Friday, June 14, 2013

Flatten Multi-Valued Published Data - Part 1

This will probably be a two-part post.

I recently made some enhancements to one of my scripts to take flattened published data and format it so that it's readable (while still flattened).

A little background where this might apply....

If you have many data values that need to be emailed out, it's not likely that you want to send an email for each value.  Ideally, all of the values (filenames, database fields, etc.) would be emailed in a readable format in one email.

I most often use this PowerShell script immediately after a Query Database activity that has published data flattened seperated by "__%__" (without quotes).  The Query Database activity would read multiple rows from a database that meet specified criteria.  This particular example uses the Standard Logging IP by Charles Joy.

The published data passed into the Run .Net Script is the "Full line as string with fields separated by ';'".

Ex. Table Query Results:

Ex. Full line as string.... flattened with __%__ Published Data (not very pretty!)

6/14/2013 3:46:02 PM;3 - Failure;Server4;ActivityName:  Copy File From A to B;ErrorSummary:  Access Denied__%__6/14/2013 3:44:25 PM;3 - Failure;Server3;ActivityName:  Copy File From A to B;ErrorSummary:  File Does Not Exist__%__6/14/2013 3:42:07 PM;4 - Completed;Server2;Copy Completed;__%__6/14/2013 3:41:05 PM;4 - Completed;Server1;Copy Completed;

Posh Script to get the published data:

The Run .Net Script activity also has the published data flattened, but with line breaks.  The table variable would then be sent in the email.

6/14/2013 3:46:02 PM
3 - Failure
ActivityName:  Copy File From A to B
ErrorSummary:  Access Denied

6/14/2013 3:44:25 PM
3 - Failure
ActivityName:  Copy File From A to B
ErrorSummary:  File Does Not Exist

6/14/2013 3:42:07 PM
4 - Completed
Copy Completed

6/14/2013 3:41:05 PM
4 - Completed
Copy Completed

$table = @()

$RawFailures = @'
<Published Data seperated by __%__>

$Regex = [regex] '/*__%__'
$Failures = $Regex.Split("$RawFailures")
ForEach($Data in $Failures)
    If ($Data.Split(";")[0].Length -ne 0) {
    $Field1 = $Data.Split(";")[0]}
    Else {$Field1 = $null}
    If ($Data.Split(";")[1].Length -ne 0) {
    $Field2 = $Data.Split(";")[1]}
    Else {$Field2 = $null}
    If ($Data.Split(";")[2].Length -ne 0) {
    $Field3= $Data.Split(";")[2]}
    Else {$Field3 = $null}
    If ($Data.Split(";")[3].Length -ne 0) {
    $Field4= $Data.Split(";")[3]}
    Else {$Field4 = $null}
    If ($Data.Split(";")[4].Length -ne 0) {
    $Field5= $Data.Split(";")[4]}
    Else {$Field5 = $null}

    IF ($Data.Length -ne 0) {
    $table += $Field1, $Field2, $Field3, $Field4, $Field5, ""
$table = @($table | Where-Object {$_ -ne $null})

Friday, April 26, 2013

Schedule Activity: First Business Day of the Month

Maybe this is more straightforward than I originally thought it was....sometimes I tend to over think and complicate things than they actually are.  So just in case someone else finds this helpful.... :)

I recently got a request for a workflow to run on the 1st calendar day of the month or first business day if the 1st fell on a weekend.  I first though that it wasn't possible to do with the native scheduling and PowerShell was needed.  After I wrote up a Posh script to do the heavy lifting, it dawned on me how to use the native schedule activity.  It's not as straight forward as using the script, but does work.

Orchestrator's built-in schedule activity supports two options:
1)  Specifying the calendar day(s) of the month to run

2)  Specifying the week day to run

Here is the "main" runbook for the schedule that will invoke the rest of the workflow.  It requires four different schedule activities to accomplish the logic.  Each of the following links (green) have the logic "confirms to schedule equal to true".

Here is the PowerShell script to accomplish the same schedule result.  The "$Success" variable would be in the Published Data to use in the link logic to continue or not if Success equals true.

$DayOfWeek = [DateTime]::Now.DayOfWeek
$DayOfMonth = [DateTime]::Now.Day

If (  (($dayOfMonth -eq 1) -and ($dayOfWeek -ge [DayOfWeek]::Monday) -and ($dayOfWeek -le [DayOfWeek]::Friday)) -or ((($dayOfMonth -eq 2) -or ($dayOfMonth -eq 3)) -and ($dayOfWeek -eq [DayOfWeek]::Monday))  )
    $Success = $true   
Else {
    $Success = $false

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Orchestrator and Excel Automation

I figured I'd throw this out here in case anyone is looking to automate Excel tasks through Orchestrator and PowerShell and running into issues.  I was tasked with modifying an Excel file (removing worksheets and saving as a csv file) in SCOrch as part of a workflow prior to processing the file.

