vCloud Director remains a solid solution for creating lab environments. The power of the product is in the flexibility, ease of deployment of new vApps and profound options to create enhanced network configurations.
vCloud Director includes the ability to deploy pre-configured OVA/OVF virtual appliances. An OVA/OVF virtual appliance can include some custom properties which have to be set through the "Guest Properties" tab after you have deployed the virtual appliance:
For example, the vCO appliance requires to configure the initial root and vCO configuration password. If you're deploying the vCenter Server Appliance you cannot set a password, you have to use the default which is 'vmware'.
The silly thing is that both the configured vCO as well as the default VCSA password doesn't seem to work when you try to log-on to the appliance. The problem is that vCloud Director has a default "auto generate password" option configured for virtual appliances. This password overwrites and sets a new default password for your appliance. The setting is available under "Guest OS Customization" -> "Password Reset":
Try to use this password when login on to an appliance for the first time, or even better: disable the option.
Kudos to Remon Lam of virtualclouds.info for this trick.
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In this series about vCloud Automation Center 6 (vCAC), it's time for another example of vCAC's Advanced Service Designer (ASD).
In this specific article I will discuss an example in which vCAC offers NetApp as a service (NaaS). With NaaS, designated vSphere administrators (the vCAC users in this example) have the ability to request a new NetApp based NFS datastore which is automatically configured on selected ESXi hosts. By automating the creation of the NetApp volume, configuring NFS and adding the NFS datastore to vSphere, you will get a fast and highly efficient process with very limited user interaction.
For this service vCAC's ASD is used which will execute a custom vCenter Orchestrator workflow. The vCO workflow will kick off the workflow in NetApp's Workflow Automation (WFA) tool. NetApp WFA is NetApp's own orchestrator. The WFA workflow contains the actual logic to create the NFS datastore and configures it on the vSphere layer.
Although things might sound a bit complicated at first, I am only using mostly standard building blocks to achieve this result.
Before we can create the workflow, we need to get insight into the automation steps. Creating and adding an NFS datastore to vSphere involves the following steps:
The new NFS datastore is now ready to use.
My approach in this example is to use as many standard orchestration components as possible and to minimize coding. To achieve this I will use the following software components:
The relationship between these components is the detailed in the following figure:
Download NetApp WFA vCO plugin here; also watch the video on this page called 'How-to Video: Using the OnCommand Workflow Automation package for vCenter Orchestrator'. And here's a document that explains how to install the vCO WFA plugin. I will not discuss the installation process for the other components; comprehensive documentation is available on the NetApp website.
Note that some of the components officially only support vSphere 5.1; however, in my setup I used vSphere 5.5 without any problem.
Let's dive a little deeper and see how the different components are configured. I will start off with the NetApp WFA.
The NetApp WFA includes a workflow called "Create VMware NFS Datastores". By default this workflow creates four different NFS datastores. I've slightly changed this: my custom workflow only creates one NFS datastore:
The first step in this workflow creates a new volume on NetApp, the second step configures the exports file, and the third step configures the ESXi hosts in vSphere. Yes; in this case the WFA is responsible for both the configuration of the NetApp filer and the vSphere layer. For the configuration of vSphere, WFA is leveraging VMware PowerCLI. This component has to be installed on the WFA server:
Of course you could argue for letting vCO configure the NFS datastores on the vSphere level; this is a slightly different approach and would require some additional editing of the WFA and vCO workflow.
After the WFA workflow is ready, you can try to run it on the WFA server: a new NFS volume is then created and added to vSphere.
These are the parameters for the original WFA workflow, which are now configured in vCO as detailed in the next figure:
Of course you're free at this point to test the vCO workflow and see if everything works as expected in vCO.
The last step is to create the actual NetApp as a Service offered in the vCAC portal. Of course we will use the Advanced Service Designer for this and follow the procedure described in one of my earlier articles: Deploying a VM with vCAC’s Advanced Service Designer (part I/II). Specifically read step 2 and 3; here you will learn how to link a vCO workflow to vCAC and publish the workflow as a service in the vCAC portal.
You can set a default value for some of the parameters of the vCO workflow and make these values visible/invisible for the vCAC users. E.g. you can configure the workflow in such a way that the vCAC user can only determine the datastore size. As an example, the next picture shows a pre-defined configuration for the vCenter IP address:
The next step is to publish the new service in the vCAC catalog. If everything went according to plan, we will end up with a NetApp NFS Datastore object in our catalog. This new service will allow our vSphere administrator to request a new NFS datastore if needed. Of course you can add an appropriate approval policy if needed, allowing a storage administrator to approve a request before the NFS datastore is automatically deployed and added to vSphere.
Happy automating! Read more about vCloud Automation Center here.
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Today Eric Siebert presented the results of the 2014 top VMware & Virtualization blog voting. Together with John Troyer, Rick Vanover and David Davis the new Top 25 were revealed in a live results show:
Almost 80 new blogs entered the contest this year, 5 new blogs made it to the top 25! Read the full story on Eris Siebert's vsphere-land.com.
I want to thank you for voting viktorious.nl! This website ended as the #30 blog, which is very good result with 320 blogs competing. Last year viktorious.nl was voted #43, so I moved up 13 places - a very good result! Special congratulations to Magnus Andersson of vcdx56.com with his new blog entering straight into the top 25.
Thanks again for voting, and thanks Eric Siebert for organizing this contest. Congratulations to all my fellow bloggers who participated in the voting!
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After a succesful NLVMUG Conference 2014 the presentations are available for download on the NLVMUG website. You will need a vmug.com member account to access the files. You can join vmug.com for free here.
The presentations are available on this page. To relive the event; there's a photo gallery available.
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