vRA – vRealize Automation and ServiceNow Integration

Some of you may have attended the vRA and ServiceNow presentation at VMworld 2017 yesterday.  I regret not being able to attend and present it myself, however I’m certain that Chris Smith and Ian Smith did a fantastic job.  Here I want to recap some of what was presented during that session.

It’s important to understand what options are available and what features they offer in order to understand what you really need when integrating with ServiceNow.  To start do you need what is referred to as North/South integration, East/West Integration, or both.  Below is a list of what capabilities fall under each classification.

North/SouthEast/West
ServiceNow used as CatalogvRA used as Catalog
VMware vRealize Automation handles automation and orchestration.VMware vRealize Automation handles automation and orchestration.
Create or update CI recordsCreate or update CI records
Available via VMware ITSM plugin, AVNet Plugin, or Custom REST API integration.Available via VMware ITSM plugin, SovLabs plugin, Avnet Plugin, or custom vRealize Orchestrator workflows.

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SovLabs – Solutions for VMware vRealize Automation

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.

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Release Announcement – vRealize Orchestrator 6.0.5

Whew the last few days have been full of new releases and VMware is not done yet.  I’m not going to spoil anything but I will tell you that the release of vRealize Orchestrator 6.0.5 is not the last announcement you will be seeing from me.  I anticipate some other exciting news next week.  FOr now check out what’s new in vRO and stay tuned.

GA Date:11/17/16

 What’s new?

vRealize Orchestrator 6.0.5 is a patch release that introduces a number of improvements and bug fixes.

  • Enhanced workflow logging, including messages that mark the start and the end of the workflow run. In case of failure, the log captures the workflow ID, the request ID, and the exception.
  • Added ability to run a Debugger in the Orchestrator client when the request is generated by an external system, such as vRealize Automation, the vCenter Web Client, or a REST endpoint.
  • Introduced Spanish locale support for the Orchestrator plug-in for vSphere Web Client.

vRealize Orchestrator 6.0.5 also introduces Control Center, which delivers a more flexible configuring, monitoring, and troubleshooting experience. Control Center contains multiple built-in capabilities:

  • Cancel workflow runs
  • vRealize Orchestrator runtime dashboard

Download Details

            Download Page:                    

https://my.vmware.com/group/vmware/details?downloadGroup=VROVA_605&productId=491&rPId=13637

            Release Notes:       

http://pubs.vmware.com/Release_Notes/en/orchestrator/vrealize-orchestrator-605-release-notes.html

VMware round of Q2 releases including vRA 7.1, vROPs 6.3, vRCS 2.1, Cloud Client 4.2, vRB 7.1 and more

Many of you may have already seen the news, but I like to create a roll up to make it easy to see what’s been newly released.  Yesterday Tuesday August 23rd 2016 VMware released a number of much awaited Management product updates.  See below for a breakdown of the updates per product.

 

vRealize Automation 7.1

 

What’s new?

vRealize Automation 7.1 is optimized for growing clouds thanks to significant improvements in the automated installation experience.

vRealize Automation 7.1 continue simplifying the primarily and secondary setup process by adding ability to automate the setup process among similar deployments leveraging the new Silent Installer. Cloud Admins are now able to scale out existing vRealize deployment by adding more vRA components and manage them automatically though the new Command Line(CLI) interface.

vRA 7.1 release is also equipped with a brand new Migration tool which allows you to perform safe and sound side by side upgrade (migration) existing vRealize Automation systems 6.2.X to the latest and greatest release. During the migration process the source production environment remains intact which guarantees a minimum downtime of the production environment.

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Home Automation with vRealize Orchestrator and Wink

You might read the title and think to yourself ‘Why would I want to use vRO with Wink?”  Well there are a number of reasons.  I created this because being an automation specialist I thought it would be cool to automate my home.  When I started down this path I got a wink hub, a smartthing hub, a philips hue hub, Chamberlain MyQ Garage Door Openers, Kwickset locks, Leviton & GE switches, Light Bulbs, a Smappee Energy, Water, & Gas Monitor, Nest Thermostat, Nest Protect, EcoBee, Ring doorbell, Canary, Harmony Hub, and a number of other hubs, devices, and sensors.  As I started my project I realized on their own non of these products do a great job at automation.  Sure you can control things via na app, but I want more than that.   I don’t just want automation either, I want intelligent automation.

