vRealize Automation 7 – Part 1, What’s New – Spotlight Features

This was a big week in Barcelona — not just because VMworld EMEA broke attendance records, but also thanks to the announcement of one of the most anticipated updates to the VMware vRealize family, vRealize Automation 7.0 (vRA 7).  I had the opportunity to hosts and co-host several vRA sessions throughout the week, including a couple exclusive ad-hoc deep dive workshops for vExperts.  Now it’s finally time to share with all of you the cloud management goodness that’s been brewing at VMware.  This is the first of many in a series that will cover all the new innovations and features of vRealize Automation 7.0 and dig deep into several advanced use cases.  So let’s get started…

Spotlight #1 – Deployment and Initial Configuration

vRA 7 focuses a lot on the user experience (UX), starting with one of the most critical — Deploying the solution — then the second most critical, configuring it.  Following through with the promise of a more streamlined deployment experience, we made a huge splash at VMworld Barcelona with the debut of the wizard-driven and completely automated installation of the entire platform and automated initial configuration.  And all of this in a significantly reduced deployment architecture.

Deployment Architecture – The overall footprint of vRA 7 has been drastically reduced.  …

A Quick Lesson on vRA Entitlements

vRealize Automation provides a ton of granularity for roles and permissions, service availability, lifecycle management (e.g. day-2 operations). It essentially boils down to a set of logic that defines who can see and do any given task on any given resource. This can be as simple as a handful of configurations, or get as complex as you want it to be.

vRA’s Entitlements feature is just one of many ways to add governance and additional controls to your environment. Entitlements allow admins to create a set of policies that determine which services any given consumer can deploy and how they can [lifecycle] manage their services post-provisioning. The following entitlement options are available per Business Group User or Group.

  • IaaS Blueprints
  • PaaS / AppServices Blueprints
  • XaaS Services
  • Actions / Custom Actions (Day 2 Operations)
  • Service Catalogs
  • Approval Policies

Entitlements are created and managed under Catalog Management (Administration tab -> Catalog Management -> Entitlements) for all available services. It is important to note that entitlements are a REQUIRED function for service delivery (e.g. all services must be entitled at some level before they are available for consumption). Since this isn’t a HOW-TO post (see the vRA Live Install and Config videos and/or the vRA 6.0 POC Guide for a detailed how-to), here’s a summary of how to get from here to there…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once an Entitlement is created, there are several options that will help you fine-tune exactly what gets entitled, who this entitlement effects, which actions are available, and whether or not component-level approval policies are in the mix.…

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.…

vRealize Automation 6.2 Install and Config (Live!) Videos

Earlier this month I hosted “vRA 6.2 Install and Config Live!“, an open-invite social event dubbed “vRA Live” (#vralive). To my surprise, I had 185 RSVP’s with more than 100 people — VMware partners, customers, and several of my peers — attending the 4 1/2+ hour online session. Although I tried to focus on the fundamentals of deploying vRA and associated services, the online Q&A and dialog provided by the experts panel added several examples, lesson’s learned, and plenty of colorful commentary. I couldn’t be more pleased with the turnout and hope to get the next session(s) queued up very soon!…

VMware vRA 6.2 Install & Configure Live Event!

Thanks to all who have shown interest in this event.  I was expecting 50 RSVP’s…currently at 128!  That just about guarantees this will be a fun (and informative) event.  I have put together the following agenda based on feedback from the sign up survey.

The primary objective is to install, configure, and demonstrate vRA 6.2 from scratch.  For this, I will follow the install and configure workflow I previously covered in my vCAC 6.0 POC and Detailed Implementation Guide.  Although vRA 6.2 provides additional capabilities and a more streamlined installation, many of the concepts are the same.…

VMware SDDC / vCloud Suite Whiteboard

I recently had the opportunity to brief several dozen VMware Public Sector (US-Fed / SLED) partners in anticipation of the vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) 6.0 GA release. While most of the day focused on vCAC, I spent about an hour or so delivering an updated version of my SDDC Whiteboard brief to help set the stage for vCAC.

The whiteboard provides an overview of VMware’s SDDC / vCloud vision — starting from the foundation (i.e. vSphere) and capped off by the cloud automation layer (vCAC)…and all the loveliness in between.

This is a presentation I do often, but no two are the same. If you’ve got 45ish minutes to spare, please do and feel free to provide some feedback!


VMware vCloud Suite / vCAC Whiteboard from @virtualjad on Vimeo.

 

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@virtualjad

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.…