If you have been to the VMware Solutions Exchange you most certainly have seen the name SovLabs. Although their solutions are regularly called plug-ins, I assure you they offer more than just orchestrator-based plug-ins. I first started working with their solutions earlier this year and I was instantly hooked. Many of you have used vRO extensions that were made available by Tom Bonanno or myself posted here on Dailyhypervisor. One in particular is the custom hostname extension for vRA. While that extension has helped hundreds if not more of you, many of you quickly discovered the downside of using it. That downside being management overhead and lack of support. As much as we would have liked to offer support to those in need we simply don’t have the bandwidth to do so. Even upgrading the extension we put out for new versions of vRA in a timely manner had its challenges for us.
vRealize Automation 7.0.1 is the first maintenance release for the new vRA 7.x release. The release provides fixes in many areas, however it is primarily focused on vRA lifecycle. Fixes include Installation and Upgrade, Licensing, Enterprise Readiness, Performance and Scale. If you have made the leap to vRA7 or are starting out on vRA7 it is recommend that you install this maintenance release and take advantage of the benefits and fixes it provides. Stay tuned for more details on the fixes and what they will mean to you.
Folks this truly is an amazing leap forward for the vRA platform. Just look at the list of new features below, which is not a complete list of all there is with this release. Keep checking back for informative step-by-step articles as well as updated versions of our workflow packages to be published by the end of this month.
vRealize Automation 7.0 is a cutting edge release which provides an industry lead cloud automation solution to our customers. With the streamlined installation wizard, simplified SSO configuration, integrated graphical infrastructure and application blueprint authoring and deployment capabilities, and many other new enhancements, customers will be able to maximize their return on investment by extremely shortened time to value for cloud service delivery.
Following are some of the new features:
Streamlined and Automated Wizard-based Installation
- Introduces management agent to automate the installation of Windows components and to collect logs
- Automates the deployment of all vRealize Automation components
- Installation wizards based on deployment needs: Minimal (Express) and Enterprise (Distributed) Installations
Simplified Deployment Architecture and High Availability Configuration
- Embedded authentication service by using VMware Identity Manager
- Converged Application Services in vRealize Automation Appliance
- Reduced minimal number of appliances for HA configuration
- Automated embedded PostgreSQL clustering with manual failover
- Automated embedded vRealize Orchestrator clustering
This is something that has been long sought after by many. The hardening guide is 38 pages long packed with hardening information for the vRA Appliance, IaaS Server, Identity Appliance, and Application services appliance. This document takes you through the hardening of the SLES 11, PostgresSQL, Windows Host including SQL Server, IIS, and Microsoft .Net. The hardening guide also covers the network security and securing communications between the vRA components.
The network security section of the guide includes a complete list of all the vRA components and the ports/protocols that are used by the component. Even if you are not ready to start creating a fully hardened deployment it’s worth taking a look at the guide and becoming familiar with the the communications between the different components.
vCAC by default will place all provisioned machines into a vCenter folder named VRM. You can override this using the custom property VMware.VirtualCenter.Folder to tell vCAC where to place the provisioned machine. While this is great that you can tell vCAC where to place the provisioned machine it isn’t very flexible. I built the Custom vCenter Folder Extension to fix that and make folder placement as flexible as you need it to be. VM folder placement is just about organizing virtual machines. It provides a way to control access to these machines through vCenter as well. Many organizations control permissions to these environments using these folders and need to be able to place any machine where they need for these purposes.
Multi-Machine blueprints is another area where this extension adds value. You can control placement of virtual machines by defining the VMware.VirtualCenter.Folder property on a Multi-Machine blueprint folder, but all VM’s for all Multi-Machine apps are placed in the same folder creating confusion as to which VM’s belong to which Multi-Machine application. Now if you add NSX into the mix and you have Multi-Machine components spread all over the place with no way to easily determine which VM’s as well as NSX Edges go to which application.
When used with Multi-Machine blueprints the Custom vCEnter Folder Extension can place all component Virtual Machines as well as Deployed NSX Edge appliances in a folder named after the Multi-Machine application if you desire making it easy to identify related components of an application. This also allows you to easily permission vCenter access to the components of the application if necessary.
- Dynamic Folder Names based on custom naming scheme
- Multi-Machine folder placement including NSX Edge applince
- Automatic Multi-Machine folder removal when Multi-Machine app is destroyed