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vRealize Automation 8 – What’s New Overview

vRealize Automation 8 is upon us with a completely new codebase, new integrations, and many new capabilities.  If you have spent any time with VMware vRealize Automation Cloud (formerly Cloud Automation Services) software as a service offering, comprised of Cloud Assembly, Service Broker, and Code Stream, you have experienced vRealize Automation 8.  For further information check out this blog:  Getting Started with vRealize Automation Cloud. VMware vRealize Automation 8 and vRealize Automation Cloud use the same codebase and offer the same user experience, the main difference involves how they are delivered to you.  With the upcoming release of vRealize Automation 8, you will now have the option to choose between running a VMware supported cloud service or an on premises installation in your datacenter.  Although the codebase will be newly available for on premises use, we have already been offering the same codebase via software as a service delivery since January 2019.  For the rest of the blog post, I will highlight what’s new for vRealize Automation in comparison to previous releases of vRealize Automation.


Modern Platform


vRealize Automation 8 is built on a modern container-based microservices architecture.  The shift to containers means management, configuration, and future upgrades have been dramatically simplified.  Also the new architecture offers significantly improved scalability and performance, with flexible deployment options.  Previous versions of vRealize Automation required at least two virtual machines (VMs), including the need to run portions of the architecture on a Windows server.  vRealize Automation 8 removes the need to run Windows.  Additionally all vRealize Automation services now run within a single VM with sufficient scale and performance for many customer.  If additional horsepower is needed and high availability is a requirement, vRealize Automation 8 supports a three node cluster configuration which adds scale and high availability.  Scale can also be improved through increasing VM compute resources.

The install and initial configuration process has never been easier.  Installation and configuration wizards provide the ability to start deploying compute and networking in under an hour.  The easy installer is delivered as an ISO file with support for installation from Windows, Linux, or MacOS.  The built-in Marketplace includes numerous operating system, application, blueprint and image samples to kickstart the delivery of infrastructure and application resources in your environment.  For new deployments, you can install vRealize Lifecycle Manager, vRealize Automation, and Workspace ONE Access (formerly VMware Identity Manager) directly from the easy installer.  Additionally you can choose to leverage existing vRealize Lifecycle Manager and Workspace ONE Access installations in your environment to install and manage vRealize Automation 8 plus provide authentication.



vRealize Automation 8 VM Architecture



Enhanced Usability


vRealize Automation 8 delivers an entirely new HTML 5 user interface.  A powerful configuration and deployment API provides the ability to automate interactions with vRealize Automation.  Additionally, the new API expands integrations, workflow, actions and art of the possible scenarios to an unprecedented level.  Governance has always been a core part of vRealize Automation, with the 8.0 release, Projects and Cloud Zones enhance and simplify governance by reducing the number of interfaces and actions required for configuration, unifies governance across clouds, and provides more control over where deployments happen.  Blueprints are another core feature of vRealize Automation offering extensive flexibility when designing and deploying OS, application, and infrastructure resources.  With vRealize Automation 8 blueprints provide a declarative Infrastructure as Code experience using YAML with an improved easy to use drag and drop design canvas.  New blueprints options provide extensive granularity, including the ability to add cloud agnostic objects, which deploy across compute and storage, as well as support for cloud-init or cloudbase-init during deployment.  Blueprints also present an in depth set of blueprint expressions plus out of the box versioning and Git support.  More information on blueprints can be found via the following links: VMware Multi-cloud Management with vRealize Automation Cloud and  Introducing Blueprint Expressions in Cloud Assembly



vRealize Automation 8 – Cloud Assembly blueprint



Enhanced Integrations and Extensibility


vRealize 8 improves support for VMware Cloud on AWS, native Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.  Direct or improved integrations are provided for each of the aforementioned cloud services.  Cloud agnostic and native objects are included for use within Projects, Cloud Zones, Profiles, and blueprints, making it very simple to deploy to any of the supported cloud services from a single or small number of blueprints.  Deployment and management of application and infrastructure resources across a VMware Software Defined Datacenter and public cloud services has never been this comprehensive or straightforward.  More information and examples of some of the supported native objects is provided in the linked blog article:  Native Objects from Azure and AWS in Cloud Assembly.  vRealize Orchestrator, long a core part of vRealize Automation, now runs as a service within the vRealize Automation VM, with end-to-end Git integration, and a new HTML 5 user interface.  Action Based Extensibility (ABX) is a new option for vRealize Automation, which is an alternative to vRealize Orchestrator.  ABX provides serverless automated extensibility actions using Node.js or Python scripts that initiate via specific triggers.  Further details on ABX are presented in the blog article:  ABX: Serverless extensibility of vRealize Automation Cloud


New vRealize Orchestrator HTML 5 Interface



This blog post barely scratches the surface on the many new features and enhancements available in vRealize Automation 8.  We will be covering these enhancements in detail with future blog posts.  You will be able to download and install vRealize Automation 8 in your environment soon.  If you can’t wait to take advantage of the new features and experience in vRealize Automation, you don’t have to.  vRealize Automation Cloud, the software as a service option, is already available and offers the same user experience.  You can get started today or wait a bit, the choice is up to you!




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