vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Executing Scripts with the Linux Guest Agent

I’ve been getting asked a lot of question on how to execute scripts within Linux Guest Systems using vCAC. There are a few components to executing scripts in a Linux Guest OS which I’m going to cover in this post. Those items are:

  • Linux Guest Agent
  • Custom Properties

Linux Guest Agent

The Linux guest agent has a number of feature benefits that you receive if you utilize it. The Linux 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. The guest agent comes with a number of pre-built scripts and functions, but also allows you to execute your own scripts. Some of the features available with the Linux 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.

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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Reservations Demystified

I have written a few articles that show you how to configure “Reservations” in vCAC. In this article I’m going to dig in to some details around “Reservations”, how they work, and the additional options that are available for them.

What are Reservations?

Reservations are a way for Enterprise Administrators to provide a subset of resources to the users within the organization. When a reservation is created it is assigned to a specific Provisioning Group and only a single Provisioning Group. They are a construct within vCAC and are not related to “Resource Pools” in vCenter. They can however be mapped to one which we will discuss. There are (3) primary types of Reservations:

  • Virtual Reservations
  • Cloud Reservations
  • Physical Reservations

Virtual Reservations

Virtual Reservations are used to allocate resources for the following:

  • VMware vSphere
  • VMware vCloud Director
  • Hyper-V Hosts
  • Hyper-V managed by SCVMM
  • Xen Server

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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 – vCAC Manager Installation

Before starting the installation you should login to the server using the account that you have setup with permissions to your SQL database server. If you are using a local SQL Express instance you can login with an account that has permission to the local SQL Express. The account should be a domain account in the domain that you joined the server to. If you intend to use the same account as the service account for the installation make sure the account has the “Run as Service” privilege on the local server. If you haven’t already done so you should read “VMware Cloud Automation Center – What to know before you install.

Watch the video tutorial!

Installation Overview

The vCAC 5.1 Manager Installation includes a few components you should be familiar with. The components are:
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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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    VMware Cloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1

    Many of you are already aware that in July 2012 VMware acquired DynamicOps for it’s Cloud Automation Center product.  Since that time VMware released a new version vCAC 5.1 which introduced support for VMware Cloud Director and VMware vCenter Orchestrator.  In November of 2012 VMware also released the vCloud Suit line-up.  The vCloud suits seem to be very effective for a lot of customers allowing to gain access to more products for a lesser price than buying them individually.  Why am I telling you all of this, simple.  vCAC is bundled with the enterprise version of the vCloud Suit.  A lot of you may have purchased the vCloud Suit Enterprise and already own this awesome product and not even realize it.  In either case regardless of if you own it and want to learn or are interested in downloading the trial to give it a spin I’m preparing to publish a full series on how to get started with vCloud Automation Center.

    Over the next few weeks I will be publishing many articles about vCAC including:

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