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Stackstorm Orquesta

All about Orquesta Workflows: How to create them, inputs, outputs and control#

Creating a Stackstorm Orquesta Workflow#

  1. Create your yaml specification in ../actions/workflows/..


the content of will be:

version: 1.0

description: A basic workflow that runs an arbitrary linux command.

- cmd
- timeout

    action: core.local cmd=<% ctx(cmd) %> timeout=<% ctx(timeout) %>
    - when: <% succeeded() %>
        - stdout: <% result().stdout %>
        - stderr: <% result().stderr %>

- stdout: <% ctx(stdout) %>
  1. Specify the action metadata specifying the runner type:


with the content:

name: orquesta-basic
pack: examples
description: Run a local linux command
runner_type: orquesta
entry_point: workflows/orquesta-basic.yaml
enabled: true
    required: true
    type: string
    type: integer
    default: 60
  1. Create the workflow / action in stackstorm

    st2 action create /opt/stackstorm/packs/examples/actions/orquesta-basic.yaml

The register the examples.orquesta-basic workflow

  1. Execute the workflow asynchronously

    st2 run examples.orquesta-basic cmd=date -a

Both the workflow examples.orquesta-basic and the action core.local should be successful.

Note: st2 execution list only shows top level executions (tasks are not displayed)

Get more detail about the tasks run in a workflow, eg:

[cent@st2 actions]$ st2 execution get 5cdd39d652364c0144c846d8
id: 5cdd39d652364c0144c846d8
action.ref: examples.orquesta-basic
cmd: date
status: succeeded (2s elapsed)
start_timestamp: Thu, 16 May 2019 10:22:14 UTC
end_timestamp: Thu, 16 May 2019 10:22:16 UTC
    stdout: Thu May 16 10:22:16 UTC 2019
| id                       | status                 | task  | action     | start_timestamp               |
| 5cdd39d752364c04a73de24c | succeeded (1s elapsed) | task1 | core.local | Thu, 16 May 2019 10:22:15 UTC |

The Workflow Model#

A task can reference any registered StackStorm action directly.

Attribute Required Description
version Yes The version of the spec being used in this workflow DSL.
description No The description of the workflow.
input No A list of input arguments for this workflow.
vars No A list of variables defined for the scope of this workflow.
tasks Yes A dictionary of tasks that defines the intent of this workflow.
output No A list of variables defined as output for the workflow.

The Task Model#

Attribute Required Description
delay No Number of seconds to delay the task execution.
join No Sets up a barrier for a group of parallel branches
with No When given a list, execute the action for each item.
action No The fully qualified name of the action to be executed.
input No A dictionary of input arguments for the action execution.
next No Define what happens after this task is completed.

Each task defines what StackStorm action to execute, the policies on action execution, and what happens after the task completes

All of the variables defined and published up to this point (aka context) are accessible to the task

Geepuz…way to make is complicated:

If more than one tasks transition to the same task and join is specified in the latter (i.e. the task named barrier_task in the example below), then the task being transitioned into becomes a barrier for the inbound task transitions

To simplify:

The barrier task will be blocked until all the parallel branches complete and reach it.

Parrellel execution example:

version: 1.0

    # ...
    # Run tasks in parallel
    - do:
        - parallel_task_1
        - parallel_task_2
        - parallel_task_3

    # ...
    # Wait to run barrier_task after this
    - do:
        - barrier_task

    # ...
    # Eventually run barrier_task
    - do:
        - intermediate_task

    # ...
    # Wait to run barrier_task after this
    - do:
        - barrier_task

    # ...
    # Run after parallel_task_1, parallel_task_2, and intermediate_task have all finished
    join: all

    # ...
    # Run immediately after setup_task, do NOT wait for barrier_task

which is visualised as:

=---- time (not to scale) ---->

            +------ parallel_task_1 --------------------------+
            |                                                 |
            +-- parallel_task_2 --+                           |
            |                     |                           |
            |                     +---- intermediate_task ----+
            |                                                 |
            |                                                 +-- barrier_task --+
            |                                                                    |
            +-- parallel_task_3 -------------------------------------------------+
                                                                                +-- [finish]

Conversely, if more than one tasks transition to the same task and join is not specified in the latter, then the target task will be invoked immediately following the completion of the previous task

With Items Model#

Use the with items section to process a list of items in a task

By default the tasks are executed concurrently.

Attribute Required Description
items Yes The list of items to execute the action with.
concurrency No The number of items being processed concurrently.

