vRA Walkthrough

A Brief Overview of an End-User's Experience in VMware vRealize Automation (vRA)

VMware vRealize Automation (vRA) is a useful platform for automation of all variety and manner of IT tasks.  In general, the aim is to take care of virtual machine, workload, and deployment lifecycle management.

Prior to deployment it may be beneficial to review the product layout and flows through the interface.

Logging In to vRealize Automation

For vRA 7.x, VMware “borrowed” the Workspace One product from the Horizon suite to replace the use of the Identity Appliance, based on the SSO product.

Because of this substitution, users are now greeted with the following login screen:

 

The vRealize Automation Home Screen

Upon logging in, users are immediately taken to the home screen, shown below:

vRA Home Screen

The home screen displays information in widgets called portlets.  These are customizable to a point.  Users can select the portlets they would like displayed, and change the layout of the portlets.  Beyond that, the content within each portlet is, save for the “Message Board,” not customizable.  The information is driven systematically from data within vRA.

Navigation Tabs

Once in the system, users will see a set of navigation tabs that correspond to role based access controls (RBAC) placed on their account.  Thus, a basic user will see less tabs than an administrative one.  There are numerous ways to cut permissions and roles in the system.  Visit the Permissions & Roles page for more information on that topic.

The available tabs are as follows:

  • Home – the basic home screen, showed upon first login.
  • Catalog – the self-service catalog users access to request IT services.
  • Items – shows a user’s previously provisioned services/VMs/deployments available to manage
  • Requests – shows a user’s previously issued requests, including saved ones, successes and failures.
  • Inbox – contains a list of all approval actions currently awaiting input from the user. In some cases a user may only use vRA as an approval authority and this may be the only tab they see apart from the Home tab.
  • Design – contains functionality for designing service blueprints, including the converged blueprint designer, software component designer, and the XaaS service blueprint designer.
  • Administration – owing to the separation of the vRA appliance and the IaaS services, this tab contains administrative functionality relating to the components handled by the vRA appliance.
  • Infrastructure – this tab contains administrative functions relating to components handled by the IaaS servers.
  • Containers – available only with vRA Enterprise, this tab brings you to the integrated VMware Admiral interface, which allows users to provision apps and app stacks using Docker containers. Note that this functionality is restricted by the license agreement and not strictly enforced by vRA.

vRealize Automatio's Self-Service Catalog

The catalog tab contains the list of requestable service offerings:

vRA Catalog

To request an item, the user clicks the Request button for the corresponding item:

vRA Catalog Item Request Button

The user then fills out the necessary information for the request, in this case, how many instances, and how much RAM and CPU per instance.  After clicking Submit, the user is given a submission successful screen:

vRA Request Submission Successful

Service Requests

The Requests tab contains a list of all previously submitted or saved requests.  Users can access this page to see the current progress or historical status of submitted requests.

vRA Requests Tab

The most recent request has been submitted and is in progress:

 

Users can click the Request Number to see more information about the request:

vRA Request Information

Items

A user’s list of previously provisioned items is displayed here.  Information about each is available and all actions against deployments and items can be performed from this section.  This includes things like destruction, power-on, power-off, reconfiguration, remote console access, and other custom day-2 actions.

vRA Items Tab

Users can click on the provisioned items to see more information and perform actions on the provisioned resource:

vRA Item Details