Many of you may have already heard after 6 years at VMware I decided to spread my wings and go back to the world from which I came. I joined VMware when they acquired DynamicOps a little over 6 years ago, and after 6 great years at VMware I decided to move on to something new, but not so new.
If it doesn’t show from my blog I am very passionate about automation. I’m even more passionate about helping organizations overcome all the challenges they face during their journey towards automation. Having been working with vRA for over 10 years I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned the countless ways different organizations go about achieving the same end result. I’ve learned the challenges with automation in the datacenter. I’ve learned I could probably write endlessly about what I have learned
Many of you have already heard the news about vRA7. Now that it has been officially announced I can start to share some useful information regarding this transformative release of vRealize Automation. I want to start by stating I cannot discuss anything related to GA release date so don’t expect to find anything related to when this will be released. This article is aimed to give you an overview of some of the great new features coming in version 7 and as the starting point for a series of vRA7 walk-through articles.
vRealize Automation 7 Installation
I think you are all going to be very pleased with the new installation wizard. It takes 98% of the pain out of deploying vRA, and let’s face it, it wasn’t that difficult in the 6.x release. To start much like the vRA 6.x installation process you will need a Windows Server available, but you no longer have to make sure you have all the pre-requisites completed. The only pre-requisite you will need is to install a simple installation agent on server and that’s it. The installation will not only check for the pre-requisites, but it will allow you to resolve them if they are not met.
The installation also now let’s you choose between a simple installation and a fully distributed installation. This is huge. If you have ever done a distributed installation this is where most of the pain was felt. VMware has truly raised the bar and done a fantastic job with the installer.
Not a fan of the SSO solution in previous releases of vRA? Then you are in luck. vRA7 no longer uses the Identity Appliance and VMware SSO. It leverage VMware Identity Manager. There are so many great aspects to this welcomed change starting with one less virtual appliance to deploy. That’s correct Identity Management is built in to the vRA virtual appliance. Besides simplifying the installation it will also simplify integrations giving you the ability to authenticate a user via an external source and pass that token to vRA preventing the need for the user to login yet again. Look for some more in-depth articles coming on this soon.
Blueprint creation just got a whole lot easier and a whole lot more feature rich. For those of you who have been using vRA 6.x you are going to really appreciate the new Blueprint designer. Drag and drop templates, networks, applications, XaaS workflows on the canvas and build your blueprint visually. This is just the start. Remember the 6.x NSX integration? Remember how it only worked with multi-machine blueprints? Guess what? That is no longer the case. Add one machine add ten is doesn’t matter. Use existing networks, create new ones, assign securty tags, security groups, load balancers, and more. It’s like those old Prego commercials…..”It’s in there”. Are you an application services user? Remember having to pull in the single machine vRA blueprints to use with App Services and then publish them to the vRA catalog? Guess what? You guessed it. If you want to deploy an application to a template on your cancase, you just drop the application on to the template. Look for a lot of great articles to come on this.
Blueprints as Code
Ever wish you could export and import blueprints? Wish no more! vRA7 features the ability to export you blueprints as code. Once exported you can manipulate the file is needed and import into another vRA7 or the same vRA7 instance. Imagine exporting your bleuprints checking it into GIT for version control and running those bleuprints builds through Jenkins to facilitate new “builds” and then importing it back into vRA7. Well no need to image because it’s all possible. Another feature to help with the transformation to DevOps.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, it does. The new event broker system in vRA completely transforms how you will integrate to 3rd party systems in vRA7. Some of the features here include dynamically assigning workflows to builds based on filters. Remember how complicated it could be get the right workflows to run based on custom properties? Well this if the possibilities, trigger a workflow based on the requestor, the machine name, the blueprint, and more…..and this is just one of the cool features of event broker. Use event topics such as Post Approval, Pre Approval, Blueprint configuration, resource reclamation, Business Group Configuration, XaaS, Machine LIfecycle, and Machine Provisioning. Look for a whole ton of articles on this as well as new releases of workflows based on this new event broker.
These are just some of the great new features in vRA7, I can’t wait to start posting new articles on how to works with the awesome new features.