vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 6.0 – Creating an Amazon AWS Endpoint

Creating an Amazon AWS Endpoint is really just assigning the credentials you would like to use to communicate with Amazon. vCAC already knows how to communicate with Amazon, it just doesn’t know what it needs to authenticate. To create the AWS Enpoint perform the following steps:

  1. We start by going to the Infrastructure tab, then choosing Endpoints from the side menu and then Endpoints again. Once there hover over the New Endpoint item on the right side of the page.
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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 6.0 – Creating Amazon AWS Credentials

Creating an Amazon AWS credential has a few extra steps then a general set of credentials. You will need to login to your AWS account and access your Acess Key Id as well as your Secret Access Key to be utilized in the creation. The steps below outline the process to create an Amazon AWS set of credentials.

1.) Navigate to the Infrastructure tab and select Endpoints form the left Menu then select Credentials.
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2.)The select New Credentials form the right side of the page.
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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 6.0 – Configuring Linux Logical Volumes (LVM) using the vCAC 6.0 Linux Guest Agent

More and more frequently I get asked about support for configuring LVM(Logical Volumes) in Linux guests provisioned by vCAC. The short answer is the guest agent by default will partition a disk as a standard Linux partition. However because the guest agent allows us to execute scripts we can overcome this and configure LVM volumes within the guest. In this article I’m going to to walk you through just how to do that.

Using the Linux Guest Agent to config LVM

  1. To begin we need a working vCAC environment that can provision Linux VM’s with a working Linux Guest Agent. You can find information on all the needed topics to install and configure vCAC 6 here.
  2. Next we need a script that we will use to setup the LVM inside the guest Linux operating system. Below I have a very basic script for this example. This script assumed only one additional hard disk will be added to the VM. Any additional disks will not be included in the LVM.
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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 6.0 – Creating a vSphere Clone Blueprint

In this article we are going to be creating a vSphere Clone Blueprint. To do this we need to have a few things in place before we begin. Within the blueprint configuration there is a template picker that will allow you to pick form the available templates in your environment. In order for templates to show up in the template picker there are some items that need to be configured in the vCAC environment. You will need to have the following already configured:

  1. vSphere Credential
  2. vSphere EndPoint
  3. Fabric Group (with the vSphere resources assigned)
  4. vSphere Reservation

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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 6.0 – Installing the vCAC 6.0 Linux Guest Agent

In this article we are going to cover how to install the vCAC 6.0.x Linux Guest Operations Agent. The Linux Guest Operations agent is used to perform post provisioning tasks inside the Linux Guest Operating system as part of the vCAC provisioning process. The Linux guest agent runs after the vSphere Customization Specifications runs to perform additional configuration tasks against the machine. There are three common built in features of the guest agent that are commonly used. THose are:

  1. Partition, Format, & Mount additional disks added to the machine.
  2. Configure additional network interfaces added to the machine< ./li>
  3. Execute scripts within the guest to install applications, or perform additional configuration.

If the guest agent is installed in the template and the appropriate properties are configured it will automatically perform the first two items as part of the vCAC provisioning process. In order to execute scripts you will need to tell vCAC to inform the guest agents of the scripts that need to be executed.
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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 6.0 – Creating a VMware VCHS blueprint

Creating a blueprint for VCHS has a few pieces to it that are a little different that creating a standard vSphere blueprint. We need to start by creating a component blueprint that will then be utilized by the blueprint that we will publish to the catalog. The reason for this so you could potentially create multi-component application blueprints that can be requested from your users. If you use the vCloud Director integration you will recognize the similarities. This article provides a brief run through of creating a basic VCHS blueprint that can be provisioned against VMware’s VCHS cloud service.
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vCloud Automation Center vCAC 6.0 – Using Linux Kickstart to Provision to Physical HP Server over iLo

That big ole title pretty much says it all. In this article I’m going to walk through how to deploy RHEL (Centos) Linux onto a Physical HP Server over the iLo interface using Kickstart. When provisioning to Physical servers such as an HP Proliant DL360 there are two methods built into vCAC. One is the use of PXE boot, and the other is via the iLo interface.

There are pro and cons to both PXE and remote mounting an ISO over the iLo interface. PXE has the obvious cons of the network requirements, having a PXE server available and if you want true flexibility you will need to do a little custom work. ISO mount over iLo tend to be a bit slower due to the over head of remote mounting a ISO and the speed of the iLo interface. In this article I will be covering remote mounting an ISO over iLo, but I will be covering PXE is a later article.

What do we need

To start we need the Physical HP server to be racked and cabled up. It’s iLo interface should be configured and licensed, the network interfaces should be cabled in and the switches should be configured for the appropriate Vlans etc. The drives in the server should also be initialized. vCAC will not create any raid groups etc for you, you must do this manually. My examples also requires a web server that can be utilized to store the needed files on the network.

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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 6.0 – Creating Entitlements

Entitlements are what allow you to give users/groups access to Services and/or Blueprints as well as determine what actions they can perform with them. Entitlements offer a significant amount of flexibility in how you provide access to services through the catalog, who can access those services, what actions they can perform, and what is any approvals are required.

Entitlements are made up of three components. Services, Catalog Items, and Actions. You can choose to entitle complete Services which encompass all Items within the service or just select catalog Items. You can also determine what actions the users that belong to the entitle can perform against all the catalog items that are a part of the entitlement. Keep this in mind if you want to have catalog items with lesser or more available actions you will need to put them in different entitlements.

Within entitlements you also have the ability to assign approvals to Services, Catalog Items, and actions. Again keep in mind that you may want to have different approval policies for different groups of people for the same catalog items, this would require a different entitlement for each.

Creating Entitlements

  1. Go to Administration -> Catalog Management -> Entitlements and select the + sign next to Entitlements at the top of the page.
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  3. When the page opens give your entitlement a name, set the status as active, select the business group that it relates to, and assign the AD users/groups that you would like to grant access to the entitlement. Once completed select next.
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  5. Next on the Items & Approvals screen is where we will entitle the services, catalog items, & Actions. If you entitle an entire service you do not need to add the catalog items from the service under catalog items. If you would like to add some of the catalog items form a service, do not entitle the service, but entitle just the catalog items you would like. You will notice that there are a large amount of actions you can choose from and some are specific to certain types of catalog items. You should be aware of the different types of items and provide the appropriate actions for that item.
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    Once you are finished adding service, catalog items, & actions to your entitlement click add to create your service. Once created the assigned users can go to the catalog and request the items made available.

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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 6.0 – Enabling Catalog Items

When we created a blueprint we had to publish the blueprint. Publishing the blueprint allows it to become available as a catalog item that we can assign to a service and later entitle a user to have access to. In this article we will be assigning the blueprint to a service and enabling it as a catalog item. This will not make it show up in the catalog just yet, but creates a relationship between the blueprint and the service for which it will be published under.
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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 6.0 – Creating a Service

vCAC 6.0 introduces us to a new Self-Service catalog and a new way of managing Catalog Items. In previous versions of vCAC Blueprints were assigned to groups within the Blueprint itself. In vCAC 6.0 Blueprints are published which enables them to be assigned to users and groups through the catalog management components of the vCAC Service Catalog.

To enable blueprints to be available in the catalog we first need a service that we can publish them to. A service is really just a container that will hold the object. If you look at the service catalog you can see the services listed down the left side. These services are the containers that hold the actual catalog items that can be requested.

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We must have at least one service in the environment to enable our catalog items against. Below are the steps to create a service.

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