Book Image

Microsoft System Center Orchestrator 2012 R2 Essentials

By : Miguel Oliveira, Jeremy Pavleck
Book Image

Microsoft System Center Orchestrator 2012 R2 Essentials

By: Miguel Oliveira, Jeremy Pavleck

Overview of this book

Table of Contents (14 chapters)


In the IT administration world, there has always been a huge demand for quicker ways of doing more with less (either time or material). An IT admin is constantly confronted with requests that either become a routine task and end up increasing their workload, or are just requests that bring a bit more inertia to the daily administrative process by adding either another component to manage, or requests to approve moving forward by looking into another console to monitor in order to take action to move forward. With technology always evolving and becoming more dynamic, IT administration becomes more difficult and demanding, which leads to newer software, tool implementation that will possibly need operations and tasks to be performed on a daily basis and information to be processed and debugged at several levels, exhausting the IT personnel resources on these administrative tasks and, or recurring actions that derivate from all this.

Microsoft System Center Orchestrator 2012 R2 can bring added value and make the IT admin's life easier by cutting short recurrent actions and allowing the IT admin to be focused on other tasks while Orchestrator carries on with those recurrent tasks. We identify and orchestrate these tasks through a workflow in order to make it more autonomous and only intervene when the workflow is not able to work out the task in it.

What is Microsoft System Center Orchestrator 2012 R2?

Microsoft System Center Orchestrator (SCORCH or Orchestrator, from now on) is a workflow automation software that allows IT administrators to automate monitoring and deployment tasks. Orchestrator's tasks are actually Runbooks that are designed through a drag-and-drop user interface and then translates them into .NET, PowerShell, or SSH commands to automate the tasks defined. It is possible to manage various System Center components, as well as AD and other technologies through the use of Integration Packs and can also be used to automate tasks in other operating systems.

This product comes with the Microsoft System Center Suite product family, following a name change from Opalis, which was acquired by Microsoft in December 2009.

We can integrate Orchestrator with other technologies through the use of Integration Packs or by using the Integration Toolkit. We can also develop our own Integration Pack and allow another technology to be managed by our Orchestrator environment, as well as interact with Orchestrator through a web service.

What this book covers

This book covers the many aspects of Orchestrator 2012 R2, including a successful deployment, Runbook design, best practices, how and what to use to develop your own Integration Pack, as well as how to integrate existing ones.

Chapter 1, Configuring and Deploying Orchestrator 2012 R2, covers the infrastructure design aspect of Orchestrator 2012 R2 in a corporate environment, from a simple deployment with an all-in-one server to a more redundant and complex deployment, while we address the prerequisites, firewall ports, and other aspects of the configuration.

Chapter 2, Runbook Designer, focuses on the Runbook Designer. This will be the most used part for the IT administrator, creating the workflows and automatisms, and therefore, we'll address everything there is to know about the Runbook Designer component of Orchestrator 2012 R2.

Chapter 3, Orchestrator Integration Packs, covers the Orchestrator Integration Packs, how they work, and what they are, as well as importing some to our environment for the upcoming chapters.

Chapter 4, Extending Orchestrator, is all about how and where we'll address the Orchestrator capabilities of expansion and the services that surround it. We'll address, in more detail, the different ways that Orchestrator can be accessed and through which methods it can be extended in its capabilities. We'll also verify in more depth the best practices for these expansions, impacts, and troubleshooting scenarios.

Chapter 5, Runbook Examples, covers a series of sample Runbooks that are going to be explored and will serve as a base for you to create your own for the tasks you'll need to cover in your environment. The Runbooks that we're going to address at this point are going to be interconnected with their Integration Packs directly, therefore giving you a good understanding of how to work with them.

Chapter 6, Maintaining an Orchestrator Infrastructure, talks about maintenance being necessary to keep our Orchestrator happy and running. Troubleshooting will also be addressed, as well as backup and recovery.

What you need for this book

To follow this book and get yourself to expert pace, you'll need at least one server with System Center Orchestrator 2012 R2 and all the related technologies:

  • Microsoft Active Directory 2008 R2 or above

  • System Center Orchestrator 2012 R2

Who this book is for

The audience of this book is skilled IT professionals who work on a daily basis with Active Directory, System Center products, and manage the core of the Data Center infrastructure services and would like to improve or minimize their workload by implementing IT automation processes through Runbooks. It's expected you have a very good knowledge and be at ease with technical terminology, especially regarding those that directly concern Orchestrator such as Active Directory, SQL, IIS, PowerShell, and operating system.

The goal of this book is to give the reader a quick introduction to Orchestrator and take the reader's knowledge to the next level reaching expert level at designing, administering, and troubleshooting Orchestrator.


In this book, you will find a number of text styles that distinguish between different kinds of information. Here are some examples of these styles and an explanation of their meaning.

Code words in text, database table names, folder names, filenames, file extensions, pathnames, dummy URLs, user input, and Twitter handles are shown as follows: "In any case, you need to verify the installation logs; they will be under C:\Users\<USER>\AppData\Local\Microsoft System Center 2012\Orchestrator\Logs."

Any command-line input or output is written as follows:

Import-Module ServerManager
Add-WindowsFeature NET-Framework-Core –source D:\Sources\sxs

New terms and important words are shown in bold. Words that you see on the screen, for example, in menus or dialog boxes, appear in the text like this: " Select Install on the System Center 2012 R2 Orchestrator Setup section of the wizard."


Warnings or important notes appear in a box like this.


Tips and tricks appear like this.

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