vRealize Automation is at its best when it can leverage multiple infrastructures to provide a hybrid cloud infrastructure. One of the things we might want to do is to set up VMware vCloud Air integration with your vRA instance.
To start, we need to have a vCloud Air account which you can currently sign up for with some initial credits to get you started for free. Once you’ve got an account you’ll be able to setup a VDC and will have some catalogs that you can build VMs from. If you’re concerned about these steps, don’t worry a default VDC including some storage and a network will be there for you by default.
Endpoints and Fabric Groups
Now we move over to the vRealize Automation console. The first thing we need to do is to create an endpoint. We go to Infrastructure –> Endpoints –> Endpoints and add a new endpoint of type vApp (Cloud) under the Cloud header.
We’ll be asked to enter information specific to our vCloud Air VPC. The first two items aren’t anything crucial, just a name and a description. You can make these anything that makes sense to you. The next entry is the address though. In order to find the Address information, go back to your VPC in vCloud Air and look at the URL. The URL will show something like https://REGIONNAME.vchs.vmware.com/api.compute. This is your Address!
The next line we have to enter information in for is the credentials item. This needs to be an account administrator so that it has permissions to spin up VMs, destroy them and connect the VM console. This may be the email address and password you setup your vCloud Air instance with, but you could add a new user in the vCloud Air portal if you wish.
Next we have to add the Organization. This is again found in the URL for your VDC. Go back to the VDC in your web browser and look for the “orgName” part of the URL. Copy everything after the “=” and up to the “&serviceInstanceId”.
When you’ve filled out the endpoint information it should look similar to the below screenshot. Click OK to finish your setup.
Now we run the data collection. Click the arrow next to your new endpoint and run the “Data Collection” in order to pull in all the information from the public cloud catalogs. Once the data collection has finished we can add a new Fabric Group. Go to Infrastructure –> Groups –> Fabric Groups and Add a new one. Fill out the name, description and the fabric administrators and then select the resources from your new Endpoint.
Now we add a reservation. To do this we go to Infrastructure –> Reservations –> Reservations and add a new vApp (vCloud) reservation. You’ll need to select the compute resource, a name for the reservation, the tenant to assign it to and a business group. You’ll also need to add a priority to this reservation in order for blueprints to decide which reservation to use first if multiple reservations exist.
On the resources tab you’ll need to select a storage path and an amount of storage assigned. You shouldn’t need to select a Memory reservation since it’s on demand and could be unlimited.
This part differs a bit from a traditional blueprint in vRealize Automation. Normally, a single blueprint is created an published. In this case, we need to create one blueprint that includes the component and another blueprint that includes this group of components.
Go to Infrastructure –> Blueprint –> Blueprints and add a new one by clicking “New Blueprint” and then selecting Cloud –> vApp Component (Cloud). I’ve skipped the first page and am assuming you can fill out the name and description stuff. On the “Build Information” screen we’ll fill information about our virtual machine template. Clone it and select the vAppCloneWorkflow for the provisioning workflow. Select the elipses to select which catalog to clone from. Don’t worry if you haven’t uploaded a custom catalog since there are public catalogs already. Enter the rest of the provisioning information and save the blueprint.
When you’re done, I found that I didn’t need to publish this blueprint or anything. In fact, even if it is published, it won’t show up in your vRA catalog items.
Now we add a second blueprint by going to “New Blueprint” and then selecting Cloud –> vApp (Cloud).
On the “Build Information” tab choose the “clone from” and select a catalog from vCloud Air. This will be the vApp stored in vCloud Air. Next we have to select the component blueprint that maps to this blueprint. In the Blueprint column of the Components table, select the vApp component we just created. This is done so that the vCloud Air vApp can be customized with additional settings like the number of Nics, storage devices etc. For further information please see the official documentation.
When the blueprint is done, you’ll need to publish it and then entitle it to your business group owners which is covered in a previous post.
Now you should be able to deploy your new workload and they’ll show up in vCloud Air and be managed by vRealize Automation.
It’s not too difficult to setup but the way it currently works with setting up multiple blueprints doesn’t seem very intuitive. I would like to see VMware make some modifications to the way these are provisioned but it does work and its certainly usable. Try it out yourself and see what you think.