Custom DSC resources


I’m reading the free DSC book and got very curious whether the followings are right or not:

It seems to me that DSC is going to replace group policy, since they both have the same purpose. Is this the future?
Just writing PS scripts to automate things isn’t going to be the big deal, but writing custom DSC resources that solve specific problems of individual organisations. The indisposable superman is gonna be the guy who does that, right?

After all, does it make any sense to spend the time and energy to get certified with an MCSA and alike? Isn’t it a much better idea to become an expert in PS and DSC instead?
This is a real dilemma, since free time is limited for everyone and we have to use it wisely for the right thing.

I would appreciate your views on these things very much, thank you in advance!

Istvan Szarka

Long-term, DSC could potentially replace Group Policy.

As for the value of certification, that values greatly and depends on the value your organization places on certification.

Long term, I could see DSC replacing Group Policy. But I don’t see Group Policy going away for quite a while, just because how much certain pieces of the Infrastructure (desktops) rely on it currently.

I wouldn’t go so far as to call the person who writes custom DSC resources an indispensable superman, but they are certainly going to be a level or two higher than the person who can write a basic DSC Configuration and compile it properly.

As for the certifications, I haven’t updated mine since Server 2008 and have no intention of doing so. At this stage in my career my experience far outweighs anything a Microsoft Certification is going to give me. All my attention and focus is on PowerShell, DSC, and automating all the things.

Thank you all for sharing your opinion, I greatly appreciate it! Reading the DCS book, PowerShell in a Month of Lunches and watching TechEd sessions like Jeffery Snower’s Just Enough Admin and the ones with Mr Jones makes very clear that this is the future of Windows administration. Since there is no certification in this, I got uncertain about their usefulness. And Mr Snower is damn right about this: PS is so much more fun than clicking with a mouse!

Some missing pieces in DSC notwithstanding (e.g. OS hardening is one that comes to mind immediately), the big gap in the DSC vs. GP discussion is the concept of user-based configuration. GP is optimized for the desktop and certainly for the user on the desktop. DSC has no concept of per-user configuration at the moment in any real way. Until it does, I see a role for both. In addition, and I’ve made this point several times before in other discussions–for better or for worse, the dynamic targeting that GP provides is handy in many configuration scenarios. DSC simply punted on this, which is understandable for its use case. And it avoids a lot of problems as a result. But it also limits the number of scenarios, esp. on the desktop, where DSC could replace GP. Don’t get me wrong–I would love to see something “modern” to improve on GP. But DSC is not it…yet.

I meant the DSC may replace GP idea only for the server infrastructure. GP is extremely useful and sure there’s no reason for it to go away any time soon. As I’ve observed, DSC mostly targets things that are relevant to servers and there it can already do similar things to GP. The ability to configure Linux with DSC is something GP cannot accomplish.

I’m not in any way, shape or form making a DSC vs GP argument. That wouldn’t make any sense and I’m not even good enough to make such arguments. I only find PowerShell’s ability to automate and the potential in DSC mind-blowing!