I used the PowerShell script below in the Run .Net Script activity.

#Remove Worksheets
$objExcel = new-object -Com Excel.Application
$xlFixedFormat = [Microsoft.Office.Interop.Excel.XlFileFormat]::xlWorkbookDefault
$objExcel.Visible = $false
$objExcel.displayalerts = $false
$objWorkbook = $objExcel.Workbooks.Open("\\PathtoMyFile\MyFile.xlsx")
$objWorksheets = $objWorkbook.Worksheets | Where {($_.Name -ne "Data")}
If ($objWorksheets) {
    ForEach ($objWorksheet in $objWorksheets) {
Remove-Variable objExcel
Remove-Variable objWorkbook

Running this script manually on the runbook server worked fine and as expected.  However, running the script in SCOrch throws the following error (or similar error with opening the file).

Exception calling "Open" with "1" argument(s): "Microsoft Excel cannot access the file '\\PathtoMyFile\MyFile.xlsx'. There are several possible reasons:

• The file name or path does not exist.
• The file is being used by another program.
• The workbook you are trying to save has the same name as a currently open workbook."

To solve this issue, create an empty folder called "Desktop" under the systemprofile folder as shown below:


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Orchestrator 2012 Web Service Request Issue

I've started running into an issue w/ external requests to start a runbook via the web service.  I'm interested to see if others are experiencing the same issue.

It seems sporadically that requests coming in (w/ or w/o parameters) will fail and the web service will return a 405 (Method Not Allowed) status code with the response.  Trying the same request again moments later would succeed.

Turning on Failed Request Tracing (FRT) in IIS for the "Microsoft System Center 2012 Orchestrator Web Service" will reveal more details w/ the error. 

From the site highlighted in IIS, you can enable FRT from the Actions pane.  After FRT is enabled, you can create the rule to capture specific status codes (400,404,405,500 in the example below).

After the issue occurs and the request fails w/ a code of 405, a log file will be generated in the following folder if you accepted the default path - C:\inetpub\logs\FailedReqLogFiles\W3SVC2.  Towards the bottom of the log file, you'll find this error information:

<Data Name="Buffer">&lt;?xml version=&quot;1.0&quot; encoding=&quot;utf-8&quot; standalone=&quot;yes&quot;?&gt;
&lt;error xmlns=&quot;;&gt;
  &lt;message xml:lang=&quot;en-US&quot;&gt;The requested operation requires Publish permissions on the Runbook&lt;/message&gt;

This appears to be a bogus error since sending the same request again will succeed using the same credentials.

After a little more digging, the error occurring seems to correlate w/ the ClearAuthorizationCache maintenance task in the SQL database.  Since this task computes/populates the folders, runbooks, and theoretically make sense that while that task is running, incoming requests would fail since it thinks the user does not have permissions to the runbook (when it does!).  This could technically also affect requests being sent through the Orchestration Console to stop/start jobs.  By default, this task runs every 600 seconds (10 minutes).  I'm not sure of the duration it takes for the ClearAuthorizationCache task to complete, but it would depend on how much data there is to process (# of runbooks, folders, etc. in the environment).

If you have seen or do experience similar issues, I'd appreciate if you left a comment.  I also suggest opening a case w/ Microsoft to determine if this is a general product issue.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Orchestrator 2012 - Daylight Savings Time Scheduling Issue

I'm running a little behind on this post as Daylight Savings Time here in the US was back on Sunday, November 4.  For ease of example, all dates/times will reference the schedule for Daylight Savings in the United States.

There is an issue with scheduling Runbooks that start with the Monitor Date/Time activity during DST.

Daylight Saving Time (United States) 2012 began at 2:00 AM on Sunday, March 11.  At this time, 
the clocks would be moved ahead one hour to 3:00 AM.
  • This means any Runbooks scheduled to run between the hours of  2:00 AM - 3:00 AM would be skipped entirely.

Daylight Saving Time (United States) 2012 ended at 2:00 AM on Sunday, November 4.  At this time, 
the clocks would be moved back one hour to 1:00 AM.
  • This means any Runbooks schedule to run between the hours of 1:00 AM - 2:00 AM would run twice.

