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By: George Kobar and Neal Elinski

Automation empowers you and your team to not only accelerate the delivery of infrastructure to the business but frees up precious IT time and resources. Using VMware vRealize Automation you can create self-service portals with catalogs of corporate-approved images. Your users can access these catalogs to choose what infrastructure they need, and vRealize Automation will automate the deployment of the requested resources. Additionally vRealize Automation has introduced flexible licensing options that can be used either on premises or in vCloud Air. As part of this offering, VMware is pleased to announce that you can select VMware vCloud® Air™ as the destination for these image deployments, including our newest service, VMware vCloud® Air™ Virtual Private Cloud OnDemand.

vCloud Air is available as a subscription service and OnDemand, providing more purchasing options. With vCloud Air OnDemand, you have instant access to infrastructure that can be managed by the same group that administers your on-premises vSphere environment. With this service, you are only billed for the resources you use on a per-minute basis, and pay only for the resources you consume. With vCloud Air subscription offering, you get a predictable monthly bill and ability to purchase cloud with a purchase order.

The combination of both vRealize Automation and vCloud Air lends you tools to become more agile and enable various use cases that are not found in the traditional data center. This article will guide you through connecting vRealize Automation to both vCloud Air OnDemand and subscription services.

Prerequisites
1. A standard installation of vRealize Automation (vRA) version 6.2
2. Access to vCloud Air OnDemand or subscription services
3. A minimum role of Account Administrator

vRealize Automation Endpoints
To utilize resources in vRealize Automation like vSphere, or in our case vCloud Air, you will need to configure an endpoint in vRealize Automation. An endpoint is a connection for the management of that particular resource. It defines; What type of service the resource is (Cloud, Physical, Storage, Virtual), where it is located (by URL, IP), and the credentials for accessing that resource.

To configure a vCloud Air endpoint, login to the vRealize Automation Console and navigate to the Infrastructure Tab. From there, you will want to select the Endpoints tab from the left-hand menu.

Endpoints

If this is a new vRealize Automation instance, then your endpoints list will be empty. Otherwise, you can expect to see any existing connections. If you do have other endpoints, vCloud Air will be added as a new connection.

CreateEndpoints

On the endpoint action bar, select New Endpoint > Cloud > vApp (vCloud). This is the vApp type, used for both vCloud Director and vCloud Air connections. For our purposes, we will be adding two  connections – one for the OnDemand offering and another separate endpoint for the subscription offering.

EndpointType

vCloud Air OnDemand Endpoint:

We will start with the OnDemand endpoint configuration. For this, we will need to fill in four fields: Name, Address, Credentials, and Organization. I will walk you through the configuration but I would also recommend using the following VMware Knowledge Base article as reference: http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2097677.

  • Name –  This is a tag, used for you to identify the connection. This is arbitrary.
  • Address –  This is the actual OnDemand API URL for your environment. The format will be ‘https://region-name.vchs.vmware.com/api/compute’. For my environment, the URL was https://us-california-1-3.vchs.vmware.com/api/compute. Your address may vary, but it should be similar. You can get your Region name from the URL when you log in to vCloud Air OnDemand: https:// region-name.vchs.vmware.com…
  • Credentials – The Credential entry must be an Account Administrator. This is the top level role and is needed for two reasons:
    1. It has access to create and manage VMs,
    2. It has the ability to create small console-only accounts on behalf of your users, so they can access a console of their provisioned machines.
  • Organization – The Organization will be a unique ID, used to identify your specific environment in your OnDemand region. It will be a randomly generated key – similar to a CD or license key format. You can get the Organization from the URL when you log in to vCloud Air OnDemand: https:// region-name.vchs.vmware.com/compute/ui?orgname= organization-name&serviceInstanceId=instance-id…..
Endpointfield1

vCloud Air Subscription Endpoint:

A subscription endpoint will be configured in a very similar way to the OnDemand endpoint. We will need to fill in four fields: Name, Address, Credentials, and Organization. However, in a subscription vCloud Air environment the format of a few items will change.

The Address field will be the vCloud Director API URL. In this case, the format will be ‘https://p#v#-vcd.vchs.vmware.com. For my environment, the URL was https://p2v5-vcd.vchs.vmware.com. As before, your address may vary, but it should follow a similar syntax.

The Organization here will match your vCloud Director Organization, which may also be displayed as your Virtual Data Center (vDC) name. If you are using a Virtual Private Cloud, then this will be a unique identifier in the M123456789-12345 format. In a Dedicated Cloud, this will be the given name of the target Virtual Data Center.

To definitively find your Address and Organization, log into vCloud Air, open your Virtual Data Center details, and click the ‘vCloud Director API URL’ link on the right-hand side. This link will display the needed information. Do not copy this whole URL, as it is formatted for manual API calls. However, you can pull your needed information, as the link will be shown as: https://p#v#-vcd.vchs.vmware.com:443/cloud/org/OrganizationName.

vCloudAPI_RUL

Fill in the fields with your environment information, then click OK.

SubEndpoint

Once you save your configuration, you should see your endpoints listed in alphabetical order.

Endpointsfinal

Data Collection

Once the endpoints have been created, you will to complete a Data Collection. This is a special synchronization operation that pulls down environment data from your vCloud Air instance. You will not see this option on other non-vApp vRealize Automation endpoints. Since Data Collection requires a good cloud connection with valid credentials, it is a great way to check the health of your new endpoints.

To view the data collection status, hover over one of your endpoints and choose the data collection option.

DataCollection

The data collection should display three states: requested, started, and succeeded. Once you see the success message, you are fully connected. Congratulations!

DataCollect1 DataCollect2 datacollect3

Deployment Example

Now that the endpoints are configured and you have validated data collection, let us look at a deployment. A developer requires a Linux server to start a short-term project. To procure the machine, they accessed your vRealize Automation self-service portal to request a single CentOS 6.3 64bit image from an OnDemand blueprint. In less than ten minutes,  the server is deployed in vCloud Air with a corporate approved image, ready for our developer to use. When finished with the image, or at the end of the configured lifecycle, the deployed machine will be destroyed, freeing up resources and saving the company from unnecessary infrastructure costs.

Deployment

With both endpoints completed, you can now configure your reservations, blueprints, and catalogs to utilize the different vCloud Air environments, subscription or OnDemand, for a particular project. For example, short-term and test/dev projects may be deployed to OnDemand to take advantage of pay-as-you-go pricing, while long-term and production projects may be deployed to a subscription cloud. By combining vCloud Air with vRealize Automation, IT can define the policies to meet the user’s needs while simultaneously supporting management and financial oversight over cloud-based workloads. I encourage you to read more about the additional new enhancements in vRealize Automation 6.2. You can find the release notes here: https://www.vmware.com/support/vcac/doc/vrealize-automation-62-release-notes.html#whatsnew

Thank you, I hope you found this blog informative. For future content like this, you can follow George on Twitter @GeorgeKobar and Neal Elinski @VirtualNeal

For more information, please visit the vRealize Automation Documentation Center, the vCloud Air Documentation Center, and the VMware Knowledge Base Article, VMware vRealize Automation 6.2 connections to vCloud Air OnDemand fail with HTTP 404 messages.”

For more information on vCloud Air, check out our website at vcloud.vmware.com.

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