VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part5: Blueprints

Let’s get into an interesting part of the series. This post will focus on ‘Blueprints’ in vRA.

VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part1: Cloud Assembly & Service Broker
VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part2: Cloud Accounts, Projects & Cloud Zones
VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part3: Flavor Mapping & Image Mapping
VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part4: Network Profiles
VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part5: Blueprints
VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part6: Content & Catalog
VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part7: User Permissions, Roles & Branding

Blueprint: Any type of Deployment begins with Blueprint. You define machine, applications or services that you want to deploy in your env. As an architect, you build software components, machine blueprints or custom (XAAS- Anything as a service) blueprint and assemble all these components in a blueprint. Later, it gets published to the catalog for a user to start the deployment as and when needed. Blueprint can be a single machine or multi machine. When you create a Blueprint, you get an option to choose multiple resource types such as vSphere, Azure, Amazon S3 buckets, NSX network and much more.

In my example, I will be showing a single machine blueprint for demo purpose. We will create a vSphere based blueprint, which will deploy a windows server 2019 with few clicks once the configuration is complete.

A lot can be discussed on creating a Blueprint, however I want to keep it simple for now to understand the flow of the deployment.

Let’s get started,

Log into vRA> Cloud Assembly> Design> Blueprints> New

Provide name and select the project that this blueprint belongs to & Create.

The center portion with dots is called as ‘Canvas’.

We see resource types on the left hand side and additional properties for the selected resource on the right side.

Under Resource Type, vSphere> Machine

Select it and drag it on to the canvas.

We also need a network for the vsphere machine.

vSphere> Network & Drag it to the canvas.

You will also notice change in the ‘Code’ on right side. This code can be edited directly to provide values.

Now, we must connect these two dragged resources on the canvas. Click and drag small circle on the machine resources to network resource, as highlighted in the screen below.

You should see a connector between the resources.

Next, we select machine resource and click on Properties> Rename the resource.

Select the image that we have mapped in our image mapping section.

Next, Select the network and click the edit sign.

While configuring networks, we had selected ‘Default for this zone’, so VDS 1631 network will be used for this blueprint.

Select ‘Static’ for Assignment> Apply

This method will use an ip address from the ‘IP Ranges’ that we have defined for that network. Dynamic assignment uses DHCP scope from the DHCP server for that specific network.

Rest parameters are optional on this page.

To set additional properties for the resource, Tun ON ‘Show all properties’

Scroll down to ‘Customization Spec’ and enter the name of custom spec that is pre-created in vCenter.

I have created customer spec, which joins the window machine to the domain.

VM fodler: vRA_Provisioned_VM (This is too precreated in vCenter)

Also, you have to make sure that the ‘Existing’ network is selected for Netwrok Resouce. You get an option under properties after selectign network resource.

Click on ‘Test’ to check if all blueprint components are in place and it is ready for deployment.

If the ‘Test’ does not show successful, you will see an error on the resource type. Resolve the error and create a version.

Its time to test the deployment, Click on Deploy.

Give a name and blueprint version> Deploy.

Monitor the deployment for any error.

At the same time, you will a server gettign deployed in vCenter.

Deployment is successful. I see a machine created in vCenter, which is joined to the domain and has an ip address from our defined pool. Lets test it.

I was not able to ping it initially due to firewall on the deployed machine. Turned it off and all good.

That was simple and generic example of creating and deploying a blueprint from vRA. We still have to do some work to get this blueprint to catalog item. Once available in catalog, permitted users will be able to request for these servers as many times as they want. Likewise, blueprints can be created for Linux, app, db & web servers. We have just automated a ‘Windows Server Creation’ tasks. 😊

I hope that the information is fruitful.

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VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part4: Network Profiles

Time to configure Network Profiles in this post. Refer to my previous posts on vRA8.1 here.

VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part1: Cloud Assembly & Service Broker
VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part2: Cloud Accounts, Projects & Cloud Zones
VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part3: Flavor Mapping & Image Mapping
VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part4: Network Profiles
VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part5: Blueprints
VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part6: Content & Catalog
VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part7: User Permissions, Roles & Branding

Network Profile: A network profile defines a group of networks and network settings that are available for a cloud account. Basically, you define a network properties for target deployment. You can define an existing network to use IP address values that are obtained from, and managed by, an external IPAM provider rather than internally from vRealize Automation.

Log into vRA portal> Infrastructure> Network Profiles> New Network Profile.

In the summary tab, Select Cloud Account, Name & Description.

