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Automating vSphere: Introduction to Workflow-Fu

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At the end of this chapter you will have taken the first steps in your journey to Workflow-Fu mastery.

This excerpt is from the Rough Cuts version of the book and may not represent the final version of this material.

From the Rough Cut

Welcome to the Dojo of the Workflow. Herein we will uncover the core concepts and mysteries that are the workflow and show you how to become one with your inner workflow. That is, at the end of this chapter you will have taken the first steps in your journey to Workflow-Fu mastery. Specifically you will have learned the following tech-niques of Workflow-Fu:

  • Workflow organization
  • Workflow concepts
  • Workflow editing process
  • Modifying built in workflows
  • Creating new workflows
  • Workflow scheduling

Take a moment to step back and become one with your inner workflow, because here we go.

Workflow Organization

Before we begin getting to deep into workflows it is important to step back for a mo-ment to talk about organizing your workflows. There are a few reasons for organizing workflows and a few strategies behind the organization. First, we’ll talk about a few rea-sons why it’s important, and then we’ll take a look at the approach that was adopted for the writing of this book. Workflow Organization

Before we begin getting to deep into workflows it is important to step back for a mo-ment to talk about organizing your workflows. There are a few reasons for organizing workflows and a few strategies behind the organization. First, we’ll talk about a few rea-sons why it’s important, and then we’ll take a look at the approach that was adopted for the writing of this book.

Beside the fact that I can’t seem to keep my workflows straight, there are a few other reasons to keep your workflows organized. You can also choose to organize them by task, project, or system that the workflows interact with. Say for example you were creating workflows to tie in with a ticketing system. You would then create a folder specific to that system and then create sub folders and workflows underneath as needed.

You can also organize workflows by organizational roles and assign access rights to each top-level folder based on the role for each set of workflows. This is useful when you need to expose functionality to end users, but don’t necessarily want to give away the keys to the kingdom. In Part 3, one of our examples is to build a self-service VM provisioning portal. Do you want everyone able to create VMs? Probably not, at least not with-out some manner of control or adherence to change control processes. In this case, you can restrict those workflows to the users or groups who must have access.

The approach I’ve taken in the deployment and examples used for this book is to start with a “vCO Book” top-level folder. This way I won’t lose the workflows. I then created a sub folder for each use case from Part 3 to make exporting them for use with the book simple. You can see this in Figure 6.1. When translated according to the above, it roughly maps to a top-level folder for the organization and sub folders for each project.

Figure 6.1

Figure 6.1 “vCO Book” Workflow organization

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