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Tag Archives: vcenter orchestrator

vCO Spring Plug-in season is here!

vco-plug-ins

The Spring is here along with the season gifts from vCenter Orchestrator Team just in time for Easter.  The holiday plug-in bundle comes with quite a few new integrations and major updates.

  1. vCenter Orchestrator Plug-In for vCloud Automation Center 6.0.1
    vCenter Orchestrator  became  an integral part of vCloud automation center since version 6.0, playing a major role of an unified integration layer and XaaS engine.  In order to better serve the extensibility story of vCAC VMware released  vCenter Orchestrator Plug-In for vCloud Automation Center 6.0.1.vcac-plug-in By using the new plug-in you are now able to automate variety of management and end user operations within vCAC related to service provisioning and XaaS, catalog management, policy based management and authorization. For more information you can refer to vCAC blog.

2. vCenter Orchestrator AWS Plug-in 1.0:  vCO is now able to automatically manage and integrate your Datacenter resources residing at Amazon public cloud space. The Orchestrator Plug-In for Amazon Web Services (AWS) 1.0. exposes the functionality of the Amazon Elastic Cloud. The plug-in’s API exposes the AWS API and lets workflow developers create content similar to the content created through the AWS Java SDK.

3. The long awaited vCO Powershell plug-in 1.0.4 is updated to support Powershell 4.0 inventory and is fully backward compatible with your existing scripts.

Following VMware plug-ins has also been updated to support new vCO Configuration API and platform versions:

  • vCenter Orchestrator Auto-Deploy Plug-in 1.0.3
  • vCenter Orchestrator Multi-Node Plug-In 5.5.1
  • vCenter Orchestrator AMQP Plug-in 1.0.3

For additional information on these materials, please visit the plug-in release notes sites listed below:

vCenter Orchestrator Plug-In for vCloud Automation Center 6.0.1
vCenter Orchestrator AWS Plug-in 1.0
vCenter Orchestrator Powershell plug-in 1.0.4
vCenter Orchestrator Auto-Deploy Plug-in 1.0.3
vCenter Orchestrator Multi-Node Plug-In 5.5.1
vCenter Orchestrator AMQP Plug-in 1.0.3

Happy Spring and enjoy the new vCO Plug-ins!

 

VMware vCenter Orchestrator makes a splash at VMworld US 2013 – Day 1

VMworld US 2013 kicked off Monday with a keynote by Pat Gelsinger, CEO of VMware, mentioning the importance of management and automaton in the Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC).  Also mentioned was the inclusion of vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) in the Standard, Advanced and Enterprise editions of the upcoming vCloud Suite release.  With bidirectional integration between vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) and vCAC, native vCO workflows can be coupled with resources managed by vCAC, either as part of the provisioning process, or as a Day 2 operation.  The upcoming vCAC Extensibility Package for vCO affords customers the ability to use vCO as a configuration tool for vCAC extensibility. Instead of manually reconfiguring stub workflows in vCAC to call vCO, the configuration workflows in the Extensibility package will do it for you.  Customers choose a workflow to be executed at a given point in a machine’s lifecycle (i.e. run a workflow before the machine is built), then select the blueprint(s) that should call the specified workflow.  vCO then calls into vCAC and programmatically wires up the specified vCO workflow to the blueprint(s).  Alternatively, vCO can expose and assign its own workflows as Day 2 operations to the contextual Machine Menu in vCAC (think right-click or hover menu), then enable that machine menu item on specified vCAC blueprints.  Very powerful stuff!

In addition to the reference in the keynote, two vCO-specific breakout sessions were held on Monday:

VMworld US 2013 session VCM4875 – Part 1: Getting Started with vCO

VCM4875 – Part 1: Getting Started with vCenter Orchestrator

This session was vCenter Orchestrator’s opportunity to shine, and the room was filled to capacity. The session was presented jointly by James Bowling, Cloud Architect at General Datatech LP, and Savina Iliena, VMware Product Manager for vCenter Orchestrator server.

James talked about his own experiences with vCO, and demonstrated a few things he put together, bravely presenting them in a live demo.  Savina took over in the second half of the session to talk about the new features coming in vCO 5.5, specifically the new Debugger and the High Availability configuration.  This news was well received by the crowd, and by the end, you could tell they were excited to try out vCO in their own environments.

 

PHC6050 – Moving Beyond Infrastructure: Meeting Demands on App Lifecycle Management in the Dynamic Datacenter

F5’s Charlie Cano presenting on vCenter Orchestrator at VMworld US 2013

This session was co-presented by Charlie Cano of F5 and Dan Mitchell of VMware.  The session focused primarily on vCO’s capabilities around provisioning, configuration and remediation using their brand new vCO plug-in.

