It is May 4th which marks the start of Microsoft Ignite 2015 and of course new Azure features start to appear. So first Azure Automation is now available in the preview portal: Continue reading “Azure Automation – Hybrid Worker Setup”
Service Management Automation (SMA) is the next gen IT Automation tool. SMA has some certain advantage over Orchestrator but also some limitations and vise versa. Nevertheless I am taking in consideration that you are aware of these advantages and limitations and you’ve decided to move fully or partially from SCO to SMA. Continue reading “From Orchestrator to Service Management Automation: Migration Scenarios”
Runbooks in System Center Orchestrator require some organizing in order to be more easily managed. You can read how to do that in Automation–System Center 2012 – Orchestrator Best Practice Series–Naming Conventions by Jim Britt.
Windows Server 2012 has out of the box a disaster recovery solution for virtual machines named Hyper-V Replica. Unfortunately this solution is not automated but luckily you can automate this solution whatever you like with System Center 2012 Orchestrator. Charles Joy from MSFT even offers free runbooks to the community to make that disaster recovery automated. He made two scenarios – one without using the other System Center components and other where he uses SCSM to initiate the failover. Actually the solution is documented with documents and video. You can directly implement the runbooks in your environment or you can change them to fit your needs. It is up to you to make the logic. The solution is pretty fast and most important free if you have Windows Server 2012 and Orchestrator 2012. I’ve seen a solutions for Disaster Recovery that cost a significant amount of money and in the end they are hard to configure, 1 of 3 cases failed during failover and have certain limitations. So I suggest grab this solution from here and make your Disaster Recovery.
Second version of this helpful tool is released. Here are the changes compared to version 1.0:
Support for Configuration Manager 2007 – RBC 2.0 now supports both Configuration Manager 2007 and 2012 Configuration Manager. Additionally when deploying Runbook Commander bundled with pre-created XML files the installer will determine what version on Configuration Manager Console is being used and appropriately stage the XML extensions files.
New XML Generator Tool – RBC requires custom XML files to be created for each environment. These XML files controll which Orchestrator Runbooks are available for execution from the Configuration Manager environment. The new XML Generator tool handles the XML creation for Configuration Manager 2007 and 2012 Configuration Manager. This tool now also allows saving off XML files for use in a pre-staged deployment (see next bullet point). Finally the XML GEN tool has been redesigned for an easier interactive experience.
New Installer – with RBC version 1, the installer basically staged the computer for use with RBC. It was then up to the individual to run the XML generator tool on each machine in order to create the console extension. Alternatively the XML files could have been manually (or scripted) copied to the appropriate location on the target computer. New to version 2, the console extensions XML files can be pre-created and then deployed with RBC allowing for a single and automated installation experience across many computers.
Replace XML Application – RBC 2.0 includes a new application that can be deployed to computers which will replace the console extensions XML. In the situation where new Runbooks need to be added to RBC or old Runbooks need to be removed from RBC, the custom XML would be created using the XML generator tool and then deployed to all machines with the Replace XML application. The replace XML application will appropriately replace the console extension XML and at next launch the Configuration Manager console will be loaded with the updated set of Runbooks.
Console Extensions to the Program Node – RBC Version 1 had support for consoles extensions for devices and collections. I had received a request to add programs which has been completed. I will add more console items as time permits with priority going to those requested.
Drop Down Lists – Added to version 2.0 is the ability to dynamically create drop down lists as parameter values. This will allow the Runbook administrator to provide a list of values on the actual Runbook. These values will then be available from RBC at execution time from the Configuration Manager console. I will detail the creation of these in the soon to complete full documentation.
Fixed IIS Paging Limitation – The Orchestrator Web Service contains a paging mechanism which allows only 50 Rubooks (or other objects) to be retuned at query time. With RBC V1.0 the XML Gen tool would not return all available Runbooks without making modification to the IIS Web Service application settings. The XML GEN 2.0 includes code that gets around the paging feature and will now present all Runbooks at execution time.
Removed Start Menu Shortcuts – As RBC is for the most part initiated from within the Configuration Manager console all start menu shortcuts have been removed. This does mean that if using the XML generator application you will need to navigate to the installation folder and execute directly. This process will be detail in the forthcoming configuration and deployment guide.
Download the new version from here.