInGB: '${input.diskSize}'
 7  Cloud_vSphere_Network_1:
 8    type: Cloud.vSphere.Network
 9    properties: [...]
Complete template

Okay, all together now:

  1formatVersion: 1
  3  site:
  4    type: string
  5    title: Site
  6    enum:
  7      - BOW
  8      - DRE
  9  image:
 10    type: string
 11    title: Operating System
 12    oneOf:
 13      - title: Windows Server 2019
 14        const: ws2019
 15    default: ws2019
 16  size:
 17    title: Resource Size
 18    type: string
 19    oneOf:
 20      - title: 'Micro [1vCPU|1GB]'
 21        const: micro
 22      - title: 'Tiny [1vCPU|2GB]'
 23        const: tiny
 24      - title: 'Small [2vCPU|2GB]'
 25        const: small
 26    default: small
 27  diskSize:
 28    title: 'System drive size'
 29    default: 60
 30    type: integer
 31    minimum: 60
 32    maximum: 200
 33  network:
 34    title: Network
 35    type: string
 36  adJoin:
 37    title: Join to AD domain
 38    type: boolean
 39    default: true
 40  staticDns:
 41    title: Create static DNS record
 42    type: boolean
 43    default: false
 44  environment:
 45    type: string
 46    title: Environment
 47    oneOf:
 48      - title: Development
 49        const: D
 50      - title: Testing
 51        const: T
 52      - title: Production
 53        const: P
 54    default: D
 55  function:
 56    type: string
 57    title: Function Code
 58    oneOf:
 59      - title: Application (APP)
 60        const: APP
 61      - title: Desktop (DSK)
 62        const: DSK
 63      - title: Network (NET)
 64        const: NET
 65      - title: Service (SVS)
 66        const: SVS
 67      - title: Testing (TST)
 68        const: TST
 69    default: TST
 70  app:
 71    type: string
 72    title: Application Code
 73    minLength: 3
 74    maxLength: 3
 75    default: xxx
 76  description:
 77    type: string
 78    title: Description
 79    description: Server function/purpose
 80    default: Testing and evaluation
 81  poc_name:
 82    type: string
 83    title: Point of Contact Name
 84    default: Jack Shephard
 85  poc_email:
 86    type: string
 87    title: Point of Contact Email
 88    default:
 89    pattern: '^[^\s@]+@[^\s@]+\.[^\s@]+$'
 90  ticket:
 91    type: string
 92    title: Ticket/Request Number
 93    default: 4815162342
 94  adminsList: 
 95    type: string
 96    title: Administrators
 97    description: Comma-separated list of domain accounts/groups which need admin access to this server.
 98    default: ''
100  Cloud_vSphere_Machine_1:
101    type: Cloud.vSphere.Machine
102    properties:
103      image: '${input.image}'
104      flavor: '${input.size}'
105      site: '${}'
106      vCenter:
107      vCenterUser:
108      templateUser: '${input.adJoin ? "vra@lab" : "Administrator"}'
109      adminsList: '${input.adminsList}'
110      environment: '${input.environment}'
111      function: '${input.function}'
112      app: '${}'
113      adJoin: '${input.adJoin}'
114      ignoreActiveDirectory: '${!input.adJoin}'
115      activeDirectory:
116        relativeDN: '${"OU=Servers,OU=Computers,OU=" + + ",OU=LAB"}'
117      customizationSpec: '${input.adJoin ? "vra-win-domain" : "vra-win-workgroup"}'
118      staticDns: '${input.staticDns}'
119      dnsDomain:
120      poc: '${input.poc_name + " (" + input.poc_email + ")"}'
121      ticket: '${input.ticket}'
122      description: '${input.description}'
123      networks:
124        - network: '${}'
125          assignment: static
126      constraints:
127        - tag: 'comp:${to_lower(}'
128      storage:
129        bootDiskCapacityInGB: '${input.diskSize}'
130  Cloud_vSphere_Network_1:
131    type: Cloud.vSphere.Network
132    properties:
133      networkType: existing
134      constraints:
135        - tag: 'net:${}'

With the template sorted, I need to assign it a new version and release it to the catalog so that the changes will be visible to Service Broker: Releasing a new version of a Cloud Assembly template

Service Broker custom form

I now need to also make some updates to the custom form configuration in Service Broker so that the new fields will appear on the request form. First things first, though: after switching to the Service Broker UI, I go to Content & Policies > Content Sources, open the linked content source, and click the Save & Import button to force Service Broker to pull in the latest versions from Cloud Assembly.