Charlie started the session off by asking how many folks owned vCO, and only a few hands went up.  He informed them they own vCO if they own vCenter, which seems to have caught a number of them by surprise.

F5 did a great job getting the initial release of their new plugin completed in time for VMworld. Thanks to Charlie Cano at F5!

 

Be sure to check out the other vCenter Orchestrator sessions at VMworld US 2013:

 

 


VCM5695 – Part 2: How to Build a Self-Healing Data Center with vCenter
Orchestrator
   presented by Dan Mitchell, VMware Product Manager and Nick Colyer of CatamaranRX
   Wednesday, Aug 28, 8:30 AM – 9:30 AM – Moscone West, Room 2006

…and as always, stay current with the latest product updates via Twitter by following @vCOTeam, @StartsWithV and @VMwareCloudAuto

 

The More vCO @ VMworld 2013 – The Better: vOTING Guide

Dear vCO Fans,

The best season of the year is just few months away. Yes, it is real – It is VMwolrd season of 2013. Please, be aware that there is a Public Session voting process in place at www.vmworld.com.

It is pretty easy to get lost while browsing so many great ideas available for voting. There is no need to worry – the usual suspects are also in place with creative abstracts (Christoph, Joerg, William , James Bowling …). Beside this, there are lot of new folks proposing catchy titles, revealing the power of vCO.

Please, take your time to review through the list of vCO related ideas.

4875 vCenter Orchestrator: A Beginner’s Guide – James Bowling, iland

5242 Extending vCloud Automation Center with vCenter Orchestrator; Rich Bourdeau, VMware

5287 Open up the vCloud hood using PowerCLI, Hyperic, vCenter Operations Manager and vCenter Orchestrator to reveal the inner cloud; Phil Ditzel, VMware;Cathal Cleary, VMware

5352 Automating the Software Defined Datacenter with vCAC, vCO and Storage Automation, Jeremy Goodrum, NetApp; Joerg Lew, VMware

5360 vCenter Orchestrator Best-Practices – Joerg Lew, Christophe Decanini, VMware

5365 “7 Design Patterns for vCenter Orchestrator Workflows” – Joerg Lew, VMware

5472 vCO – Say hi to Razor and Software Defined Storage, Magnus Nilsson, EMC; Jonas Rosland, EMC

5586 Optimize Application deployment time and lifecycle management via vCloud automation Center (vCAC) and vCenter Orchestrator (vCO), Boskey Savla, iGate Technologies, Inc. Indranil Bal, iGate Technologies, Inc.

5695 How to Build a Self – Healing Data Center with vCenter Orcestrator (vCO), Dan Mitchel, VMware

5703 Supercharging vSphere Web Client with vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) Dan Mitchell, VMware, James Bowling, vSential

5717 How to Automate ANYTHING with vCenter Orchestrator (vCO): Dan Mitchell

5731 Become a Rock Star with PowerCli and vCenter Orchestrator; Josh Atwell, VCE

5923 vCenter Orchestrator: Customize Your vSphere Web Client Experience – James Bowling, vSential

So be sure to go to www.vmworld.com to review submissions and vote before 6 May 2013.

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

Cheers,

The vCO Team

 

 

vCenter Orchestrator 5.1 Update 1 Released

Voila! vCenter Orchestrator 5.1. Update 1 Is Now Available!

This is not just an ordinary update release.  vCO 5.1.1 actually incorporates significant enhancement around built-in plug-ins and the vCO platform itself.

Please, take your time and read throughout the outlines below to find out more about this compelling release.

vCenter Server configuration

Yes, it is true: tedious manual configuration of vCenter Server is no longer required when you use vCO 5.1.1.  The new release provides out-of–the box workflows that automate the configuration of vCenter Server instances, thereby allowing you to dynamically provision vCenter Server capacity  in your datacenter.

Notifications, notifications, … and more notifications

Sending and receiving e-mail notifications have always been an important part of most automation processes.  In addition to POP, vCO now provides out-of-the-box support for the IMAP protocol. And triggering notification or notification-based workflows have never been easier thanks to significant improvements in available scripting methods.  The E-mail plug-in has been extended with several new scripting objects that can be used either with the IMAP or POP client for:

  • Retrieving messages
  • Reading details of the retrieved messages as well as file attachments
  • Searching messages
  • Deleting messages

Fine-tuning and fixes

When it comes to workflow development, we all know that the sum of little things is what adds up to a great experience.  With that in mind, we’ve included quite a number of changes and fixes that we trust will go a long way to improving your experience:

  • The zooming feature in the workflow schema has been enhanced so that it re-centers on the selected element(s).  It is now available in the contextual element menu and as a shortcut.
  • Copy and paste is the key to productive workflow development. vCO 5.1.1 is enhanced not to miss any of the properties of your workflow activity element during the copy paste process.
  • Take a deep breath and relax – no more issues with JSON.  vCenter Orchestrator 5.1.1 introduces a new JSON format that can be used by providing the Accept: application/json;v=5.1.1 header

For a complete list of all fixes, please be sure to read through the vCO 5.1.1 release notes and documentation listed below.

