GUIDE, Orchestrator, SCORCH

Upgrading System Center Orchestrator from 2012 R2 to 1807 step-by-step

As the System Center 2012 R2 suite is starting to collect dust, it’s time to start thinking about upgrading to a newer version of System Center Orchestrator.

In this blog post we will be going through step-by-step on how to successfully upgrade from System Center Orchestrator 2012 R2 to System Center Orchestrator 1807.

High Level Upgrade Process

  1. Uninstall Orchestrator 2012 R2 Runbook Servers.
  2. Install SQL Server 2016.
  3. Migrate the Orchestrator database.
  4. Install Orchestrator 1801.
  5. Update Orchestrator 1801 to 1807.





The System Center Orchestrator 1807 setup is very straightforward, however there are a few prerequisites that we will need to have before starting our installation.

Below are the minimum requirements needed for System Center Orchestrator 1807 according to the Microsoft’s documentation.

Operating System

  • Windows Server 2012 R2 (GUI), Windows Server 2016 (Desktop Experience).



  • 2 Gigabyte (GB) of RAM.
  • 200 megabyte (MB) of available disk space.
  • 2.1 GHz Dual-Core CPU.



  • SQL Server 2016 or newer.
    • Instance Features: Database Engine Services.
    • Collation: SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS.


Windows Features

  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1.
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5 (With WCF HTTP Activation).
  • Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS).



Active Directory

  • Users:
    • svc-SCORCH (Orchestrator service account)
    • svc-SCORCH-SQL-Agent (Orchestrator SQL Agent service)
    • svc-SCORCH-SQL-Server (Orchestrator SQL Database service)


Installation files

Make sure to download the installation files for SQL Server 2016, Orchestrator 1801 and 1807, and copy them to the new Windows Server 2016 that will become the new Orchestrator server.



Upgrade methods

There are two possible ways of upgrading System Center Orchestrator 2012 R2:

  1. In-place upgrade, meaning use the same server (only works if the server operating system is Windows Server 2012 R2)
  2. Deploy a new server with the latest operating system (Windows Server 2016).

In this guide we will be using the second method by deploying a new Windows Server 2016 server.


Installing SQL Server 2016

Assuming we have our fresh Windows Server 2016 ready, we will start by installing the SQL Server. For this guide, we will go with SQL Server 2016.

  1. Start by mounting the SQL Server 2016 ISO image, to do so right-click the ISO image and click Mount.SCOUPGRD3.1
  2. Once the SQL Server 2016 image has been mounted we will be automatically redirected inside the disk, now right click setup and choose Run as administrator.SCOUPGRD4
  3. The SQL Server Installation Center will now open, head to the Installation pane on the left side of the window and then click on New SQL Server stand-alone installation or add features to an existing installation.SCOUPGRD5
  4. The SQL Server 2016 setup wizard will open up, start by entering the product key, and then click Next to continue.
  5. Check the I accept the license terms checkbox and click Next to continue.SCOUPGRD7
  6. We will just perform a basic installation so we’ll skip any updates and continue, click Next.SCOUPGRD8
  7. We will not include any SQL Server product updates (feel free to choose this if you want), click Next to continue.SCOUPGRD9
  8. Next up we will choose the Instance features needed, for Orchestrator only the basic Database Engine Services is needed, check it’s checkbox and click Next to continue.SCOUPGRD10
  9. Now we will name our SQL instance, in here I recommend to follow some kind of naming standard, if your company has one make sure to follow it, once done click Next to continue.SCOUPGRD11
  10. Now it’s time to configure the service accounts to the SQL Server services, it is recommended to run the SQL Server services on separate service accounts.SCOUPGRD12
  11. Now head to the Collation tab which is found beside the Service Accounts tab on the top, for Orchestrator we will choose the SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS collation, once done click Next to continue.SCOUPGRD13
  12. Next up specify an account that will have administrator rights to the SQL Server, click Next once done.SCOUPGRD14.1
  13. We are now ready to finalize our installation, click Install to begin installing SQL Server 2016.SCOUPGRD15
  14. Once the installation has completed, click Close to close the setup wizard.SCOUPGRD91SCOUPGRD16

We have now successfully installed our SQL Server 2016.

Uninstalling Orchestrator 2012 R2 Runbook Servers

This step is not actually required, although if the Orchestrator database will be migrated without uninstalling the old Orchestrator Management and Runbook servers it means that they will be left in the Orchestrator database and also shown in the Runbook Designer console.

