VMware vRealize Automation is VMware’s Cloud Management Platform for automating the delivery of infrastructure, applications and custom IT services. In this blog, I will talk about why the latest edition – vRealize Automation 7.0 – is a game changer. I cover some of the exciting new features that make the product easier to adopt and allow customers to deliver services through vRealize Automation faster.
Over the last few years, in my role as a Technical Account Manager, I have worked with a number of customers, helping them adopt and deploy vRealize Automation throughout their organizations, and although my customers are seeing some great results, the road to success at times has been challenging.
Broadly speaking the challenges occur in two key areas:
- Automation and Orchestration – This can be a daunting and complex process as it often involves many moving parts to provide something that is truly automated and genuinely useful.
- People and Process – Put simply, there is often a need for an organization to adapt and rethink the way it interacts with the business to understand what services are required in order to return real business value.
I’m going to focus on the first key area – Automation and Orchestration. VMware utilizes Operational Transformation Services to deal with the second item, and that deserves its own dedicated blog post.
So why is this next incarnation of vRealize Automation such a game changer? Put simply, VMware has taken that first key area, listened to customers, and removed many of the complexities by making the following changes:
- Simplified Architecture – The 6.x architecture consisted of at least eight virtual machines when installed in high availability (HA) mode, and this doesn’t include the additional Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) components. vRealize Automation 7.0 has reduced the number of services, appliances and external dependencies by taking the vRealize Automation Core Services – Orchestrator, vIDM (SSO services), and vPostgress database – and placed them into a single vRealize appliance. When deployed in an HA configuration, all components are automatically clustered. This means that a single VIP is needed for all of these services to provide full HA with two vRealize appliances.
All that remains is the installation of the IaaS components, which again, VMware has simplified through the use of a guided installation wizard to deploy the components. This results in a simpler architecture, with full HA deployment; see the diagram below:
Simplified Installation – Not just for a small proof-of-concept (POC) environment, but also for full-blown, highly available, production-ready, distributed deployments. Everything begins with a single download of the vRealize Automation virtual appliance. Upon connection to the appliance you are greeted by a wizard-driven widget offering two installation options – Simple Install or Enterprise Install as seen below.
The wizard provides a guided installation of all components, including the IaaS components through the use of a new management agent, be it a single monolithic instance of vRealize Automation or a distributed, highly available vRealize Automation instance.
Converged Blueprint Designer – vRealize Automation 7.0 introduces a much-improved blueprint-authoring experience for both IaaS and applications by providing a canvas for designing machines, software components and application stacks. No more advanced service designer, multi-machine blueprints and application services; it all now lives in one place and is much easier to use.
The beauty of the Converged Blueprint Designer is you now have a visual representation of what you are trying to build, and are able to drag-and-drop existing components and blueprints onto the canvas for reuse. Even better news – for all you NSX users out there – you can even add NSX components for connectivity to existing or on-demand NSX networks and load balancers.
vRealize Automation 7.0 is a game changer because it is more accessible than ever due to reduced complexity, time-to-deployment and time-to-value.
Ensuring that vRealize Automation 7.0 is easier to use has been a key focus for VMware, without impacting or limiting an organization’s ability to automate but rather empower it.
Through the use of converged blueprints, it is now easier to create complex blueprints containing machine and software components, and application stacks in one place. The blueprint-authoring canvas helps to ensure that fewer mistakes are made by providing a visual representation of the blueprint. The ability to use previous blueprints as building blocks enables the reuse of components and reduces the time required to deploy new blueprints.
If you haven’t tried vRealize Automation yet, now is the time to download an evaluation copy and begin to discover the power that automation can bring to your organization.
Gavin is a Technical Account Manager for VMware based in the UK. He works with a small number of large Enterprise Accounts, using his experience to provide technical guidance, roadmap content and being the single point of contact for everything VMware related.
In previous roles as a Solution Architect Gavin worked on one of the largest implementations of software distribution, automation and orchestration in Europe.