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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DailyHypervisor Forums are online.

We have just launched our DailyHypervisor Forum located at http://www.dailyhypervisor.com/forum. Stop by, contribute and be a part of our community. The DH Forum is intended to be for all things cloud. Currently we have forums created for vCAC, vCD, vCO, Cloud General, and Openstack. More forum categories will be coming based on demand. If you have a category you would like to see shoot us a note and let us know.

Our goal is to create a common place where anyone can come to learn, get help, share ideas, or just about anything that will help foster knowledge regarding cloud computing. Considering this very blog is the announcement of our forum you could image there isn’t a whole lot happening yet so what are you waiting for, be the first. Go ask a question, post an issue, share a thought and let’s get things rolling.

vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – HTTPS Installation

I have been receiving a lot of questions about HTTPS installations. In this article you will find instructions for performing an HTTPS installation of vCAC 5.1. In this article I am only providing screenshots that differ form the http installation. If you need you can refer to the http insallation documents:

The HTTP Installation instructions are the following:
vCloud Automation Center- vCAC 5.1 – vCAC Manager Installatio
vCloud Automation Cetner – vCAC 5.1 – DEM Installation
vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Laying the foundation
vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Connecting to vCenter

Getting everything in order

Make sure you completed all the items in vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – What to know before you install
 
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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Executing Scripts with the Windows Guest Agent

There are a few components to executing scripts in a Windows Guest OS which I’m going to cover in this post. Those items are:

  • Windows Guest Agent
  • Custom Properties

Windows Guest Agent – UPDATED!

Note: Due to a bug in this version of the agent installer that prevents it from being properly removed from the guest machine I recommend you use the process I define in Automated Install of Windows Guest agent to install the agent. You can follow the article and automate the installation or perform the steps manually in your template to achieve the same result as outlined in this article, without the side affect of the agent staying resident on your deployed machines.

The Windows Guest Agent has a number of feature benefits that you receive if you utilize it. The Windows 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. Once the guest agent is finished performing the work assigned the last process it executes is to remove itself from the guest. The guest agent comes with a number of pre-built functions, but also allows you to execute your own scripts. Some of the features available with the Windows 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 – 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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