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Tag Archives: vCenter Orchestrator vCO plug-in SDK workflows Infoblox

Provision a vCloud Automation Center Service from ServiceNow’s Service Catalog

By Jennifer Galvin

One of our customer’s was recently exploring using ServiceNow’s Service Catalog to initiate a provisioning request to vCloud Automation Center.  There are several ways customers have requested vCloud Automation Center integrate with ServiceNow.  These integrations can be bidirectional – ie, vCloud Automation Center -> ServiceNow, by generating a service ticket and updating the CMDB and invoking vCAC Services from the ServiceNow Catalog, and ServiceNow -> vCloud Automation Center, using our orchestrator to receive the request and invoke our own pre-built integrations to our suite.  While it is still our best practice that vCAC serve as the main customer interface for self-service, this post looks at how we successfully integrated ServiceNow’s Service Catalog to provision services in vCloud Automation Center. And it also demonstrates how vCAC services could be invoked from any Service Catalog, using vCenter Orchestrator.

To see more examples of integrations, check out the great blogs at vCOTeam.info and vCACTeam.info.

Special thanks to Tom Bonnano, Chris Decanini, Eric Hardcastle, Michael Steward, and Derek Reinhard for helping me with this integration and the vCAC Plugin.

Create the Workflow in vCenter Orchestrator to receive the ServiceNow request

In order to initiate the request to a third party system, your customer has to create a form to collect inputs and create a workflow to pass those inputs to the third-party system.  Because every request takes a custom created form, the inputs (and how they are us

First, we created the master workflow that ServiceNow would invoke. I recommend you start very simply – for us, we only added a single variable, Hostname,  which would receive a value from ServiceNow, and show that it passed all the way through to the server that was provisioned by assigning that hostname. 

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To do this we dragged the “Provision a virtual machine from a blueprint (Deprecated)” workflow from /Library/vCloud Automation Center/Infrastructure into our workflow, and assigned all of its values to attributes. ed) will differ from service to service.  We opted to integrate ServiceNow directly to vCenter Orchestrator’s SOAP API, so we could leverage the 6.01 vCAC Plug0in and use that to invoke provisioning in vCloud Automation Center.  This would also make editing and maintaining these workflows much easier due to vCenter Orchestrator’s rich object model and allow us to get updated workflows directly from VMWare (instead of having to re-write our own).

 We assigned everything upfront to hard-coded values to complete the test (with the exception of the “custom” attribute, which is an array that contains each “customProperty=value” entry.  To change the hostname of the provisioned server, we would have to insert “hostname=<something>” into this array.

We then used a scriptable task in front of that workflow, to create the “custom” array that would eventually contain our one custom property.
We made a simple script that pushed the formatted value onto this array so it was ready to go.

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Make sure your workflow has one input that prompts the user, called “Hostname”.  Now, when you think you’re ready, run this workflow, input a hostname, and see if it provisions a server!  Make sure this works before moving on to the next step.

Create the Workflow in ServiceNow that calls vCenter Orchestrator’s SOAP API

Link the form in ServiceNow’s Service Catalog to the workflow operations that invoke vCenter Orchestrator.  NOTE:  we found some limitations in ServiceNow’s SOAP message operations for some WebServices, where SOAPActions cannot be blank.  Please see the Troubleshooting section for more information.  We chose to use a Powershell operation in the ServiceNow workflow to call the SOAP endpoint (as it passed the SOAPAction header properly), and instead opted to pass the variables into this script.  This allowed us greater control to override the SOAP client behavior (and to ignore self-signed certificates, as you’ll see below).

In ServiceNow, you should specify the workflow to be run from the form, and the workflow should invoke a Powershell operation.

We started with a completely hard-coded script, which would call the service and pass information.

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This could then be modified to substitute the hard-coded values to the ServiceNow ${variable} syntax, which ServiceNow would replace with the form values on execution time.

