Q. How can I automate a sequence of actions within my private cloud?
A. There are a number of options to automate actions that might execute on different systems. Windows PowerShell has become the command-line interface and scripting environment of choice for all Microsoft solutions and many partner solutions. PowerShell can be used to perform actions across many different environments through a single automation flow. PowerShell has very rich logic capabilities and even concepts such as workflows with PowerShell v3.
Some organizations might want a more graphical solution for automation; for this type of situation, System Center Orchestrator is a great solution. Orchestrator has a number of Integration Packs, with each Integration Pack bringing a number of defined activities to a specific process or type of functionality. For example, Integration Packs exist for System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM), for Exchange, for Active Directory, and more. By leveraging Orchestrator, you cam place activities onto a canvas and then link those activities by using various types of logic. This approach creates a complete flow of actions, known as a runbook, to automate a complete scenario. Orchestrator can also integrate with PowerShell as a solution when an Integration Pack activity does not exist.
Even if you decide to use PowerShell, many organizations still leverage Orchestrator to then enable automations to be published in the Service Manager Service Catalog. This makes the automations easily available.