VMware vSphere Activities

Updated: November 1, 2013

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

This integration pack adds the VMware vSphere category to the Activities pane in the Runbook Designer. This category contains the following activities:

Common Configuration Instructions for All Activities

The following configuration instructions apply to all activities in this integration pack. Links to this section are included in the configuration instructions for each activity.

Activity Properties

Each activity has a set of required or optional properties that define the configuration of that activity. This includes how it connects to other activities or how the activity performs its actions. You can view or modify activity properties when the activity is placed in the runbook window.

To configure the properties for an activity

  1. Double-click the activity. Alternatively, you can right-click the activity, and then click Properties.

  2. To save your configuration entries, click Finish.

In the activity properties dialog box, several tabs along the left side provide access to general and specific settings for the activity. Although the number of available tabs for activity properties differs from activity to activity, all activities will have a General tab, a Properties tab, and a Run Behavior tab. Some activities may have additional tabs.

General Tab

This tab contains the Name and Description properties for the activity. By default, the Name of the activity is the same as its activity type, and the Description is blank. You can modify these properties to create more descriptive names or provide detailed descriptions of the actions of the activity.

Properties Tab

This tab contains properties that are specific to the activity.

All activities in this integration pack have the Configuration property at the top of the Properties tab. This property is used to specify the connection to the VMware vSphere vCenter server.

To configure the Configuration property

  • Click the ellipsis (…) button next to the Name field, and then select the applicable connection name.

Filter Behavior

The Monitor and Get activities use filters to determine the values that will invoke a runbook or retrieve activities. Property values of potential candidates are compared to the values of the filters to determine if they meet the criteria. When matching against values, you select one of the available methods of comparison. An option is provided to either match or not match the filter using each method. For example, the "Does not" version of a method causes alerts that do not match the filter to invoke the runbook.

  • Equals: the property of the alert exactly matches the text or number specified in the filter.

  • Does not equal: the property of the alert does not exactly match the text or number specified in the filter.

  • Contains: the property of the alert contains the exact text specified in the filter. Unlike the Equals behavior, there can be other text surrounding the matching text.

  • Does not contain: the property of the alert does not contain the exact text specified in the filter. Unlike the Equals behavior, there can be other text surrounding the matching text.

  • Matches pattern: use wildcards to specify a pattern that the text must match. The two wildcard values are the asterisk (*) and the question mark (?). The behavior of the wildcards is similar to the Command Prompt. The asterisk will match any number of characters, while the question mark will only match one character. For example, if you have a filter specified as "a*b", the pattern would match any text that has an "a" at the beginning and a "b" at the end. So, it will match "aab", "abbbbbb", and "abbcb", but it will not match "ba" or "abba". Using the question mark, if you have a filter specified as "a?b", the pattern will match any text that has an "a" at the beginning, any single character in the middle, and "b" at the end. So this filter will match "a b", "abb", and "aqb", but it will not match "abbb" or "ab".

  • Does not match pattern: use wildcards to specify a pattern that the text must not match.

  • Starts with: the property of the alert starts with the exact text specified in the filter.

  • Ends with: the property of the alert starts with the exact text specified in the filter.

Run Behavior Tab

This tab contains the properties that determine how the activity handles multi-value published data and what notifications will be sent if the activity fails or runs for an excessive period of time.

Multi-Value Published Data Behavior

The Get activities retrieve information from another activity or outside source, and can return one or more values in the published data. For example, when you use the Get Hosts activity, the data output from that activity will be a list of hosts managed by the vSphere server.

By default, the data from the Get activity will be passed on as multiple individual outputs. This triggers the next activity as many times as there are items in the output. Alternatively, you can provide a single output for the activity by enabling the Flatten option. When you enable this option, you also choose a formatting option:

  • Separate with line breaks. Each item is on a new line. This format is useful for creating human-readable text files for the output.

  • Separate with _ . Each item is separated by one or more characters of your choice.

  • Use CSV format. All items are in CSV (comma-separated value) format. This format is useful for importing data into spreadsheets or other applications.

The activity will produce a new set of data every time it runs. The Flatten feature does not flatten data across multiple instances of the same activity.

Event Notifications

Some activities are expected to take a limited amount of time to complete. If they do not complete within that time they may be stalled or there may be another issue preventing them from completing. You can define the number of seconds to wait for completion of the action. After this period a platform event will be sent and the issue will be reported. You can also choose whether to generate a platform event if the activity returns a failure.

To be notified when the activity takes longer than a specified time to run or fails to run

  1. In the Event Notifications box, enter the number of seconds of run time before a notification is generated.

  2. Select Report if activity fails to run to generate run failure notifications.

For more information see Activity Events.

Published Data

Published data is the foundation of a working runbook. It is the data produced as a result of the actions of an activity. This data is published to an internal data bus that is unique for each runbook. Subsequent activities in the workflow can subscribe to this data and use it in their configuration. Link conditions also use this information to add decision-making capabilities to policies.

An activity can only subscribe to published data from the activities that are linked before it in the runbook. You can use published data to automatically populate the property values needed by activities.

To use published data

  1. Right-click the property value box, click Subscribe, and then click Published Data.

  2. Click the Activity drop-down box and select the activity from which you want to obtain the data.

    To view additional data elements common to all policies, select Show Common Published Data.

  3. Click the data element that you want to use, and then click OK.

For a list of the data elements published by each activity, see the Published Data tables in the activity topic. For information about the Common Published Data items, see Common Published Data.