Last week VMware has released vCloud Automation Center 6.0 (vCAC). vCAC offers a self-service catalog for requesting and managing all types of IT services across multiple clouds and platforms to provide customers with on-demand access to any service. vCAC is capable of managing virtual (vSphere, Hyper-V, KVM, XenServer), physical (Dell, Cisco, HP) and cloud (Amazon, OpenStack, VMware vCloud) based resources.
While vCAC 5.2 is a Windows IIS based application containing some distributed components, vCAC 6.0 consist of three parts as depicted in the picture on the right:
- Virtual Identity Appliance (SSO) – vCAC’s own SSO server;
- vCloud Automation Center virtual appliance – vCAC virtual appliance and main access point for vCloud Automation Center;
- Infrastructure as a Service components – This is the re-invented vCAC Windows IIS based vCAC IAAS application.
For availability and/or scalability requirements components can be deployed redundant, load balancers are involved here.
The vCAC 6.0 installation comprises installing these three components.
Note: I’ve just learned from this article that you can also use the SSO server of vCenter Server 5.5.0b.
Installation and tips
Installing vCAC 6.0 for the first time can be a bit challenging, so I want to share some tips that will smooth your installation.
First some tips for the Virtual Identity Appliance and vCAC appliance:
- Verify system requirements, specifically for the IAAS components. The IAAS components will run on a Windows server: Windows 2008 R2 SP1 or Windows 2012 SP1, no other OSes are supported. The IAAS server needs a SQL Server based database: only SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 and SQL Server 2012 SP1 are supported here. You can use the express, standard or enterprise version. The full support matrix is downloadable here.
- The virtual identy appliance (VIA) is vCAC’s own SSO server, connecting vCAC to an existing (vSphere) SSO server is not supported.
- Follow the installation procedure as outlined here, including the ‘Enable time synchronization’ and ‘Configure the identity appliance’ steps. When deploying the VIA appliance use the FQDN for the VIA hostname in the deployment wizard.
- Verify time synchronization is working as expected for the VIA appliance. Also set your timezone.
- When setting a password for the firstname.lastname@example.org account, it might be a good idea to set a complex password right away. Changing this password afterwards resulted in some challenges in my case.
- Tip from the VMware installation guide: “If the Identity Appliance does not function correctly after configuration, redeploy and reconfigure the appliance. Do not make changes to the existing appliance. “
- Deploy the vCAC appliance following the procedure outlined here, pay attention to the ‘Enable time synchronization’ and ‘Configure the vCloud Automation Center Appliance” part. When deploying the vCAC appliance use the FQDN for the vCAC hostname in the deployment wizard.
- Verify time synchronization is working as expected for the vCAC appliance. Also set your timezone.
- Read this VMware communities topic about possible SSO connecting errors.
- After you’ve configured the connection to the vCAC SSO server, the vCAC services will start. This can take a long time (>10 minutes), this is normal behavior so be patient. After a while all the services expect one will start:
Registered means the service is started. The sts-service is not registered, this seems to be normal behavior although there’s nothing about this in the manual. Adding a license is the last step for the vCAC appliance installation process.
After you’ve completed the VIA and vCAC appliance installation, you can continue with the installation of the vCAC IAAS components. If you have any vCAC 5.2 experience, you will recognize the installation of what used to be vCAC on its own.
Some tips for the vCAC IAAS components installation:
- The installation files of the IAAS components are available on the vCAC appliance. Open the webinterface http://vcacappliance.domain.local and choose vCloud Automation Center IaaS installation page.
- The different installation steps are packed in a wrapper that should ease the installation process.
- I think you will get some usefull tips from this article by Jad El-Zein of virtualjad.com. Download the slides at the bottom of the article in powerpoint format for your own reference. Although this articles focuses on vCAC 5.2, the .NET, IIS, Distribution Transaction Coordinator etc. prerequisites are still valid for the vCAC 6.0 IAAS components. Follow the steps in the presentation exactly.
- Important: when running Windows Update you will probably automatically install Microsoft .NET 4.5.1 on the Windows server. I faced some problems, that were not directly traceable: after removing .NET 4.5.1 and installing .NET 4.5 the problems disappeared. Note that prerequisite checker that is included in the installation process will not report any messages on this, although the installation will fail. .NET 4.5 is available here. This problem was also reported by Magnus Anderson at vcdx56.com.
- For the vCAC IAAS components installation a EXE is downloaded which includes the hostname of the vCAC appliance. Do not rename this file, and executed this file “as an administrator” when installing the IAAS components.
- The vCAC IAAS installation consists of several components which are all wrapped in the main installer (the download from the portal). I noticed that when installation fails not all error messages from the individual components are displayed in the main installer. So if you have an installation failure, it might be a good idea to start the installation for a separate component. You can download the individual components from the vCAC appliance, they’re located in /opt/vmware/share/htdocs/service/iaas/download/.
- Verify that the vCAC user used for the database connection only has access to the vCAC database and no other user created databases. This may result in unexpected behavior. Note that the vCAC user will need sysadmin privileges on the SQL Server during installation.
I hope these tips will help you completing the vCAC 6.0 installation. If you’ve got any questions leave a reply at the bottom of this article!
Also read this article by businessman.dk.