You develop workflows in the Orchestrator client interface. Workflow development involves using the workflow editor, the built-in Mozilla Rhino JavaScript scripting engine, and the Orchestrator and vCenter Server APIs.

Workflows consist of a schema, attributes, and parameters. The workflow schema is the main component of a workflow as it defines all the workflow elements and the logical connections between them. The workflow attributes and parameters are the variables that workflows use to transfer data. Orchestrator saves a workflow token every time a workflow runs, recording the details of that specific run of the workflow.

The process for developing a workflow involves a series of phases. You can follow a different sequence of phases or skip a phase, depending on the type of workflow that you are developing. For example, you can create a workflow without custom scripting.

By default, all Orchestrator users can access the Orchestrator client. However, for security reasons, the Orchestrator administrator can limit access to the Orchestrator client to members of the Orchestrator administrator LDAP group.

You can test workflows at any point during the development process, even if you have not completed the workflow or included an end element.

You create workflows in the Orchestrator client and edit them in the workflow editor. The workflow editor is the IDE of the Orchestrator client for developing workflows.

You provide a workflow name and desription, define attributes and certain aspects of workflow behavior, set the version number, check the signature, and set user permissions in the General tab in the workflow editor.

After you create a workflow, you must define the global attributes, input parameters, and output parameters of the workflow.

A workflow schema is a graphical representation of a workflow that shows the workflow as a flow diagram of interconnected workflow elements. The workflow schema defines the logical flow of a workflow.

If a workflow requires input parameters, it opens a dialog box in which users enter the required input parameter values when it runs. You can organize the content and layout, or presentation, of this dialog box in Presentation tab in the workflow editor.

A workflow can sometimes require additional input parameters from an outside source while it runs. These input parameters can come from another application or workflow, or the user can provide them directly.

Workflows can call on other workflows during their run. A workflow can start another workflow either because it requires the result of the other workflow as an input parameter for its own run, or it can start a workflow and let it continue its own run independently. Workflows can also start a workflow at a given time in the future, or start multiple workflows simultaneously.

You can automate repetitive tasks by running a workflow on a selection of objects. For example, you can create a workflow that takes a snapshot of all the virtual machines in a virtual machine folder, or you can create a workflow that powers off all the virtual machines on a given host.

A workflow in a waiting state consumes system resources because it constantly polls the object from which it requires a response. If you know that a workflow will potentially wait for a long time before it receives the response it requires, you can add long-running workflow elements to the workflow.

A configuration element is a list of attributes you can use to configure constants across a whole Orchestrator server deployment.

Orchestrator defines levels of permissions that you can apply to users or groups to allow or deny them access to workflows.

Orchestrator provides a workflow validation tool. Validating a workflow helps identify errors in the workflow and checks that the data flows from one element to the next correctly.

A workflow runs according to a logical flow of events.

You can export documentation in PDF format about a workflow or a workflow folder that you select at any time.

You can use version history to revert a workflow to a previously saved state. You can revert the workflow state to an earlier or a later workflow version. You can also compare the differences between the current state of the workflow and a saved version of the workflow.

You can restore workflows that have been deleted from the workflow library.

Developing a simple example workflow demonstrates the most common steps in the workflow development process.

Developing a complex example workflow demonstrates the most common steps in the workflow development process and more advanced scenarios, such as creating custom decisions and loops.