August, 2021 Update
Since my last update, the vRA team has shifted to monthly releases for both our SaaS and on premises versions of vRA. This blog post is a roll-up of the 8.4.1, 8.4.2, and 8.5 releases. Click the link for each version to take a look at the release notes. vRA 8.5 released today and includes many great new features, including extensive updates for Microsoft Azure, support for NSX-T Federation, updates to the vRA plugin for vRO, improvements to our SaltStack and vRA integration, and quite a bit more. I will walk you through a high level technical overview of the new features. Many of the updates include companion blogs with further details.
vRA aligns to customer practices and provide more efficient operations by introducing Azure Provisioning enhancements such as optimal usage of availability sets, reusing an Azure resource group for storage day 2, support for custom images in image gallery, Azure Disk encryption set, enable/disable boot diagnostics and log analytics plus much more.
Support for New VMware Cloud Environments
vRA is now tested and certified to work with VMware’s hosted cloud solutions on Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Oracle Cloud and Dell EMC. The support is called Azure VMware Solution (AVS), Google Cloud VMware Engine (GCVE), Oracle Cloud VMware Solution (OCVS) and VMware Cloud on Dell EMC, respectively. Also don’t forget, VMware Cloud on AWS (VMC on AWS) has been supported since the initial releases of vRA Cloud and vRA 8.0.
Network Automation Enhancements
Support for NSX-T Federation
NSX-T Federation was initially supported with vRA 8.4.1. With 8.4.1 you had the option to choose a Local or Global NSX Manager within the NSX-T Cloud Account and add Existing Global Segments to your deployments. vRA 8.5 introduces support for Existing Global Security Groups within a Network Profile or on the Cloud Template canvas.
vRA 8.5 now offers the ability to assign the same IP range to vSphere or NSX networks. For example, you may have separate vCenters and want to use the same IP range for multiple networks across your vCenters. vRA will manage IP assignment across those networks for each deployment. Alternatively, you can assign an IP range from an external IPAM solution in the same manner. Both IPv4 and IPv6 ranges are supported.
vRO and Custom Resources Improvements
Custom Resource Action Troubleshooting
Enable custom day-2 troubleshooting from vRA, link it to event ID troubleshooting, and show user input from a workflow execution.
The “Request details” tab includes workflow inputs & outputs. This new ability allows the creation of subscriptions based on a custom resource pre-and-post-event.
With the latest release of vRA Cloud, VMware is introducing a new type of policy called “Resource Quota Policy.” The new policy provides cloud administrators the option to limit consumption of cloud resources VM, CPU, memory, and storage. Limits are configured on resource usage across an Organization, one or more Projects and/or on a per user basis. When a user requests a new deployment, the resource quota policy applies and will not allow a deployment proceed once the policy limits are reached.
SaltStack Config Integrations
Users can now leverage the vRA Cloud Template saltConfiguration property to install minions and state files onto the minion at deployment time.
Property Group Enhancements
New Property Groups features include vRO Actions for dynamic external values to define a Property Group’s input values. You now can bind Secrets to a Property Group’s constant values and re-use multiple secrets. Additionally, RBAC permissions are available to create custom roles as well as the ability to control Project Scope.
vRA Plugin for vRO Updates
The latest vRO plugin for vRA 8.5 exposes vRA IaaS scripting objects, such as Cloud Zones, Cloud Accounts and Properties that can be consumed on demand.
Resource views are a new way to monitor and manage your resources in vRA. The new UI capability is offered in addition to the existing deployment view. Included in the new views are the ability to:
- Choose to manage by all resources, or by machine/storage/network resource types
- Search by resource name among all resources without the deployment layer
- Easy access to relevant day-2 actions directly from each resource
- View whether a deployment is currently undergoing a day 2 action
Skyline Support for vRA
Skyline customers have the following key capabilities with the July release. Support for vRA 8.1 and above. This support includes proactive findings for vRA instances, log assist for log bundle management, and should the need arise, SR details for your vRA environment. Additionally, support is provided for vRA 7.x customers running the vRA 8.x migration assessment and for vRA Cloud Trial onboarding.
vRA 8.5 offers the ability to enable and disable email notifications for policy events, including lease events, approval events, and onboarding relocations. Notification scenarios are controlled within the Service Broker service in vRA.
Shifting to a monthly release cadence for vRealize Automation has allowed the team to focus on releasing our most requested features on much more frequent basis. Stay tuned for new features in vRA Cloud and vRA on prem, on a monthly basis!