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Tag Archives: vCloud Automation Center

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. 


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.



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.








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.






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.


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:






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:


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



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:


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.



vCO Spring Plug-in season is here!


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!


vCenter Orchestrator Holiday Gifts


The vCenter Orchestrator gifts season started a few months ago with the general availability of vCO 5.5. The compelling release was announced just in time to share the vCO momentum at VMworld.  Along with the amazing new features introduced, VMware continues with a lot more presents.

This year the holiday magic brings to vCenter Orchestrator users several updates, product integrations and learning gadgets that make automation with vCO more powerful than ever.

1. VMware has just announced the GA of VMware vCloud Automation Center 6.0(vCAC 6.0). The extension and creation of XaaS is done using the vCAC Advanced Service Designer which allows you to seamlessly leverage any vCO workflow and convert it to a catalog item or day 2 operation, available as a service in the vCAC Self-service portal.

 2. vCO CLI is the code name of the new debugging extension which will not only facilitate all experienced vCenter Orchestrator users and also helps the newcomers to programmatically explore the rich vCO ecosystem through interactive command shell. Access to the vCO plug-in’s inventory is integrated into the tool UI for easy navigation to the integrated solution objects.

3. Our super powerful and generic HTTT- REST and SOAP plug-ins are now able to support proxy configurations and assure security compliance of your automated solutions.

4. The long awaited vCO Powershell plug-in 1.0.3 is updated to support Powershell 3.0 inventory and is fully backward compatible with your existing scripts.

5. In vCenter Orchestrator plug-in for Microsoft Active Directory 1.0.4 the old configuration mode is removed and you are now able to configure the plug-in automatically through native vCO workflows.

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

The entire vCO team wishes you the very best for the holidays and 2014.


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
   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


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.