vRealize Automation and NSX – Better Together

One of the hottest topics in the world of software-defined everything is unequivocally NSX. This rocketship of a technology is fundamentally changing datacenter design — much like vSphere so effectively did (except at a greater pace). NSX redefines how networks are built, consumed, and managed. Even more importantly, security no longer has to be compromised due to the the prohibitive cost of per-application policies. And best of all, this all done with software. That’s a good thing since we’re at the start of a software-defined revolution, quickly breaking out of our hardware-defined chains.

I can go on and on, but this post isn’t about how awesome NSX is…not entirely anyway.

Making Awesome…Awesomer

So how do we take awesome up another notch? Easy…automate it (i’m sure you figured I’d say that). And not just automate in the “I’ll run a fancy custom script or workflow as soon as the request hits my desk”. While that’s neat — and congrats on putting in all the work for building those static processes (also, good luck handing those proprietary scripts over to the next admin when LinkedIn recruiters finally land you) — that’s not what I’m referring to. Automation in that sense has been around for decades and traditionally misses two of the worst choke points in IT — People and Process.…

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VMware Cloud Management Q1’16 Releases

Today was a big day for VMware’s Cloud Management business unit!

While most of these releases are an incremental (“sub”) release, they are quite important for all customers who have either already deployed or upgraded to vRealize Automation 7.0 and/or vRealize Business 7.0, or have been patiently holding off for the first incremental update prior to deploying or moving into production (especially considering the many platform-level enhancements introduced in 7.0).

As you’d expect, the vRA / vRB 7.0.1 updates bring with them bug fixes and minor enhancements since the 7.0 release(s). The theme is product quality, performance, scale and stability. These also represent the first releases to align with the BU’s new 90-day target for major and minor releases.

 

 

vRealize Automation 7.0.1

 

vRealize Orchestrator 7.0.1 (standalone VA)

 

vRealize Automation 6.2.4

 

vRealize Business for Cloud 7.0.1

 

vRealize CodeStream 2.0

 

vRealize CodeStream Management Pack for DevOps 2.0

And finally, the vRealize Suite 7.0 has been officially released to align with the completed portfolio of cloud management solutions.…

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vRealize Automation 7 – Part 1.1, Spotlight Overview and Demo

As a follow up to the vRealize Automation 7 – Part 1, What’s New – Spotlight Features, I have just published a YouTube video that walks through vRA 7.0’s Spotlights and jumps into an 18-minute demo that dives a little deeper in each feature…

  • Logging in, Service Catalog, Overview
  • VMware Identity Manager (vIDM) – Federated Identity Management
  • Converged Blueprints – Unified Service Design
    • App Authoring
    • NSX Networking
  • Event Broker

The video below has been published in VMware Cloud Management’s YouTube channel. Be sure to subscribe to the vRealize Automation Playlist!

 

This is the complete 35-min video (demo starts at 17:30). I will publish just the demo portion as a separate video shortly.

 

++++
@virtualjad…

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vRealize Automation 7.0 (GA) is LIVE!

Well, here it is folks…the wait is over for one of the most anticipated releases from VMware’s Cloud Management BU — vRealize Automation 7.0 is officially GA as of this writing!!

vRealize Automation is the centerpiece of vRealize Suite, VMware’s Cloud Management Platform (CMP). With the release of vRA 7.0, VMware clearly demonstrates it’s leadership in the CMP market by delivering a platform loaded with several enhancements, killer features and industry-first innovations. vRA 7 also redefines the user experience by following through on the commitment to take the complexity out of hybrid cloud management without “dumbing down” the product.

I’ve had the privilege to work very closely with several teams within the cloud management BU while gearing up for this launch, most notably my friends and peers in the go-to-market team. In my 6 years at VMware, I can honestly say I have never seen so many smart people work so closely together on a common goal — deliver a solid product, set the standard. Needless to say, I’m incredibly proud and honored to be a part of this release.

Let’s get to the goodies.

