VMware vRealize Automation – vRA7 – Custom Hostnaming Extension for vRA7 and beyond

Overview

One of the most frequent asks when using vRA is, “How do I deploy machines using my company’s hostnaming standards automatically using vRA?”  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 vRA Custom Hostnaming Extension.  This extension allows administrators to model very specific custom hostnaming schemes for their vRA virtual machines, Deployments, and vCloud Director vApps using vRA custom properties, with dynamic creation of stock machine prefixes and index tracking for each unique hostname combination.

This extension is [Read more…]

vRealize Automation – vCAC 6.1 – Registering the Application Services Cloud Provider and Templates

Once your vCAC Application Services appliance is installed and configured, you must set up a Cloud Provider.  A Cloud Provider is a system that will provide infrastructure services for the applications you will manage.  In this case, we are using vCAC.  At the same time, you can create Templates based on the vCAC Blueprints you’d like to consume.

Follow the steps below to create your Cloud Provider and Templates.

  1. Choose a user account and add it to the Group Manager role in a vCAC Business Group with the privilege to deploy the Blueprint you would like to use as a base for your application installation.

    image 

  2. Next login to the Application Services appliance, open the Applications menu in the upper right-hand corner, and navigate to Cloud Providers.

    image

  3. Click the green plus sign to add a new Cloud Provider.

    image

  4. Select the appropriate Cloud Provider Type, vCAC in this case.

    image

  5. Fill in the Name and Description for the Cloud Provider.  The vCAC Cloud Provider Type also requires you to input the vCAC Infrastructure URL (the Windows machine, NOT the catalog appliance), as well as your chosen User Name and Password.  Be sure to click Validate Connection after you’ve completed all required fields.

    image

  6. To add a Template, click the green plus sign next to the Templates heading in the lower section of the page.

    image

  7. Click the check box for the Blueprints you’d like to enable as Templates in Application Services, then click OK.  You can also click the ellipsis to show more information about a Blueprint.

    image

  8. If you’d like, you can change the Name and/or Description of the Template(s).  When you are finished, click Save.

    image

This Cloud Provider and Template will now be available for Application deployments.

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 5.1 – Preventing vCAC from Deleting Destroyed Virtual Machines

The default behavior in vCAC when destroying a vSphere virtual machine is to delete it completely and permanently.  In some environments and use cases, this may not be desired.  Luckily, vCAC allows you to change this behavior.  Instead of deleting them when they are destroyed, you can configure vCAC to power off virtual machines and move them to a folder called VRMDeleted in the vSphere Datacenter root (if this folder doesn’t exist, vCAC will create it on first use).  This can be especially helpful if you are troubleshooting post-provisioning or guest customization problems, as you will be able to investigate inside the guest operating system after the failure.

This setting is changed on the vSphere Proxy Agent for each vCenter you would like to affect.  To “turn off doDeletes”, perform the following steps:

  1. Login to the vSphere Proxy Agent system, open a command prompt, and change directories into the program folder for the appropriate vSphere Proxy Agent (%SystemDrive%\Program Files (x86)\DynamicOps\DCAC Agents\agentName by default).
  2. Run this command:
    DynamicOps.Vrm.VRMencrypt.exe VRMAgent.exe.config set doDeletes false
  3. Restart the proxy agent service
  4. [Read more…]