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Automated Deployments of vRealize Automation for vCloud Air Network

In the previous blog post “Leveraging vRealize CloudClient with vRealize Automation deployments for vCAN”, we explored the use of VMware vRealize® CloudClient for the automated configuration of VMware vRealize Automation™ on a per-tenant basis to speed up the deployment of per-tenant instances in a service provider environment. This method relied on a manual installation of the vRealize Automation infrastructure components. However, the release of vRealize Automation 7.1 provides built-in silent installation capabilities for increased time-to-value deployments of vRealize Automation.

 

Overview of vRealize Automation for SPs

While vRealize Automation is typically implemented in Private Cloud – Enterprise environments, service providers still have an interest in providing services based on vRealize Automation for customers on a per-tenant basis as well as the management of the internal infrastructure. Customers benefit from this by experiencing an expedited time to value while also being able to offload the maintenance and management overhead of the Private Cloud infrastructure to a trusted VMware vCloud® Air™ Network service provider of their choice. Some of the common deployment models that service providers use for vRealize Automation are:

  • Internal Operations – Single tenant deployment of vRealize Automation by the service provider for internal operations users.
  • Dedicated Customer Private Cloud – Single tenant deployment of vRealize Automation with the optional use of multiple business groups. Customer manages user access and catalog content.
  • Fully Managed Service Offering – Service offering that leverages multiple business groups and/or tenants and is managed fully by the vCloud Air Network service provider on behalf of the customer.

At a platform level, each of these models enables the consumption of single and multiple data centers provided by the service provider, while the Dedicated Private Cloud and the Managed Service offering provide customers the capability to consume on-premises compute resources.

Deploying vRealize Automation

As discussed in the previous post, this solution leverages vRealize Automation deployed in a simple deployment architecture with one vRealize Automation appliance and one Windows server for MS SQL database and IaaS functions of vRealize Automation. (For implementations where the number of concurrent users exceeds the recommended maximums for the simple deployment, the medium and large deployments of vRealize Automation can be considered.) The vRealize Automation appliance and Windows VM will be contained in a preconfigured vApp in VMware vCloud Director® and included in the catalog for vCloud Air Network administrators to deploy and configure.

At the time of deployment, the vApp can be provisioned and then the vRealize Automation silent installation will be performed. By utilizing the ha.properties file on the vRealize Automation appliance, a unique, single tenant instance of vRealize Automation will be configured for the associated customer.

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After the installation of vRealize Automation has been completed, a PowerShell Script leveraging CloudClient and some additional API calls can be executed against the newly deployed vRealize Automation instance. These will add the customer preferred compute resources (like the customers current OrgvDC in vCloud Director) as well as the required users and groups for management and self-service access to vRealize Automation. During this configuration, it is also possible for the service provider to automate the configuration of preconfigured Converged Blueprints to the vRealize Automation instance or these can be excluded in lieu of using the customer’s own generated blueprints after configuration.

After the PowerShell script has completed, the instance is ready to be turned over to the customer for self-service consumption of resources through their new vRealize Automation portal!

It is worth pointing out that while this post looks at deploying vRealize Automation within a customer’s vCloud Director OrgvDC, this method can also be leveraged when deployed out of a service provider’s management cluster on VMware vSphere® as a managed service.

 

Tenant Configuration

Deployment of vRealize Automation in this model will leverage the default tenant of vRealize Automation.  This eases the management of the vRealize Automation instances because the service provider will be deploying vRealize Automation per tenant. Each tenant will be pointed to their own OrgvDC within the service provider’s vCloud Director Public Cloud offering with the option for also pointing to the customer’s Hosted vSphere infrastructure supplied by the service provider as well as on-premises vSphere instances.

 

Users and Roles

Management of vRealize Automation is determined by the service provider’s management offerings or level of ownership that customers are interested in taking on with the solution. In the ideal implementation, the vCloud Air Network service provider administrators will manage the infrastructure and tenant level aspects of vRealize Automation as well as the configuration of initial blueprints and service provided with the offering. Customers will be given access to manage Business Groups, Entitlements, and Blueprint/Service creation.

In an unmanaged offering, the deployed instance of vRealize Automation can be turned over to the customer for management. In such an offering, the customer will be granted the role of Instructure and Tenant Administrator and can then assume management of the environment. The customer will then configure any additional Endpoints, Fabric and Business Groups, as well as the Blueprints and Entitlements that end users will consume from vRealize Automation.

 

Resource Consumption Options

Using the automated deployment method outlined above, it is possible to deploy a managed instance of vRealize Automation on a per-tenant basis where the customer can consume one or more endpoints through vRealize Automation. One of the endpoint options for service providers is the presentation of the customer’s vCloud Director OrgvDCs as an endpoint. While vRealize Automation is deployed in the customers’ existing OrgvDC and managed by the vCloud Air Network service provider, the customer will be able to leverage the unique self-service experience of vRealize Automation for users that simply require access to pre-built templates with additional custom service Blueprints created by the administrators with the “XaaS Architect” role.

Tenant Consumption2

Of course, this is not the only way that vRealize Automation can be leveraged. Another deployment option is to leverage a vCloud Air Network service provider managed vRealize Automation instance to consume a Hosted vSphere IaaS deployment that is also maintained by the vCloud Air Network service provider. In this model, the customer reaps the benefits of having the infrastructure fully managed by the vCloud Air Network service provider while having access to a hosted solution that matches the same technology and tools they are familiar with in their on-premises data centers.

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Conclusion

Deploying vRealize Automation with a vCloud Air Network service provider offers a method for deployment of a private cloud for customers that need the quick deployment of the CMP with limited day-to-day management of the solution. vCloud Air Network service providers can help customers realize an expedited time to value with vRealize Automation on top of their VMware validated infrastructure, providing increased uptime and an environment that is similar to the one their customers run in their on-premises data centers today. For more details on this and other vCloud Air Network solutions, visit the VMware vCloud® Architecture Toolkit™ site.