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Tag Archives: VMware

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

 

 

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

 

 

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.

Automate (the Cloud) or Die

If you ask 10 different people for their definition of Cloud computing, you’ll likely get 10 different answers, not to mention the occasional wise remark about an open-air or floating datacenter.  While all response details will vary, each answer is guaranteed to include two fundamental concepts: “self-service” and some “behind-the-scene magic to fulfill my request (right now, please… as I’m in a hurry)”.

From a cloud consumer perspective, the instant gratification is what makes the cloud magic so attractive.  For a CIO or CFO, it’s the short-term promise of greatly reduced capital AND operational expenditures. 

For the public and private cloud providers (the IT Infrastructure and Operations groups), that magic is more often associated with a downright terrifying set of expectations and realities:

  • Drastically reduced service delivery times
  • Larger, unpredictable volumes of provisioning and decommissioning operations
  • Greater complexity in not just provisioning but maintaining complex, dynamic, multi-layered services

The only constant in cloud environments, and only in the best of cases, is the size of the provider’s IT staff.  If you believe that the current IT management models will work, think again (and read To Unlock the Power of the Cloud, Rethink IT Management).  Regardless of the tools or number of staff available in an IT organization, there’s only one kind of magic that can scale to meet the demand and economics of cloud computing: Automation.

The alternative is simple: death.  OK, so we’re only talking a virtual death here, but yes, you can definitely expect your internal or external customers to procure IT services elsewhere if you don’t automate.  Virtual computing resource price lists are only a click away and it’s getting easier to move around workloads.

Obviously, automation is not a new concept.  It’s much, much older than virtualization and even precedes the software era (yeah, seriously 🙂 ).  Since the introduction of software, the most common form of automation has been and continues to be scripting.  Even today, it continues to serve a very valuable role for many discrete operations (more to come about this subject in an upcoming blog).  But when it comes to automating much of the magic in the cloud, there is no better solution today than a well orchestrated, cloud-purposed, IT management suite.

And this is where vCenter Orchestrator comes in.  Our mission is quite simple: to enable the VMware cloud stack to integrate with our customer’s environments AND processes, thereby dramatically reducing their costs and accelerating service execution.  In short, To Automate the Cloud.

Practically, what does this mean?  Well, thanks to increased R&D investments along with contributions from VMware partners, be on the lookout throughout the year for many more out-of-the-box workflows similar to the VMware vCloud Director and Cisco UCS Manager plug-ins.

We are also quite aware that automation will not become pervasive until it can be deployed in minutes rather than hours or days (remember, it’s all about instant gratification).  So yes, we are working on that too.

In the meantime, thanks for continuing to use vCenter Orchestrator and, to end with another but less dramatic cliché, the best is yet to come 😉