vRA – vRealize Automation and ServiceNow Integration

Some of you may have attended the vRA and ServiceNow presentation at VMworld 2017 yesterday.  I regret not being able to attend and present it myself, however I’m certain that Chris Smith and Ian Smith did a fantastic job.  Here I want to recap some of what was presented during that session.

It’s important to understand what options are available and what features they offer in order to understand what you really need when integrating with ServiceNow.  To start do you need what is referred to as North/South integration, East/West Integration, or both.  Below is a list of what capabilities fall under each classification.

North/SouthEast/West
ServiceNow used as CatalogvRA used as Catalog
VMware vRealize Automation handles automation and orchestration.VMware vRealize Automation handles automation and orchestration.
Create or update CI recordsCreate or update CI records
Available via VMware ITSM plugin, AVNet Plugin, or Custom REST API integration.Available via VMware ITSM plugin, SovLabs plugin, Avnet Plugin, or custom vRealize Orchestrator workflows.

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SovLabs – Solutions for VMware vRealize Automation

If you have been to the VMware Solutions Exchange you most certainly have seen the name SovLabs.  Although their solutions are regularly called plug-ins, I assure you they offer more than just orchestrator-based plug-ins.  I first started working with their solutions earlier this year and I was instantly hooked.  Many of you have used vRO extensions that were made available by Tom Bonanno or myself posted here on Dailyhypervisor.  One in particular is the custom hostname extension for vRA.  While that extension has helped hundreds if not more of you, many of you quickly discovered the downside of using it.  That downside being management overhead and lack of support.  As much as we would have liked to offer support to those in need we simply don’t have the bandwidth to do so.  Even upgrading the extension we put out for new versions of vRA in a timely manner had its challenges for us.

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Put away the computer and take a relaxing trip

I have been so busy I haven’t had time to put any articles together in quiet some time.  I know many if not all of you have the same issue.  Never enough time in a day to do all the things you need to get done and the back log just keeps piling up.  Every once in a while you need to just get away and reboot.  Take some time and do something peaceful and relaxing.

If you are like me and you like to scuba dive I want to invite you to step away and enjoy a great time diving the beautiful reefs of Bonaire.  Bonaire is just an all around awesome place to dive.  If you have never been this is more a demand then a request because you simply have to explore the over 100 different dive locations on Bonaire.

One of my favorite things about Bonaire is although you can do boat dives, you don’t have to.  Bonaire offers 24/7 hour shore diving.  You simply pull up, gear up, and get in the water.  I can also say of all the sites I have dove I have not found one that wasn’t amazing in its own right.

So if you enjoy diving and need to plan a getaway and leave work behind come join us on our Bonaire trip in February 2018.  I dare you.

https://www.westshorescuba.com/community/events/viewevent/182-bonaire-2018

Release Announcement – vRealize Automation vRA 7.2

While I was away on vacation last week it seems VMware had another exciting round of releasing starting with the Release of vRA 7.2.  Probably the most anticipated feature is the new Azure Endpoint.  Although this is a very exciting feature there are some other very exciting enhancements as well.  Enhancements to the API, container support, installation API, and one of my personal favorites Scale out/scale in.

GA date: 22 November 2016

What’s new?

The vRealize Automation 7.2 release includes resolved issues and the following changes:

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Amazon and VMware better together….

I’m sure you have all heard the news about the VMware and Amazon partnership.  I’ve been getting loads of questions from people and it seems that their are misconceptions on what exactly this means short term.  Here is some of what I have heard and some clarification as to what it really is.

The offering will be VMware’s hypervisor running nested on top of AWS. – False

The offering is actually the vSphere hypervisor running on bear metal running inside Amazon’s data center.

I want AWS features, not just vSphere in another datacenter.  I don’t see any AWS value or features with this offering – False

The machines running on vSphere in the AWS datacenter can take advantage of lots of AWS offerings such as storage, database offerings, security, analytics, and from what I understand 70 other services.  While it’s not the ability to use the AWS API to provision workloads this is still huge.  This of projects you may have that utilize AWS services interacting with workloads running in your own physical data center and the what you have to do you secure those interactions.  Now you have the ability to run the workloads inside the same data center as those services greatly reducing the complexities of securing those communications.

It’s great but what about NSX?

In the offering vSphere, NSX, and vSAN are all available.  I can’t speak to how the cost and licensing works with regards to these, but they are all available.

When will this be generally available?

It is expected to be available sometime late H2 2017.

As more and more info becomes available it will become even more apparent how much value this will add to the enterprise datacenter.  Most organizations today have a disconnect when it comes to their on-prem and off-prem workloads.  Having a standardizes infrastructure, standardized process, and standardized integrations can only lead to less complex and more manageable infrastructure.  As more information becomes available that can be shared I will certainly be focusing more on this area and once possible I will certainly be providing some insight and sneak peaks into this great new partnership.

Hackers, Phishers, Malware and more…..a virtual cancer

Many of you may have noticed over the last few weeks that Dailyhypervisor has had some ongoing issues.  It all started around the same time my 2 year old son went into the hospital I had gotten an message from a friend letting me know that google had flagged dailyhypervisor.com as a malware site.  Sure enough it had been flagged and malware was indeed present.  With no time to properly resolve the issue I did the only I could do to prevent anyone from coming to my site from being impacted by the malware.  I took the site down.

For me it was a quick temporary fix until I could find the time and focus to get it back up and fixed.  Of course it wasn’t until 11 days later when my son was finally released from the hospital that I got to fixing the site.  My fix was to perform a complete restore from a known good backup.  Luckily I do subscribe to a cloud based backup solution that takes nightly backups and I was able to determine when was the best time to restore the site to.  However I knew this wasn’t going to need to be the only step I took.

