VMware vCenter Orchestrator is a development and process-automation platform that provides a library of extensible workflows to allow you to create and run automated, configurable processes to manage the VMware vCenter infrastructure.
Orchestrator exposes every operation in the vCenter Server API, allowing you to integrate all of these operations into your automated processes. Orchestrator also allows you to integrate with other management and administration solutions through its open plug-in architecture.
Orchestrator is composed of three distinct layers: an orchestration platform that provides the common features required for an orchestration tool, a plug-in architecture to integrate control of subsystems, and a library of preexisting processes. Orchestrator is an open platform that can be extended with new plug-ins and libraries, and can be integrated into larger SOAP architectures through a set of APIs. The following list presents the key Orchestrator features.
Persistence - Production grade external databases are used to store relevant information, such as processes, states, and configuration information.
Central management - Orchestrator provides a central way to manage your processes. The application server-based platform, with full version history, allows you to have scripts and process-related primitives in one place. This way, you can avoid scripts without versioning and proper change control spread on your servers.
Check-pointing - Every step of a process is saved in the database, which allows you to restart the server without losing state and context. This feature is especially useful for long-running processes.
Versioning - All Orchestrator Platform objects have an associated version history. This feature allows basic change management when distributing processes to different project stages or locations.
• Workflow engine The workflow engine allows you to capture business processes. It uses one of the following methods to create a step-by-step automation:
o Building blocks of the library o Building blocks provided by the customer o Plug-ins
Users, a schedule, or a policy can start workflows.
• Policy engine The policy engine allows monitoring and event generation to react to changing conditions. Policies can aggregate events from the platform or any of the plugins, which allows you to handle changing conditions on any of the integrated technologies.
• Web 2.0 front end The Web 2.0 front end allows new possibilities of expression and flexibility. It provides a library of user customizable components to access vCO orchestrated objects and uses Ajax technology to dynamically update content without reloading complete pages.
• Security Orchestrator provides the following advanced security functions:
o Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to sign and encrypt content imported and exported between servers
o Digital Rights Management (DRM) to control how exported content might be viewed, edited and redistributed
o Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encrypted communications between the desktop client and the server and HTTPS access to the Web front end.
o Advanced access rights management to provide control over access to processes and the objects manipulated by these processes.
Orchestrator contains a workflow library and workflow engine to allow you to create and run workflows that automate orchestration processes.
You run workflows on the objects of different technologies that Orchestrator accesses through a series of plug-ins.
Orchestrator provides a standard set of plug-ins, including a plug-in to VMware vCenter Server 4.0, to allow you to orchestrate tasks in the different environments that the plug-ins expose.
Orchestrator also presents an open architecture to allow you to plug in external third-party applications to the orchestration platform. You can run workflows on the objects of the plugged-in technologies that you define yourself. Orchestrator connects to a directory services server to manage user accounts, and to a database to store information from the workflows that it runs. You can access Orchestrator and the workflows and objects it exposes through the Orchestrator client interface, through a Web browser, or through Web services.