Introduction to WMI
Windows Management Instrumentation, or WMI, is Microsoft’s implementation of the Web-Based Enterprise Management Model and the Common Information Model standard, developed by the Distributed Management Task Force or DMTF. It consolidates the management of devices and applications, data in a network of Windows computing systems
Basically, WMI is a database of information sitting on each Windows computer. The types of information included are basic system data such as computer names and configurations or detailed performance monitors. For desktop and system administrators, I like to call it “our pot of gold at the end of the rainbow”.
What is WMIX?
WMIX is an integral part of the Goverlan product family which gives you access to plain WMI but with an added x-factor. With a user-friendly GUI (first time ever) and a built-in script builder, WMIX presents a fresh look at the unexplored areas of WMI.
WMIX is Goverlan’s free WMI Explorer. It is a comprehensive way to explore and unlock a rich set of information stored on your workstations and servers. Use WMIX to generate queries that complement Powershell, VB Script, or any language that understands Windows Query Language (WQL). Take WMI to the next level by using WMIX with the Goverlan Remote Administration Suite’s Scope Actions feature. In addition, the WMIX script generator can also easily create complex VB Scripts to use in a variety of different scenarios.
How does Goverlan’s WMI Explorer make administration easier?
Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey”? Well, whoever said that never had to manage a desktop and server environment! Systems administration is all about the destination, that pot of gold. So, how do we get to that treasure trove of data as quickly as possible? The best way to answer this question is with an example. Consider this, you walk in on Monday morning and your supervisor tells you, “We need to apply a new logon script for the marketing group and we need it by this afternoon.”
This should be easy – create a Group Policy Object with the logon script and apply it to the Marketing organizational unit, right? Chances are that 9 times out of 10, our Active Directory setup will not be so organized. The users and computers you need to target are scattered all over AD. Some are in the Marketing OU, some are in the Advertising OU and so on…great.
Time to get creative. The key is to find a common denominator. Perhaps all the computer names have a common attribute like “MARKETING123” or “MKT-CHI-469”.
This can be done simply by creating a WMI filter and applying it to the GPO. Now we have to create a WMI query… sigh. If only we had a tool to assist us with this complicated task. Here comes WMIX to the rescue.
Let’s launch WMIX and use the WMIX Query Wizard to drill into the Computer System Class. Then, configure a WQL query that filters for computer names like MKT% to insert into our WMI filter on the GPO we configured.
So the total time to create this solution, providing you already have the logon script, probably took less than 10 mins. WMIX gives you a way to navigate WMI and get to the data you need quickly.
Let’s also take a moment to think about our new favorite scripting language: Powershell. Most Powershell scripts that I create or have seen on the web have at least one WMI query embedded in them.
Manually configuring such a query is tedious and error prone. My preferred method is to use the friendly user-interface of WMIX to generate the query, and then copy it into the Powershell script, with the “Get-WMIObject” commandlet or “New-Object System.Management.ObjectQuery” Powershell Object. That’s it. I just saved so much time and energy!
WMIX – Exploring server management
Microsoft server technologies such as SQL Server or Exchange have a considerable amount of data stored in specialized WMI namespaces. Here are just a few examples:
How about a report on all of your Hyper-V VM’s? Just point WMIX to your Hyper-V server and take a look at the Msvm_ComputerSystem class in the VIRTUALIZATION namespace. WMIX also does a great job at showing you where you can execute a method or action based on the data you are looking at. For example, below we see the “Object Tasks” which tells us that we can change the state of this virtual machine from running to powered off or even suspended.
Get memory performance data for SQL Server then output it to a nice web report!
Here we have low level memory usage from a SQL Server including a complete breakdown of SQL memory management.
You can get detailed information on Domain Controllers, Exchange Servers, SCCM Servers and more. Use WMIX as a companion to other system administration tools and see how you can expand your IT reach!