Author Archives: Thomas Corfmat

VMware Releases vCenter Orchestrator Gifts in Time for the Holidays

As 2012 comes to a close, we thought it would be a great time to end the year with some gifts to put under your (virtual) holiday tree!

2012 was a great year for automation in general, with the launch of the vCloud Suite 5.1, and orchestration in particular, with the release of vCenter Orchestrator 5.1.  Our team was extremely happy to see a tremendous increase in vCO adoption, and a growing list of integrations with other management systems.

In that spirit, we are very glad to announce the availability of several integrations and learning tools to make your automation projects easier than ever before.

1. vCloud Automation Center 5.1, which was just released, provides the ability to extend pre-built processes and post-provisioning actions by invoking vCO workflows. This means that any technical integration or logic built in vCO can be leveraged by vCAC’s lifecycle-management platform, thereby broadening the realm of self-service provisioning and basic administration for consumers of IT services.

2. Reversely, the new vCenter Orchestrator Plug-in for VMware vCloud Automation Center allows organizations to automate vCAC provisioning and post-provisioning tasks. With these two components, customers can leverage full bi-directional integration capabilities between vCloud Automation Center and vCenter Orchestrator.

3. Another new offering is the vCenter Orchestrator Elastic Service Plug-in. This plug-in provides a foundation for the self-scaling virtual datacenter, by automatically balancing the physical resources between virtual datacenters in VMware vCloud environments. This plug-in contains a rules engine that can analyze resource usage metrics (for instance, metrics captured by vCenter Operations Manager) and make scale-up or scale-down decisions automatically.

4. The vCenter Orchestrator Plug-in for VMware Service Manager enables organizations to automate operations around Configuration, Incident, Task and Service Request management.  Thanks to this plug-in, repetitive tasks such as updating an Incident or creating a Configuration Item when a new virtual machine is provisioned can now be fully automated.

5. And to help you take advantage of all of the above gifts, the VMware Training department just released over 10 self-paced vCO training videos available for free!

For additional information on these materials, please visit the following sites:


The entire vCO team wishes you the very best for the holidays and 2013.


Important vCenter Orchestrator Plug-in Updates

With the recent vCenter Orchestrator 5.1 and vSphere 5.1 availability, it’s obviously important to ensure that not just individual products but all of your integrations are up-to-date.

Besides the already released plug-ins for vCenter Server 5.1 (built-in) and vCloud Director 5.1, we are are glad to announce the availability of several plug-in updates to make your entire vCloud suite up-to-date:

1. The vCenter Update Manager plug-in has been updated to support version 5.1 and vCenter Single Sign On. This plug-in is essential for scanning and remediating vSphere inventory objects against baselines.

2. The vCO Multi-Node plug-in has been updated to support vCO 5.1, vCenter Single Sign On, and the new vCO REST API capabilities to leverage the remote invocation of new systems types such as actions and packages.  What’s more, this new version also provides better performance and corrects some previous defects.

3. The vCO Plug-in for vSphere Auto Deploy 5.1 supports… vSphere Auto Deploy 5.1!  Need we say more?

4. The vCO Plug-in for Microsoft Active Directory 1.0.2 provides support for vCenter Single Sign On and contains an import fix for concurrent workflow execution.

5. The vCO AMQP Plug-in 1.0.2 offers significant performance improvements and fixes a known issue with the vCO server restart.

6. The vCO Plug-in for vCenter Server 5.0.2 contains important performance improvements for customers who are running vCO with vCenter Server 5.0.

  • vCO Plug-in for vCenter Update Manager 5.1: download
  • vCO Multi-Node Plug-in for 5.1: download
  • vCO Plug-in for vSphere Auto Deploy 5.1: download
  • vCO Plug-in for Microsoft Active Directory 1.0.2: download
  • vCO AMQP Plug-in 1.0.2: download
  • vCO Plug-in for vCenter Server 5.0.2: download

As always, be sure to check VMware Solution Exchange for a complete list of plug-ins available from VMware and our partners.  That’s your best place to find the latest integration solutions such as the ServiceNow plug-in recently published by InterraIT.


