Author Archives: Hemant Gaidhani

vCenter Operations integration with vCenter Orchestrator in 5 minutes or less

Ever imagined if you could automatically resolve the operational issues that vCenter Operations has identified using vCenter Orchestrator workflows? That’s what the vCenter Operations remediation workflow package is about.

vCenter Operations performs constant analysis of the datacenter health, and launches alerts when certain problems or risks arise. These alerts can be sent externally via mail, or as SNMP trap messages. On the other hand, through its scripting API and its library of workflows that can be downloaded from VMware Solutions Exchange, vCenter Orchestrator is powerful enough to perform reconfiguration actions at almost any level of vCenter. And guess what? It can receive SNMP traps using its SNMP plug-in. I guess you already get the idea. And here is the picture to visualize it:

You said 5 minutes or less

Really anyone can write his/her own implementation of this scenario, using a vCenter Orchestrator appliance and the SNMP plug-in. However, it can take some time to track down what exactly happens on the SNMP level, parse all the valuable information, code the mapping between trap messages and remediation workflows in a clear and maintainable fashion. That’s why we decided to spare that effort to any user who does not necessarily feel the urge to be a code-hero. So we created a vCO .package with the following goals in mind:

  • Be easy to work with
  • Be easy to configure
  • Do the task, of course, of launching workflows on events from vCenter Operations
  • No programming required

So here we are – ready to share the vCenter Operations remediation workflow package!

Here’re all the things you need to try this out:

Installation/Prerequisites

To quickly run this solution, the following items must be installed:

Installation

Basic vCenter and vCenter Orchestrator configuration skills are required, in order to install the vCenter Orchestrator VA and the SNMP plugin.

  1. Deploy the virtual appliance ovf in your datacenter.
  2. Install the SNMP plugin from the vCenter Orchestrator Configurator interface.
  3. Install the vCenter Operations integration package in vCenter Orchestrator, using the vCenter Orchestrator client.

Setup/Post-installation configuration

(In vCenter Operations)

  • Set the vCenter Operations server to be sending SNMP traps to the vCenter Orchestrator server address.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(In vCenter Orchestrator)

  • Register vCenter Operations server. Register the vCenter Operations server (vCenter Operations Analysis VM IP address) in the SNMP inventory of vCenter Orchestrator, using the “Library/SNMP/Device Management/Register an SNMP device” workflow (only add the address and optionally a friendly name, leave defaults to the other settings).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Apply Policy. Go to the “Policy Templates” tab in the “Administer” menu, select “Library/SNMP/vCenter Operations SNMP Trap” element, and perform “Apply Policy…” operation. As SNMP device parameter, specify the vCenter Operations server that was added in the previous step.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Start the policy. Start the newly created policy. If you want this policy to start automatically with server restart, edit it and change the Startup parameter on the General tab.
  • Attach remediation workflows. Go to the “Configuration elements” tab in “Design” menu, and locate the “SNMP/vCOps Configuration” element. In the attributes tab, you can find the mapping between vCenter Operations alerts (in the Name column) and workflows in the “Value” column.

There are two sample remediation workflows included in the package:

  • Default Action – it only prints the trap parameters in the log.
  • Capacity Remediation Action – It is a real remediation action, that takes the trap-specific inputs (like EntityName, EntityType, Criticality, etc.), takes only the ones needed, and forwards them to the real remediation workflow – “Library/vCOps Remediation/Capacity Remediation Action/vCOps Remediation Datastore Capacity”. This is a non-intrusive workflow, that finds the Datastore object, corresponding to the datastoreName parameter, checks for its powered off VMs, analyses their disk usage, and the disk usage of their snapshots, then prepares an email report and sends it to the user. For this workflow to work, you have to add your email in the “toAddress” attribute in the General tab of the workflow. You also have to setup the right smtp server in the settings of the Mail plugin in vCenter Orchestrator Configurator. This workflow has to be assigned to the “riskCapacityNew” alert, so it can be triggered correctly.
  • Filtering. As there may be a lot of Alerts coming from vCenter Operations, we provide the possibility to filter the incoming traffic, and not launch any workflows, unless the filtering criteria are met.

This can most easily be accomplished with the help of the “Library/vCOps Remediation/Configuration/Configure Filters” workflow, although it is also possible to achieve the same directly in the “SNMP/vCOps Filters” configuration element. This workflow could fail validation on prior to vCenter Orchestrator 5.1 systems, and the workaround is to manually open the “SNMP/vCOps Filters” configuration element, and set empty array for each of the five attributes (just click the “Not Set” value and immediately hit the “Accept” button after this).

The examples

Although we are only providing non-intrusive examples, any workflow can be assigned to any alert, moving or deleting VMs based on some criteria, defined by the user. In fact, vCenter Orchestrator provides a library of thousands of out-of-the-box workflows that can integrate various third party management systems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Implementation details

For the ones eager for technology detail – here is what happens under the cover:

  • A vCenter Orchestrator policy is waiting for trap messages from vCenter Operations.
  • Once a trap is received, the policy translates the trap to a javascript alert object, thus simplifying it quite a lot.
  • Then it checks in a map (associative array, actually) if there is an alert definition for the incoming SNMP OID.