A simple example:  I want my door locks to be locked after a defined period of time being unlocked.  Well sure I can create a rule or robot that say lock door after x time, but that’s lacking intelligence.  Maybe I want to lock the door only if it is closed.  Non of these systems can do that.  However with vRO I can create a workflow that locks the door and checks the door sensor to determine if it is opened or closed and if it’s closed, lock the door, if not check again in x period of time until it can be locked.

Another example:  I park my vehicle in the garage.  I like to remote start my vehicle in the winter to warm it up.  I would sometimes forget to open my garage door then start my vehicle.  With vRO I can mount a Nest Protect on my garage door right behind my exhaust and set a rule that if CO is detected, open the garage door.  Alternatively I can use a OBDLink hooked up to my vehicle computer and through Dash determine if my vehicle is running and trigger garage door to open.  You get the idea.

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Platypus Project Update

platypusOver the weekend Roman, Grant, John and I released a significant update to the platypus project, which is essentially a very simple and elegant way to provide a Swagger based documentation of several VMware Products.  This project started out by providing a quick way to consume the vRealize Automation 7 API, but it has grown a healthy set of legs.

One of the goals of the project was to take publicly available specifications and make them consumable and adaptable by the larger community.

So,  what’s new? Everything.

  • Flexibility: When you run the docker container, there is the option to provide variables for Product Name and Product Version.
  • Product Support: The updated platypus project now includes vRealize Operations 6.2,  vRealize Orchestrator 7.0, and NSX 6.2.
  • Host Config: The host variable now provides the ability to input the hostname of an instance of the VMware Product in question (preferably a test/dev instance) and issue the REST API calls.

To get your hands dirty with the NSX version of Platypus, just issue the following command:

docker run –name platypus –rm -p 80:8080 -e PRODUCT=”nsx” -e VERSION=”6.2″ vmware/platypus

Interested in checking the platypus project out? Find out more at https://github.com/vmware/platypus.  If you are interested in contributing to the project, simply issue a PR.

Please leave your feedback or comments below, I’d love to hear from you.

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VMware Sample Exchange beta

It dawned on me that you all may not be aware of the VMware Sample Exchange.  The sample exchange is a place where you can go to find samples shared by many different folks.  Some by VMware employees others by customers, and partners.  On the sample exchange you can share all sorts of things from sample code written in many different languages, vRO workflows, blueprints, and more.  With the ability to turn blueprints into code in vRA7 the sample exchange makes it possible to share those blueprints with others and the best part is it’s free!

I encourage all of you to participate.  The more of you that share your work the better this community will become for all.

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VMware vRealize Automation – vRA7 – The dawn of the vRealize Automation 7 Event Broker

vRA 7 introduced a number of new and very useful features such as unified blueprints, software components, event broker, and others.  The event broker however has proven itself to be one of the most power new features we have seen in some time.  How so you ask?  Well if you have been working with vRA for any period of time you will remember the old way of triggering external workflow executions such as those run by vRO.  If you have been using vRA for a really long time you will remember back before vRO when vRA wasn’t even vRA and run nothing but .Net workflows, but we won’t go back that far.

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VMware vRealize Orchestrator – vRO–vRealize Orchestrator 7.0.1 has been released and is now live.

You will soon see the theme in all the releases that have been released today.  Earlier I posted that vRA 7.0.1 was released and of course vRA and vRO are tightly tied so it seems obvious they would release an updated vRO as well.  vRO 7.0.1 is a patch release.  What’s the difference between and maintenance release and a patch release?  Yeah I don’t know either.  What I do know is it introduces some improvements, bug fixes, and resolved a very important issue that you may have seen with vRO.  Issue CVE-2015-7547 “glibc getaddrinfo() stack-based buffer overflow”.  For more information see the Resolved Issues.

 

Download Page

Documentation

Release Notes