Understanding Process Automations in Depth

Understanding Execution Speed

Goverlan Process Automations execute from a single location – the workstation from which Goverlan is started. From this location, Goverlan places one or more network calls for each active node currently being processed by the Process Automation. Depending on the action, the network call may be placed to a local domain controller (for instance, when querying account information) or to the target object (for instance, when querying computer information).

For this reason, the Scope defined should be kept reasonably small (even though there is no restriction on how large the scope can be). Executing Process Automations at a department level is more efficient that executing them at the enterprise level. For large Process Automations, it is advisable to execute them during non-busy hours of the day.

The Execution window contains an Execution Speed slider which allows you to control both the execution speed as well as the amount of system and network resources used.

The execution speed represents the number of nodes to simultaneously process during the execution. The higher the number of simultaneous active nodes, the faster the execution. However, more CPU usage, memory and network bandwidth is used for the execution. Also, reducing the number of simultaneous active nodes will reduce the amount of local resources used.

NOTE:

No matter how high you set the execution speed, the execution of a Process Automation will never affect the overall performance of the network. Every network call made through the execution of a Process Automation is done from your machine. The maximum total bandwidth used cannot exceed the available bandwidth offered by the network interface on your machine

.

Object Attributes Weight

The execution speed, as well as the network resources used, are highly dependent on the type of action configured in the Process Automation. Some actions require very little network resources and are fast to execute while other actions require more network resources and are slow to execute. Since these actions have to be executed over a large set of target objects, selecting two different actions for the same defined scope may result in very different execution times and resource usage.

A set of guidelines have been compiled to assist you in evaluating these factors:

The best way to evaluate the attributes is to either test their execution speed in real time by using the Goverlan Management Console Administration & Diagnostics mode. You can also create a pilot Process Automation for a set of test objects and execute it multiple times, removing and adding attributes as needed.

Understanding Dynamic Value Definitions

Dynamic Values allow you to set a parameter to a value based on other object attributes and calculated during the execution of the Process Automation. A dynamic value is a string that defines how the final value should be compiled. You can configure a dynamic value definition for every type of value: String, Number, Date & Time and Boolean.

To configure a dynamic value for an argument:

  1. Select the argument from the list.
  2. Click on the Set Dynamic Value Definition link in the task panel.
    NOTE:

    The currently configured value for that argument will be removed.

  3. Configure the dynamic value definition and click on OK.

The Argument Window displays arguments configured as dynamic with a dary gray background:

To modify or remove a dynamic value definition

Once a dynamic value has been configured, click the Expand […] button to open the Dynamic Value Definition window. From there you can either modify the definition or click the Remove Dynamic Value link to reset the argument as a static value.

Configuring String as Dynamic Values

A Dynamic String Definition may contain any combination of static text and value of other attributes.

To Insert Static Text:  Type it at the desired location.

To Insert the Value of Another Attribute:  Place the text caret at the point of insertion and click on the [Insert] key. Then, select the attribute from the menu. You can select any type of attribute (even numbers and dates) except for array attributes.

The attribute selection menu also includes special pre-defined items:

  • Current Date & Time – The current date and time value during execution.
  • Incrementor – A numerical value that starts at 1 and is increased for each instance in your scope.

Example: You want to populate the active directory Description field of your computer objects with statistics about the password age of the account.

  1. Under the Action Module configuration, select Add/Remove > Set Computer Property > Computer Account Information > Description.
  2. In the Argument Selection window, select the Description argument and click on the Set Dynamic Value Definition link.
  3. Configure the dynamic value definition to be the following combination of text and attributes:
    Running this Process Automation would result in the description field of computer accounts to display something similar to: On December 20th, 2009, MACHINE_123 ‘s password age was 124 days.

Configuring Numbers as Dynamic Values

A Dynamic Numerical Definition may contain any combination of numerical operators and number value of other attributes.

  • To Insert numerical operators: Type it at the desired location.
    The following operators are allowed:   +   –   *   /   (   )   [   ]
  • To Insert the value of another attribute: Place the text caret at the point of insertion and click on the [Insert] key. Then, select the attribute from the menu.
    You can only select attributes of the following types:  Number

The attribute selection menu also includes special pre-defined items:

  • Current Date & Time
    The current date and time value during execution.
  • Incrementor
    A numerical value that starts at 1 and is increased for each instance in your scope.

