vRA and NSX Integration Series

It should be no surprise that VMware is putting a lot of time and energy around the benefits of vRealize Automation and NSX. The #BetterTogether campaign has taken off and just about anyone touching either of these solutions should be able to articulate that message by now. I’ve been focusing on the integrations between vRA and NSX partly because it’s within my charter, but primarily due to being huge believer in the transformative nature of the technology behind it. Whether at a VMUG, in a briefing, building internal content, or in my home office as my puppy, Millie, begs to go out and play just as I start recording a video (it’s like clockwork!), this has easily become one of my favorite topics.

While the benefits are easily articulated and demos [usually] go off without a hitch, much of the feedback I get suggests there’s a perceived complexity with the integration. “Not so!”, says I. While complex is a relative term, integrating vRA and NSX doesn’t have to be, especially if you have a basic understanding of the two solutions individually. Although I will agree on at least one thing — while documentation is generally getting better, there’s still a major gap in prescribed [how-to] content.…

Adding a Network Selection Drop-Down in vRA 7

Ever since the early days of vCAC, customers have needed the ability to provide a variety of additional control options to vRealize Automation’s self-service consumer. I’m specifically referring to inputs and selection options that are made available to the consumer during request time. Some of the most common examples include fields for plain text input, drop-down menus, checkboxes, value lists, and text descriptors. The input or selection can be basic information or used for downstream processing during machine provisioning.

Custom Properties

There are hundreds (thousands?) of use cases and unique requirements that make it just about impossible for VMware to deliver every option as an out of the box. function. Instead, vRealize Automation (vRA) leverages Custom Properties to provide a quick-n-easy way to control many aspects of machine provisioning. Custom properties can be used across much of vRA’s configuration constructs, including Blueprints, Business Groups, Compute Resources, Reservations, and Endpoints (in that order of precedence). Custom properties are a core component of vRA’s massive extensibility engine and are often used in collaboration with the Property Dictionary, Property Groups, vRealize Orchestrator (via workflow stubs), and the new Event Broker. If you’re unfamiliar with custom properties and these concepts, be sure to read the documentation.…

vRA and NSX – Using Baseline Security Groups

vRA and NSX came together back when vRA (a.k.a. vCAC) 6.0 was released, just as VMware was transitioning from vCNS to NSX. In vRA 6.x, inventory-collected security groups must be selected (checked) per Reservation prior to being available for consumption by a multi-machine blueprint (and only MMBP’s support NSX in vRA 6.x). As I’ve highlighted several times before, the latest release of vRealize Automation (7.x) delivers deeper integrations with NSX and unified service authoring capabilities to make delivering application-centric networks the new norm. See this post for how vRA and NSX are better together…I won’t repeat those details here.

With vRA 7’s deeper integration and broader use cases, one hugely powerful feature is the ability to incorporate one or more NSX Security Groups — either Pre-Existing or On-Demand — into your service design using the new Converged Blueprint Designer (CBP). You simply drag-and-drop the security group right on to the unified canvas and bind it to the desired machine components…

vra-cbp-nsx-sg

nsx security groups in vra

As a result, the provisioned machines are automatically added to the security group (Existing Security Group) or a new security group is dynamically created and bound to an existing security policy at request (On-Demand Security Group).…

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.…

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.…

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…

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.…

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.…