What's New with Azure Automation in the new Azure Portal

Author by Duncan Lindquist

The new Azure Portal is here and it contains a lot of exciting updates for Azure Automation! This post takes a look at the new features and will be followed by in depth posts on how to use the new features.

The New Look and Feel

New Portal

As you can see above the Azure portal has a unique and whole new look and feel! The ability to rapidly open and minimize new windows makes navigating through the Automation section very easy.

Graphical Runbooks

The Azure portal now has graphical runbooks!

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These new graphical runbooks allow you to create a workflow using textural runbooks you already have along with other activities such as variables, junctions and workflow scripts. The visual representation of the process behind automations with Azure is a huge improvement. Below you can see how easy it is to add activities to the work flow, move them and link them together (Orchestrator users: check out how nicely the lines move with the activities!).

Graphical Runbooks

 To set incoming parameters for your runbook activities you just specify them in your textual runbook workflow (See below).

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Once the paramaters have been added to the textual runbook you will get the option to set the incoming values into the graphical runbook. After clicking on your activity, look to the right hand navigation and select configure parameters. When you click configure parameters, you can view them and set the data source.  You can now pass variables from a previous runbook, use a powershell expression, set a constant value and more! Learn more about filters and outputs here.

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You can use the links to apply filters based on outputs from previous activies using a powershell expresion. You also have the ability to set the link type Sequence (run the activity one time) or Pipeline (once per output item). Read more about how to set filters here.

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Hybrid Runbook Workers!

For those of you who have been working through the best way to manage your on-premise machines Hybrid Runbook workers are your solution. First you need to deploy the Automation Intelligence pack using Oprational Insights, this will push down the HybridRunbookWorker cmdlet to your on-premise machine. This cmdlet will let you register the machine with Azure Autmation and you can now run your automation against the on-premise machine.

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Azure Automation DSC

Azure Automation DSC lets you to host your DSC configurations in Azure so that your on-premise or cloud servers can both pull from Azure. New reporting gives more visibility on the compliance of your machines in DSC.

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Runbook Webhooks

You can now create webhooks for your individual runbooks. This will allow you to start a runbook by using an HTTP Post to a URL.  Make sure you keep track of your URLs, SCSM would be a good place for this, because once you have created your web hook the url will no longer be viewable from the Azure portal.

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Thanks for reading! Keep an eye out for more in depth posts that will be coming soon.

Author

Duncan Lindquist

Service Management & Automation Solution Lead