Click on Networks Tab> Add Network

You see all your networks that are discovered by vRA from the added Cloud Account.

Select the network that you want your VM’s get after the deployment.

Create

Now, we have to define IP ranges from the selected network. To do that, certain parameters for the discovered networks should be in place (i.e. CIDR, gateway etc).

Note: You will not be able to create IP ranges until you enter these properties for selected network.

Infrastructure> Resources> Networks> Select the Network that we added earlier.

Fill the Domain, CIDR & Gateway Information.

Scroll down to enter DNS information.

Make sure to check the box for ‘Default for zone’. So that this network will be used when we deploy the blueprint.

Save.

Time to create IP Ranges.

Infrastructure> Resources> Networks> IP Ranges> New IP Range

Select your network from the dropdown. You will only see the network, that have CIDR and other mandatory parameters set.

Enter Name, Start & End IP > ADD.

IP Range for 1631 network has been created. These IP’s will be used by deployment.

If you click on the IP Range again, you see the utilization of the pool.

We have created network profile and all other required network components needed by the blueprint. Its time to create Blueprint. My next post will focus on the deployment of the blueprint.

Thank you for reading. Good Day.

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VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part3: Flavor Mapping & Image Mapping

VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part1: Cloud Assembly & Service Broker
VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part2: Cloud Accounts, Projects & Cloud Zones
VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part3: Flavor Mapping & Image Mapping
VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part4: Network Profiles
VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part5: Blueprints
VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part6: Content & Catalog
VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part7: User Permissions, Roles & Branding

This part focuses on Flavor mapping and Image mapping.

Flavor Mapping: This mapping defines target deployment sizing. I can define the way I want and assign it to the deployment while creating a Blueprint.

For Example,

Name# of CPUMemory (GB)
Small22 GB
Medium48 GB
Large828 GB

I will provide the name of the flavor while creating a blueprint. So that the target VM gets defined compute resources in the flavor.

Log into vRA> Infrastructure> Click ‘New Flavor Mapping’ under Configure> Flavor Mappings.

Flavor name: Medium
Select your Cloud Account and provide values for CPU and Memory.
Create.

Flavor Mapping has been created.

Image Mappings: In this section, you map an image of operating system. Basically, a pre-created OS template from your cloud account.

To map an image, I have created a Windows Server 2019 VM and converted it into a template. This template will be mapped into image mapping and thereafter into a blueprint. You can add all your applications in the template, so that the user gets all required application once the server has been deployed.

Click on ‘Infrastructure’ tab> Image Mapping> New Image

I do not see my Windows image in the Image section. This is because my newly created image is not synced with vRA infra.

Go back Cloud Accounts> And click on ‘Sync Images’

Image is now visible. Select the template> Add> Create.

An image has been created and ready to be used in our blueprint deployment.
That’s it for this post. Will discuss and configure Network Profiles in my next post. Thank You.

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VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part2: Cloud Accounts, Projects & Cloud Zones

In this post, we will start configuring vRA 8.1. We have already discussed Cloud Assembly and Service Broker in first part of the series.

VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part1: Cloud Assembly & Service Broker
VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part2: Cloud Accounts,Projects & Cloud Zones
VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part3: Flavor Mapping & Image Mapping
VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part4: Network Profiles
VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part5: Blueprints
VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part6: Content & Catalog
VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part7: User Permissions, Roles & Branding

So, what does vRA 8.1 do and what is the advantage of it. Let’s discuss in layman language.

User / Developer / Customer Point of view…

As a user/customer,
I get a web-based portal to request as many as application servers, db servers or web servers, applications or vRO workflows and even on demand networks for applications.
I as a user do not know what happens in the background.
Once the request is completed, I get my server with the IP address, which is accessible from my desktop. And it is ready to use for me without any issues.

Not only this, but there many other examples. That’s the beaty of this product. Now, Imagine that you as a System Administrator gets new server requests daily and every time you manually deploy everything and the server requests can be for vCenter VM, Amazon EC2 instance, Azure Machine or on Google cloud.

Architect / vRA Administrators Job…

I as an architect or vRA administrator, will be responsible to configure entire backend infrastructure. So that a User / Customer doesn’t have to worry about deployments and can requests as many as servers with just few clicks.

Cloud Accounts (Formally known as ‘Endpoints’ in old versions of vRA)
Cloud accounts are the configured permissions that vRealize Automation Cloud Assembly uses to collect data from the regions or data centers, and to deploy blueprints to those regions. Basically, vRA collects all information from the cloud accounts and define a place where your blueprint deployment will happen.

