Invoking commands on remote machines – FAST

Invoking commands remotely on machines is something we must do from time to time, in many scenarios speed is a critical factor as the remote command could be in response to anything from a incident to security breach. Speed combined with large environments in the cloud with many clients/servers deallocated often makes this a difficult task.

In smaller environments we would normally ping targets, and based on the response we execute a script through winrm asyncronously (invoke-command -asjob). The problem is that the ping part is often not executed in parallell.

While googling a solution i came across an Async ping sweep script (link at the end) that works brilliantly but only accepts ipranges and not hostnames, but the method to send async pings is so good that I used it in my implementation.

The result:

The output is a object that contains original target name, the ping status (Success, Timeout etc), errors and the Ping reply object.


Using this we can use Invoke-Command with the -AsJob command to invoke.

To get a sense of the performance of the system I did some benchmark pings against a Google ip range. The average /24 network took 0.5 seconds, or 547 milliseconds to respond using a max timeout of 100ms per attempt. The function does not really scale linearly, but I believe that’s more on my side than the code.

Async network ping sweep

Disclaimer: All information on this blog is offered "as is" with no warranty. It is strongly recommended that you verify all information and validate all scripts in isolated test environments before using them in production environments.