Road to Automation with VMware vRA – vRA Design Part 1

GSS has decided on a number of design considerations for their vRA implementation.  GSS is currently using a consumption based model for their resource allocation.  They don’t pre-reserve any amount of resources for specific groups within the organization.  GSS feels their current consumption model allows them to more efficiently manage their resources.  It also prevents them from having pockets of idol resources that may never get used.  Based on this utilization model GSS will be implementing the following elements within vRA.

GSS  considered having a business group for each environment (Dev, Test, Stage, and Production).  To evaluate how they would like to proceed they asked to have 5 initial tenants created.  One for each of their environments and one to evaluate a collapsed model of all environments in one group.

Business Groups

  •  Development – All Developers across all groups within GSS
  • Test – All QA engineers within GSS
  • Stage – All production teams
  • Production – All Production teams
  • Gregarious – All Dev, QA, and Production teams

Continue reading “Road to Automation with VMware vRA – vRA Design Part 1”

Road to Automation with VMware vRA – GSS Company Profile

In my previous article The Road to automation with VMware vRA I discussed I would be published a company profile for my fictitious company GSS.  In this article we will be digging into GSS to take a look at where it is today, its challenges, processes, systems, and automation use cases.

Company: (GSS) Gregarious Simulation Systems
Profile: Successful Video Game Manufacturer
Employees: 1200+
IT Staff: 80+
vSphere Sockets: 200+
Managed VMs: 3000+
Server Build Team: 12
Environments: Development, Test, Stage, Production

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The road to automation with VMware vRA

I think we need to take a few steps back and focus on vRA architecture and design.  I’ve had many questions, requests, and discussions with some of my readers on this topic.  Implementing vRA can lead to many rewarding outcomes, but as some have discovered it can also lead to aggravating outcomes if not designed properly upfront.

At first it can seem very straight forward. Create some endpoints, groups, reservations, and blueprints.  Sprinkle in some integrations for custom hostname, IPAM, DNS and AD and you are on your way to fully automating your workload deployments, right?  Not exactly.  You can certainly do this and at first it will seem amazing, but as you mature and start to scale out your new catalog of services the lack of up front design and planning will quickly start to reveal itself.

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vRA 7.3 – Configuring SovLabs Custom Naming Module

Many of you have utilized the Custom Hostname module that has been made available by Tom Bonanno here on Dailyhypervisor.  Those that use have probably noticed that it is no longer maintained.  This is because there are supportable modules available like the one I’m writing about now by SovLabs.  The Sovlabs module offers more flexibility and is a supported product making it a best of breed solution for this task.  Whats even better is their is a common framework that exists within the SovLabs platform that greatly extends the capabilities of each module.  More of the framework to come.  For now let’s go ahead and configure the custom hostname module.

Within the SovLabs custom naming module hostnames are broken in to two parts.  A Naming Sequence and a Naming Standard.

Naming Sequences

Naming sequences are exactly exactly what they sound like.  They basically define how are we going to sequence the names that are created.  Sounds basic right?  Well SovLabs has taken sequencing to a whole new level.  Most of you are probably familiar with using a standard decimal based sequence that might look like host001, host002, and so on.  SovLabs has added the ability to use HexaDecimal, Octal, and Pattern based sequences for your naming needs.  Pattern based sequences are insanely powerful.   Pattern naming sequences can contain Decimal, HexaDecimal, Octal, Binary, and Alpha.  Below are an examples of what you can achieve with Pattern Based naming sequences:
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vRA 7.3 – Installing and configuring vRA plugin for ITSM – ServiceNow – Part 2

If you haven’t read Part 1 of this article you will want to go back and read it before you proceed. In part 2 we will build on the installation that we performed in part 1. Let’s just dig right in and get started.

How this integration works

Configuring the integration to use native vRA authentication requires the user to login to ServiceNow and vRA both. When the user logs into ServiceNow they are redirected to the vRA Login page and was logged in they are then redirected back to ServiceNow. This allows requests the user makes to be passed to vRA as that user. The main difference between this and the SAML (ADFS) integration is the user only need to login to vRA the very first time they use it and never again as the user is auto-magically logged in to vRA in the background using the SAML token. This is a great option for testing the integration without having to touch your Identity Management configuration.

Continue reading “vRA 7.3 – Installing and configuring vRA plugin for ITSM – ServiceNow – Part 2”

vRA 7.3–Installing and configuring vRA plugin for ITSM–ServiceNow–Part 1

It seems like everyone these days wants to use ServiceNow as their catalog for vRA.  It use to be that everyone just wanted to create or update CI records.  Before I get into the weeds on how to get vRA and ServiceNow talking together I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss the integration, the pros, the cons, and it’s limitation.

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Using the vRA Cloud Client to export and import blueprints

There are lots of reasons to want to export and import blueprints from one vRA instance to another.  My current motives are to move blueprints from my vRA 7.2 environment to my newly deployed vRA 7.3 environment.  In vRA 7.3 their is a great new free feature available, the Code Stream Management Pack for IT Devops that is free.  However if you are running a pre vRA 7.3 environment you may want to get that content from that environment backed up so you can use it in another instance.  Cloud Client is a great option.

You can download Cloud CLient 4.4.0 here. Continue reading “Using the vRA Cloud Client to export and import blueprints”

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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vRealize Autoamtion 7 – vRA7 is officially released and available on VMware.com

Folks this truly is an amazing leap forward for the vRA platform.  Just look at the list of new features below, which is not a complete list of all there is with this release.  Keep checking back for informative step-by-step articles as well as updated versions of our workflow packages to be published by the end of this month.

vRealize Automation 7.0 is a cutting edge release which provides an industry lead cloud automation solution to our customers.   With the streamlined installation wizard, simplified SSO configuration, integrated graphical infrastructure and application blueprint authoring and deployment capabilities,  and many other new enhancements,  customers will be able to maximize their return on investment by extremely shortened time to value for cloud service delivery.  

Following are some of the new features:

Streamlined and Automated Wizard-based Installation

  • Introduces management agent to automate the installation of Windows components and to collect logs
  • Automates the deployment of all vRealize Automation components
  • Installation wizards based on deployment needs: Minimal (Express) and Enterprise (Distributed) Installations

Simplified Deployment Architecture and High Availability Configuration

  • Embedded authentication service by using VMware Identity Manager
  • Converged Application Services in vRealize Automation Appliance
  • Reduced minimal number of appliances for HA configuration
  • Automated embedded PostgreSQL clustering with manual failover
  • Automated embedded vRealize Orchestrator clustering

Continue reading “vRealize Autoamtion 7 – vRA7 is officially released and available on VMware.com”