For example a task with a list of messages to echo:

version: 1.0

- messages

    with: <% ctx(messages) %>
    action: core.echo message=<% item() %>

To name the item, the value returned by item() would be a dictionary like {"message": "value"}

version: 1.0

- messages

    with: message in <% ctx(messages) %>
    action: core.echo message=<% item(message) %>

Working with multiple lists (that are pairs), requires them to be zipped first:

version: 1.0

  - hosts
  - commands

    with: host, command in <% zip(ctx(hosts), ctx(commands)) %>
    action: core.remote hosts=<% item(host) %> cmd=<% item(command) %>
Task transition model#

The next section are task transitions executed after a task completes. A task completes if it succeeded, failed, or canceled

If there is no when the default task completion is taken.

publish can be used to add new or update existing variables from the result into runtime workflow.

The tasks in do will be invoked in the order specified.

Attribute Required Description
when No The criteria defined as an expression required for transition.
publish No A list of key value pairs to be published into the context.
do No A next set of tasks to invoke when transition criteria is met.

It is important to know what the following mean and the differences between them:

  • <% result() %>
  • <% ctx(msg) %>
  • <% ctx().abcd %>
Engine Commands#

Engine commands have a special meaning to the workflow engine. When specified under do in the task transition they act accordingly. These words are reserved.

Command Description
noop No operation or do not execute anything else.
fail Fails the workflow execution.

For the use of the fail case:

version: 1.0

description: >
    A workflow example that illustrates error handling. By default
    when any task fails, the notify_on_error task will be executed
    and the workflow will transition to the failed state.

  - cmd

    action: core.local cmd=<% ctx(cmd) %>
      - when: <% succeeded() %>
        publish: stdout=<% result().stdout %>
      - when: <% failed() %>
        publish: stderr=<% result().stderr %>
        do: notify_on_error
    action: core.echo message=<% ctx(stderr) %>
      # The fail specified here tells the workflow to go into
      # failed state on completion of the notify_on_error task.
      - do: fail

  - result: <% ctx(stdout) %>

The trick is debugging these things - me

I wanted to debug what the value of the result of an action was


Orquesta currently supports YAQL and Jinja expressions, although I find jinja is not supprted as much

Note that mixing of both YAQL and Jinja expressions in a single statement is not supported

  • YAQL: <% YAQL expression %>
  • Jinja: {{ Jinja expression }}

Accept expressions:

  • workflow model: input, output and vars
  • task model: delay, with, action, input
  • with items: items, concurrency
  • task transistion: when and publish

Workflow Runtime Context#

Variables can be assigned in input, output and vars in the workflow. They can be assigned in publish in task transition.

Once a variable is assigned into the context dictionary, it can be referenced by a custom function named ctx.

  • ctx(foobar): takes the variable name as the argument
  • ctx(): returns the entire dictionary that can be referenced with . notation

ie. <% ctx(a) %> and <% ctx().a %> are the same

Special keywords:#

  • <% succeeded() %>
  • <% result() %>

Dynamic Action execution#

Apparently dynamic actions can happen in orquesta:

version: 1.0

  - dynamic_action
  - data

    action: "{{ ctx().dynamic_action }}"
      x: "{{ ctx().data }}"

YAQL (Yet another Query Language)#

Wrapped in <% and %>. Eg. <% YAQL expression %>


Create a dict: <% dict(a=>123, b=>true) %>

Get keys: <% ctx(dict1).keys() %>

Get values: <% ctx(dict1).values() %>

Concatenate dicts: <% dict(a=>123, b=>true) + dict(c=>xyz) %>


Create a list: <% list(1, 2, 3) %>

Concatenate a list: <% list(abc, def) + list(ijk, xyz) %>

Access an item in the list: <% ctx(list1)[0] %>


Take this example:

    "vms": [
            "name": "vmweb1",
            "region": "us-east",
            "role": "web"
            "name": "vmdb1",
            "region": "us-east",
            "role": "db"
            "name": "vmweb2",
            "region": "us-west",
            "role": "web"
            "name": "vmdb2",
            "region": "us-west",
            "role": "db"

Return a list of VM names:

<% ctx(vms).select($.name) %>

Return a list of names and roles:

<% ctx(vms).select([$.name, $.role]) %>

Return a distinct list of regions:

<% ctx(vms).select($.region).distinct() %>

Select VM’s in a specific location:

<% ctx(vms).where($.region = 'us-east').select($.name) %>

Select a web server in the us-east region:

<% ctx(vms).where($.region = 'us-east' and $.role = 'web').select($.name) %>
Convert a list to a dictionary#
<% dict(vms=>dict(ctx(vms).select([$.name, $]))) %>
YAQL Standard Lib#

The is also a yaql standard library

Stackstorm functions are available: <% st2kv('system.shared_key_x') %> and <% st2kv('st2_key_id', decrypt=>true) %>

Workflow Operations#

Pausing a workflow:

st2 execution pause <execution-id>

Resume a workflow:

st2 execution resume <execution-id>

Cancel a workflow:

st2 execution cancel <execution-id>

Rerun a workflow:

st2 execution re-run <execution-id>