19-05-15

vRealise Automation – What I Learned This Week

As I mentioned previously, my new role has meant that I have to get up to speed on all things automation very quickly indeed. This week I have been spending all of my time getting to grips with vRA – it’s architecture, components, installation and design considerations (amongst other things). I’m not going to re-invent the wheel by writing my own install and config guide, there are a ton of brilliant resources out there already, so I’m going to link to them (more for my own reference than anything else I think).

I think the first thing is not to be fazed by putting together a small scale vRA setup. You just need three VMs to get started, and two of those are already built out for you as virtual appliances. Install in this order:-

  • Deploy SSO / ID appliance OVF and configure as appropriate (IP addresses, root passwords etc.)
  • Deploy vRA appliance OVF and configure as appropriate (IP addresses, root passwords etc)
  • Deploy IaaS stack on a Windows Server

To get started and before you install anything, I’d highly recommend watching the videos at virtualjad.com. They’re pretty bite size (generally 15-20 mins per video) and go through the install path and configuration. I managed to follow that quite easily, but I’ll be honest and say that the customisation stuff blew my brain. I’ll have to go back and re-watch that, it just could have been a bit of overload.

In terms of the actual installation, as the OVFs can be redeployed at any time, there’s no real worry about breaking those on initial installation. The Windows IaaS box should be snapshotted before running the main installation and make sure to run Brian Graf’s awesome pre-reqs PowerShell script to make sure all bits like Windows Server roles, Java and IIS is configured correctly. I did this by hand previously and it was torture.

Configure a service account and give it administrator permissions from vCenter down (I know this is bad practice, but we’re talking about a lab environment) and also give it access to SQL. Don’t create the vRA database, the IaaS installer will do this for you. Also, there is no need to configure an ODBC connection.

The install pre-req script does not appear to set the local security policy on the IaaS box, so you will need to add in your service account user to the “Log on Locally” and “Logon as a service” policies. You will get a warning from the IaaS installer if this has been missed, so don’t worry. If you get any 401 errors when browsing within the Infrastructure tab, double check your service account is a member of the local Administrators group.

Other Random Stuff

Can’t see the vCenter VM templates in the vRA interface? Ensure you have a network policy configured and mapped to the port group on the vCenter side, then you should see the templates when creating a blueprint. This one kept me going for hours.

Can’t see the Advanced Services designer? Follow this blog post and ensure you have a Service Architect role properly configured.

Can’t add a plug-in into the built in Orchestrator server on the vRA appliance? You need to start the vco-configurator service on the appliance. Thanks again to Ryan Kelly, who seems to have bumped his head on all the things I’ve seen so far and helped me fix it. Top man!

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