Log into vRA using IDM user and Click on Cloud Assembly.

Click on ‘Infrastructure’ tab > Click on ‘Cloud Accounts’ under ‘Connections’

‘Add Cloud Accounts’

Types can be AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, NSX-t, NSX-V or vCenter. You need to have subscriptions to public cloud platforms in order to add them into vRA. We will use vCenter for demo purpose.

Select ‘vCenter’

Provide Name and vCenter Server Credentials information.

Click on ‘Validate’ and make sure its Green.

Check the box for your datacenter under Configuration and click Add.

Make sure that the status shows OK.

Cloud Account has been added. We now move to creating ‘Project’.

Projects controls who has access to vRA Cloud Assembly blueprints and where the blueprints are deployed. You use projects to organize and govern what your users can do and to what cloud zones they can deploy blueprints in your cloud infrastructure. Anyone who creates and deploys blueprints must be a member of at least one project.

Infrastructure> Projects> New Project

Provide Name & Description under Summary.

Click on ‘Users’ tab to add users from AD to access this project.

Add Users

Type the name of the user, User Account should appear automatically in the dropdown.

Note: User Account will not be populated until you integrate your Active Directory in the vIDM. The procedure was explained in my one of the vRLCM blog here.

https://virtualrove.com/2020/07/11/vmware-vrlcm-8-1-part3-identity-manager-ad-integration/

In ‘Assign Role’ Select ‘Member’ and click on ADD.

Selected User will be listed along with him role. You can also add groups here.

Move to ‘Provisioning’ tab to add ‘Cloud Zone’

Cloud Zone: Cloud Zones are sections of compute resources that are specific to your cloud account type. Cloud zones are specific to a region and you must assign them to a project. Basically, you assign compute resources for your blueprints and at the same time, you limit the amount of resources that can be used from this Cloud Zone.

Click on ‘Add Cloud Zone’
Cloud Zone: Select appropriate one from the dropdown.

Fill all parameters. All of them are self-explanatory.

Click on ADD.

Scroll down to ‘Template’ Section.

This place is to define Naming Patter/Convention for the VM that gets deployed via vRA. You can create naming template for all deployments from vRA. And you have to make sure that each VM gets a unique name.

For Example: You might want to keep the name of the VM starting with the Project name and then incremental two digit number.

Let’s configure it same way in our deployment too. To do that, you have to enter following value in template section. All values auto-populate as soon as you type $ in the section.

${project.name}${##}

Note: Deployment will fail if you do no follow the pattern.

Rest to keep on default. Click ‘Create’. Project has been created successfully.

You should also see a ‘Cloud Zone’ created.

We have created ‘Cloud Account’, ‘Cloud Zone’ & ‘Project’ in this post. Next post will focus on remaining configuration of vRA. Thank you for reading. I hope that the blog contains valuable information. Thank you. 😊

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VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part1: Cloud Assembly & Service Broker

Welcome back techies. I have picked up this topic for my series of blogs because it has a huge demand in market and slowly all customers are moving to private cloud using this product. VMware vRealize Automation is a modern infrastructure automation platform that enables self-service multicloud environments. With vRealize Automation, customers can increase agility, productivity and efficiency through self-service automation, by reducing the complexity of their IT environment, streamlining IT processes and delivering a DevOps-ready automation platform.

This post focuses on configuration of the vRA 8.1 environment. At the end of this series, you will have clear understanding on configuration of vRA 8.1 environment, and how a user gets a portal to request server’s from the catalog.

I have already explained the deployment procedure of vRA 8.1 in my previous post here.

https://virtualrove.com/2020/06/22/vrlcm-8-1-part1-deployment-configuration/

This vRA 8.1 series is divided into following parts.

VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part1: Cloud Assembly & Service Broker
VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part2: Cloud Accounts,Projects & Cloud Zones
VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part3: Flavor Mapping & Image Mapping
VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part4: Network Profiles
VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part5: Blueprints
VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part6: Content & Catalog
VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 – Part7: User Permissions, Roles & Branding

At this stage, I have 4 ESXi host cluster, a vCenter, vRA & vIDM deployed though vRLCM.

VMware Identity Manager is already integrated with vRA as part of vRLCM deployment procedure. Our Active Directory has already been integrated with vIDM. Check the procedure here.

https://virtualrove.com/2020/07/11/vmware-vrlcm-8-1-part3-identity-manager-ad-integration/

Lets begin the show.