I foolishly set a goal to have a full library of vRA 7 content completed by GA.…

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vRealize Automation 7 – Part 5, Identity Management

Moving right along with the next spotlight feature in vRealize Automation 7 — a totally revamped access control and authentication system brought to you by VMware Identity Manager (vIDM). What may appear as an insignificant move from 6.x’s standalone Identity Appliance (IDVA aka vCenter SSO/PSC) is actually one of the most important additions to the new platform. Allow me to elaborate…

vIDM is the result of VMware’s acquisition of TriCipher about 5 years ago (August 2010), which has gone through several iterations and has become — or will become — the de facto policy-based identity platform across VMware broader portfolio (beyond vCenter, of course). Today, it is most notably leveraged by the Horizon suite and, more recently, as a stand-alone Identity Management solution available as an on-prem or SaaS offering. Out of the gate, vIDM brings scalability, performance, and policy-based management and access controls to whichever solution it is natively integrated with. This is especially true (re: performance/scaleability) when access into said solution is extended to the entire enterprise. And with that, it was almost a no-brainer that VMware’s Cloud Management BU has chosen vIDM as it’s standard for the next-gen CMP solution, starting with vRA 7.0.

The Identity Problem

To get a better understanding of why this was a critical move for vRA, we need to understand some of current limitations and restrictions brought on by the IDVA.…

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vRealize Automation 7 – Part 4, Initial Config as-a-service

We’ve discussed VMware’s focus on the UX and Time-to-Value (TTV) with vRA 7’s much-improved Deployment Architecture and the new Deployment Wizard, which automates the end-to-end deployment for for monolithic or distributed vRA implementations. This alone will drastically change the perceived complexity of installing the solution. But now that we’ve got that out of the way, why not take it one step further?

Once vRA is installed, there is still a significant amount of initial configuration and logic building to be done. While this allows customers to build a tailored solution based on their requirements and desired logic, it wasn’t very POC or quick-start friendly. It can take an experienced vRA admin another hour or so of configuration before being able to log in and request/deploy the first IaaS machine. For the inexperienced POC’er, this can be a brutal process no matter how well VMware attempts to document each step. In the spirit of automating automation and improving the quality of life for the average vRA admin, VMware has delivered a clever way to quickly tackle this. It’s called XaaS (aka anything-as-a-service, previously referred to as the Advanced Service Designer). In short, it’s an XaaS form and a set of vRO workflows that help vRA deliver itself as a service.…

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vRealize Automation 7 – Part 3.1, Deployment Wizard Video

In part 3 of this series I provided an overview of vRA 7’s new deployment wizard – an addition that will significantly increase the time-to-value (TTV) by aiming to quickly deploy vRA regardless if it’s for a minimal (monolithic) or enterprise (distributed) implementation.  I cannot emphasize enough how critical the deployment wizard (along with the new deployment architecture) will be for removing the perceived complexity of getting vRA stood up.  Competitively, this sets a new standard for how to implement any enterprise solution and will certainly allow vRA to shine above the rest (but enough about that).

Below is a video of the deployment wizard walking through a minimal implementation.  It is important to note that vRA 7 has yet to GA, so some of the automation options and the UI itself can be tweaked between the current beta code and eventual GA builds.

(The screen capture is sped up 2.5X and some long wait periods have been clipped)

vRA 7 Deployment Wizard – FAST from @virtualjad on Vimeo.

The wizard will provide a choice of a minimal (POC, small) or enterprise (HA, distributed) deployment then, based on the desired deployment type, walks the admin through a series of configuration details needed for the various working parts of vRA, including all the windows-based IaaS components and dependencies.…

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vRealize Automation 7 – Part 3, The Deployment Wizard

Remember that time you downloaded vRA (or vCAC) and tried to install it on your own? After some frustration and head-scratching, you turn to documentation, blogs, events, and a variety of guides provided by the community. Eventually everything starts looking good as you’re able to get passed the install and into initial configuration. vRA 6.x’s implementation involves a series of appliance deployments, VAMI configurations, prerequisite headaches, and installation of several IaaS components on windows hosts. Taking that to a distributed, highly-available configuration was a whole different story with the added complexities of deploying several additional systems, clustering configurations, external dependencies, and a whole other set of prerequisites. Of course none of this is unique to vRA — many enterprise solutions will take weeks or months to deploy in a production-ready state. There are many complexities expected of a cloud management platform that is nested at the center of an enterprise ecosystem. While the end-to-end implementation of vRA has come a long way, there was still a lot to be desired. Fortunately, that desire was understood…and a solution was brewing.

Continuing with the theme of redefining the user experience, vRA 7’s new deployment wizard takes time-to-value to a whole new level.…

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