System Center 2012 SP1 – Orchestrator: Sample Runbook Publishing

In the last post (“System Center 2012 SP1 – Orchestrator: Sample Runbook Creation“), we completed the first step in implementing a sample solution by designing and testing a simple runbook to create a user account and automatically adding this account to a group in AD for us. Today we will address the second part of the objective, in System Center 2012 SP1 – Orchestrator, which is to publish the runbook so that it is available to be used by our HR team, thus eliminating the requirement for IT to be involved in the setup of new accounts, and taking advantage of automation.

System Center 2012 SP1 – Orchestrator and Connecting to EUPSCO

As we do not yet have a System Center Service Manager deployment in place, we will utilize the free End User Portal for System Center Orchestrator (EUPSCO), which we previously covered (“System Center 2012 SP1 – Orchestrator: EUPSCO Installation“). So, get EUPSCO installed and let’s get started. (The download link can be found in the EUPSCO link above.) Launch your browser and connect to your EUPSCO site as an Administrator.

  • From the Menu options presented on the left of the page, select the option Services.
  • On the Services page, click on New to have the page update with new fields.
  • Starting in the Service Details section, we can provide some descriptive information for our new service offering. In the Name field, type a suitable name, for example, “Add new Employee.”
  • In the Description field, again provide suitable text, for example, “Enroll a new employee to our environment, and automatically provision default services.”
  • Next, click on the Runbooks section to expand its available choices. In the field New request runbook, click the blank text area. A context menu will appear, representing your runbook and folder structure in Orchestrator. Navigate until you locate and select your runbook, e.g. 1. Create AD User
  • The section Questions will now contain both of our parameters.
    • Under the first parameter: Firstname
      • Set the Question to Employees First Name.
      • Set the Type as Text.
      • Set the required check as enabled.
      • In the validation regular expression we can leave it blank or use a simple RegEx for characters, no spaces, and limit between 1 and 12 characters, for example: ^[a-zA-Z0-9_]{1,12}$
      • In the validation message, I am using “1 to 12 Alpha Numerical Characters or Underscore Only.”
      • Set the Order to 1.
    • Under the second parameter: Surname
      • Repeat the process for the first name, adjusting your question and if necessary your validation expression.
      • Set the Order to 2.
  • Now click Save to Save our new service.

That was painless!

Testing the Service

Now, from the home page of the EUPSCO portal or the left-hand menu, select Start a request. The portal will then update with three steps to complete the exercise.

System Center 2012 SP1 - Orchestrator: Sample Runbook Publishing EUPSCO

  • Select the user on whose behalf you are executing the service.
    • By default there is only one user (“Myself”), so simply click this user for it to be automatically moved under the heading Selected Users then click Next.
  • On the second page you will see a list of all the services that are available for the user we just selected. As this is our first and only service, you should now see its entry.
  • Click the service Add New Employee and it will move under the heading Selected Services. Then click Next.
  • On the final page, we are offered the questions which we defined. In both fields, you must supply valid information; failure to do so will result in a red warning text appearing in the left pane when you click Submit.

Assuming no additional issues, you should see a green box floating in the left pane for a few moments stating that it is now starting the runbook. After a few moments the portal will return you back to the home page.

Check for Validation

Congratulation, you have now called your runbook from the portal, and – assuming no errors – automated the process of creating user accounts.

To verify that everything has indeed worked as planned, you can of course check the OU in AD for the new account, and that the account is indeed a member of the designated group. But we can also check some information from the portal. Here’s how.

Select the option My Requests from the home page, or left-hand menu area.

  • From the list of tabs, select History.
  • In the presented grid, the newest service will be presented on the top of the list, with the JobStatus hidden behind an information icon.
  • Click the information icon to reveal the job status; hopefully it’ll read as Completed [success].

Well, that’s all there is to it, now you should go ahead and start to customise your runbook further and add lots more automation options. I am looking forward to seeing your comments!