vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.2 – Virtual Machine LifeCycle Demystified

vCAC has what is referred to as the “Master Workflow” which makes up the Virtual Machine Lifecycle. The Master workflow is the top level workflow states that a virtual machine will go through, throughout it’s life. These workflow states tie pretty closely to the Workflow stubs that are shipped with the designer, but they are not a direct match to them. I often see confusion around the workflow states and the workflow stubs. I’m hoping to clear up the confusion around this and help everyone understand the difference between them.

Master WorkFlow States

The vCAC Master workflow states are as follows:

  1. Request State
  2. Approval State
  3. Provision State
  4. Manage State
  5. Expired State
  6. Decommissioned State

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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.2 – Installing the 5.2 Guest Agent on Linux

The Linux Guest agent has not changed much since 5.1. You will notice most everything except the agent version remains basically the same as my article on executing scripts with the 5.1 Linux Guest agent.

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 5.2 – Installing the 5.2 Guest Agent on Windows

So I have been getting a lot of questions regarding the vCAC 5.2 Guest Agents. In vCAC 5.2 the guest agents have changed and there are a few bugs in the Windows Installation. Good new for those of you who had upgraded from vCAC 5.1, you don’t need to scramble to move form the 5.1 guest agent, to the vCAC 5.2 guest agent. The vCAC 5.1 guest agent will still work as usual as long as you had it configured for SSL. The big driver for the change to the Windows agent is Windows Server 2012. The previous vCAC 5.1 agent will not work with Windows Server 2012 so if you are planning on using 2012, you will need to use the 5.2 guest agent.

Installing the vCAC 5.2 Windows Agent

You have two options for using the vCAC guest agent. You can pre-install the agent in your templates, or if you want to keep your templates clean you can install the agent as part of the Sysprep customization by using customization specifications. For information on auto deploying the guest agent see the following post:
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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Using the vCAC Test Agent

If you have installed the vSphere Proxy agent when connecting vCAC to vCenter you may have seen the option to select the “Test Agent”. The test agent is extremely useful if you are developing custom workflows, modifying workflow stubs in the designer, or just don’t have enough resources to test against.

How does the test agent work?

It’s pretty simple once you install the test agent you can create a fictitious host. You can then create reservations from your fictitious host. The test agent is designed so that when a requested machine is deployed against a reservation that is backed by fictitious host it steps through the machine lifecycle with a successful response for each state. So essentially it makes vCAC think the machine was provisioned and customized etc. This allows you to still execute your custom workflows and if they fail, it will throw back a failure, but you don’t have to worry about waiting for a machine to clone.
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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Automating the vCAC installation

Wow this one is currently a really hot topic. I must have been asked how to automate the installation of vCAC 50 or more times in the last week and I can’t even count over the last month, so here it is. As I’m sure everyone has learned there area a number of components to vCAC. When installing from the command line you will need to install each of them independently. What you will see in this post may be a bit confusing and it’s understandable as I’m merely sharing the commands without much explanation. I plan to go through my step by step tutorials and inject the options to the relevant steps in them. Hopefully I will find time to round back to this article and put much more time into explaining each option. For now I hope this helps anyone trying to do an automated installation.

Each of the examples is for performing an https install, however can change from https to http if you like. I should also point out in the vCAC 5.2 release this is much more simplified and much less complex. Please post any questions you have regarding this topic in the forum under the thread “vCAC Automated Installation Questions“.
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