The 'Core' editions of the Windows Server operating system (2008 R2 & 2012 R2) can in essence only be controlled by PowerShell. If you are from the school: 'whatever is not available, cannot break.' you will like these editions. There are a lot less attack vectors on those systems, and require a lot less computing resources (hardware or virtual machine).
But you definitely need good PS skills for managing these.
When browsing through my downloads I encountered 5 video files, that explain Power Shell to you in a clear way. The videos come from the Microsoft Scripting Guy and each last about an hour and I found them very helpful. Take a look on the MS TechNet site if you still can get these videos.
If these aren't available anymore (which I doubt), I can upload the files I have to a storage location of your choice. The videos require 450MByte of storage in total.
Bear in mind that there different versions of PowerShell available, which could pose limits on deployment of your PS scripts on different versions of the Windows Operating systems in your care. Usually you can upgrade the version of PowerShell on any computer, but MS puts (artificial) limits on max. PS version for different versions of Windows.
PowerShell is backwards compatible, for example: a script you created for PowerShel v1.0 will work on PowerShell v3.0.
There are some companies that have free/commercial development environments just for PowerShell scripts and I would advise to use these as they come with examples and are of real help when making more complex PowerShell scripts. Something you will want to do quickly, because of the sheer Power in the Shell.
Some of the IDE's:Idera
- Very impressive freeware and it has a helpful community.DevFarm PowerSE
- I always liked this one best, but their website leaves a bit of a bad taste now.A general overview of available PS IDE's