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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