vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 6.0 Creating a vSphere Reservation

There are two types of vSphere reservation within vCAC. Reservations against a vSphere host and reservations against vSphere clusters. In order to create either a vCenter server is required. To make a reservation against a vSphere host it cannot be part of a vSphere cluster. Unlike physical reservations when creating a vSphere reservation you do not need to consume the entire vSphere host or Cluster in one reservation. You can create multiple reservations against a vSphere resoruce consuming parts of it in each reservation. You also have the ability to over subscribe the vSphere host or cluster.

When creating a vsphere reservation you have the ability to reserve memory, storage, and determine what networks are available within the reservation. vSphere reservation also give you the ability to determine how workloads can consume the resources. This is achieved in a number of ways. The first of which is a reservation priority. The reservation priority allows you some control over how you consume your resources. Let’s say you have two reservations assigned to a business group. If you wanted workloads to fully consume one before being placed against the other you would give the different priorities. The one you would want to fill first would be say a priority of 1,and the other would be a priority of 2. If you want to fill them equally you would give them the same priority. This will cause vCAC to round robin the placement of the workloads.

You can also implement the same types of placement priority for datastores within the reservation using the priorities you associate to each datastore.

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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 Cetner 5.2 – vCAC 5.2 and Citrix XenDesktop Demystified

I have seen a rise in questions regarding vCAC 5.x and integration with XenDesktop. This article is not a step by step on how to configure integration with XenDesktop, but information on capabilities and use cases for integration.

Supported XenDesktop Versions:

  • XenDesktop 4.0 (Only VMware Hypervisor and vCAC VDI agent must be installed on a 32-bit host.)
  • XenDesktop 5.0 (SP1 (Supported on VMware and XenServer)
  • XenDesktop 5.5 (Supported on VMware and XenServer)

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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC – Workflow and Script to Change CPU’s to Cores

During a POC something was brought to my attention that I haven’t heard anyone ask for before, but it seems like a very useful and valid need. The ask was to be able to set CPU Cores during provisioning rather than CPU’s. Operating Systems and other apps license by sockets, not cores so instead of having 8 CPU Sockets with 1 core, why not have 1 CPU Socket with 8 Cores. So I decided to build a solution that would solve this and change the CPU Sockets to Cores.

Now I prefer to do as much as I can in the design center and with the WorkFlow stubs because then they will work for everyone without the need for the CDK so taking that into consideration here is what I have built.

Background Info:

I am executing my script at the MachineProvisioned state of the virtual machines lifecycle. This can mean different things based on the provisioning type that is selected. If we are talking about cloning then it means that the clone has finished, vCAC hardware customization has taken place, Customization Specification has executed, any operation performed by the guest agent are complete and the VM for all intents is complete.Using the WFStubMachineProvisioned workflow however I can perform additional operations before the machine is handed off to the owner. In this case I’m using the workflow stub to execute a powershell script named SocketsToCores.
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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.2 is offically GA and available for download!

vCAC 5.2 was officially released yesterday and made available publicly on the VMware website located here. Although it’s available on customers that have licenses for the product can access the download. Currently there is no public trial available.

New features in vCAC 5.2

  • Enhanced vCloud Director Integration – Support for Pay as you go, Reservations of partial oVDC’s, Individual management of VM’s within a vApp, and management of existing vApps.
  • Support for KVM – KVM support is adopted through the use of RedHat Enterprise Virtualization Manager 3.1 and supports provisioning of machines and management capabilities for the provisioned managed VM’s.
  • vCloud Networking and Security (vCNS) – Supports provisioning of machines into existing VXLAN’s, Security Groups, as well as load balancers.
  • Customizable Reclamation Workflows – This is an enhancement to vCAC’s reclamation workflows which were previously very static and not customizable. In this release you now have the ability to customize a new lease length and the wait time before enforcing the new lease period.
  • SRM Compatibility – Notice the word compatibility. vCAC will not discover both the primary and recovery VM and allow management of only the primary. So no real functional support for SRM, but it is at least now compatible and able to function in SRM environment.
  • Windows 2012 Managed Guest OS – vCAC 5.2 now offers support for Windows 2012 as a guest operating system.
  • Lot’s of bug fixes – If you read the release notes located here, you will see there are about 5 pages of resolved issues.

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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 – Custom Property Overrides

In my article Custom Properties Demystified I reference a chart I put together that defines the override order of custom properties based on where they are defined. The document is available in the downloads section. This document is a list of my findings based on testing I performed.

While delivering a vCAC 5.1 training class today I shared the document with my class and one of the attendees was kind enough to look over the chart and determine a definitive override order based on the data. This is great as I never took the time to review the data to determine a definitive override order. So here you go.
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