Depending on what the runbooks are executing, this could cause major issues and/or unscheduled downtime. It would also suggest Runbooks that are not set on an hourly interval (i.e. once daily) be scheduled outside of the hours of 1:00 AM - 3:00 AM to avoid any interruptions.  Unless you throw an exception into the schedule to work around the timing that the clocks are changed.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Orchestrator Runbook Migrations - Invoke by path Property

****The following process is not supported by Microsoft!  This directly updates data in the Orchestrator database!  Use at your own risk!****

While migrating policies from Opalis to Orchestrator or between Orchestrator environments, you may run into the issue where Invoke Runbook activities magically get updated w/ the "Invoke by path" property set to True (or checked).

This occurs when a runbook targets another runbook that was not included in the export file.  Orchestrator attempts to keep the relationship chain by specifying the path to the target runbook since the runbook id guid is no longer valid.

To find all active Invoke Runbook activities that have this property set to true, you can execute the following SQL query to identify them.

The first query will group the target runbooks so you know how many are affected (we'll use these individual values later....).

Select TRIGGER_POLICY.PolicyPath AS TargetRunbookPath
Where TRIGGER_POLICY.TriggerByPolicyPath != 0 and OBJECTS.Deleted != 1 and POLICIES.Deleted != 1
Group By TRIGGER_POLICY.PolicyPath
Order By TRIGGER_POLICY.PolicyPath

Select POLICIES.UniqueID, POLICIES.Name AS SourceRunbook, TRIGGER_POLICY.PolicyObjectID AS TargetRunbookID, TRIGGER_POLICY.PolicyPath AS TargetRunbookPath, TRIGGER_POLICY.TriggerByPolicyPath, TRIGGER_POLICY.TargetActionServers
Where TRIGGER_POLICY.TriggerByPolicyPath != 0 and OBJECTS.Deleted != 1 and POLICIES.Deleted != 1
Order By TRIGGER_POLICY.PolicyPath

Now if you have a loooot of individual activities that have this property set (shown from the 2nd query above), you can update to update them by target runbook in mass rather than tediously going to each and every activity and updating the target runbook, unchecking the invoke by path property, and updating any parameters if applicable.

From the first query above, you can copy the target runbook name and paste it into the highlighted section below.

**Note the query below will only SELECT the rows that will be ultimately updated.  You'll need to comment out the 'Select' line and remove the comments from the 'Update', and two Set cmds.

Declare @TargetPath varchar(250)
Declare @UpdatedID varchar(250)

Set @TargetPath = 'Policies\Path_To_Runbook'
Set @UpdatedID = (Select '{' + CAST(Resources.UniqueId as varchar(250)) + '}'
    From [Microsoft.SystemCenter.Orchestrator.Internal].Resources AS Resources
    Where Resources.Path = SUBSTRING(@TargetPath,CHARINDEX('\Globals',@TargetPath,0),len(@TargetPath)))

Select POLICIES.UniqueID, POLICIES.Name, @UpdatedID, TRIGGER_POLICY.PolicyPath, TRIGGER_POLICY.TriggerByPolicyPath
--Set TRIGGER_POLICY.PolicyObjectID = @UpdatedID
--    ,TRIGGER_POLICY.TriggerByPolicyPath = 0
Where TRIGGER_POLICY.TriggerByPolicyPath != 0 and OBJECTS.Deleted != 1 and POLICIES.Deleted != 1 and TRIGGER_POLICY.PolicyPath = @TargetPath

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Run .NET Script: Catching PowerShell Output Into the Current Session

Here is a handy tip for catching PowerShell output into a variable as Published Data.

There are often times you need to execute a cmd within PowerShell that creates output in the cmd's output, but not PowerShell.

I came across a similar issue on the technet forums.

For example....

Running w/ PowerShell in the Run .NET Script activity cannot catch the output of the winrs cmd.  Even w/ adding the $Output = ... and adding the Output variable to published data.

$Output = winrs -r:server_name -u:server_name\administrator -p password net localgroup Administrators Domain\User /ADD

This will result in the Output variable in the published data being empty.

The trick is simply adding "2>&1" (without quotes) at the end of the cmd.  So the complete command would look like this.

 $Output = winrs -r:server_name -u:server_name\administrator -p password net localgroup Administrators Domain\User /ADD 2>&1

This will result in the $Output variable catching the result from winrs into the published data.  Also note, you may have to Flatten the data since the result may end up in multiple lines.

Here is a link that explains different methods for catching output in PowerShell.