Because this was a test environment and all of the certificates were self-signed, we ended up adding a line to the top of the script to allow Powershell to trust certificates that were not signed by their local CA chain:

[System.Net.ServicePointManager]::ServerCertificateValidationCallback = {$true}

And that’s it!  Now, when the form is submitted, it provisions through to vCAC, setting the hostname to the one you hard-coded in the Powershell.

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Troubleshooting

Testing vCenter Orchestrator using SoapUI

To ensure we could communicate with vCenter Orchestrator successfully, I used a program called SoapUI to send requests and to view the headers and responses. It’s a very nice client and will automatically generate all the soap actions for you. I used this to simulate API calls with my vCenter Orchestrator first, to get the inputs right.

This is what was generated, and I simply filled in the blanks to test if it worked.

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Testing Powershell Outside of Servicenow

It was important to first test the commands being issued from the ServiceNow MID server to determine if we had connectivity to vCenter Orchestrator, and if it would accept our self-signed certificates. I recommend you invoke Powershell from your local ServiceNow MID server (which will receive the command from ServiceNow) to see if it works:

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Displaying What ServiceNow is Sending vCenter Orchestrator

We found some limitations in ServiceNow’s SOAP message operations.  vCenter Orchestrator’s SOAP messages specify that a blank SOAPAction header should be passed, but the SOAPMessage operator in ServiceNow cannot have a blank “SOAPAction” field.  The request generated will omit the header “SOAPAction” if the action is blank (instead of passing a blank quoted string).  vCenter Orchestrator considers missing headers a malformed request, and will output a 500 error in the server request log.   You can see errors in the test scenarios of this SOAPMessage test:

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We discovered that the operation SOAPMessage in ServiceNow must contain a SOAPAction, or else it will omit this header entirely.

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We know from our previous testing with SoapUI we require that a blank header be sent, and SoapUI allows us to see what that header should be:

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So we really need to understand what’s being sent by ServiceNow, it’s obviously not being correctly generated.  You can examine any requesting service to see if the correct headers are being sent by starting a Mock Service on the server that has SoapUI installed, and sending the ServiceNow request there.  Below is a screenshot of a mock service running on port 8088, where I print out the headers and content of the request, using a groovy script within the OnRequest field, located here:  https://github.com/momecca/SoapUI

This will help you understand what is being sent, and compare it to other client’s and the requests they generate.

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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

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.

Cheers!

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

 

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

What’s New with vCenter Orchestrator 4.2

Unless you've been living under a rock in the last couple of months, you know that the biggest news in our industry has been the launch of vSphere 5.0 and a mind-blowing list of new features.

 

Along with vSphere 5.0, we are extremely glad to announce the general availability of vCenter Orchestrator 4.2, which includes improved documentation in a variety of new formats, an enhanced plug-in for vCenter Server 5.0 (coming in just a few weeks… promised!) and a simpler and faster way to build new plug-ins.  Like previous releases, vCenter Orchestrator 4.2 is packaged and included with vCenter Server at no extra charge.

 

As many of you who have been using and following vCO already know, the big emphasis this year has been on plug-ins. vCO plug-ins are essential for helping you integrate the vSphere and vCloud infrastructure with your existing systems and processes.  So, in addition to releasing many new plug-ins earlier this year (see previous posts), we've also tried to make it easier for VMware partners to build their own plug-ins.

 

That's why we are particularly excited to announce the new vCenter Orchestrator Plug-in SDK!  

 

The SDK is based on Eclipse and includes a combination of tools, videos and documentation to help jumpstart developers who are new to vCO plug-in development.  While in beta, it was used by several VMware partners to help develop new plug-ins in record time.  For instance, IP Address Management (IPAM) expert Infoblox was able to build its first vCO plug-in in just a few weeks.  This new plug-in enhances the capabilities of vCloud Director by providing organizations with a fully-automated solution for allocating and releasing IP addresses as part of virtual machine provisioning and decommissioning operations . We think that's somewhat important if you want to automate your cloud 😉  

 

The vCO plug-in SDK also includes a community and is available freely to anyone.  Developers may also obtain one-on-one support and advice from vCO experts via the VMware SDK Support Program.

 

For additional information, please see the following sites: