Today, I’m happy to provide a sneak peak at two vCommander 5.7 features. Despite being simple to use, custom attribute sublists and Boolean operations in workflow step conditions greatly increase the power and flexibility of vCommander automation.

Custom attribute sublists increase the efficiency of service request forms by narrowing down choices presented to consumers. This lets you do more with less, and still ensure that consumers requesting VMs make appropriate choices.

Adding Boolean operators to conditional workflow steps provides deeper logic to assess conditions. Where previously you could design steps which would run based on comparisons made against a single data point, you can now compare two or more values.

As an example, let’s say the problem we’re trying to solve is two-fold. We want to make it easier for consumers in the organization Students to request VMs with the correct database or web server installed. And we also want to make sure an administrator approves the request only if the request includes applications that must be licensed. Open-source applications just deploy automatically.

There are nine total options, but we’ll guide the consumer through the choice by providing three related custom attributes. First, we create the Machine Role custom attribute so consumers can choose between Database Server and Web Server.

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Next, we create the Application custom attribute and set it as a sublist of the Machine Role attribute.

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To add the values, select the parent value read from the Machine Role attribute, enter the desired options and click Add.

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Finally, create the Application Version custom attribute as a sublist of Application, and set the values under the parents.

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Add these attributes to an appropriate component blueprint and its forms, so that when requested, the nine choices becomes a coherent set of friendly drop-downs.

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Once a request is submitted, the Approval Workflow kicks in, and the first step checks to see whether the request can be automatically approved. This is done using Boolean operators:

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Let me translate for those of you who haven’t worked with vCommander variables before.

If the request was made by a consumer in the Students organization AND includes either Microsoft SQL OR Microsoft IIS, the step will execute. In this case, that means sending an approval email to an administrator.

If you need any help designing solutions with these features, please let us know by emailing support@embotics.com. We can’t wait to see what customers do with these features!