The vCO Team

Your Guide to “Orquestación” Goodness at VMworld 2012 Barcelona


You can decide to refresh your Spanish (or even better yet, your Catalan) and memorize the following sentence:

¿Por favor, donde son las demos y sesiones sobre vCenter Orchestrator?

Or you can make it easy on yourself and use the list below to help with your orchestration immersion planning at VMworld 2012 in Barcelona 🙂

Below is a list of events you won’t want to miss…


Breakout Sessions and Group Discussions

INF-VSP2033  Auto Scaling and Cloud Bursting in the Hybrid IaaS cloud

OPS-CIM1274  What’s New in vCenter Orchestrator 5.1

OPS-CSM1379  Extending vCloud Director

OPS-CIM2892  Making IaaS and APaaS Available to the IT Masses: Rolling Out Self Service for the Cloud

OPS-CIM2179  Transforming Your Cloud with VMware: Day One – Building Your Cloud

GD-41  vCloud Director Architecture, Integration and Orchestration with Chris Knowles


Hands-on Labs

HOL-OPS-07  vCenter Orchestrator “The undiscovered country”

HOL-PRT-01  Automate IP Address Assignment & DNS Registration with Infoblox

HOL-INF-09  Deliver your IT Services in the Cloud



EMC, F5 Networks, Infoblox, Radware, VCE and VMware for some really cool demos…


We had some great discussions with many customers in San Francisco and are hoping to repeat that in Barcelona.  So please, come by the VMware vCO/DynamicOps booth to see the latest 5.1 release, share your experiences, and get your questions answered.

¡Hasta pronto!

The vCO Team

VMware vCenter Orchestrator 5.1 is now GA!

As part of the broader announcements around vSphere 5.1, we are extremely glad to announce the general availability of vCenter Orchestrator 5.1!

As we mentioned last year, 2011 was all about bringing you new plug-ins (and more plug-ins…) to simplify multi-system integrations.

Whereas the emphasis on plug-ins has not stopped, we are extremely excited to announce that vCO 5.1 includes some major new capabilities!


Launch Workflows Directly from the vSphere Web Client

vSphere administrators and operators can now launch vCO workflows directly from the vSphere Web Client, thereby saving precious time and preventing the need to switch into and out of multiple user interfaces. Operators can use the vSphere Web Client to launch any workflow, whether pre-built, custom, and whether it interacts with VMware or partner applications! Operators can run workflows from the vSphere inventory browser in just a couple of clicks. Based on the object from which it is run (for instance a host or a VM), a workflow’s input parameters get populated automatically to save time and eliminate errors. Operators can run multiple workflows concurrently, or schedule them as recurring or future off-hour tasks. For larger organizations, administrators can allow different groups of operators to have access to different categories of workflows.


Develop Workflows More Easily

Workflow developers can also benefit from a simpler, faster, and more enjoyable development experience thanks to a complete redesign of the Workflow Designer. The new Designer allows workflow developers to use multiple screens, detach windows, customize workflow icons, and perform many more operations in just a single click. Auto-attach and auto-layout capabilities also greatly reduce development time. And to simplify workflow administration, vCO 5.1 introduces new capabilities such as version control and automatic generation of workflow documentation in PDF.


Richer Integration Capabilities

vCenter Orchestrator 5.1 includes a new REST API that does everything covered by the current SOAP API… and more! The new REST API provides more control and flexibility when launching workflows programmatically. It also introduces support for new capabilities around content management such as workflow and package importing and exporting. In short, vCO administration itself can now be more easily automated.

These are just the major new capabilities but you’ll find plenty of additional enhancements that simplify and enhance the automation of your virtual and cloud infrastructure. For a full list of new features and capabilities, please refer to the detailed overview or the release notes.

And finally, while vCO 5.1 is a major enhancement over version 4.2, you’ll still be able to leverage all of the work you’ve already created in the previous release.

So don’t wait any longer! Try it today and let us know what you think via blog comments, Twitter (#vCO) or the vCO Community.


The vCO Team



vCO Thoughts from VMworld 2012 in San Francisco

Was VMworld San Francisco already a week ago? Like after any great party, many of us are still feeling the hang-over… from consuming so much information over such a short time period!

