How to find Inventory Objects when calling vCO Workflows via the SOAP API

When calling an Orchestrator workflow from outside via the SOAP-API, things get dirty if your workflow have input parameters (see details here: http://www.vcoportal.de/2011/06/updated-calling-vco-workflows-from-powershell/ ). And things get really dirty, if the input parameter is an Inventory Object (like a Virtual Machine, provided by the vCenter Plugin).

The reason for that:
Before you can finally call the actual workflow, you have to get the vCO-internal ID of the object, usually by calling other API-methods before. In the vCO WebService documentation you can find following flow-chart, I marked the step we’re talking about:

Depending on what information the workflow caller has, you can call the findForId, or the find method with an xpath-expression. (expecially when working with the vCenter-plugin, always remember: The managed object Id in vCenter or the name of the Virtual Machine is not necessarily unique in vCO, because you always can have connections to multiple vCenter-Hosts!)

Thanks to David (@creativeview) and Igor a full example in Powershell:

$vcoWS = New-WebServiceProxy -Class VCO -Namespace VCO -Uri http://mycoolvcoappliance:8280/vmware-vmo-webcontrol/webservice?WSDL
#find the workflow
$workflows = $vcoWS.getWorkflowsWithName("Start virtual machine and wait", "vcoadmin" , "vcoadmin")
#find the virtual machine
$result = $vcoWS.find("VC:VirtualMachine", "xpath:name='TheVM-Name'", "vcoadmin" , "vcoadmin")
if ($result.TotalCount -gt 0)
{
#$result
$finderResult = $result.Elements[0]
$stringObjectRepresentation = $finderResult.DunesUri
#Write-Host $stringObjectRepresentation
}
$workflow = $workflows[0]
# print out input Parameters
$workflow.inParameters
# generate Array with Input PArameters (WorkflowTokenAttribute - Objects)
$inparams = @()
# fill the array, one entry for each input parameter
$inparams += New-Object -TypeName VCO.WorkflowTokenAttribute
$inparams[0].name = "VM"
$inparams[0].type = "VC:VirtualMachine"
$inparams[0].value = $stringObjectRepresentation
# Exectue workflow
$workflowToken = $vcoWS.executeWorkflow($workflow.id, "vcoadmin" , "vcoadmin", $inparams)
(be careful with the ‘ and ” surrounding the xpath-expression, depending on which programming language you use)

See the full discussion in the forums (some Java lines included as well đŸ™‚ ):
http://communities.vmware.com/message/1889504#1889504

My original example how to call vCO Workflows via Powershell (with plain data types for input only :oops:):
http://www.vcoportal.de/2011/03/powershell-vco/

You can also find some examples about this in the vco-examples-package, more information how to get started with this:
http://www.vcoportal.de/2011/08/sample-webservice-client-for-vco/

And an unofficial tip at the end: Rumors are that the next major release of vCO contains a new REST-based API, so don’t spend too much time learing this legacy stuff, if you don’t need to…