Authoring SMA Runbooks in the PowerShell ISE

While Service Management Automation (SMA) provides a cool web-based runbook authoring experience in the Windows Azure Pack, many folks are more comfortable using a good old-fashioned tool they’re already familiar with to write PowerShell – the Windows PowerShell ISE. While in theory it should be very easy to write SMA runbooks in the PowerShell ISE… Read more

SMA Capabilities in Depth: The SMA PowerShell Module

By now you’ve probably had a chance to experiment with all the great features of Service Management Automation through the Windows Azure Pack Admin Portal – authoring runbooks and creating assets, starting jobs manually and on schedules, importing integration modules and viewing job output. Now what if I told you, you could do all these… Read more

Service Management Automation: Portable Modules – What, Why, and How

If you’ve started playing around with the new wild and wonderful Service Management Automation (SMA) feature of System Center 2012 R2 Orchestrator, you may have noticed that the product includes a bunch of PowerShell modules out of the box for you to use in your SMA runbooks. You may also have noticed that a bunch… Read more

Quick Tip: New Implicit ForEach in PSv3

I saw this today in an email from and had to pass it on… seems like PSv3 is going to have lots of little handy additions: Implicit Foreach in PSv3 PowerShell v3 Beta is available for quite some time now, so every now and then we start tossing in some PowerShell v3 tips. We’ll… Read more

More Fun with COM: Importing Integration Packs via PowerShell

Around the office, we have more and more internal teams that are latching on to Orchestrator and wanting to use it for building all sorts of integrations and automations, but one of the things that comes up from time to time is how to get the ability to have some sort of complete installation process… Read more

Make Your PowerShell Script Activities Go “Splat”!

There are always interesting shortcuts and magical techniques to discover in PowerShell, and “splatting” is one of them. Splatting allows you to bundle a set of parameters into a hashtable and then simply using it as single parameter to a PowerShell function or cmdlet. For example, instead of specifying a command line with a bunch… Read more

Quick Tip: Checking PowerShell Scripting Abilities on a Computer

I do lots of PowerShell scripting, both inside runbooks and in stand-alone scripts. I have my own little virtual lab with a bunch of VMs and a domain controller that has a group policy assigned to enable the right PowerShell scripting settings on all the domain-joined computers, so I really don’t run into execution policy… Read more

A Quick Look at the New PowerShell Activities in the DPM and VMM IPs

When we on the product team create an integration pack for a product, whether it’s for System Center or another Microsoft products, or even a 3rd-party product, our goal is not to try and replicate everything that product does in the form of runbook activities. First of all, not everything a product does makes sense… Read more

OIT Quick Tip: Using PowerShell Switch Parameters in CLI Activities

One of the common parameter types in PowerShell is the switch parameter. It’s basically a Boolean (true/false) type of parameter, and you either add it to the command line or not. Here’s an example: get-scoevents get-scoevents –formatXML The above command does the same thing in either case, it just formats the output differently.Now if you… Read more

Orchestrator Quick Tip: Setting Environment Variables in CLI Activities

Using the Orchestrator Integration Toolkit’s Command-Line Activity Wizard, you can create your own custom activities really easily just by using a simple command line or one-line PowerShell script. When creating activities, you can specify parameters that appear on the activity’s properties tab. When using PowerShell as the “mode” of the activity, the wizard lets you… Read more