  1. Open up the System Center 2012 R2 Orchestrator Deployment Manager on the Orchestrator Management Server and heat to Runbook Servers.SCOUPGRD91
  2. To uninstall a Runbook Server, select it and then right click it and choose Uninstall Runbook Server.SCOUPGRD92
  3. A uninstall confirmation window will appear, click OK to continue.SCOUPGRD94
  4. Another window will appear, in here we can choose to keep the association to runbooks if that’s been configured. If the new servers plan to have the same name and IP address then we can keep the association and choose Yes.In this guide we will go with No.SCOUPGRD95
  5. If additional Runbook Servers exist, repeat steps 2-4 for all Runbook Servers that are in the list.


Migrating the Orchestrator Database

Now that we have our new SQL Server installed we can start migrating the old Orchestrator database.

  1. Connect to the Orchestrator database by opening the SQL Management Studio, choose the Orchestrator database and then click on Connect.SCOUPGRD40.1SCOUPGRD41
  2. Create a new query by right clicking the Orchestrator database and choose New Query.
  3. Orchestrator uses a Master Key which means that the key must be moved with the database.Execute the following two SQL queries on the Orchestrator database:

    use Orchestrator
    alter master key
    add encryption by password = ‘enter_a_password’

    This creates a password for the migration.

    Note: Make sure you use a better password 😉 and type down the password so you remember it!

    use Orchestrator
    alter master key drop encryption by service master key

    This drops the Master Key.

  4. Now we are ready to migrate the Orchestrator database, we will be using the backup > restore method in this guide.To backup the database, right click the Orchestrator database, go to Tasks and click on Back Up…SCOUPGRD49
  5. Make sure the backup type is set to Full, choose a destination where to backup or go with the default settings, once everything is all set, click OK to start the backup.SCOUPGRD51
  6. Once the backup has finished successfully we should see the following window:SCOUPGRD52
  7. Click OK to close the backup window, locate the backup and then copy the Orchestrator database backup file (Orchestrator.bak) to our new Windows Server 2016 where our SQL Server 2016 is installed.SCOUPGRD53SCOUPGRD54
  8. Head to the Windows Server 2016 where our SQL Server 2016 is and open the SQL Management Studio there and then Connect to the local database.SCOUPGRD55
  9. Let’s restore the backed up Orchestrator database, right click on Databases and choose Restore database.SCOUPGRD56
  10. A Restore Database window will open up, select Device as the source.SCOUPGRD58
  11. Next click on the radio button “…”,  a Select backup devices window will open.SCOUPGRD59
  12. Click Add and locate the Orchestrator database backup file (Orchestrator.bak).SCOUPGRD60SCOUPGRD61
  13. Once we’ve selected the Orchestrator backup file, click OK again to continue.SCOUPGRD62
  14. Now click OK to start the database restore.SCOUPGRD63
  15. We can now see our Orchestrator database under Databases.SCOUPGRD65
  16. Now we will need to restore the Master Key and drop the migration password.
    Open a new SQL query to the Orchestrator database.SCOUPGRD66
  17. Execute the following two SQL queries:

    use Orchestrator
    open master key decryption by password = ‘enter_a_password’
    alter master key add encryption by service master key


    use Orchestrator
    alter master key
    drop encryption by password = ‘enter_a_password’

    We have now successfully migrated the Orchestrator database, we can now move on to Installing Orchestrator.

Installing Orchestrator 1801

Now that our SQL Server is up and running, we can move on to the next step by installing Orchestrator 1801.