But as we start to digest that information, there are a few things that already stand-out:

1. Automation is key. No matter the product or technology topic (software defined data-center, self-service, cloud, virtual infrastructure, etc.), one could be sure automation was a key discussion point.

2. Orchestration is (almost) mainstream. Although orchestration is only a subset of the broader automation story, the ability to model IT processes that span across multi-vendor systems is no longer a luxury. It’s a necessity for any organization trying to streamline their provisioning or remediation routines to seconds or minutes rather than days or weeks (and as we heard in some cases, even months…).

3. Customers are very excited about vCenter Orchestrator 5.1. We knew that interest had been growing steadily over the last few years but our team did not anticipate so much traffic at the demo booth. It was non-stop during the entire conference! We are extremely grateful to all of the customers and partners who took the time to share their success (and outstanding needs) around vCO. All of your feedback is extremely important and, as you’ve seen in this new 5.1 version, is very likely to make its way into a release.

4. Customers are anxious to get their hands dirty. Please be patient for just a little longer. We promise GA is right around the corner 😉 In the meantime, we recommend that you read the vCO Team’s very comprehensive account of new vCO 5.1 capabilities.

5. There is still a big thirst for vCO-related information and one request we heard several times was to get a list of reference information. We’ve included such a list at the end of this post.

In the meantime, and as typical relapsing infoholics, we’ll be glad to meet with as many of you as possible in Barcelona as soon as we recover from San Francisco 😉


The vCO Team


Official VMware Resources:

Unofficial (but not less useful) Resources:

Flings (not for production):


Your Guide to Orchestration Goodness at VMworld 2012

It's hard to believe VMworld 2012 will start in just 10 days…

Automation and orchestration are hot topics these days and, after a record number of submissions for vCenter Orchestrator sessions, we're glad to see a record number of vCO presentations and hands-on-labs this year!

So to help with your orchestration immersion planning, below is a list of events you won't want to miss:

Breakout Sessions and Group Discussions

  • Become a Rock Star with PowerCLI and vCenter Orchestrator - INF-VSP1856
  • Building Cloud Services using VMware vCenter Orchestrator - OPS-CIM1274
  • FedEx Case Study: Lessons Learned Integrating vCloud Director, vSphere and Third Party Solutions with vCenter Orchestrator - OPS-CSM1340
  • Auto Scaling and Cloud Bursting in the Hybrid IaaS cloud - OPS-CSM2033  
  • Orchestrating the Cloud: from API to Workflow - OPS-CSM2975  
  • Extending vCloud Director - OPS-CSM1379 
  • Application Heal Thyself! How to Automate the Most Important Networking Functions for Your Applications - SPO2238    
  • vCenter Orchestrator Plug-in for Self-Scaling Data Center - TEX2815
  • vCloud Director Architecture, IntegraIon and Orchestration with Chris Knowles - GD56

Hands-on Labs

  • vCenter Orchestrator “The Undiscovered Country” - HOL-OPS-07
  • Automate IP Address Assignment & DNS Registration with Infoblox - HOL-PRT-01
  • Deliver your IT Services with the Integrated vCloud Solution - HOL-INF-09  


Egenera, EMC, F5 Networks, Infoblox, VCE, Radware, and VMware for some really cool demos… 

And as you roam the convention floors, be on the lookout for orchestration gurus like Burke Azbill, James Bowling, Cody Bunch, Bill Call, Christophe Decanini, Chris Knowles, Thomas Kraus, Savina Ilieva, William Lam, Joerg Lew and Igor Stoyanov.

Let's see who can snap the most pictures with these workflow jedis… 😉

See you soon in San Francisco!

The vCO Team 

It’s Raining vCenter Orchestrator Plug-ins!

With VMworld 2012 preparations and other ongoing work, this blog announcement was WAY overdue.  But as the saying goes… "better late than never!"

In response to many customer requests, we are glad to announce the availability of two new vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) plug-ins and several updates to existing ones: 

1. The NEW vCenter Configuration Manager workflow package allows organizations to automate compliance and patching operations around VM templates and guest operating systems.  A must-have… unless you have the time or enjoy doing this manually, one template at a time… 😉

2. The NEW vCenter Chargeback Manager plug-in helps automate the on-boarding of new cloud customers and configuration of chargeback reports.  Try it today!

