vRealize Automation

What's New in VMware vRealize Automation 7.4

vRA 7.4 is a minor release, but brings some long awaited goodies to the table for vRA users that should help hold users over until the 8.0 release happens sometime in the future.

New features include expanded Solution Exchange content, the ability to deploy OVF templates as part of blueprints, Custom Request forms enabling control over the end-user request experience, and vRealize Orchestrator multi-tenancy leveraging vRA tenant authentication providers.

Integrating ServiceNow with the SDDC Stack

ServiceNow has become something of a de facto ticketing and IT service management (ITSM) system in large enterprise environments.  Many organizations are looking to achieve their self-service ITSM goals by making ServiceNow the single interface for as many functions as possible.

The reasons for this vary per organization, but the end-state goal can usually be broken down into one of the following outcomes: Single Pane of Glass, Enterprise Service and Ticketing System, andTicketing & Approval integration.

Initial vRealize Automation (vRA) Configuration Part 8 - Submit a Catalog Request

Now that a business group has been created with a reservation assigned, and which has been entitled to a blueprint in the catalog, we can test the configuration by verifying the item appears in the catalog for an entitled user, and we can verify the blueprint and reservation work correctly by requesting the item and ensuring it gets provisioned correctly.

Initial vRealize Automation (vRA) Configuration Part 7 - Create an Entitlement

Entitlements map a number of entitled catalog items, services, and actions to a single business group.  A business group cannot perform any actions, such as submitting a request, unless there is at least one entitlement mapping the business group to at least one catalog item.

Initial vRealize Automation (vRA) Configuration Part 6 - Create A Catalog Service

Catalog services are categories used to organize catalog items within the service catalog.  Business groups can be entitled to entire services or individual catalog items.  Creating services and assigning items to them can be an easy way to entitle multiple catalog items to one or more business groups, and if the catalog items within a service change at a later point, there is no need to update any entitlements including the service because they will change automatically as the service changes.

Initial vRealize Automation (vRA) Configuration Part 5 - Create A Blueprint

Blueprints are the mechanism by which repeatable service offerings are defined in vRealize Automation.  A blueprint contains information about the types of virtual machine instances, networks, resources, software, and XaaS blueprints required to create a service.  Once a blueprint has been defined, it must be published to the service catalog in order for it to be requestable by users.  A user can then request the blueprint, if they’re so entitled, to receive the service defined by the blueprint.

Initial vRealize Automation (vRA) Configuration Part 4 - Create A Reservation

Reservations represent slices of physical resources that have been assigned to a business group.  A reservation determines the mapping of the group to the physical resources and acts as a quota against that set of resources.  A business group can have more than one reservation assigned to it, but each reservation is only assigned to one business group.  Additionally, a single business group can be assigned more than one reservation on the same set of physical resources.  When a request is submitted, the system attempts to find a reservation that matches the request’s needs.  If one is found, the request continues to provisioning.  If one is not found, the request fails on the resource allocation step.

Initial vRealize Automation (vRA) Configuration Part 3 - Create A Business Group

Business groups represent mappings of LDAP user and group principals to logical business groupings within the vRealize automation product.  Business groups are used to define accesses and permissions to service catalog items, requests, and provisioned items.  A user can belong to more than one business group.  If a user does not belong to any business groups, they will be unable to log in; however, they do not have to have any permissions or entitlements to log in – they must simply be a member of at least one business group.

Initial vRealize Automation (vRA) Configuration Part 2 - Create A Fabric Group

Fabric groups are a security construct in vRealize Automation that define which administrators can control resources on a particular set of hardware/compute resources.  These resources might be vCenter clusters, or AWS regions, or other hypervisors and cloud resources.  Once an endpoint has been created and has collected data from the service it’s connecting to, the next step is to create or modify a fabric group to add permissions to those resources to be managed by users in vRealize Automation.  Before you can utilize the compute resources or create reservations against them, they must be managed by at least one fabric group.

Initial vRealize Automation (vRA) Configuration Part 1 - Endpoint Configuration

Endpoints enable external communications from vRealize Automation to other systems that perform various functions from virtual machine hosting and provisioning to networking & security and orchestration.

In this part of the initial configuration, we'll cover the creation of some of the main endpoints you'll likely encounter in a vRealize Automation deployment, including vCenter, NSX, vRealize Orchestrator, and vRealize Operations Manager (vROPS).

For this example vRA v7.3 is assumed.  vRO 7.3, NSX 6.4, and vROPS 6.6.1 are all assumed.

Understanding vRealize Automation (vRA) Data Objects and Relationships

There are many types of data objects under the hood in the vRealize Automation databases.  The intent of this section is to convey the purpose of the data objects and the relationships between them.  Doing so will help you understand how the data is structured, the order in which they must be created, and the purpose for creating them.