I can then go to Content, click the three-dot menu next to my WindowsDemo item, and select the Customize Form option. I drag-and-drop the System drive size from the Schema Elements section onto the canvas, placing it directly below the existing Resource Size field. Placing the system drive size field on the canvas

With the field selected, I use the Properties section to edit the label with a unit so that users will better understand what they're requesting. System drive size label

On the Values tab, I change the Step option to 5 so that we won't wind up with users requesting a disk size of 62.357 GB or anything crazy like that. System drive size step

I'll drag-and-drop the Administrators field to the canvas, and put it right below the VM description: Administrators field placement

I only want this field to be visible if the VM is going to be joined to the AD domain, so I'll set the Visibility accordingly: Administrators field visibility

That should be everything I need to add to the custom form so I'll be sure to hit that big Save button before moving on.


Okay, now it's time to actually make the stuff work on the back end. But before I get to writing the actual script, there's something else I'll need to do first. Remember how I added properties to store the usernames for vCenter and the VM template in the cloud template? My ABX action will also need to know the passwords for those accounts. I didn't add those to the cloud template since anything added as a property there (even if flagged as a secret!) would be visible in plain text to any external handlers (like vRO). Instead, I'll store those passwords as encrypted Action Constants.

Action Constants

From the vRA Cloud Assembly interface, I'll navigate to Extensibility > Library > Actions and then click the Action Constants button up top. I can then click New Action Constant and start creating the ones I need:

  • vCenterPassword: for logging into vCenter.
  • templatePassWinWorkgroup: for logging into non-domain VMs.
  • templatePassWinDomain: for logging into VMs with the designated domain credentials.

I'll make sure to enable the Encrypt the action constant value toggle for each so they'll be protected. Creating an action constant

Created action constants

Once all those constants are created I can move on to the meat of this little project:

ABX Action

I'll click back to Extensibility > Library > Actions and then + New Action. I give the new action a clever title and description: Create a new action]

I then hit the language dropdown near the top left and select to use powershell so that I can use those sweet, sweet PowerCLI cmdlets. Language selection

And I'll pop over to the right side to map the Action Constants I created earlier so that I can reference them in the script I'm about to write: Mapping constants in action

Now for The Script:

