SCORCH : An introduction to Orchestrator – Schedules

Schedules enable you to define when a Workflow or Activity can run. For example, there may be times when it is inappropriate to run some Workflows, such as running a backup Workflow on a main server during regular business hours.

1. Checking a Schedule

This Workflow uses the Check Schedule Activity to match the current date/time (the date and time of when the ‘Weekday?’ Activity is started) against a Schedule that is active on weekdays only:

The ‘Weekdays’ Schedule has following properties:

The result from the Check Schedule Activity is evaluated and the Workflow branches accordingly. This is accomplished by using a Link Condition that is configured in the Link properties:

The Send Platform Event Activities are used to display the appropriate results.

Launch the Workflow by using Run, or by running it using the Runbook Tester. Check the Runbook Designer Events tab or the Runbook Tester log to see the resulting output.

2. Monitor Time and Schedules

This Workflow uses the Monitor Date/Time Activity to trigger every day at 09:15:

Then, the Check Schedule Activity is used to match the current date/time (the date and time of when the ‘Only on Weekends’ Activity is started) against a Schedule that is active on weekends only:

The result from the Check Schedule Activity is evaluated and the Workflow branches accordingly. The Send Platform Event Activities are used to display the appropriate results.

Before running the Workflow, change the Monitor Date/Time Activity to an appropriate time such as a minute ahead of the current time. This way, the Monitor Date/Time Activity will trigger as soon as possible.

Launch the Workflow by using Run, or by running it using the Runbook Tester. Check the Runbook Designer Events tab or the Runbook Tester log to see the resulting output.

3. Compound Scheduling

This Workflow uses the Monitor Date/Time Activity to trigger every day at 9:00 AM. It then uses a Check Schedule Activity to determine if it’s a weekday. If it is a weekday, another Check Schedule Activity is used to determine if it’s a holiday. The results from the Check Schedule Activities are evaluated and the Workflow branches accordingly. The Send Platform Event Activities are used to display the appropriate results.

Before running the Workflow, change the Monitor Date/Time Activity to an appropriate time such as a minute ahead of the current time. This way, the Monitor Date/Time Activity will trigger as soon as possible.

Launch the Workflow by using Run, or by running it using the Runbook Tester. Check the Runbook Designer Events tab or the Runbook Tester log to see the resulting output.

For more information about Scheduling look here

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SCORCH : Remediating SCOM Alerts Using Orchestrator

IT Snacks!

One of the most effective Orchestrator runbooks is the ability to remediate SCOM alerts, If you receive a certain SCOM alert and you used to solve it following manual tasks everytime, you can create a runbook which can automate it all..

It is assumed that there is a SCOM server up and running monitoring an IIS8 website and integrated with SCO.

without further ado let’s jump in :-

This is the final runbook we are going to create and I will walk you through some activities :-

01

As you see we are going to create a runbook that will investigate the stoppage and the unavailability of an IIS 8 website, without Orchestrator you used to ping the related server, check IIS services and make sure they are all up and running, we can make all that in one runbook to ping the related server and to check for any stopped…

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SCORCH : Create your first simple Orchestrator runbook (Automating AD User Account Creation)

IT Snacks!

Welcome to the blog .. to be simple .. System Center Orchestrator is a workflow tool dedicated to automate repeated tasks .. this is done by integrating SCO with other systems by using what is called the integration packs and setting conditions that will trigger the solution you design “The Runbook” to do the repeated tasks you used to do one by one automatically reducing time and cost, I assume you have a little knowledge of Orchestrator as this blog is not dedicated to be an intro to SCO neither explaining SCO architecture ..

In this blog we will do the following (high level steps):-

1- Set the initialize data activity to receive the AD user account first name, last name and SAM account name (login name), get this activity from the “Runbook Control” area in the activities list.

2- Use the “Generate Random Text” activity to generate a random…

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SCORCH : An introduction to Orchestrator – Computer Groups

System Center 2012 – Orchestrator is designed to interact with all of your data center systems. Computer groups let you target selected activities against a set of similar computer systems instead of a single computer. By configuring the activities in your runbook to use a computer group, you have the flexibility to add computers dynamically by adding them to the computer group.

You can also organize your computer groups into folders. Use the following steps to create a new folder.

To create a folder

  1. In the Connections pane in the Runbook Designer, click the Computer Groups folder or a subfolder.
  2. Right-click to select New, and then click Folder.
  3. In this example the Folder is named Demo Group

Use the following procedure to add a computer group.

To add a computer group

  1. In the Connections pane, right-click the Computer Groups folder or a subfolder.
  2. Select New, and then click Computer Group to open the New Computer Group dialog box.
  3. In the New Computer Group dialog box, on the General tab, in the Name and Description boxes, type a name and description of the computer group.
  4. Click the Contents tab. The list displays all the computer entries that make up this computer group.
  5. Click Add to open the Entry Type dialog box.
  6. Type the name of the computer that you are adding, or click the ellipsis (…) button next to the Computer box, and then select the applicable computer. Click OK to add the computer. Click Add and repeat this step to add more computers to the group.

Here I’ve created a computer group named “Demo Computer Group” with 2 entries (10.0.0.10 & 10.0.0.11)

Any standard activity that requires you to identify a Computer name in the Configuration Properties dialog box, such as the Send Event Log Message activity, can use a computer group. Other activities can use the Computer Group where you define a remote system or computer.

To use a computer group

  1. Right-click the applicable activity from your runbook, select Properties on the menu, and then select the Details tab to open the Activities Properties dialog box.
  2. In the Computer box, right-click to open a menu, select Subscribe, and then select Computer Group to open the Select Computer Group dialog box.
  3. Select the computer group, and then click OK.
    A placeholder {computer group name} is inserted next to the computer name in the Computer box.
    When the activity runs, it runs on each computer in the group.

Computer Groups Example Workflow

The following example Workflow uses the Get Computer/IP Status Activity to query the availability of a group of computers and displays the result from the Get Computer/IP Status Activity for all members of the “Demo Computer Group”. Computer groups enable you to target Workflows against a set of similar computer systems instead of a single computer. By configuring the Activities in your Workflow to use a computer group you are given the flexibility to add computers dynamically by adding them to the computer group.

This Workflow uses the Get Computer/IP Status Activity to query the availability of a group of computers:

The “Demo Computer Group” has the following members:

The Send Platform Event Activity is used to display the result from the Get Computer/IP Status Activity for both members of the “Demo Computer Group”.

Launch the Workflow by using Run, or by running it using the Runbook Tester. Check the Runbook Designer Events tab or the Runbook Tester log to see the resulting output.

 

For more information about Computer Groups and the Get Computer/IP Status Activity, look here and here.

In telemetry we trust?

More than patches

Telemetry is one of those things that tends to divide a room. On one hand it’s productive and accurate feedback for your product of choice and on the other hand it’s big brother spying on what you’re doing in that product. I wanted to share a recent experience with you based on my recent upgrade of Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) to the recent 1710 release as it may make you change your mind.

The long awaited 1710 release was made available last week a little before midnight in the UK on 20/11/17 (or 11/20 in the US Smile). The next morning I fired up my lab which runs the current branch version of SCCM, ran the early update ring PowerShell script and proceeded to whizz through the wizard in a speedy not hastily fashion. This was lab after all so on with the day job and I’ll check…

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