BPA Server 7 Management Console (SMC) Overview

in Tech Talk, posted 6/27/08

The SMC provides the interface for centralized management and administration and allows you to graphically manage all elements of the AutoMate BPA Server including workflows, the Repository, users, and agents. You can also create reports and set options.

The Workflows, Repository, Users and Agents tabs in the SMC allow you to:

  • Create new objects (for workflows, tasks, conditions, users, or agents)
  • Manage existing objects
  • Change object properties

In the Reports tab, you can access detailed information about your automation network.  Here, you can see which workflows and tasks have executed successfully or not, the various events that have transpired on your network, previous and future schedules, and much more.

The Options tab allows you to view and change server settings, system-wide default properties, connections and licensing, and more.

Workflows

Workflows are high-level objects that hold other objects such as tasks, flow controls, and conditions. They act as flow diagrams of IT processes and include information required for automated execution. They take no coding expertise to understand so they are an excellent way for teams to collaborate on building automation tasks.

The Workflows area of the SMC allows you to:

  • Create a new workflow
  • Edit an existing workflow
  • Organize them into folders
  • Manage and change workflow properties

To access, create, manage and organize workflows, click the Workflows tab in the SMC.



Repository

The Repository is the storage area of all workflow-related objects—mainly tasks, conditions, and events. Each time you create a new task or condition, it becomes part of the Repository and is stored there. This allows you to reuse code.  For example, one task can be utilized in many workflows, so it only needs to be created once.

All users have access to Repository objects including workflows, tasks, and conditions. These objects can easily be edited, reused, and incorporated into new workflows. 

To access Repository objects, simply click on the Repository tab in the SMC.

Users

The Users tab allows administrators to manage user accounts in the AutoMate BPA Server system.  Only administrators can create new users and set passwords for secure system access.  Administrators can also limit what users can do on the system by assigning the user a role.

Options for roles include:

  • Developer - can create workflows and tasks, view reports, and access and edit Repository objects.
  • Manager - same rights as Developer plus rights associated with object promotion (e.g., Managers can move tasks from test servers to production servers).
  • Administrator - same rights as Manager plus rights associated with configuring server settings/properties, and managing users and agents.

Click the Users tab to see all the users currently active on the system.

Agents

Agents are the machines that comprise the automation network.  The Agents tab allows you to create and deploy new agents, delete agents, and set their properties. Agents detect events and conditions that trigger workflows, as well as execute workflows and tasks.  When you build a workflow and create a task in it, you must select the computer that the Agent resides on to run the task. This allows you to run tasks on any machine in your automation network.

Agents receive instructions from the Server over TCP/IP to execute workflows and tasks.  An Agent has no graphical user interface. It simply resides on the machine and quietly runs in the background until it is called upon by AutoMate BPA Server to carry out a workflow or complete a task.

Click the Agents tab to display the agents on the system.

Note: If the AutoMate icon is red, it means this agent is currently not connected. If it is blue, this agent is connected. 

Reports

In the Reports tab, you can access detailed information about your automation network.  Here, you can see which workflows and tasks have executed successfully or not, the various events and conditions that have transpired on your network, previous and future schedules, and much more.

Reports are very helpful when you are troubleshooting.  If a system problem occurs or a workflow or task malfunctions, you can run a report that shows what happened and when it occurred.  This enables you diagnose problems clearly so you can fix them quickly.  You can set up reports that look the way you want them to look—even make them 3D and print them!

Click the Reports tab to display the reports available on the system.

Options

The Options functionality of the SMC allows you to create and change settings, preferences, and properties of the Server in your automation network. You can also add new hosts to connect to in addition to new server and agent licenses.

Click the Options tab to display the reports available on the system.