  1<# vRA 8.x ABX action to perform certain in-guest actions post-deploy:
  2    Windows:
  3        - auto-update VM tools
  4        - add specified domain users/groups to local Administrators group
  5        - extend C: volume to fill disk
  6        - set up remote access
  7        - create a scheduled task to (attempt to) apply Windows updates
  9    ## Action Secrets:
 10        templatePassWinDomain                   # password for domain account with admin rights to the template (domain-joined deployments)
 11        templatePassWinWorkgroup                # password for local account with admin rights to the template (standalone deployments)
 12        vCenterPassword                         # password for vCenter account passed from the cloud template
 14    ## Action Inputs:
 15    ## Inputs from deployment:
 16        resourceNames[0]                        # VM name [BOW-DVRT-XXX003]
 17        customProperties.vCenterUser            # user for connecting to vCenter [lab\vra]
 18        customProperties.vCenter                # vCenter instance to connect to []
 19        customProperties.dnsDomain              # long-form domain name []
 20        customProperties.adminsList             # list of domain users/groups to be added as local admins [john, lab\vra, vRA-Admins]
 21        customProperties.adJoin                 # boolean to determine if the system will be joined to AD (true) or not (false)
 22        customProperties.templateUser           # username used for connecting to the VM through vmtools [Administrator] / [root]
 25function handler($context, $inputs) {
 26    # Initialize global variables
 27    $vcUser = $inputs.customProperties.vCenterUser
 28    $vcPassword = $context.getSecret($inputs."vCenterPassword")
 29    $vCenter = $inputs.customProperties.vCenter
 31    # Create vmtools connection to the VM 
 32    $vmName = $inputs.resourceNames[0]
 33    Connect-ViServer -Server $vCenter -User $vcUser -Password $vcPassword -Force
 34    $vm = Get-VM -Name $vmName
 35    Write-Host "Waiting for VM Tools to start..."
 36    if (-not (Wait-Tools -VM $vm -TimeoutSeconds 180)) {
 37        Write-Error "Unable to establish connection with VM tools" -ErrorAction Stop
 38    }
 40    # Detect OS type
 41    $count = 0
 42    While (!$osType) {
 43        Try {
 44            $osType = ($vm | Get-View).Guest.GuestFamily.ToString()
 45            $toolsStatus = ($vm | Get-View).Guest.ToolsStatus.ToString()        
 46        } Catch {
 47            # 60s timeout
 48            if ($count -ge 12) {
 49                Write-Error "Timeout exceeded while waiting for tools." -ErrorAction Stop
 50                break
 51            }
 52            Write-Host "Waiting for tools..."
 53            $count++
 54            Sleep 5
 55        }
 56    }
 57    Write-Host "$vmName is a $osType and its tools status is $toolsStatus."
 59    # Update tools on Windows if out of date
 60    if ($osType.Equals("windowsGuest") -And $toolsStatus.Equals("toolsOld")) {
 61        Write-Host "Updating VM Tools..."
 62        Update-Tools $vm
 63        Write-Host "Waiting for VM Tools to start..."
 64        if (-not (Wait-Tools -VM $vm -TimeoutSeconds 180)) {
 65            Write-Error "Unable to establish connection with VM tools" -ErrorAction Stop
 66        }
 67    }
 69    # Run OS-specific tasks
 70    if ($osType.Equals("windowsGuest")) {
 71        # Initialize Windows variables
 72        $domainLong = $inputs.customProperties.dnsDomain
 73        $adminsList = $inputs.customProperties.adminsList
 74        $adJoin = $inputs.customProperties.adJoin
 75        $templateUser = $inputs.customProperties.templateUser
 76        $templatePassword = $adJoin.Equals("true") ? $context.getSecret($inputs."templatePassWinDomain") : $context.getSecret($inputs."templatePassWinWorkgroup")
 78        # Add domain accounts to local administrators group
 79        if ($adminsList.Length -gt 0 -And $adJoin.Equals("true")) {
 80            # Standardize users entered without domain as DOMAIN\username
 81            if ($adminsList.Length -gt 0) {
 82                $domainShort = $domainLong.split('.')[0]
 83                $adminsArray = @(($adminsList -Split ',').Trim())
 84                For ($i=0; $i -lt $adminsArray.Length; $i++) {
 85                    If ($adminsArray[$i] -notmatch "$domainShort.*\\" -And $adminsArray[$i] -notmatch "@$domainShort") {
 86                        $adminsArray[$i] = $domainShort + "\" + $adminsArray[$i]
 87                    }
 88            }
 89            $admins = '"{0}"' -f ($adminsArray -join '","')
 90            Write-Host "Administrators: $admins"
 91            }
 92            $adminScript = "Add-LocalGroupMember -Group Administrators -Member $admins"
 93            Start-Sleep -s 10
 94            Write-Host "Attempting to add administrator accounts..."
 95            $runAdminScript = Invoke-VMScript -VM $vm -ScriptText $adminScript -GuestUser $templateUser -GuestPassword $templatePassword
 96            if ($runAdminScript.ScriptOutput.Length -eq 0) {
 97                Write-Host "Successfully added [$admins] to Administrators group."
 98            } else {
 99                Write-Host "Attempt to add [$admins] to Administrators group completed with warnings:`n" $runAdminScript.ScriptOutput "`n"
100            }
101        } else {
102            Write-Host "No admins to add..."
103        }
104        # Extend C: volume to fill system drive
105        $partitionScript = "`$Partition = Get-Volume -DriveLetter C | Get-Partition; `$Partition | Resize-Partition -Size (`$Partition | Get-PartitionSupportedSize).sizeMax"
106        Start-Sleep -s 10
107        Write-Host "Attempting to extend system volume..."
108        $runPartitionScript = Invoke-VMScript -VM $vm -ScriptText $partitionScript -GuestUser $templateUser -GuestPassword $templatePassword
109        if ($runPartitionScript.ScriptOutput.Length -eq 0) {
110            Write-Host "Successfully extended system partition."
111        } else {
112            Write-Host "Attempt to extend system volume completed with warnings:`n" $runPartitionScript.ScriptOutput "`n"
113        }
114        # Set up remote access
115        $remoteScript = "Enable-NetFirewallRule -DisplayGroup `"Remote Desktop`"
116            Enable-NetFirewallRule -DisplayGroup `"Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI)`"
117            Enable-NetFirewallRule -DisplayGroup `"File and Printer Sharing`"
118            Enable-PsRemoting
119            Set-ItemProperty -Path 'HKLM:\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server' -name `"fDenyTSConnections`" -Value 0"
120        Start-Sleep -s 10
121        Write-Host "Attempting to enable remote access (RDP, WMI, File and Printer Sharing, PSRemoting)..."
122        $runRemoteScript = Invoke-VMScript -VM $vm -ScriptText $remoteScript -GuestUser $templateUser -GuestPassword $templatePassword
123        if ($runRemoteScript.ScriptOutput.Length -eq 0) {
124            Write-Host "Successfully enabled remote access."
125        } else {
126            Write-Host "Attempt to enable remote access completed with warnings:`n" $runRemoteScript.ScriptOutput "`n"
127        }
128        # Create scheduled task to apply updates
129        $updateScript = "`$action = New-ScheduledTaskAction -Execute 'C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell.exe' -Argument '-NoProfile -WindowStyle Hidden -Command `"& {Install-WUUpdates -Updates (Start-WUScan)}`"'
130            `$trigger = New-ScheduledTaskTrigger -Once -At ([DateTime]::Now.AddMinutes(1))
131            `$settings = New-ScheduledTaskSettingsSet -Compatibility Win8 -Hidden
132            Register-ScheduledTask -Action `$action -Trigger `$trigger -Settings `$settings -TaskName `"Initial_Updates`" -User `"NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM`" -RunLevel Highest
133            `$task = Get-ScheduledTask -TaskName `"Initial_Updates`"
134            `$task.Triggers[0].StartBoundary = [DateTime]::Now.AddMinutes(1).ToString(`"yyyy-MM-dd'T'HH:mm:ss`")
135            `$task.Triggers[0].EndBoundary = [DateTime]::Now.AddHours(3).ToString(`"yyyy-MM-dd'T'HH:mm:ss`")
136            `$task.Settings.AllowHardTerminate = `$True
137            `$task.Settings.DeleteExpiredTaskAfter = 'PT0S'
138            `$task.Settings.ExecutionTimeLimit = 'PT2H'
139            `$task.Settings.Volatile = `$False
140            `$task | Set-ScheduledTask"
141        Start-Sleep -s 10
142        Write-Host "Creating a scheduled task to apply updates..."
143        $runUpdateScript = Invoke-VMScript -VM $vm -ScriptText $updateScript -GuestUser $templateUser -GuestPassword $templatePassword
144        Write-Host "Created task:`n" $runUpdateScript.ScriptOutput "`n"            
145    } elseif ($osType.Equals("linuxGuest")) {
146        #TODO
147        Write-Host "Linux systems not supported by this action... yet"
148    }
149    # Cleanup connection
150    Disconnect-ViServer -Server $vCenter -Force -Confirm:$false

