vCloud Automation Center – Active Directory Computer Account Management Extension

Overview

A common extension requested for vCloud Automation Center is the ability to pre-create computer account objects in Active Directory in a specific Organizational Unit, and also to decommission the accounts in different ways along with the virtual machine. Without a custom workflow, you can have the computer join the domain during the customization phase, but this will only create the computer account in the default Computers container. Also, while there is an out-of-the box AD machine cleanup plugin which can be enabled, it will likely never support the multi-tenancy introduced in vCAC 6.0. vCO does not support it today either, but it is more likely to gain support in the near future.

This solution implements these functions using vCenter Orchestrator and its plugins for vCAC and Active Directory.

The rest of this article contains instructions on installing and configuring the vCAC AD Computer Account Management Extension. This extension allows administrators to model very specific OU structures for their AD machine accounts using vCAC custom properties, and supports dynamic OU Distinguished Name building based on combinations of properties derived from different areas of vCAC (compute resources, reservations, groups, blueprints, etc.).

This extension is [Read more...]

vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.2/6.0 – Custom Hostnaming Extension v3.1

Overview

One of the most frequent asks when using vCAC is, “How do I deploy machines using my company’s hostnaming standards automatically using vCAC?”  Since the out-of-the box hostnaming only provides a way to do prefix-suffix, the answer to this question usually is that it will require customization.

This solution is intended to provide a way to implement this functionality by using a small, highly versatile custom extension which can handle 95% of use cases without writing custom code.

The rest of this article contains instructions on installing and configuring the vCAC Custom Hostnaming Extension.  This extension allows administrators to model very specific custom hostnaming schemes for their vCAC virtual machines, multi-machine services, and vCloud Director vApps using vCAC custom properties, with dynamic creation of stock machine prefixes and index tracking for each unique hostname combination.

This extension is [Read more...]

vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 6.0 – Creating a Fabric Group

Fabric groups are important in vCAC.  The Fabric groups are what enable you to provide access to resources from your physical infrastructure.  Within a fabric group you add users or groups that are responsible for managing infrastructure resources and add the resources they are responsible for.  For example you may select clusters that are managed from vCenter and assign the user/groups that are responsible for managing those resources.

Creating a Fabric Group

  1. From the Infrastructure menu select Group form the left menu.
  2. VCAC6FG-1
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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 6.0 – Adding Endpoints

We now need to create an endpoint so we can talk to some infrastructure. In this example we are going to create a VMware vSphere endpoint that we can use to talk to resources.

Adding a vCenter Endpoint

1. We start by going to the Infrastructure tab, then choosing Endpoints from the side menu and then Endpoints again. Once there however over the New Endpoint item on the right side of the page.
VCAC6AE-1
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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 6.0 – Creating Credentials

Next we need to create a Credential Set that will be utilized to connect to connect to the vCenter Server.

Creating Credentials

1. Navigate to the Infrastructure tab and select Endpoints form the left Menu.
VCAC6CREDS-1
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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 6.0 – Adding Licenses

Once we have logged under our tenant we need to add some license keys to the configuration. This is pretty straight forward.

Add Licenses to vCAC 6

1. Click on the infrastructure tab, then select administration form the side menu.
VCAC6LIC-1
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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 6.0 – Adding Tenants

After vCAC 6 is initially installed you have only the default tenant that was created during the configuration of the Identity Appliance. The administrator user for the default tenant will allow you to login to the vCAC UI and created additional tenants and configure default branding.

It is highly recommended that you do not utilize the default tenant for anything other than tenant management. You can add a directory service such as AD to the default tenant to assign other administrators, however beyond that it is not recommended that you utilize the default tenant to provide any additional service. This post will walk you through creating a new tenant in vCAC 6.0 that can be used to publish services.

Creating a new tenant

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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 6.0 – Installting the vCAC 6.0 IaaS Server

Now that we have installed and configured the vCAC 6.0 Identity Appliance and the vCAC 6.0 Virtual Appliance we now need to install the vCAC 6.0 IaaS Server. The IaaS server is all the former vCAC 5.x and earlier components. The vCAC 6.0 IaaS Server includes the following components:

  • IaaS Reopsitory
  • IaaS Server Service
  • IaaS DEM’s – Orchestrator and Worker
  • IaaS Proxy Agents

If you are familiar with vCAC 5.2 and earlier you will notice the architecture for the IaaS server is the same. There are some important changes to functionality that this component provides however. The IaaS server no longer handles the following:

  • vCAC Admin Portal – Now in the vCAC 6.0 VA
  • vCAC Self Service Portal – Now in the vCAC 6.0 VA
  • Cost Profiles – Now in the vCAC 6.0 VA
  • Approvals – Now in the vCAC 6.0 VA
  • Authentication – Now in the vCAC 6.0 VA

From an integration perspective the vCAC IaaS server still supports state transition workflows and the same Windows Workflow Foundation workflow system as well as the custom machine menu operation workflows. You however won’t be using the custom machine menu operation workflows much with the new day two operations that leverage vCO. No longer are you limited to 4 custom actions and they are completely vCO driven.

Installing the vCAC 6.0 IaaS Server

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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 6.0 – Installting the vCAC 6.0 Virtal Appliance

The vCAC 6.0 Virtual appliance(VA) is your gateway into vCAC 6.0. The vCAC VA packs a punch with lots of new capabilities including:

  • Multi-Tenancy
  • New Self-Service Portal
  • Catalog Brand-able per tenant
  • Ultra flexible advanced approvals
  • Custom service offerings (XaaS)
  • Custom Day 2 operations
  • Built-In vCO Server
  • Lots more….

The vCAC 6.0 VA is the second of three required components for vCAC 6.0. The First component the vCAC 6.0 Identity Appliance handles SSO authentication for the architecture, the vCAC VA handles the web interface for administration, self-service, and API. The vCAC IaaS Server which we will be installing next is what was formerly known as vCAC.

The appliance is delivered as an ova or ovf whichever you prefer. I will be walking through the installation using the ova version. In this tutorial we will do the following:

  • Import the vCAC 6.0 Virtual Appliance OVA to vCenter
  • Configure the vCAC 6.0 Virtual Appliance for use

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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 6.0 – Installing the vCAC 6.0 Identity Server Appliance

The vCAC 6.0 Identity Appliance (IA) is an integral component of vCAC and a very welcomed addition. The vCAC 6.0 IA will be the first component of the new vCAC 6.0 Suite that is deployed in your environment. If you don’t already have the vCAC 6.0 Identity Appliance you can download from the VMware Downloads page.

Identify Appliance Features

The identity appliance gives vCAC some newly added benefits and features that with regards to authentication and supporting multiple directory services. Some of these features include:,/p>

  • Multiple AD Provider Support per tenant
  • Multiple LDAP Service Providers per tenant
  • Single Sign-On Capabilities
  • Allows for the portal to now have the much sought after logout button

The appliance is delivered as an ova or ovf whichever you prefer. I will be walking through the installation using the ova version. In this tutorial we will do the following:

  • Import the vCAC 6.0 Identity Appliance OVA to vCenter
  • Configure the vCAC 6.0 Identity Appliance for use

[Read more...]

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