UPDATED (10/21/2020): Added the new Inputs UI capability to the end of this blog.
With the latest release of features in vRealize Automation Cloud, one stands out that is of importance to those cloud administrators and architects that may not be as comfortable writing blueprint topologies in a code. The feature is called the Object Properties Editor. Cloud Assembly uses YAML formatting for its language interpretation of blueprints. Not everyone likes going 100 percent code, especially those of you who have been using vRealize Automation on premise. The new properties editor allows you to populate values for the properties associate to an object on the blueprint design canvas and the infrastructure as code is written for you.
Let’s see an example of using the Objects Properties Editor:
In the above image you can see that we are pulling over some cloud agnostic objects on to the canvas and Cloud Assembly will create the YAML formatted code on the right hand code pane. This is nothing new and it is a great way to visually build out a blueprint without having to write any code yourself. But just dragging the an object on the canvas isn’t completely configuring it. For example, in this case, the agnostic load balancer needs to be configured for ports an other specific configurations. Before the Object Properties Editor you would have needed to write this code yourself in the code pane. Now you simply need to select on the object (in this example the load balancer) on the canvas and select the properties tab at the top of the code pane.
Once selected, you will be presented with all the required properties that need to be populated to make the object deploy correctly. You can also toggle the All Properties switch and all properties associated to the object will be displayed and available for configuration.
Now you can configure all the properties via the UI without writing any code and Cloud Assembly will write the YAML formatted code for you on the backend.
This code can then be seen by clicking back on the Code tab in the code pane.
Input UI Editor:
A new feature was released to vRealize Automation Cloud that will help those of us that aren’t as comfortable managing YAML code. Is the Inputs UI Editor. Much like the above Properties UI Editor then Input UI Editor makes it very easy to create, edit, and delete inputs for a blueprint.
Using the Inputs UI Editor:
Using the blueprint from above we now want to add inputs so a use can select the size of the VM using one of the flavor mappings, plus you want to allow them to select the image to deploy using an image mapping. Before now you would have needed to create the inputs directly via the YAML in the code pane of the blueprint editor. You can absolutely still edit the YAML directly, but you can also use the Input UI Editor. Clicking on the “Inputs” tab in the right pane of the blueprint editor will bring up the Input UI Editor.
Select New to create a new input for the blueprint:
When the new input configuration screen appears you can fill out the necessary information for the input. In this example we are creating a drop down menu to select which image you would like to deploy.
If you now switch over to the Code view you will see that the necessary YAML code has been added for the input.
Repeat this process for a second input to create a drop down to select the flavor mapping. (In this example small, medium, and large)
Again, you can switch over to the code tab and see that the YAML code has been inserted and correctly formatted.
Now you can use the inputs for the image and flavor settings of the compute resource in the blueprint.
Deploying the blueprint will show the inputs you have created using the Inputs UI Editor.
In summary Cloud Assembly provides many ways to create blueprints for all types of consumers. If you are a developer that just wants to write code, you can easy use your favorite editor and write the YAML files directly but if you are someone who prefers creating blueprints through the UI we have you covered as well with the new Object Properties Editor and Inputs UI Editor!
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