I like to think that it's fairly well documented (but I've also been staring at / tweaking this for a while); here's the gist of what it's doing:

  1. Capture vCenter login credentials from the Action Constants and the customProperties of the deployment (from the cloud template).
  2. Use those creds to Connect-ViServer to the vCenter instance.
  3. Find the VM object which matches the resourceName from the vRA deployment.
  4. Wait for VM tools to be running and accessible on that VM.
  5. Determine the OS type of the VM (Windows/Linux).
  6. If it's Windows and the tools are out of date, update them and wait for the reboot to complete.
  7. If it's Windows, move on:
  8. If it needs to add accounts to the Administrators group, assemble the needed script and run it in the guest via Invoke-VmScript.
  9. Assemble a script to expand the C: volume to fill whatever size VMDK is attached as HDD1, and run it in the guest via Invoke-VmScript.
  10. Assemble a script to set common firewall exceptions for remote access, and run it in the guest via Invoke-VmScript.
  11. Assemble a script to schedule a task to (attempt to) apply Windows updates, and run it in the guest via Invoke-VmScript.

It wouldn't be hard to customize the script to perform different actions (or even run against Linux systems - just set $whateverScript = "apt update && apt upgrade" (or whatever) and call it with $runWhateverScript = Invoke-VMScript -VM $vm -ScriptText $whateverScript -GuestUser $templateUser -GuestPassword $templatePassword), but this is as far as I'm going to take it for this demo.

Event subscription

Before I can test the new action, I'll need to first add an extensibility subscription so that the ABX action will get called during the deployment. So I head to Extensibility > Subscriptions and click the New Subscription button. Extensibility subscriptions

I'll be using this to call my new configureGuest action - so I'll name the subscription Configure Guest. I tie it to the Compute Post Provision event, and bind my action: Creating the new subscription

I do have another subsciption on that event already, VM Post-Provisioning which is used to modify the VM object with notes and custom attributes. I'd like to make sure that my work inside the guest happens after that other subscription is completed, so I'll enable blocking and give it a priority of 2: Adding blocking to Configure Guest

After hitting the Save button, I go back to that other VM Post-Provisioning subscription, set it to enable blocking, and give it a priority of 1: Blocking VM Post-Provisioning

This will ensure that the new subscription fires after the older one completes, and that should avoid any conflicts between the two.


