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Published Data

Updated: November 1, 2013

Applies To: System Center 2012 - Orchestrator, System Center 2012 R2 Orchestrator, System Center 2012 SP1 - Orchestrator

Published Data lets an activity use information from another activity in the same runbook. Each activity has a specific set of Published Data items that it populates after it runs. Any other activity that runs after it in the workflow has access to this data. In addition to data specific to each activity, all activities publish a common set of data items that provide information such as the start and stop time of the activity and its completion status. Link conditions also use Published Data to add filtering and decision-making capabilities to runbooks.

For example, the runbook might use a Read Line activity to get information from a text file. A Send Email activity later in the runbook has to use the information to include in the text of its mail. The Send Email activity could use the Line Text Published Data item from the Read Line activity to include in its mail message.

Data Types

The following table describes the categories of Published Data value types.

 

Published Data value type Description

String value

Text, for example, an error message description.

Date value

Date and time information. For example, the date and time that a specific error occurred.

Number value

Numeric information. For example, the number of rows returned by a database query.

Boolean value

true or false. For example, command completed.

Date and time characteristics

Activity Start Time and Activity End Time data is saved to the databus in two fields. These formats are local time and Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), both in ISO 8601 format. By using UTC, runbooks can run in either a non-locale-specific or a non-time-zone-specific context. Only Published Data that is saved to the databus provide date and time information in UTC with ISO 8601 formatting.

The date and time values displayed in the Runbook Designer and the Orchestration console, including, but not limited to the Log History, Audit History, and Events respect the locale date and time format configured for your computer.

Published Data with multi-value types

When an activity in a runbook runs, it runs one time for each item of data that the previous activity produced. For example, the Query Database activity runs and retrieves three rows from the database. These three rows of data cause the next activity to run three times, one time for each row returned. This next activity does not have to subscribe to the data for this action to occur.

An activity can also retrieve information from an outside source. The Get activities and Monitor activities demonstrate this behavior. Data output from an activity might be a list of computers for example. Data can be passed on as multiple individual outputs, which invoke the next activity as many times as there are items in the output.

You also have the option of passing on data as a single output. For information about how to configure Published Data with multiple values, see Common Activity Properties.

Adding Returned Data to Activity Configurations

When an activity has subscribed to Published Data, a placeholder is inserted where the value of the data will be added. An activity can only subscribe to Published Data from a previous activity in the workflow.

Use the following procedures to add Published Data to an activity, to change the Published Data subscription, and to copy and paste Published Data items.

To subscribe to Published Data of an earlier activity in the workflow

  1. Right-click an activity from your runbook to select Properties, and then click the Details tab to open the activity’s properties dialog box.

  2. To open a menu, in the text box, right-click to select Subscribe, and then click Published Data to open the Published Data dialog box.

  3. In the Activity list, select the activity that returns the data that you want to subscribe to. By default, the dialog box only displays Published Data that is specific to that activity. To include Published Data that is common to all activities, click Show common Published Data.

  4. Select the Published Data item that you want to use, and then click OK.

To change the Published Data subscription

  1. In the text box, click the data placeholder to open the Published Data dialog box.

  2. In the Activity list, click the activity that returns the data that you want to subscribe to. By default, the dialog box only displays Published Data that is specific to that activity. To include Published Data that is common to all activities, click Show common Published Data.

  3. Click the Published Data item that you want to use, and then click OK. The Published Data placeholder changes to reflect the new activity and Published Data that you selected.

To copy and paste Published Data items

  1. Find a Published Data item that has already been inserted into a box in the Properties dialog box of an activity.

  2. Select the Published Data item that you want to copy.

  3. Use the keyboard shortcut CTRL+C, or right-click the selected item, and then click Copy.

  4. Open the Properties dialog box to which you want to copy the Published Data item.

  5. Place your cursor where you want the Published Data item to appear and use the keyboard shortcut, CTRL+V, or right-click the insertion point, and then click Paste. The Published Data item appears.

Transforming Published Data Items

You might have to modify text from a Published Data activity before you use it in another activity. For example, you might have to remove a portion of the text or replace it with another string. You can transform the existing Published Data content or variable items into new content according to rules that you specify by using the Map Published Data activity.

Common Published Data

The following table describes the Published Data items common to all activities.

 

Name Description

Activity ID

The unique identifier of the activity. For example, {4BD3F27A-8F1B-4F60-8245-F69469075EF1}.

Activity name

The name of the activity as it appears in the workspace. If you customize the name of an activity in the workspace, the customized name appears here.

Activity Process ID

The process ID of the job process where the activity runs.

Activity status

The result status of running the activity, for example, Success.

Activity type

The default name of the activity. It does not change from the default even if you rename the activity in the workspace, and it can be useful in identifying an activity in runbooks where activity names and display icons have been changed.

Error summary text

A summary of the error information that the activity returns.

Runbook name

The name of the runbook.

Runbook Process ID

The process ID of the runbook module’s executable program that is running on the runbook server.

The job process contains the logic for the activity. It is started when the runbook server starts the runbook, and it is stopped when the runbook is stopped. Each runbook runs in its own job process executable program.

Server name

The name of the runbook server where the runbook is running.

Activity duration

The total time that the activity was running.

Activity end time

The time when the activity finished.

Activity end time (year)

The year when the activity finished.

Activity end time (month)

The month when the activity finished.

Activity end time (day)

The day when the activity finished.

Activity end time (weekday)

The day of the week when the activity finished.

Activity end time (hours)

The hour when the activity finished.

Activity end time (minutes)

The number of minutes past the hour when the activity finished.

Activity end time (seconds)

The number of seconds past the minute when the activity finished.

Activity end time in UTC

The time when the activity finished in UTC format.

Activity end time in UTC (year)

The year when the activity finished in UTC format.

Activity end time in UTC (month)

The month when the activity finished in UTC format.

Activity end time in UTC (day)

The day when the activity finished in UTC format.

Activity end time in UTC (weekday)

The day of the week when the activity finished in UTC format.

Activity end time in UTC (hours)

The hour when the activity finished in UTC format.

Activity end time in UTC (minutes)

The number of minutes past the hour when the activity finished in UTC format.

Activity end time in UTC (seconds)

The number of seconds past the minute when the activity finished in UTC format.

Activity start time

The time when the activity started.

Activity start time in UTC

The time when the activity started in UTC format.

Loop: Delay between attempts

The amount of time (in seconds) between each loop attempt.

Loop: Enabled

The setting that determines whether per-activity looping is enabled for the activity.

Loop: Loop error message

The error message if the loop is not successful.

Loop: Number of attempts

The number of iterations that the loop has been through.

The name of the runbook to which that the activity belongs.

Loop: Total duration

The total amount of time (in seconds) that the looped activity ran.

See Also

Other Resources

Building a Runbook

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For additional resources, see Information and Support for System Center 2012.

Tip: Use this query to find online documentation in the TechNet Library for System Center 2012. For instructions and examples, see Search the System Center 2012 Documentation Library.
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