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Hybrid Cloud Blog

Last week, we began looking at IT automation capabilities in Operations Management Suite (OMS) as part of the OMS tour blog series. Today, we will look at how automation can work across a hybrid environment. IT automation can make a difference, no matter where your infrastructure and application resources are located.

Today’s IT is hybrid IT

Cloud is increasingly becoming a part of every company’s toolkit. As you continue to support both your existing IT environment and also new cloud model resources, your IT operations will likely span across your on-premises datacenter and resources located in clouds run by third parties. This may require multiple management solutions, beyond your existing investments, to automate and deliver continuous IT services. As a result, you might find yourself with disjointed solutions, requiring additional investment of time and money.

Hybrid IT automation

With the hybrid worker feature in OMS Automation, you can manage your on-premises resources locally in your datacenter, using the same runbooks you use to manage your resources in the cloud. Now, you can continue to automate tasks and enable agile delivery of IT services, irrespective of where your IT infrastructure resources are located. You can use existing automation scripts and runbooks, delivered from the cloud. Hybrid workers enable the use of OMS Automation as a single solution, covering resources in public clouds such as Azure, AWS, or other service providers as well as on-premises solutions such as Microsoft or other non-Microsoft stacks (for example VMWare or OpenStack). Using OMS Automation with hybrid workers removes the need to deploy, maintain, and upgrade on-premises automation products, although there may be a benefit to integrating with those existing solutions in some cases.

Learn more about IT Automation in OMS: Register now for the next OMS webinar on IT automation in a hybrid world.

Hybrid Runbook Worker

Let’s look at the hybrid worker feature in more detail. You can designate one or more computers in your data center to act as a Hybrid Runbook Worker and run runbooks from OMS Automation. Each worker requires the OMS agent with a connection to OMS Automation account to monitor the functionality of the worker, to receive the delivery of the runbooks and their corresponding instructions. You don’t need to open any ports or make any firewall changes, just ensure that the designated Hybrid Runbook Worker has access to Internet.

The Hybrid Runbook Worker allows you to run your runbooks on machines located in your datacenter to manage local resources. Automation assets such as variables, credentials, connections, and certificates can be used in runbooks that run on hybrid workers. Runbooks and referenced assets are all stored in OMS Automation, and will be automatically delivered to the hybrid worker during execution time, from where they are run.

Each Hybrid Runbook Worker is a member of a Hybrid Runbook Worker Group that you specify when you install the agent. A Group can include a single Worker, but you can also install multiple Workers in a Group for high availability. When you start a runbook on a Hybrid Runbook Worker, you specify the Group that it will run on, and the job can be executed by any of the workers in the Group. When the runbook job completes on a Hybrid Worker, it sends the detailed status back to OMS Automation where you can view and troubleshoot the job in the same way you troubleshoot jobs run in Azure.

Runbooks written to use with hybrid workers will likely differ from other runbooks as they will typically manage local resources in your data center while runbooks in OMS Automation typically manage resources in Azure or other clouds. For example, you can use Hybrid Runbook Workers to manage your VMs on Hyper-V. In some scenarios, when you have third party modules that cannot be installed in OMS Automation, you can install those modules on Hybrid Workers and use them in your runbooks. One such scenario would be managing VMware resources with VMware PowerCLI cmdlets.

System Center Orchestrator users

If you are a System Center Orchestrator user, you already know that runbooks in System Center Orchestrator are based on activities from integration packs that are written specifically for Orchestrator while runbooks in OMS Automation are based on Windows PowerShell. You can leverage the System Center Orchestrator Migration Toolkit to convert runbooks from Orchestrator to OMS Automation. After you migrate your existing Orchestrator runbooks to OMS Automation, you can run them using hybrid workers so you can continue to manage/integrate with all your on-premises resources. Both the migration toolkit and hybrid worker play a critical role in carrying forward your Orchestrator investments.

Hybrid Runbook Worker is a powerful capability that provides the needed hybrid approach to IT automation in today’s hybrid IT environments. For step-by-step instructions to start using Hybrid Runbook Worker, check out the Azure Automation Hybrid Runbook Workers documentation.