For example:  “1.3.6.1.4.1.6876.0.31” -> “riskCapacityNew”

  • It checks if there are filter conditions defined, and if the trap matches them, if defined.
  • The policy finds if there is workflow assigned to this alert, in the “vCOps Configuration” configuration element.
  • Launches the workflow if such a workflow has been defined.

How are the project goals achieved

  • All the complications, technical details and scripting resides in the policy.
  • Great flexibility can be achieved by setting of correct configuration and filters.
  • All configuration is moved to configuration elements.
  • There is a workflow for even easier configuration of the filtering.

Congratulations! Your system is now installed and configured.

No programming involved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary

vCenter Operations is fully integrated with vCenter Orchestrator so you can leverage more of what you already have. Automated workflow triggers let you associate workflows created in vCenter Orchestrator with vCenter Operations alerts. For example, these workflows can be used to automatically delete old VM snapshots when available capacity falls below a critical threshold or to add resources when workload demands are rising above normal. You’re always in control and can customize workflows with simple drag and drop operations. With vCenter Operations you can finally pull the trigger on automation.

vCenter Orchestrator at VMware Partner Exchange 2012

With VMware Partner Exchange 2012 (PEX) starting today in Las Vegas, the intent of this short blog post is to highlight the presence of vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) at the event. If you are attending PEX, we welcome you to join us at the solutions exchange and several breakout sessions covering vCO.

First and foremost, stop by the VMware Booth (#1300) to check out live demos of the vCO and its plug-ins together with VMware Service Manager. You can also check out VMware Solution Exchange – the online marketplace that hosts all vCO plug-ins in a single location – including the ones developed by our partners like Infoblox, Radware, or VCE/EMC.

Next, you can also attend several breakout sessions to hear about vCO:

The vCenter Orchestrator team has been working hard on its misson to "automate the cloud". You can join us in this journey in various ways – extend your services offerings by including vCO, develop your own vCO plug-ins, evangelize vCO. Come on board!

 

VCO at VMworld 2011

VMworld 2011 is here, so here's a quick run-down on the VCO presence at VMworld:

Breakout sessions:  

Session ID:  CIM3235:

  • Title: Leveraging vCenter Orchestrator for Your Cloud Deployment and Operations  
  • Speaker:   Thomas Corfmat, Thirumalesh Reddy and Hemant Gaidhani, VMware 
  • Date & Time: Aug 31, 2011, Wed 11:00AM – 12:00PM

Session ID: TEX2923:

  • Title: VMware vCenter Orchestrator Workflow Development Best Practices
  • Speaker: Joerg Lew, vcoportal and Savina Ilieva, VMware, Inc.
  • Date & Time: Aug 30, 2011, Tue 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Session ID: TEX1442:

  • Title: Integrate with VMware vCenter Orchestrator
  •  Speaker: Aleksandar Petkov and Subramanya Kumar, VMware
  • Date & Time: Aug 31, 2011, Wed 8:00AM – 9:00AM

You can also share your own VCO experiences during the several GD16 sessions with Hemant Gaidhani.

Couple other sessions that also show VCO in action:

  • BCA3226 Virtualizing Business Critical Applications with Confidence – Overview
  • CIM1565 Integrating with vCD using vCloud API

Solutions Exchange:

You can also see VCO in action in several demo booths at the Solutions Exchange. VMware, of course, has VCO as part of its Cloud Service Management demo. Several partners are showcasing their VCO plug-ins as well – EMC, Infoblox, NetApp and Radware.

Hands-on Labs:

You can also play with vCenter Orchestrator in following hands-on labs:

  • HOL01 Building Your Hybrid Cloud
  • HOL02 Managing Your Hybrid Cloud
  • HOL03 Reporting on Your Hybrid Cloud
  • HOL18 Core Platform – Performance & Scalability: Storage Optimizations

See you at VMworld – do stop by any one of the breakout sessions to share your VCO experience.

vCenter Orchestrator AMQP Plug-in is now Generally Available

One more vCenter Orchestrator plug-in – just in time for VMworld 2011! VMware vCenter Orchestrator AMQP Plug-in is now generally available.  
 
The VMware vCenter Orchestrator AMQP plug-in allows organizations to automatically trigger workflows based on AMQP messages. AMQP (Advanced Message Queueing Protocol) is a highly-scalable publish/subscribe message protocol that is increasingly used in cloud architectures. E.g. it is the default messaging protocol for vCloud Director 1.5.

With this new plug-in, organizations will be able to define policies that automatically trigger specific workflows based on certain AMQP messages. For instance, as part of a vApp pre-provisioning activity in vCloud Director (vCD), vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) can intercept the provisioning request and automatically fetch an IP address from an external system before telling vCD to proceed with the provisioning activity. Or, upon detecting that the vApp provisioning operation is complete, vCO can update CMDBs and other management systems with information about the new vApp instance. What's more, the AMQP plug-in provides the ability to not just monitor but also publish AMQP messages and conduct administrative tasks such as configuring AMQP brokers and managing queues. Finally this plug-in supports VMware vFabric RabbitMQ as well as other implementations of AMQP.

