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Windows Azure Activities

Updated: November 1, 2013

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

The following configuration instructions apply to all runbook activities that are available in the Windows Azure integration pack.

Activity properties

Each activity contains a set of required or optional properties. These define how the activity connects to other activities or how the activity performs its actions. When an activity has been placed in the runbook window, you can view or modify its properties.

To view and configure the properties for an activity

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

  2. View and configure activity properties as needed.

  3. To save your configuration entries, click Finish.

In the activity properties dialog box, various tabs provide access to general and specific settings for the activity. The number of available tabs for object properties will vary according to the activity.

General tab

The General 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 provide a more specific name or to add a description as necessary.

Properties tab

The Properties tab contains properties that are specific to the activity. All activities in this integration pack have the Configuration Name property on the Properties or Filters tab. The Configuration Name property is used to specify the connection to Windows Azure.

To configure the Configuration Name property

  1. Click the ellipsis (…) button next to the Name box.

  2. Select the applicable connection name. Connections displayed in the list have been previously configured as described in Windows Azure Integration Pack for System Center 2012 - Orchestrator.

Criteria for filters

Some 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 you specify filter criteria, you can select one of the available methods of comparison. The system provides an option to either match or not match the filter using each method. For example, the "Does not" version of a method finds items that do not match the filter to trigger the runbook.

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

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

  • Is less than: The numeric property of the item is less than the number specified in the filter.

  • Is less than or equal to: The numeric property of the item is less than or equal to the number specified in the filter.

  • Is greater than: The property of the item is greater than the number specified in the filter.

  • Is greater than or equal to: The numeric property of the item is greater than or equal to the number specified in the filter.

  • Contains: The property of the item contains the exact text specified in the filter. There can be other text surrounding the matching text.

  • Does not contain: The property of the item does not contain the exact text specified in the filter.

  • Matches pattern: This comparison method uses regular expressions to specify a pattern that the text must match.

  • Does not match pattern: This comparison method uses regular expressions to specify a pattern that the text must not match.

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

  • Ends with: The property of the item ends with the exact text specified in the filter.

  • After: The property of the item is after the date and time specified in the filter.

  • Before: The property of the item is before the date and time specified in the filter.

The Run Behavior tab

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

Multiple values in published data

A Get activity retrieves information from another activity or outside source and can then return one or more values in the Get activity's published data. For example, the data output from Azure Hosted Services activity could be a list of hosted services that belong to the specified collection.

By default, the data from a Get activity will be passed on as multiple individual outputs. These multiple outpus invoke the next activity as many times as there are items in the output. Alternatively, to request a single combined output, you can enable the Flatten option. When you enable the Flatten option, you must specify the output format:

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

  • 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.

A Get 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.

Time-out and failure event notifications

Some activities are expected to take only a limited amount of time to complete. If they do not complete within an expected tine frame, they may be stalled or there may be another issue preventing completion. You can define the number of seconds to wait for completion of the action. If the processing of the activity exceeds this time-out threshold, 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.

Published data

Published data 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. Published data is the foundation of a working runbook. Subsequent activities in the runbook can subscribe to this data and use it in their configuration. Link conditions also use this information to add decision-making capabilities to runbooks.

An activity can only subscribe to data from the activities that occur 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 runbooks, select Show Common Published Data.

  3. Click the published 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.


This integration pack adds the Windows Azure category to the Activity pane in the Runbook Designer. This category contains the following activities:

Add Management Certificate

Add OS Image

Add Service Certificate

Add VM Data Disk

Add VM Disk

Add VM Endpoint

Add VM Instance

Capture VM Instance

Change Deployment Configuration

Change Deployment OS

Check Cloud Service Name Availability

Copy Blob

Create Affinity Group

Create Cloud Service

Create Container

Create Deployment

Create Storage Account

Create VM Deployment

Delete Blob

Delete Cloud Service

Delete Container

Delete Deployment

Delete Management Certificate

Delete OS Image

Delete Service Certificate

Delete Storage Account

Delete VM Data Disk

Delete VM Disk

Delete VM Instance

Download Blob

Get Deployment

Get Operating Systems

Get Operation Status

Get Storage Account Keys

Get Storage Account Properties

Get VM Data Disk

Get VM RDP File

Get VM instance

List Blob

List Cloud Service

List Container

List Management Certificate

List OS Images

List Service Certificate

List Storage Account

List VM Disks

Put Blob

Reboot Role Instance

Regenerate Storage Account Key

Reimage VM Instance

Remove VM Endpoint

Restart VM Instance

Rollback Update or Upgrade

Shutdown VM Instance

Snapshot Blob

Start VM Instance

Swap Deployment

Upgrade Deployment

Update Deployment Status

Update OS Image

Update Storage Account

Update VM Instance

Walk Upgrade Domain

See Also

Other Resources

Using Runbooks in System Center 2012 - Orchestrator