VMware vRealize Automation – vRA7 – Custom Hostnaming Extension for vRA7 and beyond

Overview

One of the most frequent asks when using vRA is, “How do I deploy machines using my company’s hostnaming standards automatically using vRA?”  Since the out-of-the box hostnaming only provides a way to do prefix-suffix, the answer to this question usually is that it will require customization.

This solution is intended to provide a way to implement this functionality by using a small, highly versatile custom extension which can handle 95% of use cases without writing custom code.

The rest of this article contains instructions on installing and configuring the vRA Custom Hostnaming Extension.  This extension allows administrators to model very specific custom hostnaming schemes for their vRA virtual machines, Deployments, and vCloud Director vApps using vRA custom properties, with dynamic creation of stock machine prefixes and index tracking for each unique hostname combination.

This extension is proof-of-concept or demo grade.  While it runs well and consistently, it has not been put through a formal quality assurance process, so please use with caution.

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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.2/6.0 – Custom Hostnaming Extension v3.1

Overview

One of the most frequent asks when using vCAC is, “How do I deploy machines using my company’s hostnaming standards automatically using vCAC?”  Since the out-of-the box hostnaming only provides a way to do prefix-suffix, the answer to this question usually is that it will require customization.

This solution is intended to provide a way to implement this functionality by using a small, highly versatile custom extension which can handle 95% of use cases without writing custom code.

The rest of this article contains instructions on installing and configuring the vCAC Custom Hostnaming Extension.  This extension allows administrators to model very specific custom hostnaming schemes for their vCAC virtual machines, multi-machine services, and vCloud Director vApps using vCAC custom properties, with dynamic creation of stock machine prefixes and index tracking for each unique hostname combination.

This extension is Continue reading “vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.2/6.0 – Custom Hostnaming Extension v3.1”

vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 6.0 – Installing the vCAC 6.0 Identity Server Appliance

The vCAC 6.0 Identity Appliance (IA) is an integral component of vCAC and a very welcomed addition. The vCAC 6.0 IA will be the first component of the new vCAC 6.0 Suite that is deployed in your environment. If you don’t already have the vCAC 6.0 Identity Appliance you can download from the VMware Downloads page.

Identify Appliance Features

The identity appliance gives vCAC some newly added benefits and features that with regards to authentication and supporting multiple directory services. Some of these features include:,/p>

  • Multiple AD Provider Support per tenant
  • Multiple LDAP Service Providers per tenant
  • Single Sign-On Capabilities
  • Allows for the portal to now have the much sought after logout button

The appliance is delivered as an ova or ovf whichever you prefer. I will be walking through the installation using the ova version. In this tutorial we will do the following:

  • Import the vCAC 6.0 Identity Appliance OVA to vCenter
  • Configure the vCAC 6.0 Identity Appliance for use

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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 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 – Preventing vCAC from Deleting Destroyed Virtual Machines

The default behavior in vCAC when destroying a vSphere virtual machine is to delete it completely and permanently.  In some environments and use cases, this may not be desired.  Luckily, vCAC allows you to change this behavior.  Instead of deleting them when they are destroyed, you can configure vCAC to power off virtual machines and move them to a folder called VRMDeleted in the vSphere Datacenter root (if this folder doesn’t exist, vCAC will create it on first use).  This can be especially helpful if you are troubleshooting post-provisioning or guest customization problems, as you will be able to investigate inside the guest operating system after the failure.

This setting is changed on the vSphere Proxy Agent for each vCenter you would like to affect.  To “turn off doDeletes”, perform the following steps:

  1. Login to the vSphere Proxy Agent system, open a command prompt, and change directories into the program folder for the appropriate vSphere Proxy Agent (%SystemDrive%\Program Files (x86)\DynamicOps\DCAC Agents\agentName by default).
  2. Run this command:
    DynamicOps.Vrm.VRMencrypt.exe VRMAgent.exe.config set doDeletes false
  3. Restart the proxy agent service
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