  1. Mount up the Orchestrator 1801 ISO image by right clicking it and choose Mount.SCOUPGRD17
  2. We will be automatically redirected to the contents of the Orchestrator 1801 image, now we will need to extract the setup files, right click the SCO_1801 file and choose Run as administrator.SCOUPGRD18
  3. A System Center Orchestrator setup wizard will open up, click Next to continue.SCOUPGRD19
  4. Tick the I accept the agreement box and click Next to continue.SCOUPGRD20
  5. Now choose a location where the Orchestrator 1801 setup files will be extracted, click Next to continue.SCOUPGRD21
  6. To finalize the extraction, click Extract.SCOUPGRD22
  7. Once the extraction is complete, click Finish to exit.SCOUPGRD23
  8. Head to the location where the Orchestrator 1801 setup files were extracted.SCOUPGRD24
  9. To begin the Orchestrator 1801 installation, right click the SetupOrchestrator.exe and choose Run as administrator.SCOUPGRD25
  10. A Microsoft System Center Orchestrator Setup window will open up, click Install to start the setup wizard.SCOUPGRD26
    Note: If .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 is not the installation won’t continue and we will receive the following notification:SCOUPGRD27
  11. In the first step of the Orchestrator setup wizard, we will fill in registration information and the product key, click Next when done.SCOUPGRD28.1
  12. Next up check the I accept the license terms check box and click Next to continue.SCOUPGRD29
  13. On the next step, click Next to continue.SCOUPGRD30
  14. In the following step we will select which features to install, we will go with all features and continue by clicking Next.SCOUPGRD31
  15. The setup wizard will now perform a hardware and software prerequisite check, if all prerequisites have been installed we should end up with the next step where we will configure the service account and it’s password for Orchestrator to use.SCOUPGRD33.1
    Note: This account must have Log on as a service rights enabled.
  16. To be sure that the account works, we will test it by clicking Test.SCOUPGRD34
  17. If the credentials were accepted it means the test was successful, if not then double check the username and password, click Next to continue.SCOUPGRD35
  18. Next up enter the server and instance name of the SQL Server and if a port has been configured enter the correct port.SCOUPGRD36
  19. Now we will test the database connection, click Test Database Connection.SCOUPGRD38
  20. If the test was unsuccessful, make sure that the account used for the Orchestrator installation has access to the SQL Server. If the test was successful, click Next to continue.SCOUPGRD37
  21. Now choose Existing database and we should find our migrated Orchestrator database in the list, click Next to continue.SCOUPGRD70
  22. Next up we have the possibility to configure the Orchestrator users group, we will leave the default here and move on by clicking Next.SCOUPGRD71
  23. The following step will let us configure the ports for the web services, we will leave the default ports here and move on by clicking Next.SCOUPGRD72
  24. Change the install location if you prefer to install Orchestrator to another location, once done click Next to continue.SCOUPGRD73
  25. Click Next to continue.SCOUPGRD74
  26. Click Next to continue.SCOUPGRD76
  27. Click Install to start installing Orchestrator 1801.SCOUPGRD77
  28. If the installation was completed successfully we should see the following:SCOUPGRD78
  29. Click Close to finish the Orchestrator 1801 setup wizard.


We have now successfully installed Orchestrator 1801, we will now do a quick check to see if we can connect to our new Orchestrator environment.

Open the Runbook Designer and Connect to our new Windows Server 2016 server which is now the new Management Server.


We can now see that our Runbooks have successfully been migrated.


Finally let’s check the version, go to Help in the upper left corner and then click About.


We can now see that Orchestrator 1801 has been successfully installed and working, we can now head to the next step where we will update Orchestrator to 1807.


Updating Orchestrator to 1807

  1. We will start by locating the installation files, let’s head to the folder where we downloaded the Orchestrator 1807 installation files.SCOUPGRD82.1
    Note: The Orchestrator 1807 installation files are inside of cabinet files, the  files will need to be extracted out from the cabinet files before being able to run them.
    In this guide the installation files have already been extracted.We will install the updates in the following order:

    Orchestrator Management Server
    Orchestrator Runbook Server
    Orchestrator Runbook Designer

  2. To install the update, right click the update setup file and click Apply.SCOUPGRD83
  3. If the Orchestrator services are running, the setup will ask us whether we want to close them or not, we will choose to automatically close them, click OK to finish the installation.SCOUPGRD84
  4. Continue by installing the Orchestrator Runbook Server update.SCOUPGRD85
  5. And finally install the last update, Orchestrator Runbook Designer, right click the update and click Apply to install it.

We will now check that Orchestrator 1807 has been installed by opening the Runbook Designer, then go to Help in the upper left corner and click on About.

Lastly we will check that no traces were left from the other Runbook Servers, open up the System Center Orchestrator Deployment Manager and head to Runbook Servers.


As we can see we the old Runbook Servers are not showing, this is because we performed the uninstall step before migrating the Orchestrator database!

We have now successfully upgraded from System Center Orchestrator 2012 R2 to 1807!

Remember to import the Integration Packs that were used in Orchestrator 2012 R2, if there are nowhere to be found, re-download them again and register them to the new Orchestrator 1807. (You can find many Integration Packs from my blog)

Also don’t forget to deploy the Integration Packs to the Runbook Servers!


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