System Center 2012 - Orchestrator 2012 - Integration Packs

In this final part of our overview of Orchestrator 2012 we’ll cover extending it with Integration Packs as well as look at Orchestrator as the hub of the System Center 2012 suite and the benefits the new web service brings, along with a list of resources for further learning.
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Paul Schnackenburg

Paul Schnackenburg works part time as an IT teacher as well as running his own business in Australia. He has MCSE, MCT, MCTS and MCITP certifications. Follow his blog TellITasITis.
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Extending Orchestrator 2012 ^

When the standard activities aren’t enough to accomplish the automation you need, the next step is to turn to Integration Packs (IP). Currently there are IPs available from Microsoft for the System Center 2012 suite as well as for earlier SC versions, there is also IPs for HP iLO hardware and HP Operations and Service Manager; IBM Tivoli and VMware vSphere. There are also community IPs available on TechNet Gallery and Codeplex for various tasks (see resources). Configuration management tools such as Remedy and CA are also slated to have integration packs. Today there are also community IPs for SharePoint and VMware’s vSphere but I would expect more IPs, from Microsoft, third parties and the community to be published as SC 2012 gains market share.

System Center Orchestrator 2012 RTM Deployment Manager

Extending Orchestrator with IPs involves several steps: download the IP(s), register them using the Deployment Manager and then deploy them to the relevant Runbook servers. Finally they need to be configured using the Runbook Designer.

Orchestrator 2012 – the glue in System Center 2012 ^

Orchestrator is at the center of the System Center suite – bringing what are essentially separate islands of data and functionality together to work in unison. For proof you need to look no further than the recently added Unified Installer which is an Orchestrator Runbook that automates (to a degree) the installation of all the other components of the SC suite.

Another benefit Orchestrator has over Opalis is the introduction of monitor activities, Opalis used polling monitors that were constantly checking for activity to see if a runbook should be started, with the tighter integration in SC 2012; other parts of the SC suite (particularly SCSM) can notify Orchestrator and initiate runbooks.

System Center Orchestrator2012 -SCVMM Activities in IP

The amount of control that Orchestrator runbooks can exert over the other SC 2012 suite programs is remarkable, on the right hand side you can see a few of the activities that are available for SCVMM 2012.

The new Web service – Orchestrator’s secret weapon? ^

The authoring experience and how you work with Orchestrator is virtually unchanged from Opalis; in contrast the new feature is the Orchestrator web service. This exposes the functionality of Orchestrator through an OData / REST based interface and lets other programs see and use runbooks which may eventually lead to Orchestrator fading into the background and being the engine that orchestrates behind the scenes whilst being controlled by other applications.

Conclusion ^

System Center 2012 is a major revamp of the whole suite, and whilst the components are still separate, Orchestrator and the SC 2012 IPs bring them closer than ever before. For this reason alone, adding Orchestrator to your list of must have skills for the future is a good idea but when you take into account the extensive reach of Orchestrator to automate across many other disparate systems my conclusion is that getting the hang of it is crucial for the future.

Playing with Orchestrator 2012 is a lot of fun, and I must say that the visual part of me is certainly picking up how to do things quicker than when struggling in the light blue sea of PowerShell.

Resources ^

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