Orchestrator and wheel reinvention

One of the most common questions that seems to come up on the System Center Orchestrator Community Evaluation Program (CEP) calls is “when will we get an integration pack or a task that does X”. Adam Hall, the Orchestrator mentioned as a response that while integration packs did provide simple tools for creating Runbook automation, Orchestrator itself, with its included activities, actually allowed you to already configure a lot of products to do what you wanted them to do.

For example, one of the attendees asked why there wasn’t a folder copy task amongst the list of standard tasks that could be added to a Runbook. The answer was straightforward and simple – instead of having a separate activity devoted purely to the copying of folders, use the Run Program activity to execute the robocopy.exe command line utility.

Part of the elegance of Orchestrator is that it doesn’t reinvent the wheel. Robocopy.exe has a plethora of options. Rather than come up with a task item that include some way of copying files and folders, but only includes a tenth of the options robocopy.exe has, use the Run Program item to leverage an awesome pre-existing tool to accomplish what you want through the Runbook designer. The activities that ship with Orchestrator allow you to run Programs, commands, .NET scripts, SSH commands, and PowerShell scripts. Although it’s a lot easier to use an activity from an IP, pretty much everything you need to get automation going is already included out of the box.



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