Today VMware announced vRealize Automation 7, part of VMware Cloud Management Platform (CMP). VMware’s CMP consists of vRealize Operations, vRealize Business and vRealize Automation.
I’ve been working with vRealize Automation, formerly known as vCloud Automation Center, since version 5.2 and I am really looking forward to this new version. With vRA 7 the installation becomes a lot easier, and there’s a better integration with application services. On top of this there’s the new VMware Identity Management solution and we can now use Converged Blueprints. Let’s have a closer look at this new version in this article.
Let’s be honest, the installation procedure for vRA 6 can be quite challenging; especially when you want to deploy a high available version of the solution. In version 7 all different services are converged into a single appliance, the vRA appliance, which holds all functionality. Unfortunately you will still need a Windows server for the IaaS component and associated SQL Server database…but the dependency of these Windows virtual machines is further reduced.
On top of this vRA now features a wizard driven installation, which will deploy all required components for you…this includes the necessary Windows components.
VMware Identity Management
VMware Identity Management (vIDM) is the replacement for the vRA SSO service. vIDM promises improved identity management with support for Active Directories containing 10.000+ items. Improvements are:
- Full OTB branding capabilities
- OTB 3rd party SAML Token Support
- OTB Smart Card Support
- Multiple domains to single tenant
- Single domain to multiple tenants
- Multi-factor authentication (nice!)
- Login Auditing (also cool)
- Major Scalability Improvements
- HA support (configured by wizard)
The converged blueprints feature is one the most interesting enhancements in vRealize Automation 7. Converged blueprints brings together all different types of blueprints in vRA: virtual machines, application deployments and the advanced service designer items.
vRA now includes a unified graphical canvas for designing virtual machines, software components and application stacks. You don’t have to log on to the separate Application Services interface, because now vRA includes one unified GUI for designing all parts of your applications!
With the integration of VMware NSX for Networking & Security you can also design connectivity, micro segmentation and automated security policy enforcement through NSX security policies, groups and tags. Deploying an NSX load balancer as part of an application design is also possible.
LifeCycle Extensibility is the umbrella term for what we used to call “workflow stubs”. With workflow stubs it’s possible to extend a standard deployment workflow and add fully customizable integrations with external solutions like puppet, SCCM, backup, active directory, etc.
Although vRA 6.x already includes options to extend deployment workflows, you still needed the CDK and/or vRA Designer for full customizable options. With the new LifeCycle Extensibility (LCE) options of vRA 7, extensive extensibility options come available without the need of additional development tools.
Based on a very scalable model, without the need of deep knowledge of how the core functionality works, extensibility options now come available through the Event Broker. Different events will trigger the Event Broker Service to automatically start specific workflows in the orchestration engine.
Updates to vRealize Orchestrator
vRealize Automation 7 includes vRealize Orchestrator (vRO) 7 which comes with the new Control Center interface (a preview of this interface was already available in the latest vRO 6.x interface). Control center presents a new modern user interface for setup, configuration, workflow monitoring and troubleshooting. Control center collects metrics for workflow execution which will (for example) give you insight information on how many workflows are currently running. The plugin management UI has also been improved and there are some new options for troubleshooting.
As you can see vRA and vRO 7 are the next step in VMware’s Cloud Management Platform!
I hope this was useful, stay tuned for more news on vRealize Automation.