VMware vCenter Orchestrator 5.1.1 Download Landing Page:

https://my.vmware.com/web/vmware/info/slug/datacenter_cloud_infrastructure/vmware_vcloud_suite/5_1

vCO VA:

 https://my.vmware.com/web/vmware/details?downloadGroup=VSP51-VCL-VCOVA-511&productId=284&rPId=3571

Documentation Landing Page:

http://www.vmware.com/support/pubs/orchestrator_pubs.html

Release notes:

http://www.vmware.com/support/orchestrator/doc/vcenter-orchestrator-511-release-notes.html#resissues

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.

Cheers!

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

 

Booths

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.

Cheers!

The vCO Team

 

 

The VMware vCenter Orchestrator Appliance Is Now Available!

Whenever we run into a VMware customer who is not using vCenter Orchestrator, it usually comes down to one of two things: 

  1. Not being aware of vCO's existence (and yes, we admit we have a lot more education to do in that area)
  2. Getting stuck on one of the initial configuration steps (and let's face it, configuring directory services and databases is not everyone's cup of tea)

Well, we're extremely glad to announce that vCO is now available as a preconfigured virtual appliance. This appliance significantly reduces the time and skills required to deploy vCO, allowing you to get up and running in under 15 mins.

And even if directory services have no secret for you, you can find comfort in the fact that the new appliance provides a low-cost alternative to the traditional Windows-based installation. In a sense, the "free" (vCO is included with vCenter Server) just got "even more free" 😉

The vCenter Orchestrator Appliance is an OVF (Open Virtual Machine Format) that is pre-built and pre-configured with Novell SuSE Linux Enterprise Server, PostgreSQL, and OpenLDAP, and can run on vCenter Server 4.1 and higher.

It offers tremendous flexibility yet makes no compromises on performance, making it ideal for a wide variety of use cases:

  • Product evaluations and proofs-of-concept
  • Development
  • Test
  • Production, including on a large scale

The appliance offers all of the components included in the regular Windows-based installation, along with the flexibility to use either the pre-built directory services and database, or to use external ones like Active Directory or Oracle for example.  What's more, the appliance has been certified to run at the same performance as the traditional Windows version.

In short, the vCenter Orchestrator appliance makes it even faster, easier, and more affordable to integrate the VMware cloud stack with your IT processes and environment.

To give it a try for yourself, please check the following sources of information:

 

No Code Workflow Reconnects ESXi Hosts

This example shows that one can do useful things without writing JavaScript code in vCO.
 
Ever since the vSphere 5 upgrade, cold booting my home lab (which I generally do because I’m not going to pay to leave it running all the time plus it is noisy and it heats up my office) requires re-connecting my ESXi hosts. 

I was tempted to write a Perl script or use PowerCLI but given my focus on vCO and with the new the vSphere 5 plugin, I thought, “I’ll write a workflow!”
 
So I started by looking at what was there and thinking it would be cool to do this in vCO without writing any JavaScript.
 
I easily found the delivered workflows for “Disconnect host” and “Reconnect host”.  

Nocode-1

Trying those one at a time on one of my ESXi hosts and they worked perfectly.  Great.  These are my first building blocks.
 
Next I thought, “Ok, now I will sequence these two flows.”  No biggie.  I created a new workflow called “Disconnect Reconnect ESX Host”.  In the schema, I dragged a workflow item, select “Disconnect host” and repeated for “Reconnect host”.  Add the “End Workflow” item then link together.  

Nocode-2

Next I clicked “Validate” and took the quick fix option to create an input attribute for “ESX host” which both embedded workflows can now share.  

Nocode-3

Nocode-4

Nocode-5

I tried the flow on one of my ESXi hosts.  It worked great.  Cool.
 
So then I said, “Now I need to loop through all my ESX hosts in my lab cluster.”  Hmm, I remember Burke Azbill has shown me how to do this multiple times. J  And after a quick search I found it (again):  http://www.vcoteam.info/learn-vco/creating-workflow-loops.html
 
But I’m thinking that looks like too much work and I’m lazy.  Besides, I would rather fall back on my bad habits and just write a “foreach” loop in JavaScript and call the workflow in the script.  Not very “orchestrator-like” but I’m more of a “Perl” guy.  I resisted the temptation.
 
“Well, maybe I can just use what is there in vCO and not write something.  (I am so lazy.)  Hey, what about that Batch thing.  Yeah, baby.”

Nocode-6

Since I had just added a new workflow that takes a single ESX host as input which qualifies to run from the batch workflow, I ran the “Fill batch configuration element”. Now I will be able to reference my “Disconnect Reconnect ESX host” workflow.

