One of the great benefits of vCloud Automation Center is it’s Self-Service capabilities and although vCAC has a great Self-Service experience right out of the gate most organizations are going to want to tailor the request experience match their specific needs. vCAC has many ways this can be done, but one very simple way to do this is through the use of the Property Dictionary. The Property Dictionary allows us to create drop down lists, check boxes, date/time inputs, free form text fields, integer field and other methods of input. In this tutorial I’m going to walk you through using the Property Dictionary to create relational drop down fields that you can leverage to capture additional information from your users at the time of request.
Watch the step-bt-step video tutorial!
Configuring Property Definitions
- Go to “Enterprise Administrator“, then “Property Dictionary“, and select “Add Property Definition“.
- Give your property definition a “Name” in this example “Datacenter“, assign a “Display Name“, choose the “Control Type” of “DropDownList“, select “Required” and click the green check mark.
Continue reading “vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Creating Relational Drop Down Fields”
OK so in this article we are going to create our first workflow that executes a powershell script that adds a computer account to active directory in whatever OU you would like it to be placed in. Our Powershell script will get loaded in to the Model Manager Repository and we will modify the “MachineRequested” workflow stub to execute our script. Then we will use the workflow stub property to determine for which VM’s we want want the workflow stub to execute.
Active Directory Module for Powershell
- Open the Powershell Console
- Run “Import-Module ServerManager”
- Run “Add-WindowsFeature RSAT-AD-Powershell”
Create Powershell Script
First thing we need to do is create our powershell script. The script that we will need has to do a few things. It needs to pull values from vCAC that will be used to add the machine to AD. The values we are going to pull are Hostname, DNSDomain, & Active Directory OU. We will use the Hostname and DNSDomain to create the FQDN for the server. The code for the script is below or you can just download it from here.
## Assign Custom Properties from vCAC to variables to be utilized as part of our script.
## Script created by Sid Smith http://www.dailyhypervisor.com
Continue reading "vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Workflow Designer Walk-Through – Add Computer Account to Active Directory OU"
The VMware vCloud Automation Center Designer is a great tool that allows you to modify pre-built workflow stubs that are included with the designer. These workflow stubs allow you add custom machine menu items, call out to external systems at different states of the machines lifecycle including:
- Machine Requested
- Machine Provisioned
- Machine Expired
- Machine Destroyed
- Machine Registered
These are very common machine lifecycle states to perform activities such as:
- CMDB Integration
- Help Desk Ticketing System Integration
- Asset System Integration
- IP Management System Integration
- DNS Integration
- and many many more…….
Continue reading “vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Installing the Workflow Designer”
vCAC comes with a self-service portal outside the standard portal. The self-service portal is included with the vCAC-51-Extensibiliy installation files. The reason it is included with the extensibility file sit that it is provided as an example of what you could build on your own. However it has quickly become the portal that everyone is using. To install the portal you need to download the VMware vCloud Automation Center 5.1 – Development Kit. In the kit their is an installation file named “DCAC-SelfService-Setup.exe” this is the installer for the Self-Service portal.
Installing the Self-Service Portal
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In this article I’m gong to walk through automating the installation of the Windows Guest Agent. There are advantages to automating the guest agent installation. One advantage is instead of pre-installing it in your template you can script the install using the “Run Once” capability exposed through the vCenter Customization Specification.
Included in the vCAC installation package is a zip file named DCAC-GuestAgent2010Zip.zip. This has all the exploded files that are used within the Windows Guest Agent Installer. These are the files we will be utilizing to manually install the service.
Preparing the files for Installation
1. First thing we need to do is extract the zip file so we can access the files within it.
2. Inside the zip file there is a file name “VRMAgent.exe.config” we need to edit this file and replace all references to “localhost” with the “IP” address or “hostname” of the “vCAC server“.
3. Next place the files in a folder on an open share where they can be accessed during the sysprep operation.
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There are a few components to executing scripts in a Windows Guest OS which I’m going to cover in this post. Those items are:
- Windows Guest Agent
- Custom Properties
Windows Guest Agent – UPDATED!
Note: Due to a bug in this version of the agent installer that prevents it from being properly removed from the guest machine I recommend you use the process I define in Automated Install of Windows Guest agent to install the agent. You can follow the article and automate the installation or perform the steps manually in your template to achieve the same result as outlined in this article, without the side affect of the agent staying resident on your deployed machines.
