Key Concepts of Workflows Workflows consist of a schema, attributes, and parameters. The workflow schema is the main component of a workflow as it defines all the workflow elements and the logical connections between them. The workflow attributes and parameters are the variables that workflows use to transfer data. Orchestrator saves a workflow token every time a workflow runs, recording the details of that specific run of the workflow.
Phases in the Workflow Development Process The process for developing a workflow involves a series of phases. You can follow a different sequence of phases or skip a phase, depending on the type of workflow that you are developing. For example, you can create a workflow without custom scripting.
Best Practices for Developing Workflows VMware recommends several best practices for developing Orchestrator workflows by multiple users and in a clustered environment.
Access Rights for the Orchestrator Client By default, only members of the Orchestrator administrator LDAP group can access the Orchestrator client.
Testing Workflows During Development You can test workflows at any point during the development process, even if you have not completed the workflow or included an end element.
Creating and Editing a Workflow You create workflows in the Orchestrator client and edit them in the workflow editor. The workflow editor is the IDE of the Orchestrator client for developing workflows.
Provide General Workflow Information You provide a workflow name and desription, define attributes and certain aspects of workflow behavior, set the version number, check the signature, and set user permissions in the General tab in the workflow editor.
Defining Attributes and Parameters After you create a workflow, you must define the global attributes, input parameters, and output parameters of the workflow.
Workflow Schema A workflow schema is a graphical representation of a workflow that shows the workflow as a flow diagram of interconnected workflow elements. The workflow schema defines the logical flow of a workflow.
Developing Plug-Ins Orchestrator allows integration with management and administration solutions through its open plug-in architecture. You use the Orchestrator client to run and create plug-in workflows and access the plug-in API.
Obtaining Input Parameters from Users When a Workflow Starts If a workflow requires input parameters, it opens a dialog box in which users enter the required input parameter values when it runs. You can organize the content and layout, or presentation, of this dialog box in Presentation tab in the workflow editor.
Requesting User Interactions While a Workflow Runs A workflow can sometimes require additional input parameters from an outside source while it runs. These input parameters can come from another application or workflow, or the user can provide them directly.
Calling Workflows Within Workflows Workflows can call on other workflows during their run. A workflow can start another workflow either because it requires the result of the other workflow as an input parameter for its own run, or it can start a workflow and let it continue its own run independently. Workflows can also start a workflow at a given time in the future, or start multiple workflows simultaneously.
Running a Workflow on a Selection of Objects You can automate repetitive tasks by running a workflow on a selection of objects. For example, you can create a workflow that takes a snapshot of all the virtual machines in a virtual machine folder, or you can create a workflow that powers off all the virtual machines on a given host.
Developing Long-Running Workflows A workflow in a waiting state consumes system resources because it constantly polls the object from which it requires a response. If you know that a workflow will potentially wait for a long time before it receives the response it requires, you can add long-running workflow elements to the workflow.
Configuration Elements A configuration element is a list of attributes you can use to configure constants across a whole Orchestrator server deployment.
Workflow User Permissions Orchestrator defines levels of permissions that you can apply to groups to allow or deny them access to workflows.
Validating Workflows Orchestrator provides a workflow validation tool. Validating a workflow helps identify errors in the workflow and checks that the data flows from one element to the next correctly.
Debugging Workflows Orchestrator provides a workflow debugging tool. You can debug a workflow to inspect the input and output parameters and attributes at the start of any activity, replace parameter or attribute values during a workflow run in edit mode, and resume a workflow from the last failed activity.
Running Workflows An Orchestrator workflow runs according to a logical flow of events.
Resuming a Failed Workflow Run If a workflow fails, Orchestrator provides an option to resume the workflow run from the last failed activity.
Generate Workflow Documentation You can export documentation in PDF format about a workflow or a workflow folder that you select at any time.
Use Workflow Version History You can use version history to revert a workflow to a previously saved state. You can revert the workflow state to an earlier or a later workflow version. You can also compare the differences between the current state of the workflow and a saved version of the workflow.
Restore Deleted Workflows You can restore workflows that have been deleted from the workflow library.
Develop a Simple Example Workflow Developing a simple example workflow demonstrates the most common steps in the workflow development process.
Develop a Complex Workflow Developing a complex example workflow demonstrates the most common steps in the workflow development process and more advanced scenarios, such as creating custom decisions and loops.