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vRealize Automation 7 Installation – minimal deployment

vRealize Automation 7 Installation – minimal deployment

Ones might find it quite difficult to installa new product for the first time. Even though they installed previous version in the past (or particularly because of that!) That’s due to changes in requirements or event different structures of wizard form which requires information in different format. E.g domain administator accound in one version is required in administrator@domain.local format whils in other installation it accepts only domain\administrator format.

Thanks to that I’m going to provide the list of basic steps to install vRealize Automation 7 in minimal deployment.

I assume that you have successfully deployed the vRA appliance and prepared IaaS VM.

  1. I suggest to perform the initial configuration from IaaS VM which will be helpful during IaaS components installation during the process. After accessing the vRA appliance console at port 5480 providing default password, the wizard will start. At this stage you can choose the deployment type. Below you can see description of enterprise deployment. I will choose minimal deployment for now, though. It’s

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2. Now it’s high time to prepare IaaS server for installation of IaaS components. In vRA 7.x it is much more simplier and faster process. You simply need to install the agent to let the wizard  discover the server and perform necessary steps then.vrainstall4

3. Here you can see that the server is discovered and you can move forward.vrainstall5

4. Next step is to check all the prerequisities and fix them if necessary.vrainstall6

5. Here you can see that there is a lot work to do on a freshly  installed Windows Server.vrainstall7

6. Furtunatelly the wizard will do the job by itself. That’s the time for short break 😉 It takes approximately 15 minutes to perform all steps.vrainstall87. When all tasks are done you can re-run the verification script to confirm that everything is fine and move to the next step.

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8. Provide the FQDN of vRA VM.vrainstall10

9. Here you are going to create a password which will be used by the system administrator account.

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10. Next step is to provide IaaS information, and here is the time to use domain\username format for IaaS Administrator account which should have local admin rights assigned.vrainstall12

11. Here you are going to provide information about the database server. I highly recommend to create new database. Keep in mind that IaaS administrator name which you provided in the previous step must have Sysadmin rights on Database Server. Without that the process will go forward. It will fail during the ending installation step, though. 
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12. For minimal or PoC deployment you can simply leave default values here.vrainstall15

13. The same as previous steps, leave it without changing. Just note the exact agent name which will be required during endpoint creation.vrainstall16

14. Provide the information for vRA self-signed certificates, untill you want to use custom ones.vrainstall17

15.  Provide the information for Web self-signed certificates, untill you want to use custom ones.

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16. Provide information for Manager service certificate.vrainstall19

17. Run the validation which might take about 10 minutes.
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18. Now it’s the time for some kind of backup in case something went wrong. I suggest to take snapshot of IaaS server just in case. Even though validation stage was completed successfully there are some issues which could happen during installation. (I’ve faced a failed installation due to lack of appropriate database permissions)vrainstall22

19. Next just start the installation.
vrainstall2320. If you didn’t miss anything your installation should be successfull 🙂
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21. Next you should provide the license key.vrainstall26

22. Deselect the VMware CEIP agreement checkbox.vrainstall27

23. You can also provide the password for initial config content. It’s expecially usefull in case of PoC installation. By clicking Create Initial Content button a blueprint for default automation on basic vRA configuration will be created and published in default tenant service catalog.

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24. After that you can will see the installation confirmation. Now you can start the play and begin the jurney with you vRA!
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Howto – Using Gmail as an Email server in vRalize Automation

Howto – Using Gmail as an Email server in vRalize Automation

Sometimes it is not possible to use corporation e-mail or deploy dedicated e-mail server expecially when it comes to a lab environment (and you are a little bit lazy like me to do it ;)). A workaround which I found is to configure my personal/fictional accounts profided by Gmail. It is more than enough in case you just want to see how notification or approval workflows work. It might not be enough if you want to deploy a little big bigger deployent with a few Business Groups and users, though. Of course there are plenty of other ways or small mail servers which you can deploy in a few minutes. I find gmail much more intuitive, though.

Anyway I’m going to show you how should Inbound and Outbound servers configurations look like.

Keep in mind the the outboud server is used to send notifications from vRA to users/managers etc. Inbound server is used to receive special kinds of notification by vRA from users. For instance when you are a Business Group Manager and you want to approve a request via e-mail without opening you vRA portal you can simply answer to the e-mail notification you received by clicking the hyperlink provided in that message. In this case you need to Inbound server configured.

Outboud Email configuration:

outbound

Inbound Email configuration:

Inbound

 

Note. Be aware that you have to change restiction policy on you Gmail account – you will receive an e-mail with detailed steps displaying the setting to change it after you click Test Connection in vRA’s e-mail configuration window.

