vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Connecting to vCenter

In my last post I covered how to connect vCAC to Amazon EC2 which I hope was useful for many it appears to have received a lot of attention.  In this post I’m going to walk you through how to connect vCAC to vCenter.  Be sure that you have completed the steps in the below posts before you connect to vCenter:

What were going to configure

In order to configure vSphere integration we are going to setup some additional components of vCAC as outlined below:

  1. Credentials -Credentials will be utilized by out endpoints to authenticate us to the infrastructure element managers that we are going to communicate with.
  2. End Point – Endpoints are how we manage connections from vCAC to other infrastructure elements in the environment. There are endpoints that allow us to communicate with EC2, vCenter, vCloud Director, vCenter Orchestrator, Hyper-V, NetApp Filers, as well as Physical Servers such as HP iLO, Dell iDrac, and Cisco UCS.
  3. Install the vSphere Proxy Agent – The vSphere proxy agent is like a DEM, only it has pre-programmed workflows that perform a specific function. In this case the function will be to communicate with vCenter. Proxy agents are a bit legacy and will hopefully be ported to the new DEM architecture in the future.
  4. Enterprise Group – Although we already created an Enterprise Group we are going to add vSphere Compute Resources to the group in this exercise. For more information on what Enterprise Groups are see my earlier article “vCloud Automation Center – Laying the foundation“.
  5. Reservations – A resource reservation is how we provide available resources to our provisioning groups. Resource Reservation are a one to one mapping to provisioning groups. Resource reservation will get created for any type of resources you want to make available to your groups. In this exercise we will be creating a virtual vSphere reservation.
  6. Global Blueprints – A Blueprint is really a service definition that details what the consumer can request and all the policies and configuration of that service. We will create a virtual blueprint that a consumer can request through the service catalog in this example. I will cover Blueprints in greater detail in another article.

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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Amazon EC2 Configuration

Usually most people go straight for connecting vCAC to vCenter, but I have decided to connect to Amazon EC2 first. I’m doing this for a few reasons, but mainly because anyone reading this has access to EC2. All you really need is any computer with a Desktop Virtualization tool like VMware workstation and you can test vCAC with Amazon EC2. If you don’t have an Amazon AWWS account go to http://aws.amazon.com and sign-up.

Signing up for Amazon AWS is free and what’s even better is you can also provision “Micro.Instances” for free for an entire year as long as you stay within these guidelines. The basics are this:

  • 750 Hours of Linux/Windows Micro Instance Usage per month. (613Mb Memory). This is enough to run a single micro instance for the whole month.
  • 750 Hours of Elastic Load Balancing plus 15GB of data processing
  • 30GB of Elastic Block Storage
  • 5GB of S3 Storage with 20,000 Get requests and 2,000 Put requests
  • And some other goodies…..

You can run more than one micro instance at a time as long as the consecutive run time of your machines doesn’t go over 750 hours a month. Once you provision an instance it automatically counts as 15 minutes used. I don’t bother trying to calculate by the 15 minutes so the way I look at it is I can perform 750 provisioning tests per month if each test is less than an hour.

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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Laying the foundation

Before we really start to dig into the fun stuff we need to dig a footing and lay a foundation to build on. In this article I’m going to create an “Enterprise Group“, a few “Machine Prefixes“, and create a “Provisioning Group“. For those not familiar with these let me explain:

Enterprise Groups

Enterprise Groups contain “Enterprise Administrators” and “Compute Resources”. When you create an “Enterprise Group” you will give it a name, assign those that will be the “Enterprise Administrators” and select the “Compute Resources” that they manage. The general concept of the “Enterprise Groups” is let’s say you have a group of administrators that is responsible for managing infrastructure in North America, but you also have a separate group of administrators that is responsible for managing infrastructure in Europe. You can create (2) “Enterprise Groups” one for NA and one for EMEA and in the groups you can map the appropriate administrators to the “Compute Resources” they manage. This allows you to separate access to the infrastructure to the appropriate admins.

Provisioning Groups

Provisioning groups contain your users of the infrastructure. These are the users that will make requests for servers or applications and consume resources that are provided by the ‘Enterprise Groups” Provisioning Groups have a few roles that make them up. The roles are:

  • Group Manager Role – The PGMs oversea the group, can access all the machines in the group, can publish blueprints to the groups, can work on behalf of the group users, approve requests made by their users and other groups based administration functions.
  • Support User Role- This role is intended for your help desk organization. The role allows the assigned user(s) to work on behalf of the groups users to aid in troubleshooting machine issues.
  • User Role – These are the consumers. The users are the consumers of the servers, applications, and resources in your environment. They can only gain access to what has been provided to the group(s) that they belong to.