3. The vCenter Update Manager plug-in has been updated to support version 5.0.  This one too is essential for scanning and remediating vSphere inventory objects against baselines.

4. The Microsoft Windows PowerShell plug-in has been significantly enhanced.  Not only has performance improved, but this new release provides increased security thanks to support for Kerberos authentication.

5. The vCenter Server plug-in includes important fixes to several workflows and some performance improvements.

6. The SQL 1.1 plug-in combines the functionality of the SQL plug-in 1.0 and the default embedded Orchestrator Database plug-in. This version is backwards compatible with the two previous plug-ins and now supports the ability to handle Character Large Object (CLOB) data.

7. The SNMP plug-in includes an important fix regarding the ability to process multiple traps concurrently over time.

As always, you can find references to the latest documentation and download links on VMware Solution Exchange.  Or you can go directly to the detailed listing for each plug-in:

Public Service Announcement: Your Voting Guide to Proposed vCO Sessions at VMworld 2012

OMG!  Is it time for VMworld again?

Last year, we heard from many attendees who wished there had been more sessions on vCenter Orchestrator.  So here's what you can do about it in 2012:


Rumor has it that with a record number of submissions, competition for session slots will be very fierce this year.  But the wonderful news is that there are some great vCO submissions from not just well-known troublemakers (Alan, William, Joerg, Cody, Christophe, Chris, we promise you we won't name names…) but many newer vCO practitioners as well.

Below is the list of submissions that focus in part or in whole on vCenter Orchestrator.

1230  How to Begin the Journey to a Private Cloud / IT-as-a-Service Model (Mike Hogga, Senior Consultant, EMC Corporation)

1252  What's New with vSphere and Automation (Alan Renouf, VMware, Inc., Sr. Technical Marketing Architect – William Lam, VMware, Inc., Sr. Technical Marketing Engineer)

1274  What's New in vCenter Orchestrator (Thomas Corfmat, Sr. Product Manager, VMware – Igor Stoyanov, Sr. R&D Manager)

1328  vSphere Automation Q&A (Alan Renouf, VMware, Inc., Sr. Technical Marketing Architect – William Lam, VMware, Inc., Sr. Technical Marketing Engineer – Luc Dekens, Eurocontrol Maastricht, Systems Engineer – Pablo Roesch, VMware, Inc., Technical Marketing – Group Manager)

1340  FedEx Case Study: Lessons Learned Integrating vCloud Director, vSphere and Third Party Solutions with vCenter Orchestrator (Chris Greer, Chief Engineer, FedEx Services – Chris Norton, Vmware, Solutions Consultant)

1347  vCenter Orchestrator for the Everyday Administrator (James Bowling, SavaSeniorCare, Sr. Systems Engineer – Cody Bunch, Rackspace, Principal Architect Private Cloud)

1379  Enhancing vCloud Director with API Extensions (Chris Knowles, VMware, Staff Cloud Architect – Thomas Kraus, VMware, Staff Cloud Architect)

1511  The Dynamic Duo; How vCenter Orchestrator and vCloud Director Were Used in Tandem to Enable a Real World Enterprise Private Cloud  (Peter Janke, Symantec, Sr. Lab Engineer)

1538  Best Practices in Automating the Virtual Machine Lifecycle (Mitesh Pancholy, VMware, Architect)

1608  Heterogeneous Datacenter Automation with vCenter Orchestrator (Savina IIieva, VMware, Staff Engineer)

1630  Orchestrating vCloud (Tim Lawrence, Eduserv, System Architect, Cloud)

1638  Building a Self-Service Portal for Your IT-Services with vCenter Orchestrator & Wavemaker (James Bowling, SavaSeniorCare, Sr. Systems Engineer, Joerg Lew, vcoportal, Consultant)