Now I want to verify that I can run my new workflow from the “Run a workflow on a selection of objects”.  I chose ESX host as the object type, selected the Action “GetallHostSystemsofCluster”, using my cluster for the input and then chose my “Disconnect Reconnect ESX Host” workflow.  

Nocode-7

Outstanding, it cycled through my ESXi hosts disconnecting and then reconnecting each one very quickly.
 
Lines of code written: ZERO.
 
But you know I am really, really lazy.  How can I run this batch workflow without having to go through and configure all the inputs each time?  It was time for another workflow.  I remember Christophe Decanini telling me this could be done.
 
Ok time for one more workflow to setup and call the batch workflow the way I want for this job.  I called it “Disconnect Reconnect All ESX hosts of Cluster”.  Add one workflow item which is the “Run a workflow on a selection of objects”, add the “End Workflow” item and link it together.

Next I used a trick that Christophe Decanini taught me.  “Synchronize presentation” shows when you right-click on the embedded workflow.

Nocode-8

This adds all the attributes of the embedded workflow as inputs to the current workflow.  While this is pretty cool, remember that I want to run this without any inputs at all.  Ok, there is a quick fix for this.  Move all the inputs as attributes.  Click on the top input, then Shift-Click on the bottom input.  When all the inputs are selected, right-click and choose “Move as attribute”.

Nocode-9

Now the visual binding looks like this:

Nocode-10

This is a complex workflow but I only need a few of the parameters.

Now all that is left is to set the defaults that I want for my lab to run this specific job.  This was actually pretty easy by looking back at the successful run of the batch flow previously and observing the variables that were actually used and their values.  

Nocode-11

The objectType is a string and the value needs to be “Host”.  Not exactly intuitive but there it was in the variables from my previous run.  I used the same Action “GetallHostSystemsofCluster” as before and selected my cluster for the input to the Action and finally chose my “Disconnect Reconnect ESX Host” workflow.

Nocode-12

“Look Mom, no parameters for input!”  And it worked fantastic.  No loop code in JavaScript or multiple vCO scriptable tasks, decision items, etc…  Dirt simple really.

This is good enough for me but if I am going to share this with others, I don’t want the workflow referring to the cluster in my lab.  So the one last improvement is to use a Configuration instead to reference the cluster to use.  This way you can set the Configuration to reference your cluster.  Create a new folder and element for the Configuration.

Nocode-13

Then edit the Configuration and add an element setting the Type to VC:ClusterComputeResource. I called it “MyCluster” and set the default value to point to “Cluster1” in my lab.  Yes, this is quite the outstanding name, don’t you think?

Nocode-14

Finally, I went back to the workflow and updated the “cluster” attribute default value to reference the configuration element.  Click the little symbol in the Configuration column.

Nocode-15

Now pick the “MyCluster” Configuration element.

Nocode-16

Finally, I created of Package of my work and saved it out for safe keeping.

Cheers!

Bill Call
Central Region US Principal Systems Engineer
Solution Specialist vCloud/Chargeback

Bill has been at VMware a relatively long time (8+ years) and has worked with various automation tools over 25+ years in IT.

A vCO plug-in for vCenter Update Manager example

As posted in this blog vCenter Orchestrator plug-in for vCenter Update Manager is now available.The plugin comes with a set of predefined actions and workflows that abstracts the VUM API and reduce the complexity of using it.

I will show how to implement a common usage scenario inspired from vCenter Update Manager Admin Guide.

  1. Attach an upgrade baseline to the VMs in the datacenter
  2. Scan the datacenter inventory
  3. Get the compliance state
  4. Export the compliance state to a PDF or HTML.
  5. Remediate the datacenter inventory.

Luckily for each of the actions from the list the plugin provides built-in workflows. Our complex workflow will be quite straight-forward:

Wf

The only custom logic in is the the conditional remediation step. Since remediation is potentially disruptive operation I would like to check the compliances before to continue.

The presentation of the workflow is also quite simple. Most of the basic workflows need vCenter server, Baselines and vCenter entities. Specific options for each step are given below this triple.

Pre

If you are familiar with the vCenter Update Manager you will notice that the compliance export functionality is something new for it. The plug-in enables you to generate report in pdf, html or csv format for the compliance status of the selected entities and baselines. Since vCenter Orchestrator client is not able to work with the local file system, the compliance report is stored on the server. Unless there is no other, more convenient way to access the exported report you can access it using the some javascript code:

var fr = new FileReader(file);
fr.open();
content = fr.readAll();
fr.close();

The result of the export looks as pretty as this:

Rep
I hope this will be helpful. In the next post I plan to give some details on how export and import baseline functionality leverages the support for multiple vCenter Update Manager servers in the plug-in.