Browse Category

vRealize Automation 8

VMware vRealize Automation 8

Upgrading vRA (vRealize Automation) to 8.3

In this post i will go over upgrading my 8.2 vRA appliance to 8.3. As a pre requirement we do need to have vRSLCM (vRealize Lifecycle Manager) upgraded to 8.3. Instructions can be found here

To get started we can go to vRealize Lifecycle Manager -> Lifecycle Operations -> Settings -> Binary Mapping. (If you havent added your My VMware credentials you will need to do that first by going to vRealize Lifecycle Manager -> Lifecycle Operations -> Settings -> My VMware)

Click on Add Binaries under Product Binaries

Select My VMware and click on Discover

We can see a list of binaries that have been discovered. We can select what we need and click on Add

This will create a request and start downloading the package. To view the progress we can click on the Click Here hyperlink

Click on the in Progress button to view the details

We now have to wait for the download to complete

After the download is complete we can go to Environments -> View Details on the environment that includes vRA

Click on Upgrade

An Inventory sync is recommended if the environment has changed since LCM performed the last sync. We trigger the sync from the UI or click on Proceed to continue

Select product Version 8.3.0 and click Next. We can also review the compatibility matrix to make sure the environment is compatible.

Run the Precheck to make sure there are no errors

Once the check is complete, click on Next. Review the upgrade details and click on Next. We are taken to the progress screen where we can follow the progress.

The system will get rebooted and once its back up we will be on 8.3

Deploying SaltStack Config via Lifecycle Manager in a VRA environment

Assuming that you already downloaded the SaltStack Config binaries in this guide we will go over the deployment of SaltStack Config in an existing VRA 8.3 environment via Lifecycle Manager 8.3

Log on to Lifecycle Manager -> Go to environments, on the vRA environment click on the Menu and go to Add Product

Select the checkbox next to vRealize Automation SaltStack Config and click Next

Review the EULA, click on the agree box on the bottom of the page and click on next

Click on Select and select a vrealize or vra advanced\enterprise. Clieck on the validate button and click next

Select an existing certificate or click on the + sign and generate a new certificate. In my case i didnt have a certificate created so im going to create a new one. If you already have a certificate this step can be skipped.

Complete the fields and click on generate

Now the list is populated with the certificate we just created. Click Next

Select the infrastructure details and click on Next

Verify the network details and click next

If the tenant list is empty a sync of vra is required

To do this we can go to Environments. Dont worry the progress will be saved

View details

Click on submit

Once the sync is complete we can go back to requests

Under requests click on Pending Action

Complete the details and click next

Click on Run precheck in order to make sure everything is in a working order

If everything looks good click on Next

Verify the summary and click on Submit

LCM will go through everything needed to. As we can see theres allot of steps that otherwise would need to perform manually

Get a cup of coffee and wait. In my case it took about 13 minutes for the installation to finish

Deploying vRA 8.3 using the Easy Installer

In this guide i will go over the deployment of vRA 8.3 using the Easy Installer. The reason i like the Easy Installer is because it deploys everything that i need. vIDM, Lifecycle Manager as well as vRA.

To get started we need to download the installer from here.

Once downloaded mount the iso as a drive using your favorite tool or extract it as a archive using something like 7-zip

Once mounted go to the CDROM in the mac directory if on mac or win32 if you are on windows. In here run the installer file

We will be presented with the following window:

The migration option allows us to migrate from from vRSLCM 2.1 to 8.3, it can migrate Datacenter and vCenters, all existing environments, DNS, SNMP, NTP, My VMware, proxy details, migration of vIDM installation as well as Blackstone Content endpoints. For the purpose of this guide we will process with the Install option

Once we click Install we will be presented with an Introduction of what components will be included part on the installation. In my case i can see vRealize Automation 8.3, Lifecycle Manager 8.3, Identity Manager 3.3.4.

Click Next, Review, accept the agreement and click next

Provide the vCenter details and click next. In my case i used the administrator account. A detailed list of permissions needed for deployment can be found here

Sections 4, 5, 6 and 7 are straight foward so i will skip them

In section 8 select a password that will be used across all products for the local usernames. ex for LCM root and local admin, vIDM admin, sshuser, root etc

Select a VM name for the Lifecycle Manager appliance and its ip credentials. If you are expecting a large repository in lifecycle manager we can add additional disk under the Increase Disk Size in GB section.

The FIPS Mode compliance option enforces FIPS compliance, however keep in mind that with the FIPS mode enabled there are limitation on what the product can do. This can be disabled later and re enabled as needed.

Complete the fields and click next

The next portion is vIDM. In case there is an existing vIDM appliance in the environment we can also import and existing vIDM appliance. In my case i will deploy a new one.

One important option under vIDM is the Sync Group Members to the Directory When Adding Group. When enabled, members of the groups are synced when groups are added from Active Directory. When this is disabled, group names are synced to the directory, but members of the group are not synced until the group is entitled to an application or the group name is added to an access policy. Note: Post deployment this value cannot be changed from vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager. To update this field post deployment, navigate to VMware Identity Manager

My configuration page looks like this:

The next section is the vRA Configuration. In here we have a couple of options. We can perform a standard 1 node deployment or a cluster deployment which includes 3 appliances. The FIPS Compliance mode enables FIPS compliance. Unlike LCM this mode cannot be disabled after the deployment. This disables a number of options in vRA from an LCM perspective. Please make sure that its only enabled if required.