The Windows Guest Agent has a number of feature benefits that you receive if you utilize it. The Windows guest agent is a small agent that acts very similarly to the vCAC proxy agents. When it is installed you give it the name or IP address of the vCAC server. This allows it to check in with the server when it loads on a newly provisioned machine and determine if there is anything it needs to do. If the vCAC server has work for it to do it send the instructions and the agent executes the instructions on the local guest operating system. Once the guest agent is finished performing the work assigned the last process it executes is to remove itself from the guest. The guest agent comes with a number of pre-built functions, but also allows you to execute your own scripts. Some of the features available with the Windows Guest Agent are:
Disk Operations – Partition, Format, and mount disk that is added to the machine.
Execute Scripts – Execute scripts after the machine is provisioned.
Network Operations – Configure setting for additional network interfaces added to the machine.
Continue reading “vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Executing Scripts with the Windows Guest Agent”
To create a custom drop down menu that can be presented to users at request time we will be leveraging the Property Dictionary. The Property Dictionary gives us the ability to enhance and further customize the request experience. The Property Dictionary allows us to:
- Create Basic Drop Down Menu’s
- Create Context Sensative Drop Down Menu’s
- Create Drop Down Lists
- Create Checkboxes
- Create Date/Time inputs
- Create Noteboxes, TextBoxes, Integer inputs, links, password inputs and more.
In this example we are going to create a basic drop down menu that allows a user to select the folder their machine should be placed in inside vCenter from a list of available locations.
Continue reading “vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Creating Custom Drop Down Menu’s”
In this example we are going to configure a few different types of custom properties. The properties we are going to configure are:
- VMware.VirtualCenter.Folder – This property allows you to define the folder in vCenter that a virtual machine will be placed in. If the folder does no exists it will be created when a machine is crated to be placed in the folder.
- Cost.Center – This is not a reserved custom property, it’s one we are going to make up to attach a cost center to the machine request.
- Project.ID – This is not a reserved custom property, it’s one we are going to make up to attach a Project ID to the machine request. We are going to prompt the user to input this value as part of the request.
- Plugin.ADMachine.Cleanup.X – There are actually a few properties associated with this. The AD Cleanup wizard is a set of properties that allows you to configure what action to take in AD when a machine is destroyed. In my example I’m going to remove the machine record, however you can also configure it to move the machine to a specific OU and not delete it’s record.
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vCAC has a feature that can be enabled to provide support for Static IP address assignments of provisioned workloads. This Static IP Address feature allows you to create “Network Profiles” that you assign to your networks from which it assigns IP addresses to machines that are provisioned on to the network. vCAC handles IP address allocation in the following way:
- When a machine request is submitted it get placed on the appropriate reservation that is assigned to the group that can support the request.
- Once placed on the reservation it get’s assigned to a network. If the network has a “Network Profile” assigned to it the machine will receive the next available IP Address form the “Network Profile. If not no address will be assigned.
- As pat of the machine provisioning process you can execute “VMware Customization Specs” that perform the sysprep operation on the provisioned machine. When an IP address is assigned from a “Network Profile” vCAC instructs vCenter to override the customization spec with the IP information assigned to the machine. (When using VMware cloning either customization specifications” or the “vCAC Guest Agent” is required for static IP address assignments.)
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A Multi-Machine service is a Blueprint that is configured to deploy multiple blueprints/machines from one request. Essentially let’s say you have a blueprint that is configured to deploy a Windows 2008 Server with SQL, and you have another blueprint that is configured to deploy a Windows 2008 Server with an application installed such as vCAC. You can create a Multi-Machine service blueprint that contains both blueprints. You Multi-Machine service can be vCAC Server and when it’s requested it will deploy both blueprints each with their own configuration as well as overall multi-machine configuration that can be laid on top.
If you think about it vCAC can manage different hyperervisor such as vSphere through vCenter or vCD, Hyper-V, XenServer, it can manage Physical Servers, and external Amazon EC2 resources. So you can have individual blueprints configured to deploy to these different types of infrastructure. This gives you incredible flexibility. You could have a Multi-Machine service that has a blueprint that provisions an application server to a vSphere environment, a database server to a physical server, and multiple web servers to Amazon EC2. So let’s see how we configure a basic Multi-Machine Service.
Be sure that you have completed the steps in the below posts before configuring a multi-machine service:
First things first. We need at least two blueprints to be able to create a multi-machine service so let’s make a second blueprint. This can be done very easily by making an existing blueprint copyable. To do this perform the following:
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