Patching Orchestrator Runbook Servers while Maintaining High-Availability

Balancing server patching with maintaining the availability of the services that run on these servers can be a difficult task for an IT Pro, with lots of repetitive, time-consuming, and error-prone steps. Luckily, Orchestrator has emerged as an effective automation tool to help IT Pros manage the patching process. But what about when the Orchestrator… Read more

Service Provider Foundation is Alive & Well in System Center 2012 SP1 Beta

To answer a question I’ve been getting a lot lately: yes, Service Provider Foundation (SPF) is still a part of System Center 2012 SP1.  The reason the question is coming up so much is that SPF moved in terms of packaging.  Up to and including the CTP2 release SPF was discoverable on release media at peer… Read more

Quick Tip: Error Handling Across Parent/Child Runbooks

I got a question posed to me in the form of a design change request for Orchestrator. And, true to fashion for Orchestrator, I pointed out that what was being asked for as a feature could be solved by the existing product by just architecting the runbook in a certain way. The scenario posed was… Read more

Speeding up Runbooks by Improving Activity Loading Speed

Even on the product team, there is a lot of information we don’t see that gets published about the product. Other arms of Microsoft like Customer Support are continually listening to customers and feed bugs and change requests to the product team, but they also publish KB articles and helpful tips about performance, security, and… Read more

SQL Sequel: More Useful Orchestrator Database Queries

In the last article, I showed how you can run a few SQL queries to find some detailed information about IPs, runbooks and activities and their relationships in the database. In this article, I’ll focus more on running runbooks (Jobs). To start with, here’s a diagram of the relationships of the tables related to to… Read more

IPs and Activities and How Those are Represented in the Database

Following some of my recent articles about how Integration Packs (IPs) are handled during registration, installation, and unregistration (see Understanding IP Installation: What Does Register/Unregister/Deploy/Undeploy Really Mean?), and as a precursor to a new tool I will be unveiling this week (trying to build the excitement a bit!), I wanted to talk about installing IPs… Read more

Quick Tip: Understanding Multi-Value Data and the Databus

I saw a question in the forums around multi-value data and how someone could pass multi-value data in to a runbook via the Initialize Data activity. I was going to answer the question there but thought it would be better to post an article to reach a broader audience. When dealing with published data on… Read more

Community Spotlight: New Tool to “Sanitize” Runbook Exports

Ryan Andorfer, one of our favorite members of the Orchestrator community, has done it again. He has come out with a new utility to help administrators sanitize their runbook export files.Here’s what Ryan has to say: A ‘difficulty’ we have with migrating policies / Runbooks from one environment (dev) to another (QA / Prod) is… 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