With the release of vRealize Automation 7.1 still fresh in memory, it’s already time for vRealize Automation 7.2! The observant visitor of VMworld 2016 US already noticed some improvements that were presented in Las Vegas, but weren’t present (or only as tech preview) in vRA 7.1. Things to mention here are Azure support for vRealize Automation and the support for container environments.
What vRealize products are available?
We have the vRealize Suite that includes vRealize Automation, Orchestrator, Operations and Business. A new vRealize product is Network Insight (f.k.a. Arkin), which is currently not part of the vRealize Suite, but this might change in the future. On top of this there’s vRealize Codestream for integration with different kinds of developer tooling to deliver continuous integration/continuous development (CI/CD). Of course we also have extensibility management packs to add extra functionality to vRA/vRO.
VIO, or VMware Integrated OpenStack is VMware’s version of OpenStack, currently based on the Mitaka release.
For Q4 the following versions of these products will be released: vRA 7.2, vRealize Log Insight 4.0, vRealize Operations 6.4, vRealize Network Insight 3.1, vRealize Orchestrator 7.2 and vRealize Business for Cloud 7.2.
For the rest of the article, I will focus on what’s new in vRealize Automation 7.2.
What’s new in vRealize Automation 7.2
With vRealize Automation 7.2 VMware is even more focussed to make vRA the Cloud Management Platform for Any Cloud, Any App, Any Device. Currently a lot of vRA deployments are focussed on automating vSphere, but this is changing. vRA is the platform to automate every virtualization, cloud and container environment (including solutions from Amazon, Docker, Microsoft and RedHat). With vRA you can speed up application roll outs, improve IT staff productivity, provide a uniform self-service experience and improve quality of delivered IT services which will lead for faster innovations in your organization and make your organization more agile (want to know more about this, contact me or PQR for a interactive workshop on IT automation).
Okay, let’s see what’s new in vRA 7.2.
The first thing to start with is LDAP support. LDAP support is now available back again in vRA. With the move from the SSO appliance in 6.x to vIDM in 7.x for identity management, the LDAP option was removed from vRA because vIDM didn’t natively supported this option. Witn vRA 7.2, LDAP is supported once again. So that’s great news for organizations that have another directory services solution instead of Microsoft AD.
Event broker subscription based on XaaS services
Also new is the option to create event broker subscription based on XaaS services. This means you can now link an XaaS (anything-as-a-service) blueprint to an event in the event broker.
On going focus on public cloud: Azure supported
Because many companies are starting to use public cloud services next to their private cloud, the focus of vRealize Automation is also changing. Despite vRA already supported AWS and vCloud Air as public clouds solutions, one public cloud that was not yet supported was Microsoft Azure.
With vRealize Automation 7.2, Azure will be supported out-of-the-box. With this, Azure VM’s can now be part of the converged blueprint designer: this means you can just drag ‘n’ drop Azure VMs onto the canvas. For now the integration is focussed on Azure VMs/infrastructure components, but this might change in the future.
For this new endpoint VMware used a new approach to implement the solution into the vRealize platform. As you probably now, vRA is partially build on a .NET framework. However, for this new endpoint the developers at VMware didn’t use the .NET framework but plugged into the native codebase. Of course the new endpoint will support standard vRealize Automation constructs such as compute resources, reservations, approval, etc. The new Azure endpoint will just act and react as any other endpoint that’s currently available.
To get an idea how things will look like, I have two screendumps for you:
We will also see the Azure integration back in a vRO plugin. This means you will get a standard set of workflows and actions, on top of a complete object model when you connect to your Azure subscription. The picture at the right illustrates the different objects such as virtual machines, load balancers and dns zones that are provided to vRO using the plugin.
Container Management with vRA/Admiral
Admiral is VMware’s lightweight container management platform. With vRealize Automation 7.2, Admiral is seamlessly integrated in the vRealize Automation platform. With this addition is possible to automatically deploy container applications as well as container hosts directly from vRA. The converged blueprint designer can now be used to design traditional, container or hybrid (VM + containers) applications.
Some of the capabilities of this addition are:
- Provision and manage Docker hosts;
- Manage VIC hosts;
- Provision and manage containers via Docker API;
- Image registry mangement and more.
To get an idea how things will look like, I have included a screendump:
And one extra screendump, showing a design for a containerized application:
That’s it for now, I hope this was helpful.