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Editor's note: This article was republished after a technical review and light updates.
If you think ahead and implement proper logging throughout your PowerShell scripts, you will have a much easier time troubleshooting anything that goes wrong.
There are many different ways to think about logging. Within PowerShell, this could mean logging to the host, a file, the Windows event log, a database, syslog on Linux or even a combination of these choices.
It helps to have options and flexibility, but the setup process to log to all the different places can be difficult.
One of the preferred methods is to create a custom PowerShell logging function that directs the output where you want it in your scripts and functions.
In effect, a custom PowerShell logging function lets administrators gather the information that they need from the system or devices that they're interested in, while locating any log output in a location they can easily find. This is particularly handy when troubleshooting a specific system or device. The time-saving benefits for troubleshooting cannot be overstated.
This article is part of
First, decide on the logging options to include. A good starting point is to log to the host, a file and a database.
Next, build the skeleton of the PowerShell logging function.
At its simplest, we define a single parameter and output it back to the host. Using CmdletBinding will let us take advantage of advanced cmdlet functionality that is explained further along in this tutorial.
Next, add some additional parameters. One of the common functionalities within PowerShell logging is the level of logging such as information, verbose, error or debug.
Add a few parameters into the Param block and some decorative statements to make the PowerShell logging function more comprehensive.
The functionality of the new parameters in the script does the following:
The next portion of our PowerShell logging function centers on the output.
There are three different sections to the code, which is structured to enable multiple logging variations, such as output to three different sources at the same time.
The following is an example of a Logs table that contains the fields defined in the insert query to set up the database to insert the data.
For the sake of convenience, here's the full code.
Now that we have our function, what's the best way to use it? Is there something else we should be logging? What makes the most sense for troubleshooting in the future?
The following examples show a few ways to use the new logging function.
What if we log to SQL but don't want to define the same parameters repeatedly? PowerShell gives the option to use default parameters that the functions will use unless there is an override on a per-function call basis.
By defining some default parameters, the script can use the following.
This makes it much easier to control the logging behavior and provides more flexibility.
The end result is you get a PowerShell logging function that builds output, similar to Figure 1.
While the PowerShell logging function in this article is useful, there is much more advanced functionality you can add. That includes output to syslog in Linux and even internal logging for the function itself to diagnose when the script does not perform as expected.
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