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vCloud Automation Cetner – vCAC 5.1 – DEM Installation

In this article we are going to walk through the installation of both the Orchestrator DEM and the Worker DEM. Once vCAC is installed in order for it to process workflows it needs at least one of each. There are a few gotchas during the installation so play close attention.
  

Watch the video tutorial!

Running the Installer

1. Locate the “DCAC-Dem-Setup” file, “right click” and select “Run as administrator

VCAVDEM-1

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vCloud Automation Center- vCAC 5.1 – DEMs Demystified

There are two types of DEMs that are used within vCAC.  Those are:

  • Orchestrator DEM
  • Worker DEM

 

DEMs in General

You have to have at least one Orchestrator DEM and Worker DEM, but depending on the size of your environment you may have more than one of each. You may have more than one of each for redundancy purposes as well. DEMs can be installed in active-active pairs providing full resiliency for each other. DEM’s communicate with the vCAC Model Manager to receive work items that need processing. The really nice part is they pull from the Model Manager, the Model manager doesn’t push items to them. This is very helpful if you need ti utilize a DEM in a fire-walled environment.
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vCloud Automation Center- vCAC 5.1 – What to know before you install!

Before you proceed to run the vCAC installation there are a few things you need to know for a smooth and successful install. vCAC has a number of prerequisites that need to be in place. Below is a list of what’s needed and then I’ll elaborate where needed:

  • Must be installed on Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5 needs to be installed
  • Windows PowerShell Version 2.0
  • Server “should” be joined to a domain to allow for use of active directory users
  • SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 Server or Express (Server recommended unless just doing testing)
  • IIS Server Role Must be installed with the following Role Services:
    • — Static Content
    • — HTTP Redirection
    • — ASP.NET
    • — .NET Extensibility
    • — ASP
    • — Server Side Includes
    • — Windows Authentication
    • — Static Content Compression
    • — Dynamic Content Compression
    • — IIS 6 Management Compatibility

    Next you will need to do some configuration within IIS. Open IIS, go to the “Default Web Site” and do the following:

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    Stevie’s Unified Event Management, My Cloud Shangri-La

    If you know Steve Chambers you know he just moved to Cisco. Before that, he was with VMware and has been a pillar of the VI:OPS boards. He is now working on a document about Unified Event Management and in the spirit of community, he is looking for comments, suggestion, etc. He called my attention to the post via Twitter as we were discussing Splunk and it’s capabilities for “Centralized Event Aggregation” (Steve’s terms). Take a look at his post when you get a chance and make some comments. You know that I have heralded the benefits of a centralized logging server. Steve just plain gets it.

    And since I mentioned Cisco, I also discovered that Cisco put out a whitepaper on their take regarding the Virtualization Blueprint for the Datacenter. Its their take on how virtualization will benefit your business.  The chart shows how a business’ agility will increase as we climb the lifecycle from consolidation to virtualization and then on to automation.

    It doesn’t matter what you are using underneath of it all – VMware, Xen, Hyper-V – UCS, Matrix. It just matters that you have methods to provide centralized monitoring and centralized automation. Although centralized event monitoring and centralized automation are two different things, they are both necessary if you wish to properly monitor and manage your piece of the cloud. I’ve already said my piece on the need for centralized event monitoring and Steve lays out a sample blueprint.

    Automation is the new big thing when it comes to the cloud. VMware saw that way back when and they bought Dunes almost two years ago. VMware Orchestrator (VMO) was a big buzz for a little while, but great big VMware couldn’t couldn’t pull off what teenie little Dunes could when it comes to customizing the Orchestrator. They left it in a fairly decent state for smaller businesses with VMware Lifecycle Manager, but it was a hobbled state and didn’t scale very well. You can customize VMO, but you need to be good at the Dunes interface and have a decent knowledge of JavaScripting and that kind of stuff. Even being free, its not for me. The standard release of VMO allows you to set up a facility to request, approve, provision and archive VMs. A great start, but not quite enough.

    A quick search for data center orchestration reveals Cisco at the top of the list. But there are others from Novell PlateSpin, Egenera, and DynamicOps that appear to do more. What we REALLY need is a way to orchestrate/ automate the entire data center. Physical servers, VMs, storage and networking can all be provisioned, monitored and managed. Can they all be managed from a common platform? Once you can have a seamless process for provisioning, managing and monitoring every component of the data center, you will see cloud computing really take off. A user (consumer / customer) that needs an application should not care if it is deployed on a physical or virtual machine, what storage devices hold the data or the network that connects it. The user should know the basic requirements for the application and the ORCHESTRATOR should make the decisions about all of these things. The orchestrator will take a request, ask for approval and make sure the application gets deployed without making mistakes. The orchestrator will interface with the monitoring facility and change management to make sure the application is accounted-for. The orchestrator will hand off to the backup facility. The orchestrator will notify you when the application as reached end of life. That’s when we will have “Cloud Shangri-La” (My term).