PowerCLI – useful tools

PowerCLI – useful tools

VMware PowerCLI is a powerful tool for daily task for every Admin. The pure console is most commonly used. However, there are a few alternatives to the simple console which could make the use of PowerCLI even more handy. I’ll describe them shortly in the next a few lines.

  1. Powershell ISE script editor, which provides a better user experience. It’s divided into two panes. The upper pane  is for viewing/editing script files, and the lower pane is for running individual commands and displaying their output (an analog of the standard PowerShell console).ISEYou can execute PowerCLI commands in the lower pane of PowerShell ISE or in the PowerShell console. It will be usefull also during the first steps with PowerCLI through analysing of some ready downloaded from Internet scripts.The most convenient way to do is to open a script in the upper pane of Powershell ISE. In this way you can select each individual command and executee by pressing F8 or “Run Selection” button. When the command execution is finished you will see “Completed” message at the bottom of the console.
  2. PowerGUI – it’s another script editor made by Quest Software which was acquired by Dell. powerguiIMHO it’s better organised than PowerShell ISE, the functions are rather simillar. However, instead of tabs with your scripts here you will be able to see the whole folder-tree with different kinds of scripts. It’s really helpful when you work with more than a few scripts.
VMware Auto Deploy Configuration in vSphere 6.5

VMware Auto Deploy Configuration in vSphere 6.5

 

 

 

The architecture of auto deploy has changed in vSphere 6.5, one of the main difference is the ImageBuilder build in vCenter and the fact that you can create image profiles through the GUI instead of PowerCLI. That is really good news for those how is not keen on PowerCLI. But let’s go throgh the new configuration process of Auto Deploy. Below I gathered all the necessary steps to configure Auto Deploy in your environment.

  1. Enable Auto Deploy services on vCenter Server. Move to Administration -> System Configuration -> Related Objects, look for and start fallowing services:
  • Auto Deploy
  • ImageBuilder Service

You can change the startup type to start them with the vCenter server automatically as well.

Caution! In case you do not see any services like on the screan below, probably vmonapi and vmware-sca services are stopped.ad1

To start them, log in to vCenter Server through SSH and use fallowing commands:

#service-control  – -status         // to verify the status of these services

#service-control  – -start vmonapi vmware-sca       //to start services

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Next, go back to Web Client and refresh the page.

 

  1. Prepare the DHCP server and configure DHCP scope including default gateway. A Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) scope is the consecutive range of possible IP addresses that the DHCP server can lease to clients on a subnet. Scopes typically define a single physical subnet on your network to which DHCP services are offered. Scopes are the primary way for the DHCP server to manage distribution and assignment of IP addresses and any related configuration parameters to DHCP clients on the network.

When basic DHCP scope settings are ready, you need to configure additional options:

  • Option 066 – with the Boot Server Host Name
  • Option 067 – with the Bootfile Name (it is a file name observed at Auto Deploy Configuration tab on vCenter Server – kpxe.vmw-hardwired)

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  1. Configure TFTP server. For lab purposes I nearly always using the SolarWinds TFTP server, it is very easy to manage. You need to copy the TFTP Boot Zip files available at Auto Deploy Configuration page observed in step 2 to TFTP server file folder and start the TFTP service.

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At this stage when you are try to boot you fresh server should get the IP Address and connect to TFTP server. In the  Discovered Hosts tab of Auto Deploy Configuration you will be able to see these host which received IP addresses and some information from TFTP server, but no Deploy Rule has been assigned to them.

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  1. Create an Image Profile.

Go to Auto Deploy Configuration page -> Software Depots tab  and Import Software Depot

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Click on Image Profiles so see the Image Profiles that are defined in this Software Depot.

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The ESXi software depot contains the image profiles and software packages (VIBs) that are used to run ESXi. An image profile is a list of VIBs.

 

Image profiles define the set of VIBs to boot ESXi hosts with. VMware and VMware partners make image profiles and VIBs available in public depots. Use the Image Builder PowerCLI to  examine the depot and the Auto Deploy rule engine to specify which image profile to assign to which host. VMware customers can create a custom image profile based on the public image profiles and VIBs in the depot and apply that image profile to the host.

 

  1. Add Software Depot.

Click on Add Software Depot icon and add custom depot.

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Next point in the newly created custom software depot select Image Profiles and click  New Image Profile.