Log into vRA URL with local account.

You get a ‘Cloud Services Console’ upon login.

‘Launch Quickstart’ – To use inbuilt guided setup to configure your vRA env. However, we will use manual setup to understand all components.

Cloud Assembly: vRealize Automation Cloud Assembly is a cloud-based service that you use to create and deploy machines, applications, and services to your cloud infrastructure. The primary purpose of vRealize Automation Cloud Assembly is to create blueprints, and then deploy the blueprints.

Click on ‘Cloud Assembly’.

We will see Deployments, Design & Infrastructure tabs in detail in my upcoming posts.

Service Broker:  You provide the blueprints and other templates to your consumers in a catalog. Your consumers can manage their deployments. You can also create and apply policies on this page. Its simplified user interface that cloud administrators make available to users when the administrator’s teams do not need full access to developing and building and the blueprints or templates.

Code Stream: vRealize Automation Code Stream models the tasks in your software release process, and automates the development and test of developer code to release it to production.

vRealize Orchestrator: Anything as a service. You create custom workflows here as per your need and publish them into the catalog. This one is really a big topic and I will try to cover at least one workflow to you an example.

Multitenancy: vRA 8.1 environment can also be configured for multitenancy. In this setup, you assign dedicated infrastructure to a particular tenant.  Organizations can choose whether or not to enable tenancy based on their need for the logical isolation provided by multitenancy. I will try my level best to setup the multitenancy and show you an example.  

That’s it. This is a small introduction and navigation of vRA 8.1. Its been a while since I worked on vRA. I remember doing implementation of 6.X version long back and little work on 7.X last year. Hence I would explain replaced naming conventions in 8.x version. I have not used any specific documentation to configure the explained environment in my upcoming blogs. I just used my experience on earlier versions and started configuring it. So, please suggest if you want me add anything that is missing and should have been there in the post. Thank you. 😊

We will begin the configuration of the vRA 8.1 environment in my next post.

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VMware vRLCM 8.1 – Part3 Identity Manager & AD integration

We did the deployment of vROPS & vRB in my last post, vRA 8.1 & Identity Manager was already installed as part of vRLCM deployment. All products have been already integrated into VMware Identity Manger (vIDM). For now, only local users can log into these products because we have not integrated Active Directory into vIDM. In this post, I will walk you though the procedure to integrate AD into vIDM.

VMware Identity Manager is the identity and access management component of Workspace ONE. Workspace ONE is a new VMware offering designed to directly address challenges faced by organizations in the consumerization of IT. Workspace ONE is the simple and secure enterprise platform that delivers and manages any app on any device by integrating identity, application, and enterprise mobility management.

Let’s log in to vIDM using idm (local) account. We provided this account information while deploying vIDM.

Notice that the header of the page has Workspace ONE logo and I see vRLCM application listed in the catalog.

After my last post on vROPS and vRB, I saw these two applications listed here. I deleted them to free up my compute resources.

Next, Click on the user account > Administration Console

You will land up on the Dashboard of the vIDM. Click ‘Identity & Access Management’

We only see ‘System Directory’ here. Let’s integrate our Active Directory, so that the users from AD can access the applications integrated into vIDM.

Click on ‘Add Directory’
Directory Name: dtaglab.local

Click the radio button to select ‘AD (Integrated Windows Authentication)’

Scroll down and provide Join Domain details.

Bind User details > Save & Next

Select your domain and Next.

Next

If you want to sync groups from AD, Click on + sign on this page.
For now, I will only sync users from AD. Click Next without any action on this page.

Click on + sign and provide user DN’s (Distinguished Name)
On this page, we provide a location from where you want to sync users from your AD.

DN can be obtained from AD users and groups here.

On the Review screen, you get a summary of the users that are going to sync with vIDM.

Scroll down to check for errors.

This error is for ‘Guest’ & ‘krbtgt’ users, which does not matter to us for now.

Note: You have to configure ‘First Name’, ‘Last Name’ & ‘Email address’ of the users to be sync with vIDM. Users does not show up if you do not have these properties defined.

Click ‘Sync Directory’ on the review page.

Sync has started. It takes little time and depends on how many users to sync. Click ‘Refresh Page’ and check the status. You see a green check box and number synced users show up.

And we are done. We have integrated Active Directory into vIDM and all synced users can be given access to the application that are integrated with vIDM.

Remember, you still have to manually give permissions to the users for a specific application. We will see that in my next post when we start configuring vRA.

I hope that the information was helpful. Keep learning. 😊

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