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 Code Stream – vRCS 1.x – Installation and Configuration

For those of you who are fortunate enough to be able to get a trial for Code Stream this article will walk you through the installation and initial configuration of the product.  Code stream as the name suggest is part of the vRealize product line and shares the same identity appliance and virtual appliance as vRealize Automation.  Because of this I will be referring to articles I have already written for portions of the installation in an effort to not re-invent the wheel.

Installing vRealize Code Stream

1. For instructions on how to install the vRealize Code Stream Identity Appliance please see Installing the vCAC 6.0 Identity Server.

*Note – The instructions in the above referenced article may vary slightly from vRCS 6.0 identity appliance, however it should be close enough that you should not have any issues following along.

It is recommended that you configure the Active Directory settings in the Identity Applaince which is not covered in the above post, but is straight forward.

2. For instructions on how to install the vRealize Code Stream Virtual Appliance please see Installing the vCAC 6.0 Virtual Appliance.

*Note – The instructions in the above referenced article may vary slightly from the vRCS Virtual Appliance, however it should be close enough that you should not have any issues following along.

On step 21 input the Code Stream License Key instead of the vRA license key, or both if you like.

3. For instructions on how to setup Tenants in vRealize Code Stream please see Adding Tenants in vRealize Autoamtion 6.x.

On step 7 you will not be able to add a user to the “Infrastructure Administrator” role as that is a construct of vRealize Automation.  If you are running code stream and vRealize Automation on the same virtual appliance you can add users/groups to this role.

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VMware vCenter Orchestrator 5.1.3 is released.

This release of vCenter Orchestrator fixes a number of issue from the previous release.  Mainly a maintenance release, so when you can find the time I would recommend getting it installed and putting some of these issues in the past.  If for no other reason you will want to get this installed to resolve the issue where nested workflow don’t resume properly when rebooting the vCO server. Issues resolved in this release:

 

Active Directory account gets locked when connecting to Microsoft SQL database
If you set up a connection to a Microsoft SQL database with a Windows Active Directory account, the account gets locked from the domain.

vCenter Server inventory disappears from the Orchestrator client
If there is an outage of the connectivity to vCenter Server, the vCenter Server inventory disappears from the Orchestrator client and cannot be accessed until you restart the vCenter Orchestrator server.

Purging operations might cause a Microsoft SQL database deadlock
Orchestrator’s purging operations for events might cause a deadlock in a Microsoft SQL database.

VcAuthorizationRole.roleId does not provide the correct role ID and always returns 0
When you use the vCenter Server plug-in VcAuthorizationRole.roleId attribute, the correct role ID is not provided. Instead, the role ID of every object is displayed as 0.

Nested workflows not resuming properly when rebooting
If there are nested workflows still running when you reboot an Orchestrator server, the nested workflows do not resume from the last workflow element that was running at the time of reboot. After the Orchestrator server starts again, the nested workflows resume from the begining.

Import Package dialog responding slowly
The Import Package dialog might respond slowly when importing a package with content that is already available in Orchestrator.

Problematic releasing of locks
If you create a lock with LockingSystem.lockAndWait(lockName,””) and try to release it by running the Release all locks workflow, the LockingSystem.unlockAll() method does not release all locks.

Release Notes can be found here.

Download can be found here.