vRealize Automation 7–vRA7–Announced – Get a look at what’s to come!

Many of you have already heard the news about vRA7.  Now that it has been officially announced I can start to share some useful information regarding this transformative release of vRealize Automation.  I want to start by stating I cannot discuss anything related to GA release date so don’t expect to find anything related to when this will be released.  This article is aimed to give you an overview of some of the great new features coming in version 7 and as the starting point for a  series of vRA7 walk-through articles.

vRealize Automation 7 Installation

I think you are all going to be very pleased with the new installation wizard.  It takes 98% of the pain out of deploying vRA, and let’s face it, it wasn’t that difficult in the 6.x release.  To start much like the vRA 6.x installation process you will need a Windows Server available, but you no longer have to make sure you have all the pre-requisites completed.  The only pre-requisite you will need is to install a simple installation agent on server and that’s it.  The installation will not only check for the pre-requisites, but it will allow you to resolve them if they are not met.

The installation also now let’s you choose between a simple installation and a fully distributed installation.  This is huge.  If you have ever done a distributed installation this is where most of the pain was felt.  VMware has truly raised the bar and done a fantastic job with the installer.

 

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Identity Management

Not a fan of the SSO solution in previous releases of vRA?  Then you are in luck.  vRA7 no longer uses the Identity Appliance and VMware SSO.  It leverage VMware Identity Manager.  There are so many great aspects to this welcomed change starting with one less virtual appliance to deploy.  That’s correct Identity Management is built in to the vRA virtual appliance.  Besides simplifying the installation it will also simplify integrations giving you the ability to authenticate a user via an external source and pass that token to vRA preventing the need for the user to login yet again.  Look for some more in-depth articles coming on this soon.

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Unified Blueprints

Blueprint creation just got a whole lot easier and a whole lot more feature rich.  For those of you who have been using vRA 6.x you are going to really appreciate the new Blueprint designer.  Drag and drop templates, networks, applications, XaaS workflows on the canvas and build your blueprint visually.  This is just the start.  Remember the 6.x NSX integration?  Remember how it only worked with multi-machine blueprints?  Guess what?  That is no longer the case.  Add one machine add ten is doesn’t matter.  Use existing networks, create new ones, assign securty tags, security groups, load balancers, and more.  It’s like those old Prego commercials…..”It’s in there”.  Are you an application services user?  Remember having to pull in the single machine vRA blueprints to use with App Services and then publish them to the vRA catalog?  Guess what?  You guessed it.  If you want to deploy an application to a template on your cancase, you just drop the application on to the template.  Look for a lot of great articles to come on this.

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Blueprints as Code

Ever wish you could export and import blueprints?  Wish no more!  vRA7 features the ability to export you blueprints as code.  Once exported you can manipulate the file is needed and import into another vRA7 or the same vRA7 instance.  Imagine exporting your bleuprints checking it into GIT for version control and running those bleuprints builds through Jenkins to facilitate new “builds” and then importing it back into vRA7.  Well no need to image because it’s all possible.  Another feature to help with the transformation to DevOps.

Enhanced Extensibility

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, it does.  The new event broker system in vRA completely transforms how you will integrate to 3rd party systems in vRA7.  Some of the features here include dynamically assigning workflows to builds based on filters.  Remember how complicated it could be get the right workflows to run based on custom properties?  Well this if the possibilities, trigger a workflow based on the requestor, the machine name, the blueprint, and more…..and this is just one of the cool features of event broker.  Use event topics such as Post Approval, Pre Approval, Blueprint configuration, resource reclamation, Business Group Configuration, XaaS, Machine LIfecycle, and Machine Provisioning.    Look for a whole ton of articles on this as well as new releases of workflows based on this new event broker.

 

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These are just some of the great new features in vRA7, I can’t wait to start posting new articles on how to works with the awesome new features.

vRealize Voice Automation – Amazon Echo and vRA

Last week we had our “TechSummit” and VMware and as part of the event their was a hackathon where team or individuals could sign-up and enter a cool integration into the competition.  In the true spirit of a hackathon Tom Bonanno and I decided to do something cool.  That something we named vRealize Voice Automation.

The goal:

To be able to utilize the Amazon Echo to create, destroy, power on, & off workloads in vRealize Automation

The Solution:

Using the Amazon Alexa skills API we were able to create a new Alexa skill with three intents:

  • Deploy Server
  • Destroy Server
  • Power Server

These intents combined with what Amazon calls Utterances allow us to take the speech input and determine variables within the speak for items like “blueprint” or “hostname”.  That we then could use.  The input taken from the Alexa API is then sent to some node.js code that is hosted on Amazon Lambda where we looked at the intent that was called and the variable values associated with and we then make a Rest API call to VMware vRealize Orchestrator invoke a workflow and pass the parameters to it as inputs.  From there vRO talks to vRA and success.

It is certainly a cool solution, but remember the Alexa doesn’t always hear what you want it to hear and that can be catastrophic if your performing a destroy operation as you will see in the following videos.

Below are two videos.  One is a commercial that was made for our hackathon entry and the other is a demonstration of the integration in action and a bit more on how we did it.

 
vRVA Commercial
 

 
vRVA Demo
 

VMware Introduces 24 product releases including the much anticipated vSPhere 6

Yesterday VMware was very busy announcing the release of over 2 dozen product which included two new products to the market these two new additions to the VMware portfolio are:

VMware Integrated Openstack – That’s right it’s out and it’s available now for you to download.
VMware Software Manager 1.0 – This probably not as exciting as VIO, but it will come in handy for finding, selecting, and downloading the content needed to install or upgrade a VMware Suite.

Below is a list of all the products released yesterday including links to their downloads, documentation, and release notes for your convenience.

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vRealize Orchestrator – vRO 6.0.1 is now available!

vRealize Orchestrator 6.0.1 is now available.  This is exciting especially of your are running vRA 6.2 and would like to deploy an external vRO server.  That of course is just one of the benefits of the new vRO 6.0,1 release.  Below is additional new features with this release:

What’s new?

With this release vRealize Orchestrator introduces a more flexible content delivery mechanism due to increased workflow development efficiency and a new troubleshooting experience. Workflow developers benefit from a more programming-free design experience provided by the new control flow activities and error handling mechanism. Workflow execution and monitoring is easier when using the new administrative interface. vRealize Orchestrator 6.0.1 introduces better configuration options for vSphere 6.0, by using a unified page for configuring vCenter Single Sign-On authentication, licensing, and vCenter component registry. The stability of the vCenter Server plug-in has been improved by resolving major issues based on customer feedback.

vRealize Orchestrator 6.0.1 has an updated model for installing the vSphere Web Client plug-in for vRealize Orchestrator. vRealize Orchestrator 6.0.1 supports the vSphere Web Client integration and context execution of vRealize Orchestrator workflows as part of vSphere Web Client 6.0.

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vRealize Automation – vRA 6.2.1 is now available!!!!!

Today VMware released vRealize Automation (vRA) formerly known as vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) version 6.2.1.  In the release there is several bug fixes and one enhancement.  The enhancement however is one that you may be very interested in.

Remote Console is back! – Remote Console Capabilities for Machines Provisioned with vSphere: Secure remote console capabilities for machines provisioned with vSphere are implemented in this release by means of WebMKS (HTML 5 console) through a console proxy.

To get the latest bits and check it out go to:

vRealize Automation 6.2: https://my.vmware.com/web/vmware/info/slug/infrastructure_operations_management/vmware_vrealize_automation/6_2