1639  Integrating IT-Infrastructure with vCenter Orchestrator: Who? Why? How? (Joerg Lew, vcoportal, Consultant)

1649  Continuous Software Integration Using vCO (Mitesh Pancholy, VMware, Architect)

1651  Automating Datacenters with VMware vCenter Orchestrator (Brian Watrous, VMware, Inc., Sr. Technical Trainer)

1658  Automating the Backup of Your vCloud Virtual Environment with the Tools You Already Have in Your Hands (Teck Meng Lee, EMC Corporation, Solution Architect – Gene HUH, EMC Corporation, Solution Architect)

1665  Automagically Set-up Your Private Cloud Lab Environment: From Empty Box to Infrastructure as a Service in a Jiffy! (Bas Raayman, EMC Corporation, vSpecialist – Jonas Rosland, EMC Corporation, vSpecialist)

1762  DaaS: Delivering Desktop as a Service with VMware View and VMware Service Manager (Jad El-Zein, VMware, Inc., Staff CIM Solutions Architect)

1770  Using vCenter Orchestrator to Automate Backup as a Service with EMC Avamar (Don Mac Master, EMC Corporation, Manager, Solutions Engineering)

1771  Using vCenter Orchestrator to Enable a Desktop-as-a-Service Environment (Don Mac Master, EMC Corporation, Manager, Solutions Engineering)

1778  Adding Cloud Orchestrator to Your vCloud Director Architecture (Ulrich Hansmair, Atos, System Architect – Jordan Janeczko, Atos, Global SI Cloud Strategy)

1795  Infrastructure as a Service – An Architectural Overview (Viktor van den Berg, PQR, Consultant)

1801  Automating the Provisioning of Fully Configured Business Workloads: How VMware IT Reduced Time by 80% and Costs by 25% Leveraging VMware vCloud Suite (Thomas Corfmat, VMware, Inc., Sr. Product Mgr – Thirumalesh Reddy, VMware, Inc., Director of Technology Labs & Applications Architecture)

1856  Become a Rock Star with PowerCLI and vCenter Orchestrator (Josh Atwell, Cisco Systems Inc., Systems Administrator)

1861  Build and Run Enterprise Custom IT Applications for Fraction of Cost and Effort of Traditional Approach, Leveraging vFabric RAD Tools and Platforms (Thirumalesh Reddy, VMware, Inc., Director of Technology Labs & Applications Architecture – Shreekanth Ankala, VMware, Inc., Sr. Solutions Architect)

1948  Plug and Play Automation with vCenter Orchestrator – Workflow Development Best Practices (Savina IIieva, VMware, Staff Engineer)

1951  vCenter Orchestrator Best Practices and Reference Architecture (Hemant Gaidhani, VMware, Inc., Senior Technical Marketing Architect)

1996  Managing Your Day-to-Day Administrative Tasks with vCenter Orchestrator (Maish Saidel-Keesing, NDS Technologies, Platform Architect – Cody Bunch,, Private Cloud / Virtualization Architect)

2014  Supporting vCenter Orchestrator (Fintan Comyns, VMware, Inc., Technical Support Engineer)

2033  Auto Scaling and Cloud Bursting in the Hybrid IaaS Cloud (Chris Knowles, VMware, Inc., Staff Cloud Architect – Christophe Decanini, VMware, Inc., Consulting Architect, Orchestration Team Lead)

2049  Build Your IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) Architecture Leveraging VMware vCenter Orchestrator, vCloud Director and EMC Atmos (Yossi Mesika, EMC Corporation, Consultant Solutions Engineer)

2145  Make Your vAdmin Life Easier by Leveraging Automation Tools for VMware vSphere (Aleksander Bukowiński, VMware, Inc., Senior Consultant, – Karol Boguniewicz, EMC Corporation, vSpecialist Tech)

2238  Application Heal Thyself! How to Automate the Most Important Networking Functions for Your Applications (Chris Knowles, VMware, Inc., Staff Solutions Architect – Simon Hamilton-Wilkes, F5 Networks, Solution Engineer)

2316  IT Tools for Security Guys – vCenter Orchestrator (Brian Tobia, RSA, Technical Consultant – James Ruddy, EMC Corporation, vSpecialist)

2328  Leveraging vCenter Orchestrator to Improve the Deployments of Oracle RAC in vSphere 5 Environments (James Ruddy, EMC Corporation, vSpecialist)