Here's an example policy leveraging the AMQP plug-in to trigger workflows based on AMQP messages:

Amqp_policy

For more information about the vCenter Orchestrator Plug-in for vCenter Update Manager, check the following:

 So try it out and let us know your feedback.

vCenter Orchestrator plug-in for vCenter Update Manager is also GA

Here's one more vCenter Orchestrator plug-in – didn't we say we are listening.

vCenter Orchestrator plug-in for vCenter Update Manager is also GA. This plug-in integrates Orchestrator's robust workflow automation platform with patch management framework provided by vCenter Update Manager. With this new plug-in, IT administrators can automate tasks such as scanning and remediation of ESX/ESXi hosts, virtual machines and appliances against established baselines. It also allows patching and upgrading ESX/ESXi hosts, as well as installation of third-party modules in ESX, to ensure compliance against the baselines. In addition to ESX/ESXi patch management, the plug-in also supports virtual machine operations such as the upgrade of VMware Tools and virtual hardware.

Here's screenshot showing the workflows available in this new vCenter Update Manager plug-in:

Vum_worklows

For more information about the vCenter Orchestrator Plug-in for vCenter Update Manager, check the following:

You will notice that we have also added a new Plug-ins tab on vCenter Orchestrator page.

 

vCenter Orchestrator Plug-in for Microsoft Active Directory now released

We are extremely pleased to announce the General Availability of the VMware vCenter Orchestrator Plug-in for Microsoft Active Directory!  
 
The VMware vCenter Orchestrator plug-in for Microsoft Active Directory allows organizations to automate the management of directory services tasks, particularly as they pertain to cloud provisioning use cases. For instance, the plug-in enables the automatic provisioning of vCloud Director organizations based on data retrieved from Active Directory. The plug-in also includes many administrative actions around computers, organizations, user groups and users, such as resetting passwords or adding users to a user group.

What versions of Active Directory are supported?

  • 2003
  • 2008

What versions of vCenter Orchestrator are supported?

The plug-in runs on VMware vCenter Orchestrator 4.1.x.

How many workflows and actions are there?

  • Total number of Actions = 14
  • Total number of Workflows = 32

What can the users do with the Active Directory Plug-in 1.0.0?

  • Browse Users, Computers, Groups and Organizational Units in an Active Directory multi-domain forest
  • Run pre-defined workflows like creation of Users, changing user Passwords and a lot more.
  • Create new custom actions and workflows that serve better to their scenarios.

Where can I find more details about the Active Directory Plug-in 1.0.0?
 
Below are some resources to help you better understand the value and scope of the Microsoft Active Directory plug-in:

vCenter Orchestrator Plug-In for Cisco UCS Manager is GA

We are extremely pleased to announce the General Availability of the VMware vCenter Orchestrator Plug-in for Cisco UCS Manager.

The UCS Manager Plug-In plays an important role in enabling organizations to automate and simplify the management of their cloud infrastructure by extending vCO's reach to the UCS platform.  What's more, it's also a significant step in proving that vCO enables orchestration of the broader VMware cloud ecosystem, and not simply VMware applications.

With over 90 out-of-the-box actions and workflows, the plug-in adds management of compute hardware to vCO, therefore enabling the automation of the entire physical and virtual stack.  Together with the vSphere and vCloud Director plug-ins, the UCS Manager plug-in provides the necessary pieces to automate several use cases, including:

  1. Provisioning UCS blades for virtualization
  2. On-boarding a new tenant for a service provider
  3. Automatically scaling UCS compute resources

Below are some resources to help you better understand the value and scope of the Cisco UCS Manager plug-in:

To close out, here is a sample schema of a workflow from the user's guide that installs a new service profile in the UCS environment.

Ucs_plugin_sample_wf

 

 

Welcome to the vCenter Orchestrator Blog!

VMware vCenter Orchestrator is a powerful orchestration engine packaged with VMware vCenter Server to enable automation of routine administrative tasks using workflows. This blog will provide you insights into vCenter Orchestrator, including product information, news, related product announcements, cool customer stories, technical tips and tricks and best practices.

vCenter Orchestrator is becoming increasingly important to accelerate and dramatically reduce the cost of delivering IT services as customers seek to achieve the agility and economics of cloud computing. The good thing is that every vSphere customer already has vCenter Orchestrator and there is no additional purchase to use it.  It already has several out-of-the-box workflows that can help you automate existing manual tasks, without any need for complex scripting. Through an open and flexible plug-in architecture, vCenter Orchestrator also enables integration with both VMware and third-party applications, such as service desks, change management and asset management systems.

In this inaugural blog post, I will provide the list of the resources available on vmware.com:

o   How to install VMware vCenter Orchestrator

o   How to configure VMware vCenter Orchestrator

o   How to Install VMware vCenter Orchestrator Plug-in for vCloud Director

In addition, I want to highlight two blogs already doing excellent work on evangelizing vCenter Orchestrator:

Stay tuned for more information.