The advanced configuration at the bottom of the page includes the option to change the internal Kubernetes cluster and Service ip range. This is useful if the default range is already in use on the internal network. We want to make sure we pick an ip range thats not used somewhere else in order to avoid conflicts. Once complete click next

The next page gives us a summary of our deployment and we can click submit to start the deployment.

Next we are presented with the installation process. We can follow it along, in my environment the full deployment took about 1.5 hrs

After the install is complete we are presented to links for the different services

Next i would recommend LCM certificate management found here

Creating a customized Snapshot as a Day 2 Action in vRA 8.2

I wanted to give my users the capability to create a snapshot but limit them to only 1 snapshot and have a predefined description from the snapshot so i can know that it was taken from vRA.

For the purpose of this i will be using a customer workflow in Orchestrator and Resource Actions and in Cloud Assembly.

Since Orchestrator comes with a number of pre defined workflows in always like to jump start by find something thats similar with what im trying to do. For the purpose of this we will be using the Create Snapshot Workflow.

To get started we can go to Orchestrator -> Workflows -> search for Create a snapshot. Once found we can click on Actions -> Duplicate

We can see that a Copy has been created. We will modify this so it can fit the custom specifications required.

Click on Open on the Copy:

Change the name to something more meaningful like VM Snapshot

Click on Variables, select all the variables and click Delete

Click on New, give it a title like errMachineHasSnapshot and a value thatw ill displayed if a VM has an existing snapshot like The virtual machine already has a snaphost. Please delete this snapshot before trying this action again. Click Create

Click on the Schema tab and delete the existing items by clicking on the red x on the top right corner

Drag and drop from the left a Decision, throw exception and a workflow element in to the canvas

I named the first step VM Has Snapshot?. Under inputs i added vm. It would look like the screenshot below

Under the javascript we will be using this code

    var snapshots = System.getModule("com.vmware.library.vc.vm.snapshot").getAllSnapshotsOfVM(vm) ;  
    if (snapshots == null || snapshots.length == 0) {  
      // No snapshots found; proceed with creating a new one  
      return true;  
    } else {  
      // Found at least one snapshot; end the workflow  
      return false;  
    } 

The error handling Exception Handling we will be using the previously created errMachineHasSnapshot

The workflow element should look like this after selecting the Workflow Create a snapshot

The next step is to fix the inputs. We will be removing the Choose the VM tab by clicking on the x

We will be replacing the first item with vm and the display type

It should look like this:

In the end we should have the following:

Next go to Actions and click on New Action

Give it a Name and a Module name

Under Script type in

var allVms = VcPlugin.getAllVirtualMachines();
for (var I in allVms) {
    if (allVms[I].name === name) {
        return allVms[I];
    }
}
return null;

Under the Return type enter VC:VirtualMachine. Under the Inputs type in name and click Create on the bottom left

Once were done we can save it and move on to Cloud assembly to create the resource action

Go to Cloud Assembly -> Design -> Resource Actions click on new resource action

In the name field type something like CustomSnapshot, Display name VM Snapshot, give a description and toggle the activate switch to on

Under Resource type click on add pick Cloud.vSphere.Machine

Under Workflow click Add and pick VM Snapshot

In the Property Binding pick getVmByName action and under string enter ${properties.resourceName}

On the bottom click on edit request parameters

click on vm and change the Label to Reason and Display type to DropDown

Under Values Type in the options that you want to have shown Separated by , ex: Patching,New Release

Under Constraints make it as required by Picking Yes in the required field

The other fields and options can be modified as needed

Once everything is saved we can test out the Day 2 action by going to an existing deployment and trying to create a snapshot. We can see in the menu an additional option all the way to the bottom:

When choosing the option we can see the custom form that we filled in earlier

Extracting SSL Thumbprint

I recently ran in to an issue where i had to re-register my NSX server with vIDM.

The ask was to extract the Thumbprint from vIDM. The command i ran to extract it was:

echo -n | openssl s_client -connect hostname:443 2>/dev/null | openssl x509 -noout -fingerprint -sha256

This can be used across multiple products where the Thumbprint needs to be extracted

Change or update vRealize Automation 8 License key

After a recent deployment of VRA 8 with a trial key in my lab i realized that my key was about to expire. It was time to get it changed with my production key. The key can be changed via Lifecycle Manager or via CLI.

Changing the vRealize Automation 8 License key via Lifecycle Manager

To change the license via lifecycle manager we need to go to Lifeycle Manager -> Locker -> License

In my case i already deleted the vra key. Next step is to click Add, give it a name and enter the new license key, click Validate and click Add

Alternatively Lifecycle Manager can download it from the my vmware account. Next we can go to Lifecycle Operations

We can find our Product under Environments -> View Details under the environment where the product is -> Select the product in this case VRA -> select options -> Add license

At the Select License windows select the new license we added and click finish. We are taken to the Request Details window and we can follow the progress

With that the license change is complete. We can follow the same process to change the license key for any of the other products that are managed by Lifecycle Manager

Changing the vRealize Automation 8 License key via CLI

The first step is to log in to the VRA appliance via ssh and run the “vracli license current” command. This will display the current installed license and its expiration date .

In order to replace the license we need to add the new license using “vracli license add new-license-key” then in order to remove it we need to run “vracli license remove old-license-key” . If we are unsure which license is active running the command “vracli license” will display all license keys installed.