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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