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I selected the minimum required VIBs to boot ESXi host which are:

  • esx-base 6.5.0-0.0.4073352 VMware ESXi is a thin hypervisor integrated into server hardware.
  • misc-drivers 6.5.0-0.0.4073352 This package contains miscellaneous vmklinux drivers
  • net-vmxnet3 1.1.3.0-3vmw.650.0.0.4073352 VMware vmxnet3
  • scsi-mptspi 4.23.01.00-10vmw.650.0.0.4073352 LSI Logic Fusion MPT SPI driver
  • shim-vmklinux-9-2-2-0 6.5.0-0.0.4073352 Package for driver vmklinux_9_2_2_0
  • shim-vmklinux-9-2-3-0 6.5.0-0.0.4073352 Package for driver vmklinux_9_2_3_0
  • vmkplexer-vmkplexer 6.5.0-0.0.4073352 Package for driver vmkplexer
  • vsan 6.5.0-0.0.4073352 VSAN for ESXi.
  • vsanhealth 6.5.0-0.0.4073352 VSAN Health for ESXi.
  • ehci-ehci-hcd 1.0-3vmw.650.0.0.4073352 USB 2.0 ehci host driver
  • xhci-xhci 1.0-3vmw.650.0.0.4073352 USB 3.0 xhci host driver
  • usbcore-usb 1.0-3vmw.650.0.0.4073352 USB core driver
  • vmkusb 0.1-1vmw.650.0.0.4073352 USB Native Driver for VMware

But the list could be different for you.

 

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  1. Create a Deploy Rule.

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  1. Activate Deploy Rule

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  1. That’s it, now you can restart you host, it should boot and install according to your configuration now.
VMware Auto Deploy considerations

VMware Auto Deploy considerations

According to VMware definitione vSphere Auto Deploy can provision hundreds of physical hosts with ESXi software. You can specify the image to deploy and the hosts to provision with the image. Optionally, you can specify host profiles to apply to the hosts, a vCenter Server location (datacenter, folder or cluster), and assign a script bundle for each host. In short that is the tool to automate your ESXi deployment or upgrade.

As far as I know in particular on the Polish market it is not a widely used tool. However, it can be helpful for Integrator’s Companies to improve and make far more faster deployment of new environments. Furthermore, VMware claims the scripted or automated deployments should be used for every deployment with 5 or more hosts. Nonetheless, even if you are woring as a System Engineer or  at other implementation position I believe you are not installing new deployments every week..If that is every month – lucky you.

Well, is it really worth to prepare the AutoDeploy environment to deploy for instance 8 new hosts? – It depends.

IMHO, for such small deployments if you are really keen on making it a little bit fater the better way is to use kickstarts scripts. It can be much faster, expecially in case you are using them at least from time to time and you have prepared a good template (According the vSphere 6.5 I’m changing my mind a little bit due to changes which make AutoDpeloy preparation far more quicker)

However, Auto Deploy that’s not only deployment. It can be a kind of environment and change management. That can only be a specific kind of infrastructure where you use AutoDeploy to boot ESXi hosts instead of booting from local hard drives/SD cards.

Nevertheless, in Polands it is easier to meet classic PXE deployment booting from SAN than AutoDeploy. Is it the same trend seen around the world?

I am looking forward to hearing from you about yours experience with Auto Deploy.

VMware PowerCLI – Introduction

VMware PowerCLI – Introduction

To begin the jurney with PowerCLI we need to start from the installation of PowerCLI itself.

The installation can be done on a Windows based system, that could be some kind of an administration server. The installation files can be found on this VMware site.

There are a few versions available, they are released asynchronously with vSphere and the version numbers do not exactly correspond to vSphere versions. The most recent version is 6.5 whilst there are other like 6.3, 6.0 or 5.8 available.

Before you install the PowerCLI I recommend to change the Execution Policy of Powershell. It is required to run scripts. To do it, run Windows PowerShell as administrator and execute fallowing command:

Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned

The installation process is really straightforward, that’s why I will not spam the screanshoots of installations here.

After you finish the installation you can run it and see the first Welcome screen like this:

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The first command I suggest to use is:

Get-VICommand

it lists all the available commands. However to display any information about virtual infrastructure you need to connect to a vCenter server or ESXi host. We will do it in the next part after introduction of useful tools which can be used in conjunction with PowerCLI.

PowerCLI course

PowerCLI course

I was always keen on getting deeper knowledge about PowerCLI or in other words – start to use it in daily administrative tasks. I decided to do something with it and I think it would be the best way to write my own guide in a form of structured notes and share it here with you. Perhaps someone would find it useful.

Therefore in PowerCLI & VMA tab you could find an agenda of this course which will be systematically updated with next parts.

There are planned fallowing parts:

  1. VMware PowerCLI – Introduction
  2. Useful Tools
  3. Basic commands to generate and export reports
  4. Monitoring VMs with PowerCLI
  5. Managing VMs using PowerCLI
  6. Managing multiple VMs based on their tags
  7. Monitoring ESXi hosts with PowerCLI
  8. Managing ESXi hosts using PowerCLI
  9. Managing virtual networks using PowerCLI
  10. Managing Cluster-wide settings using PowerCLI
  11. Complete ESXi configuration with a single script

 

If you have any sugestions what else should be included in such course, do not hesitate to contact me via comments.