Alright, now let's see if it worked. I head into Service Broker to submit the deployment request: Submitting the test deployment

Note that I've set the disk size to 65GB (up from the default of 60), and I'm adding lab\testy as a local admin on the deployed system.

Once the deployment finishes, I can switch back to Cloud Assembly and check Extensibility > Activity > Action Runs and then click on the configureGuest run to see how it did. Successful action run

It worked!

The Log tab lets me see the progress as the execution progresses:

 1Logging in to server.
 2logged in to server
 3Read-only file system
 409/03/2021 19:08:27	Get-VM	Finished execution
 509/03/2021 19:08:27	Get-VM	
 6Waiting for VM Tools to start...
 709/03/2021 19:08:29	Wait-Tools	5222b516-ae2c-5740-2926-77cd21441f27	
 809/03/2021 19:08:29	Wait-Tools	Finished execution
 909/03/2021 19:08:29	Wait-Tools	
1009/03/2021 19:08:29	Get-View	Finished execution
1109/03/2021 19:08:29	Get-View	
1209/03/2021 19:08:29	Get-View	Finished execution
1309/03/2021 19:08:29	Get-View	
14BOW-PSVS-XXX001 is a windowsGuest and its tools status is toolsOld.
15Updating VM Tools...
1609/03/2021 19:08:30	Update-Tools	5222b516-ae2c-5740-2926-77cd21441f27	
1709/03/2021 19:08:30	Update-Tools	Finished execution
1809/03/2021 19:08:30	Update-Tools	
19Waiting for VM Tools to start...
2009/03/2021 19:09:00	Wait-Tools	5222b516-ae2c-5740-2926-77cd21441f27	
2109/03/2021 19:09:00	Wait-Tools	Finished execution
2209/03/2021 19:09:00	Wait-Tools	
23Administrators: "lab\testy"
24Attempting to add administrator accounts...
2509/03/2021 19:09:10	Invoke-VMScript	5222b516-ae2c-5740-2926-77cd21441f27	
2609/03/2021 19:09:10	Invoke-VMScript	Finished execution
2709/03/2021 19:09:10	Invoke-VMScript	
28Successfully added ["lab\testy"] to Administrators group.
29Attempting to extend system volume...
3009/03/2021 19:09:27	Invoke-VMScript	5222b516-ae2c-5740-2926-77cd21441f27	
3109/03/2021 19:09:27	Invoke-VMScript	Finished execution
3209/03/2021 19:09:27	Invoke-VMScript	
33Successfully extended system partition.
34Attempting to enable remote access (RDP, WMI, File and Printer Sharing, PSRemoting)...
3509/03/2021 19:09:49	Invoke-VMScript	5222b516-ae2c-5740-2926-77cd21441f27	
3609/03/2021 19:09:49	Invoke-VMScript	Finished execution
3709/03/2021 19:09:49	Invoke-VMScript	
38Successfully enabled remote access.
39Creating a scheduled task to apply updates...
4009/03/2021 19:10:12	Invoke-VMScript	5222b516-ae2c-5740-2926-77cd21441f27	
4109/03/2021 19:10:12	Invoke-VMScript	Finished execution
4209/03/2021 19:10:12	Invoke-VMScript	
43Created task:
45TaskPath                                       TaskName                          State     
46--------                                       --------                          -----     
47\                                              Initial_Updates                   Ready     
48\                                              Initial_Updates                   Ready     

So it claims to have successfully updated the VM tools, added lab\testy to the local Administrators group, extended the C: volume to fill the 65GB virtual disk, added firewall rules to permit remote access, and created a scheduled task to apply updates. I can open a console session to the VM to spot-check the results. Verifying local admins Yep, testy is an admin now!

Verify disk size And C: fills the disk!


This is really just the start of what I've been able to do in-guest leveraging Invoke-VmScript from an ABX action. I've got a slightly-larger version of this script which also performs similar actions in Linux guests as well. And I've also cobbled together ABX solutions for generating randomized passwords for local accounts and storing them in an organization's password management solution. I would like to get around to documenting those here in the future... we'll see.

In any case, hopefully this information might help someone else to get started down this path. I'd love to see whatever enhancements you are able to come up with!