After the restore was completed I then needed to try and figure out how they got in and try to lock it down to prevent further incidents.  After hours spend reviewing the security I already had in place, file permissions, firewall rules, and updating all components of the site I got to a point where I felt I had done all the things I needed to and everything should be ok.  Well I recently just found out that was not the case.  These lechers of the internet that exploit any sites they can with vulnerability’s in order to turn them into petri dishes for spreading malware and other malicious code once again gained access to dailyhypervisor.

After doing yet another restore and and exhaustive review of the site again I decided to dig deeper into the plugins that I was using on the site.  I believe the download manager plugin to be the culprit but also discovered other plugins I was running that haven’t seemed to be maintained in a long time.  I ended up removing all the plugins that I felt were insecure, outdated and posed a security risk to the site and my readers.  With the removal of my download manager I will have go to through the entire site and update all the links to all the downloads to point them to the external sources where our downloads are located.  In the meantime if you need to download any of the packages we have shared you can find them on github or VMware Sample Exchange.

I would however like to take this time to apologize to all of my readers for the ignorance of these hackers that hide behind their keyboards in the darkness  and prey on those of us trying to be productive and helpful.  The craziest part is in the last year my blog has probably been the most secure it has been since I started it in 2009 and I’ve never had these issues before in the past.  The good news is they have not hacked or gotten access to the database, just the file system of the site.

I would like to ask all of you that if you see something, please say something.  Please send me a tweet to @vmmeup if you notice anything off.  I have up’d my game a little I now have a solution that monitors all my files and notifies me of any changes, but this isn’t bullet proof and I can’t look out for it ever minute of every day, so please if you notice anything strange with the site moving forward please let me know.  Thank you all for your patience and I resolved this issue and for being loyal readers.

Sid Smith

VMware Cloud Foundation and VMware Cross Cloud Services–VMworld 2016 Keynote

Many of you are at VMworld 2016 and had the opportunity to be at the Keynote Live this morning.  However there are those of us that are not at VMworld this year so I decided to put together some highlights from this mornings keynote.

The big theme for the keynote this year was the announcement of  VMware Cloud Foundation and Cross Cloud Services.   Although I say too much about Cloud Foundation beyond what what was discussed in this mornings keynote I think the below slide really helps shed some light.  Although you will hear Cloud Foundation compared to Nutanix, I see it as more than just converged infrastructure.  I see it more as a converged cloud.  If you look at the let side of the below image you can see that VMware Cloud Foundation includes, Private Cloud as well as VMware vCloud air, and the IBM cloud.  The benefit here is all of these environments are built on top of VMware technology.  To the right you see the Non-VMware-Based Clouds which includes Amazon, Azure, and Google CP.  These would be what’s part of the VMware Cross Cloud Services.

 

2016-08-29_13-15-50

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VMware round of Q2 releases including vRA 7.1, vROPs 6.3, vRCS 2.1, Cloud Client 4.2, vRB 7.1 and more

Many of you may have already seen the news, but I like to create a roll up to make it easy to see what’s been newly released.  Yesterday Tuesday August 23rd 2016 VMware released a number of much awaited Management product updates.  See below for a breakdown of the updates per product.

 

vRealize Automation 7.1

 

What’s new?

vRealize Automation 7.1 is optimized for growing clouds thanks to significant improvements in the automated installation experience.

vRealize Automation 7.1 continue simplifying the primarily and secondary setup process by adding ability to automate the setup process among similar deployments leveraging the new Silent Installer. Cloud Admins are now able to scale out existing vRealize deployment by adding more vRA components and manage them automatically though the new Command Line(CLI) interface.

vRA 7.1 release is also equipped with a brand new Migration tool which allows you to perform safe and sound side by side upgrade (migration) existing vRealize Automation systems 6.2.X to the latest and greatest release. During the migration process the source production environment remains intact which guarantees a minimum downtime of the production environment.

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Home Automation with vRealize Orchestrator and Wink

You might read the title and think to yourself ‘Why would I want to use vRO with Wink?”  Well there are a number of reasons.  I created this because being an automation specialist I thought it would be cool to automate my home.  When I started down this path I got a wink hub, a smartthing hub, a philips hue hub, Chamberlain MyQ Garage Door Openers, Kwickset locks, Leviton & GE switches, Light Bulbs, a Smappee Energy, Water, & Gas Monitor, Nest Thermostat, Nest Protect, EcoBee, Ring doorbell, Canary, Harmony Hub, and a number of other hubs, devices, and sensors.  As I started my project I realized on their own non of these products do a great job at automation.  Sure you can control things via na app, but I want more than that.   I don’t just want automation either, I want intelligent automation.

A simple example:  I want my door locks to be locked after a defined period of time being unlocked.  Well sure I can create a rule or robot that say lock door after x time, but that’s lacking intelligence.  Maybe I want to lock the door only if it is closed.  Non of these systems can do that.  However with vRO I can create a workflow that locks the door and checks the door sensor to determine if it is opened or closed and if it’s closed, lock the door, if not check again in x period of time until it can be locked.

Another example:  I park my vehicle in the garage.  I like to remote start my vehicle in the winter to warm it up.  I would sometimes forget to open my garage door then start my vehicle.  With vRO I can mount a Nest Protect on my garage door right behind my exhaust and set a rule that if CO is detected, open the garage door.  Alternatively I can use a OBDLink hooked up to my vehicle computer and through Dash determine if my vehicle is running and trigger garage door to open.  You get the idea.

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