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  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: Quick Tip: New Implicit ForEach in PSv3

    I saw this today in an email from PowerShell.com 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 clearly mark...
  • Blog Post: Creating and Using Local Variables in a Runbook

    One of the features in Orchestrator is “Variables”. These are globally-available, statically-defined values (hence the running joke that they’re not actually “variables”, they’re “constants”). They provide a good way to define values that you re-use over and over throughout a number of activities and...
  • Blog Post: Finding Out “How Did I Get Here?” in a Runbook

    I recently saw a new feature suggestion in the Orchestrator feedback on Connect and I realized that we can actually accomplish the requested functionality today in Orchestrator, so I thought I’d share how. Here is the feedback from the customer: There are times when it would be very helpful to know which...
  • Blog Post: Getting Deeper Information from Orchestrator via COM

    I see a lot of requests from people creating integrations with Orchestrator to get information about some of the inner workings of an installation, beyond what’s available via the web service. The web service allows you to retrieve information about: Folders Runbooks Runbook Parameters Activities Jobs...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: Fun with PowerShell v3 “Robust Sessions” in Runbooks

    A couple of weeks ago, Karl Prosser posted an interesting article on using PowerShell v3 with Orchestrator .And, while at MMS last week, I had an opportunity to sit down and run through one of the PowerShell v3 hands-on labs that were available. In that lab, I found out about the new capabilities around...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: Fun with the Orchestrator 2012 Beta,the Web Service and PowerShell

    The Orchestrator 2012 Beta is barely “out of the oven” and I have some fun PowerShell stuff for you to play with ...read more
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: Implementing Your Own Runbook Input Parameter Validation Checking

    Using the “Initialize Data” activity at the beginning of a runbook allows you to provide input parameters to any runbook. This greatly enhances the flexibility of a runbook by allowing it to be called by another runbook or via the web service, and the input parameters supplied to vary the data being...
  • Blog Post: Getting Deeper Information from orchestrator via COM, part 2

    In the last post , I showed you how to use PowerShell to connect to the Orchestrator COM interface for getting (and setting) various types of information. Now I’m going to run through a quick demo of how to get things like global resources (variables, counters, etc.) from COM and even modify them if...
  • Blog Post: Getting Deeper Information from Orchestrator via COM, part 3

    Before I start, here are links to the previous parts of this series: Getting Deeper Information from Orchestrator via COM Getting Deeper Information from orchestrator via COM, part 2 In the last two posts, I showed how to connect to the COM interface for Orchestrator and how to use it to get various...