2648  Deploying vCO on a Global Scale: Multi-site Architecture Best Practices (Milko Hristov Slavov, VMware, Inc., Manager R&D – Savina Ilieva, VMware, Inc., Staff Engineer)

2725  vCO Plug-in for Self-Scaling Data Center (Shujun Ou, VMware, Inc., Senior MTS)

2815  vCenter Orchestrator Plug-in for Self-Scaling Data Center (Shujun Ou, VMware, Inc., Senior MTS)

2877  Workflow Automation Made Easy with vCenter Orchestrator (Alex Candelaria, EMC Corporation, Sr. vSpecialist Mgr – Michael Lee, EMC Corporation, Sr. vSpecialist)

2975  Orchestrating the Cloud: From API to Workflow (Alex Mittell, VMware, Inc., Consulting Architect)

3044  VMware Ready vCenter Orchestrator Plug-in Program (Terry Lyons, VMware, Inc., Sr. Manager, Alliances)


So be sure to go to to review submissions and vote before 8 June 2012.

And to all submitters… thank you and best of luck!


The vCO Team 

Getting up to speed on VMware vCenter Orchestrator: Cody Bunch book just released!

One question we get over and over again from vCenter Orchestrator users is "how do I get up to speed on vCO?"  The answer to that question can vary significantly because it really depends on a user's skill-set, how much he/she plans to automate with vCO, and whether that user prefers learning on their own or by attending a class.

Well, that question just got significantly easier to answer today thanks to the release of Cody Bunch's new book from VMware Press: Automating vSphere with VMware vCenter Orchestrator



Cody Bunch, one of our customers and the award-winning author of the blog, provides an extremely valuable first-hand account of how to get up to speed with vCO and how other users can leverage it for their automation initiatives.  Not only does the book walk you through the initial installation, configuration and product overview, but it provides many examples of workflows that offer immediate value to help you manage your vSphere environment and perform cross-system automation.

The Kindle version is available today and, if you prefer the old-style approach, the print edition will be available in just a few weeks.  

If it weren't for the upcoming iPad 3 announcement, I can't think of any news that's as exciting in early 2012 😉

Happy reading and workflow development!

PS.  Looking for additional sources of information to complement the book?  Here are a few that are must-haves for your reference list:


Find ALL vCenter Orchestrator Plug-ins on the new VMware Solution Exchange!

Earlier today, VMware announced the general availability of the new VMware Solution Exchange.  This online marketplace allows customers, partners and developers to easily find and evaluate virtualization and cloud solutions based on VMware software.

For all of us working on vCenter Orchestrator, this launch is a very exciting day… for many different reasons:

1. It now makes it super easy for customers to find all vCO plug-ins in a single location.  As you already know (but we're repeating it anyways), vCO is delivered with vCenter Server and includes several plug-ins (e-mail, SSH, XML, etc.) with the default installation.  But many more plug-ins are released throughout the year and require separate downloading.  With VMware Solution Exchange, you'll be sure of browsing a central list that has the very latest plug-ins.

2. When we say single location, we mean one that includes ALL vCO plug-ins, whether published by VMware or our partners.  As you know, several partners like Infoblox, Radware, or VCE/EMC have recently released plug-ins (with more coming soon).  It will now be significantly easier for all partners to publish their plug-ins and reach the hundreds of thousands of vCenter customers that are entitled to use vCO.

VCO plug-ins
3. Customers can browse through rich, multi-media reference materials such as Youtube video overviews, white papers, user guides, blog postings and much more.  In other words, you'll never be more than a click away from access to more in-depth materials that help you evaluate and use a new vCO plug-in.  And because VMware always encourages feedback from the community, customers will have the ability to rate and provide comments on all listings.

4. Customers can more easily find partners with expertise in the deployment and use of a particular solution.  If you have an urgent project and are looking for a systems integrator or general partner to help you get started, vCO plug-in listings provide links to partners with vCO expertise.VCO partners


5. Last but not least, we started speaking about VMware Solution Exchange to a few customers and partners many, many months ago… and we're relieved to finally answer "Is it there yet?" with a resounding YES!  ;-)

We hope you share our excitement and happy browsing through the new VMware Solutions Exchange!


The vCO Team