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.

 

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@virtualjad…

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.…

vRA Live! – Extensibility Videos Published

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…

vRA Live!, Session 2 – Extensibility

** Update 12/31/14: Videos have been posted! – https://www.virtualjad.com/2015/05/vra-live-extensibility-videos-published.html

As a much overdue follow-up to vRA Live! – Install and Configure, I will be hosting the next session on April 17th @ 1:00PM EST.  vRA Live! – Extensibility will focus on extending vRealize Automation through vRA’s extensibility tools.

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” vs. the reality that is an enterprise’s high-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.…

VMware vCAC IaaS Optimization Guide

Update 04/22/15: After further investigation around the effectiveness of these optimization tips on a vRA 6.2.1 environment, I am convinced that several of the tweaks do in fact provide some level of perceived IaaS UI performance improvements. I’m very interested in hearing your feedback on these findings (i.e. give it a try and let me know!).


Update 12/10/14: I have been advised that the optimization tweaks highlighted in this article will not provide any added benefits to vCAC/vRA 6.1 or 6.2. This is due to the way the IaaS interface is now presented back to the user (via the vCAC appliance vs. directly to the user session). The good news is VMware dev’s are hard at work at baking optimization right into the products, starting with a significant boost in the recently released vRA 6.2.

VMware’s vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) can transform how an enterprise delivers IT. It’s out-of-the-box functionality will help IT deliver Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) along with X-as-a-Service (XaaS / Everything-a-a-S) in a matter of clicks. Once extended into the datacenter’s ecosystem with vCAC’s extensibility engine, it will help integrate, orchestrate, and automate native and 3rd-party tools, services, and infrastructure, thrusting the enterprise into a new level of self-serviced IT efficiency.…

vCAC 6.0 XaaS Use Case – DaaS with Horizon View

vCloud Automation Center 6.0’s “XaaS” feature will allow our customers to utilize any prepackaged, new, or existing vCenter Orchestrator workflow and deliver it as a Self-Serviced, Entitled, Governed, and Lifecycle-managed service. VMware will be shipping a more integrated View/vCAC DaaS integration in Q1’2014.  Until then we have to improvise to come up with a “DaaS-like” solution that will help fill in the gap until the products are natively integrated.

vCAC’s Advanced Service Designer (ASD) provides a quick-fix for this needed capability using rather unsophisticated means.  This use case guide will walk you on building a Desktop Request service using the ASD and vCenter Orchestrator’s Active Directory Plug-in.

DaaS Use Case Objectives:

  • Allow cloud users to request a Horizon View Desktop machine from vCAC’s Service Catalog and add Self-Service, Governance, and Entitlement to existing View Environments
  • Use vCAC’s Advanced Service Designer to create a Custom Service to deliver DaaS
  • Configure a Governance (Approval) policy for VDI Desktop Requests
  • Utilize vCO’s built-in Active Directory plug-in and a simple workflow to do the magic

DaaS Solution Summary:

  • Horizon View is configured with 2 Desktop Pools: 
  • Floating Desktop Pool: DaaS-Engineering
  • Dedicated Desktop Pool: DaaS-Operations 
  • Both pools are configured to pre-provision 20 (e.g.) desktops and always have 5 desktops available (unused) in the pool
  • Each pool is entitled to an existing Active Directory Security Group 
    • DaaS-Engineering -> “DaaS-Eng” 
    • DaaS-Development-> “DaaS-Ops”
  • A “Desktop Services” catalog item is created using the Advanced Service Designer, which utilizes an existing vCO Active Directory [plug-in] workflow “add a user to a group
  • When invoked, the user selects an AD User and one of 2 available Groups
  • Once submitted, vCO adds the selected user to the selected group, which entitles the user that that group (and associated View Pool)
  •  XaaS Lab Logical Architecture

      

     
    Assumptions

    This guide
    assumes you have good working knowledge of vCloud Automation Center 6.0
    and Horizon View 5.x, as well as familiarity with vCAC’s UI and
    operational concepts.…

    VMware vCloud Automation Center 6.0 is LIVE!

    It has been a long time coming…lots of hard work, energy, collaboration, and a massive investment from VMware to ensure this release marks the beginning of a game-changing technology for organizations looking to accelerate and optimize their cloud strategy. vCloud Automation Center 6.0 was made Generally Available today (as promised). This release does more than update an existing platform — it sets the stage for what’s next for VMware, its Partners, and customers.

     vCAC 6.0 addresses real IT problems with the Business in mind. And it does this with “time to value” at the forefront. We’ve moved beyond the days of delivering cloud solutions that promise the world but start with a blank canvas, “Here’s your cloud…it can do anything…but first I’ll need 6 FTE’s and 18mos to turn it into something consumable…fingers crossed”. Sound familiar? Unfortunately that strategy is alive and well today. I call it “custom COTS” (commercial-off-the-shelf).

    What our customers are looking for is real COTS, something that delivers time to value and begins to address real IT problems immediately. A solution that promises ecosystem integration while allowing them to utilize existing investments. A solution that will help organizations realize the value of the Software-Defined Datacenter on day 1.…

    vCAC Property Dictionary: Customize Service Requests with Dynamic Menus

    //Update// – this procedure works with vCAC 6.2 (not in 6.1). The UI will look different, but same concepts apply. The property dictionary in vCAC 6 is located at Infrastructure (tab) –> Blueprints…

    In a previous post I discussed the benefits of utilizing vCloud Automation Center’s Property Dictionary to add input options during the application request process. This is one of the quickest ways to add some flare (and serious functionality) to the application request and allows users to have a little more granularity in the service selection process. The Property Dictionary – and custom properties in general – also help drive down the number of Blueprints thanks to the logic that can be baked right into the process.

    Let’s review (from previous post)
    In addition to creating a custom property, which can trigger external actions (workflows), you can create property definitions that utilize vCAC’s built-in reserved custom properties, which can be used take a user’s input and apply it to an existing custom property – think of it as an answer file of sorts. For example, a drop-down list that presents the networks available to a given Provisioning Group and allowing users to select a preferred network. The property dictionary can also be used to build relationships between parent and child definitions to provide a more dynamic and nested functionality – the user selects a location (“Datacenter A”, parent) and, based on that selection, only appropriate networks (“NetA”, “NetB”, “NetC”, children) dynamically become available.