Example: You need to set a numerical value to the percentage of physical memory available

Configure the dynamic value definition to: ( {Memory Information:Available Physical RAM (KB)} / {Memory Information:Total Physical RAM (KB)} ) *100

Configuring Boolean as Dynamic Values

A Dynamic Boolean Definition may contain any combination of Boolean operators and Boolean or Integer values of other attributes.

  • To Insert the Boolean operator: Type it at the desired location.
    The following operators are allowed: AND , OR , NOT , < , <= , > , >= , = , <> , + , – , * , / , ( , ) , [ , ]
  • To Insert the value of another attribute: Place the text caret at the point of insertion and click on the [Insert] key. Then, select the attribute from the menu.
    You can only select attributes of the following types:  Boolean, Number

The attribute selection menu also includes special pre-defined items:

  • Current Date & Time
    The current date and time value during execution.
  • Incrementor
    A numerical value that starts at 1 and is increased for each instance in your scope.

Example:

{Account Statistics:Password Age} > 60 AND NOT({User Account Information:User Cannot Change Password} OR {User Account Information:Password Never Expires})

Results in TRUE if the user’s password age is greater than 60 days, and the user is allowed to change their password, and if the password expires.

Configuring Date & Time as Dynamic Values

A Dynamic Date & Time Definition may contain any combination of numerical operators and date & time value of other attributes.

  • To Insert numerical operator: Type it at the desired location.
    The following operators are allowed: + , – , * , / , ( , ) , [ , ]
  • To Insert the value of another attribute: Place the text caret at the point of insertion and click on the [Insert] key. Then select the attribute from the menu.
    You can only select attributes of the following types:  Date & Time

The attribute selection menu also includes special pre-defined items:

  • Current Date & Time  
    The current date and time value during execution.
  • Incrementor
    A numerical value that starts at 1 and is increased for each instance in your scope.
  • Time Span – 1 Min:
    A 1-minute timestamp that can be used in date operations.
  • Time Span – 1 Hour:
    A 1-hour timestamp that can be used in date operations.
  • Time Span – 1 Day:
    A 1-day timestamp that can be used in date operations.

Example:

{Current Date and Time} + 60 * {Time Span: 1 Day}

Would result in 60 days from the current date & time.

Understanding Execution and Output Settings

This final step is to specify where output data files are stored as well as the actions to be processed once the Process Automation execution has completed.

Process Automations Outputs

Use the Output Location window to configure the output data file names and locations. A Goverlan Process Automation generates two output files during execution:

  • Report output file
    The configured report action results are inserted into this file. The default report format generated is XML. However, you can generate a different format when viewing the report results (see Viewing the Results of a Process Automation). This file is automatically generated even if you have not selected any report action.
  • Log output file
    The log output file contains information about the execution errors encountered while processing the Process Automation. Again, the log file format is XML and can be viewed using the Goverlan log reader, see Viewing the Results of a Process Automation.

The Report Action Output and Log Output fields are automatically initialized. However, you can modify each entry as desired. Note: If you do not specify a path in these fields, Goverlan automatically uses the default Application Output Data directory as configured in the Application Directories category under Options.

Post Execution Options

This section allows you to configure actions to be executed once the Process Automation has finished executing. Note: These settings only apply if you manually run the Process Automation but not if the Process Automation is scheduled. Scheduling a Process Automation has its own set of post-execution options. Also, post-execution actions are not processed if the Process Automation was aborted.

Convert Output Data

Use this setting to have Goverlan convert the output XML data into another format, or, to have the XML data opened using Microsoft Excel.

Run the Following Program

If you have a script which processes the generated output data (i.e., transfers the generated report onto a Web server), you can configure its execution in this field.

The input parameter string can include any of the following substitution strings:

/SA_NAME/ The name of the Process Automation.
/SA_OUTDATA/ The path of the output report data file in XML format.
Returned with double quotes.
/SA_OUTDATA_CONVERTED/ The path of the converted report file (you must select to convert the XML data).
Returned with double quotes.
/SA_RESULT_OBJ/  

The path of an input file which contains the resulting objects in UNC format (one entry per line).
Returned with double quotes.

This is useful if you created a Process Automation which detect objects with a particular configuration and need to process the resulting list of objects via a script.

Close the Execution Window

Enable this option to have the Process Automation Execution Window automatically close once it finishes.

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles