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Project Cava, Dogfooding the vRealize Suite

Caution Dogfooding in Progress!

For the past eternity it seems, what would become the vRealize Automation team has been dogfooding their own product.  This allows them to deploy Virtual Machines for a variety of purposes.  Until vRealize Automation 7 brought the Converged Blueprint and Software Provisioning, we didn’t have a good way to model an application and deploy a fully configured dev/test workload into vCenter.

Today, the vRealize Automation team is excited to share an achievement that has been a long time in the making. For the past year, a very small group of engineers in the vRealize Automation team have been quietly working on a not-so-secret project first with vRealize Automation 6.2 with Application Director and now vRealize Automation 7.0. Code named Project Cava, the goal was to develop a developer-centric way to not only to eat our own dog food, but to drink our own champagne – by providing a way for the vRealize Automation engineers to deploy complete and functional Development and Test environments to test code changes, UI refinements, bug fixes – you name it.

 Over the past month, we’ve rolled out Project Cava running vRealize Automation 7 as the central catalog for all 400 of the vRealize Automation Development and Engineering Services teams.  Every engineer in the team can now use Project Cava to deploy their required instances of vRealize Automation – and we’re not stopping there!

vRealize Orchestrator vs Blueprint Sprawl 

Thanks to our ability to create flexible request forms, engineers are now able to request any build that they need – without having a separate catalog item. This is accomplished using vRealize Orchestrator workflows, which enables us to deploy any build directly from an OVF in our build farm.  This gives us a very clean catalog without the effects of “Blueprint Sprawl”.  

Project Cava Catalog
One catalog item to provision any build

These on-demand instances of vRealize Automation come fully configured, by using vRealize Automation’s robust guest customization capabilities to perform the initial configuration of the appliances, as well as the IaaS installation.  The last step is to provision test data into the system, so that the instance comes pre-populated and ready to use. Thanks to this end to end process, our engineers are able to reduce several hours of setup and configuration to just a couple of clicks – freeing them up to find other things to do during the time that the environment takes to provision. Whether they’re tackling new challenges, getting a cup of coffee or just visiting the VMware turtles, Project Cava has reduced 4 hours of busy work to just 5 minutes of active work. That time savings makes our developers 25-35% more effective and encourages them to deploy the most recent build resulting in faster test cycles and reduced time to detection for new bugs.

Think about it, using vRA we provisioned 100 Virtual Engineers to augment the team by shifting the repetitive work to the automation.  This enables the  400 Physical Engineers in the team to do 25% more value adding work.

The Converged Blueprint Pulls it Together

Making all of this come together involves making use of most of the vRealize Automation’s capabilities, integrating with vRealize Orchestrator and tying it all up in a deceptively simple package.  The blueprint for vRealize Automation 7.0 fits in just 8 boxes:

Project Cava Converged Blueprint
Converged Blueprint of a vRealize Automation 7.x Deployment

We Can Do It, You Can Do It, We’ll Show You How

Beyond immediately servicing the needs of the engineering team, Project Cava exists to demonstrate and validate true customer use cases for features that we’re delivering. To put that another way – we want to make sure that we’ve used, abused, stressed and strengthened vRealize Automation before it ever reaches you – our customers.

Our Developers are saying great things too:

“My vRA environment was automatically setup with a tenant and Active Directory users which is great. So all i had to do was setup endpoints etc”

“It went very smoothly, much more reliable than competitive solutions.”

“Saved a lot of time on building the infra and environment so love that.”

Watch this space as we post follow up articles on how we are leveraging vRealize Automation 7 features like the Event Broker service, Software Agents, Property binding, vRealize Orchestrator extensibility to deploy from OVF, integration with vRealize Operations and vRealize Business, along with many many others.


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