Tuesday, June 21, 2016

vRA 7 Installation Wizard and Architecture choices

Recently I’ve been working with architecting a vRealize Automation solution, since it was my first project after version 7.0 came out I decided to re-evaluate my knowledge about architecture options with vRA Reference Architecture Guide.
There were a lot of improvements and services consolidations within vRA appliance but none on the IaaS services (the ones running on Windows boxes).

Another great feature of vRA 7.0 is the Installation Wizard, simplifying and speeding up the installation process. 

But in order to reduce the complexity of the installation some architecture choices, based on the best practices, have been made. One thing I realized on the installation wizard is that there’s a single column for DEM nodes.

Also the only parameter on Distributed Execution Managers page is the Instance Name.

How do I set up which one will be DEM Orchestrator and which one will be DEM Worker from now on?

So, let’s see how installation wizard handle DEMs placement.

1 – DEM Orchestrator will ALWAYS be installed along Manager Service;
       so if you want two DEM Orchestrator, during the install pick up two Manager Services.

 2 – The DEM options you see on the Installation Wizard, including Instance Name as we saw above, are related to DEM Worker role only.

Now the question is, if, for some reason, I want to architect and place the roles somewhere else how do I accomplish that?

And the answer is easy: by the old fashion way !!!
Download IaaS installer from https://”vRA_Appliance”:5480/installer and install it manually on each node selecting the roles you want for them ; )

Hope it clarifies some of Architecture Decisions taken by Installation Wizard.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Enable Workflow Version History

You might have not realized yet but vRealize Orchestrator is a key pillar of VMware’s SDDC architecture, allowing task’s automation and extensibility with external systems to leverage the full SDDC solution, but what I really want to talk about on this post is vRO workflow version history feature.

You might think about workflow version history as a VM’s snapshots, once you take it you can use  to revert your workflow to a previous, and I hope a working, version of it, also allows you to compare the differences between versions.

It’s easy to check your versions, compare the differences and revert it back to another version.
-       Right right click on the workflow and choose Show version history.

 As you can see, there’s a list with all versions, pretty much like snapshots, just use the buttons provided to execute the actions you want.

But how the versions are created ?
Each time you save your workflow, Orchestrator will ask you if you want to create a new version of it.

-       Increase version: will create a new version of your workflow;
-       Continue anyway: will just save the changes under the same version.

if you think this message is too annoying, for sure you can disable it.
-       click Do not show this message again.

Problem is, Orchestrator will never ask you again and so no new workflow’s versions will be created, disabling version history feature.

But don’t worry you can re-enable it
-       Click Tools;
-       And then User preferences.

      -    Under Workflows;
-       Select: Increase the workflow version when clicking save and close;
-       Click Save & Close.

 Now the functionality is restored.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

How access NSX through APIs

When talking about automation,  the capability of receiving remote calls is the success factor of any plataform, might be via command line or API calls.
VMware NSX is not an exception, providing APIs functionality you can monitor, manager and troubleshoot it remotely.

This post is more a personal reference, so I can always come back and check  how to access it, but it can also help others starting on this field .

First of all, you need a API client to issue commands to your remote system. There are a lot of them out them, personally I’m using the RestClient.

To start issuing commands you need to provide the proper credentials to access NSX.
-       On the upper bar Click on Authorization and then on Basic Authentication;

-       Provide the username and password with the required privileges;
-       Click OK;

Now we need to set up the header
-       On the upper back, click on Headers and then on Custom Header;

-       For Name, type: Content-Type;
-       For Value, type: application/xml;
-       Click OK;

Before running any command make sure the Authentication and Header are always present.

Let’s make a test to guarantee  everything is configured properly.
-       For method, select: GET;
-       For URL, type: https://"nsx_manager"/api/1.0/appliance-management/global/info
-       Click Send;

If you see the version of your NSX Manager as the example above, everything is set up correctly.

Pretty cool right ?!?! So why don’t you download NSX vSphere API Guide and create some amazing stuff  ?!?!?

Friday, June 3, 2016

Enable vRealize Orchestrator Control Center

There's a new interface in town for vRealize Orchestrator  which allows you to better configure plugins and cluster’s configuration, monitor logs and troubleshoot workflow runs and metrics.
Control Center, in beta since vRO 6.x, it’ now production ready and the only way to manage your vRO 7.x environment.

If you are using the stand alone version of vRO, the Control Center can be reached by https://”vRO”:8283/vco-controlcenter

But if you are using vRealize Automation 7.x, which has embedded vRO, you will realize Control Center is disable by default.

I’m posting about it because I did not find any information about how to enable it, you might have better luck, so here’s how:

-       Login on vRA appliance through SSH or vCenter Remote Console;
-       Start the service running: /etc/init.d/vco-configurator start

That’s it. Now you can access Control Center with the provided address above.

But if you are really paying attention, you have realized already that when the appliance get rebooted the service you come up stopped again.

So we need to configure the service to start up automatically once reboot

-       Login on vRA appliance through SSH or vCenter Remote Console;
-       Run: chkconfig vco-configurator on

That’s it folks !!

Who am I

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I’m an IT specialist with over 15 years of experience, working from IT infrastructure to management products, troubleshooting and project management skills from medium to large environments. Nowadays I'm working for VMware as a Consulting Architect, helping customers to embrace the Cloud Era and make them successfully on their journey. Despite the fact I'm a VMware employee these postings reflect my own opinion and do not represents VMware's position, strategies or opinions. Reach me at @dumeirell

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