Head-to-Head: Workflow Studio vs PowerShell for Automation

Here’s an interesting and slightly amusing mock debate between Brandon Shell and Jason Conger on Citrix’s Workflow Studio vs PowerShell for automation. If you aren’t familiar with it, here is the description of what Workflow Studio is:

“Citrix Workflow Studio™ is an infrastructure process automation platform that enables you to transform your datacenter into a dynamic delivery center.”

“Built on top of Windows PowerShell™ and Windows Workflow Foundation, Workflow Studio provides an easy-to-use, graphical interface for workflow composition that virtually eliminates scripting. Workflow Studio acts as the glue across the IT infrastructure allowing administrators to easily tie technology components together via workflows.”

The debate is amusing because in reality both guys understand that each has its place, one is a foundational component of the other, and the combination of the two can be extremely powerful. The core of the “debate” is one’s definition of automation: execution of atomic tasks with as little effort/code as possible (basic PowerShell) or event/workflow driven execution of multiple tasks with associated logic (advanced PowerShell and/or Workflow Studio). The first is an enabler for the latter.

It’s been my opinion since Exchange 2007 and Virtual Machine Manager 2007 committed entirely to PowerShell and with the PowerShell team’s continued focus on simplicity and consistency, that this was the tipping point that was going to enable real automation and orchestration of IT infrastructures. Now with partners (Citrix) and competitors (VMware) alike building on and/or leveraging PowerShell, we’re going to see significant advancements in the state of the art this year. 

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