In the second act of vRA Live!, we took a dive into extensibility and uncovered many of the ways in which vRealize Automation can be incorporated into a broader ecosystem of tools and extensions, largely leveraging vRA’s BFF, vRealize Orchestrator (vRO). This session was part of an ongoing series of vRA deep-dives and a follow up to the inaugural session, vRA Live! – Install and Configure. With more than 350 RSVP’s and ~140 hanging out for 3 1/2 hours, I’d say this was another success…so thanks to all that attended!These sessions wouldn’t be what they are without the awesome panel. A ton of thanks and a huge shout-out goes to this crew, who presented their own use cases (live), etched an epic vRO whiteboard on the fly, and answered more than 110 attendee questions throughout the session…

Leveraging vRealize Automation’s vast extensibility framework is the logical next step for organizations who have installed vRA and are looking to move beyond the basics. Extensibility is used to unlock the power of vRA’s integration and automation of the cloud ecosystem, deliver custom services, and help bridge the gap between what is available “out of the box” and the requirement to integrate into an enterprise’s highly-customized and often complex environment. While vRA can deliver basic IaaS services with relatively little effort, the real value for enterprises and those leveraging vRA for managing a software-defined datacenter is delivered by the ability for it to integrate, automate, and orchestrate the surrounding environment.

The Videos

Let me start with a disclaimer. This event was hosted on WebEx and recorded. I also used a screen capture utility Voila for a high quality capture, which is then edited and spliced using ScreenFlow. As we rolled into the 2nd hour, Voila crashed and I lost everything that had been recorded. Thankfully I had the [lower-quality] WebEx recording, which was converted to .wmv, edited in ScreenFlow, exported as a series of .mp4’s, and uploaded into vimeo. In other words, please forgive the mediocre quality! It’s not that bad, but could have been much better (this is also the reason why it took 2 weeks to get this stuff up). But i digress.

For your viewing pleasure…

Part 1 – Opening & Panel Introductions

We open up with a panel introduction and overview of what extensibility means in the world of vRealize Automation. The content here if very novice-level as we warm up to ensure all those who are new to extensibility had a good starting point. Since one malfunction for the day wasn’t bad enough, I also was unable to switch screens for the sake of viewing my agenda and speaker notes while recording…so please pardon the rambling and bouncing around!

Part 2 – IaaS Post-Provisioning Workflows, Use Case 1 – Fun with IFTTTThe objective here was to introduce the audience to vRA’s basic extensibility concepts, including the Custom Properties, the Property Dictionary, Build Profiles, and workflow stubs leveraging vRealize Orchestrator. Then we jump into configuring vRA with vRO and installing workflow stubs from vRO to an existing vRA blueprint using some of the plugin’s built-in installation workflows. At that point we were ready for the use case leveraging IFTTT for a fun “art of the possible” post-provisioning phone call with relatively little effort.
Part 3 – IaaS Post-Provisioning Workflows, Use Case 2 – Standardizing a Machine BuildNow we jump into the real meat. My good friend Steve Kaplan has spent a significant amount of time with vRA and vRO as he lead a global implementation of vRA. His goal was to automate as much as possible, both pre and post provisioning. Steve has built some impressively complex workflows and he offered to walk through one of them for a lesson in extensibility. Here’s Steve presenting his post-provisioning workflow to standardize machine builds across his environment.
Part 4 – Advanced Service DesignerThe Advanced Service Designer (ASD) was introduced in [then] vCAC 6.0 and instantly changed everything. It is by far one of the most powerful service delivery tools in our arsenal and leverages vRO to build custom services and actions for somewhere around a treeeeeeelion use cases. The net-net of it is you build a workflow in vRO (or leverage an existing one) then deliver that workflow as a service (i.e. XaaS). The possibilities are endless. Here we have mr. cloud guy himself, Eric Hardcastle, taking over the spotlight to walk through building a custom machine blueprint strictly in ASD (not using the traditional IaaS UI). Eric’s instructional tone and demeanor are pretty awesome.
Part 5 – vRealize Orchestrator Unplugged, Session Wrap-Up
As you know by now, vRA can deliver a great amount of value on it’s own, but things get real when vRA+vRO hook up. I’ve said it many times already – vRO is the top skillset in this extensible world. I have a very short list of vRO go-to engineers that have never turned away a challenge. These are the folks that live-breath-eat-sleep-talk-walk vRO. For this segment in the agenda, I asked Joerg Lew to join the panelists and share some thoughts on vRO. Since nothing here is scripted, Joerg offered to do a vRO whiteboard instead of another use case to get down and dirty into vRO’s well-deserved place in the ITaaS ecosystem. The result?…an epic whiteboard. This is why Joerg is on that list!

In summary, vRA = awesome. vRA+vRO = sick (like, in a good way)!

Thanks again to everyone who attended and especially the panel. I look forward to hosting more of these sessions.

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@virtualjad
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