Online Orchestrator Clinic

The Windows Management User Group ( – @WMUG presents the August 2014 Clinic in which System Center Orchestrator will be discussed with Sam Erskine (@samerskine) and a team of Orchestrator Guru’s. The team includes: Steve Beaumont (MVP) – @StevybSC Dieter Gasser – @DiGaBlog Steve Buchanan (MVP) – @Buchatech Andreas Baumgarten (MVP) – @ABaumgarten Sam Erskine … Read more

Microsoft Private & Public Cloud Poster

On August 1st Microsoft released a new Cloud Ecosystem poster. Microsoft has a great Public and Private cloud story. With Microsoft technologies On-premises and public Azure and other Microsoft public cloud technologies such as Intune are really tied together. Microsoft Private and Public cloud consist of Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2 and … Read more

Free Hyper-V and System Center Training from MVA

More free training coming soon on Hyper-V and System Center from Microsoft Virtual Academy ( This is going to be one event you don’t want to miss. I am also happy to announce I(@Buchatech) will also be a part of this event answering questions during the System Center 2012 R2 Datacenter session. Here is the … Read more

Launch a Runbook from a Service Manager Console Task

I recently ran across the question of “How Can I Launch a Runbook from a Console Task?” in this forum thread: .

I started thinking about how this could be useful in certain scenarios and how this would work. I decided to figure this out and blog about it so here it is. First you will need a tool that can connect to Orchestrators web service and start runbooks. There is such a tool called Orchestrator Remote Tools 2.51.

With this tool you also have the ability to discover information about runbooks on an Orchestrator server, pass parameters to the tool and see the status on if the runbook started successfully or failed. This tool has a GUI and command line interface.

This tool only discovers runbooks that have an “Initialize Data” activity. This tool launches runbooks looking to a generated .XML template with information about the runbook or it can launch runbooks directly without the XML template file (CLI mode only). for The tool consists of three components:

  1. UI Generator (ORTUIGenerator.exe): This is what discovers all your runbooks and allows you to browse them. You also use this component to generate the XML template files.
  2. Remote Runbook Launcher (ORTRunbookLauncher.exe): Is the graphical way to launch runbooks.
  3. Remote Runbook Launcher CLI (ORTRunbookLauncherCLI.exe): Is the command line way to launch runbooks.

You can learn more about the tool here:

It can be downloaded here:

Let’s work with the tool to prepare for using it with Service Manager. Create a share on your Service Manager management server. This can be something like \\SMSERVER\ORT\.

Copy the Orchestrator Remote Tools into it. You should have the following:


Now click on ORTUIGenerator.exe . You will see this popup message:


Click OK. This is telling you it is the first time you have run the tool and you need to put in your Orchestrator settings.

You will see the following window and will need to complete all the fields.

NOTE: Once you put in the data base server it will automatically pull in the Orchestrator database. If your SCORCH DB is not named Orchestrator you will be able to click the drop down and select it.

Click Save when you are done. Clicking Save will create a Config.xml file in your ORT directory.


Now the UI Generator window will pop up. This is the window you use to generate the .XML template file.

On the left hand side you are able to browse through the discovered runbooks. Keep in mind it only finds runbooks that have an “Initialize Data” activity. To configure the template for a runbook browse to it on the right hand side, select it and click the “Get details for the selected runbook” button. It will then expose the settings of the “Initialize Data” activity for the runbook on the right hand side. Here is where you can configure values for the parameters and give the runbook a description for those that will be running it. Note you are not required to configure values for the parameters. When you are ready to generate the .XML template click on the “Create Runbook Launcher configuration file” button.


You should now have a policy_template.xml in your ORT directory. By default when you run ORTRunbookLauncher.exe or ORTRunbookLauncherCLI.exe the policy_template.xml will be used allowing you to only have settings for one runbook at a time. You can elect to use another file by using the /ORTXML switch. What this does is allows you to store multiple XML templates in the same directory by different names and launch the specific one you want.

The /ORTXML switch only works using ORTRunbookLauncherCLI.exe as it is passed as a parameter. Another way around this if you are stuck on using the GUI component is to create multiple folders and put the exe’s, config file in each folder as it will have its own policy_template.xml file. That however could become a nightmare to manage and requires more space. I recommend using the /ORTXML switch.

Let’s look at the GUI component. In the ORT folder launch ORTRunbookLauncher.exe. The Runbook Launcher window will pop up. It should look similar to the following screenshot.

Input the parameters and click “Start Runbook” button.


It is that easy to remotely launch a runbook using this tool. Using the ORTRunbookLauncherCLI.exe is basically doing the same thing except it is running from a command line allowing you to pass in the values for the parameters right in the command. The syntax for starting a runbook using the ORTRunbookLauncherCLI.exe would look like this:

ORTRunbookLauncherCLI.exe /LastName=Sinatra /Location=”Building 45″ /Department=Sales /Title=”VP of Sales” /FirstName=Frank /SamAccount=Franks /”Reporting To”=”John Adams”


NOTE: If the parameters’ names or values have spaces, you need to enclose them using double quotes.


Ok, so now let’s combine the tool with Service Manager and its CMDB. Think about all the possibilities. There are a lot of useful scenarios in which these two could be utilized. A couple of possibilities I can think of off the top of my head are: Pass a user from Service Managers CMDB to this tool as a parameter and have a runbook disable a user in AD, pick up a computer from the CMDB pass it as a parameter to a runbook and move the computer from one OU to another in AD.

I don’t see this tool as a replacement for using Runbooks with Service Requests in Service Manager. I see this as more of a way to give the administrative team a quick and easy way to launch runbooks without ever leaving the Service Manager console.

Let’s look at how we can bring the Orchestrator Remote Tools and Service Manager together, create a console task and accomplish a task.

For this blog post we are going to use a very simple disable user runbook. To do this we need to create a console task using the ORT tool. Use the following steps to do this:

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System Center Universe Jedi finalists

Earlier this week System Center Universe announced the 3 finalists for the SCU Jedi contest. If you don’t know what the contest is here is the description for it: System Center Universe has a contest to give one lucky presenter the opportunity to present at the next System Center Universe conference. This lucky presenter will … Read more

New System Center 2012 Orchestrator Book!

Another great System Center has been published by three solid authors Sam Erskine, MVP Andreas Baumgarten, and  Steve Beaumont. This book is written in a practical, cookbook style with numerous chapters and recipes focusing on creating runbooks to automate mission-critical and everyday administration tasks. Overview of the book: Microsoft System Center Orchestrator 2012 simplifies the … Read more

Integration points for System Center SP1

Microsoft recently update the Integration points for System Center map for Service Pack 1. The map is a diagram that illustrates the integration points between all the technologies in the System Center stack. Here is what the map looks like:   This can be downloaded here:

New System Center book & SC troubleshooting tool

This is an exciting week for System Center. First there is a new tool released by Microsoft called System Center 2012 SP1 Configuration Analyzer (SCCA). The System Center 2012 SP1 Configuration Analyzer works these System Center products in the stack:   Operations Manager Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) Service Manager Orchestrator (plus Service Provider Foundation) Configuration … Read more

MCSE: Private Cloud Certification

I am happy to announce that today I passed the final exam to obtain the MCSE: Private Cloud certification.   I was able to upgrade from the MCITP: Server Administrator requiring me to only pass two exams. Out of the 70-246 Private Cloud Monitoring and Operations with System Center 2012 and 70-247 Private Cloud Configuration … Read more