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Category: vRealize Orchestrator (vRO)

VMware vRealize Orchestrator also known as vRO or in the past vCO.

Upgrade to vRealize Orchestrator 7.5

How to upgrade vRealize Orchestrator 7.4 to vRealize Orchestrator 7.5 or to be more precise… migrate! Since the release of vRealize Orchestrator 7.5 a couple of weeks ago the update/upgrade option with the vamicli and appliance management interface is not available (to my surprise).

A quick introduction to how I got in that situation: In my Home Lab my main vRealize Orchestrator appliance is running version 7.4.0 and is responsible for some day-to-day Orchestration of my multiple environments.

Here is the official VMware statement about the upgrade option in vRealize Orchestrator 7.5. It can be found in the vRealize Orchestrator 7.5 release notes:

You can no longer upgrade to the Orchestrator appliance 7.5, you can only migrate to it.

vRealize Orchestrator 7.5 – Release notes

For the people that are is still running way older versions: Upgrading vRealize Orchestrator Appliance from version 5.5.x to 7.5 is not supported. You must upgrade your vRealize Orchestrator Appliance 5.5.x to 6.0.x first and then migrate to 7.5.

Environment

The following components were running in my environment and have been tested. Note: this part of my Lab environment is not running vRealize Automation. So I have not tested the migration with external vRO nodes in combination with vRealize Automation.

  • A single vCenter Server 6.5.0 Update 2 (with an embedded PSC)
  • A single vRealize Orchestrator 7.4.0 (external)

Scenarios

There are two options available. The first option is moving all data between the old and new vRealize Orchestrator. The second option is to migrate vRealize Orchestrator with the migration wizard. The second option is the one VMware recommends. The first option can be easier in some cases, some advantages are you retain your IP address, hostname and SSL certificates.

Both options are written down on this page.


vRO export data and redeploy

I have chosen for this scenario because this machine is only connected to a vCenter Server and can be reastablished very fast. Another reason is that the current vRO instance has been running since version vRO 7.0 and has been upgraded more than seven times in about 2.5 years. So a new clean install ain’t a bad thing!

Procedure:

  • Create a package in the vRealize Orchestrator Client with all your created workflows, actions and resource elements.
  • Save the package on a save place.
  • Remove the registration from vCenter Server (if they are connected). Workflows “Unregister a vCenter Server extension” & “Remove a vCenter Server instance“.
  • Poweroff the current vRO appliance.
  • Rename the appliance to %vm-name%.old (for example).
  • Deploy a new vRealize Orchestrator Appliance on the same IP address and FQDN.
  • Upgrade the virtual hardware.
  • Walkthrough the vRealize Orchestrator configuration wizard.
  • (Optional) install the SSL certificates.
  • Import the package.
  • Register with vCenter Server. Workflows “Add a vCenter Server instance” & “Register vCenter Orchestrator as a vCenter Server Extension“.

Screenshot(s):

vRealize Orchestrator 7.5 - Old and New
The old and new vRealize Orchestrator appliances inside the vSphere Web Client.


vRO Migration

The migration path is performed in the following way (the official documentation is extensive, the link is listed below). The migration is a good option for an Orchestrator that is connected to a lot of extensibility and has a lot of plugins installed. The biggest issue for me was the new IP address, FQDN and new certificates required.

Note: Migrations with vRealize Orchestrator Clusters are not described here. There are a couple of small items you need to check in the migration manual.

Prerequisites:

  • Your source Orchestrator is running at least version 6.X.
  • Make sure no workflows are running.
  • Stop the Orchestrator services on the source Orchestrator.
  • Make sure SSH is enabled on both the source and destination Orchestrator.
  • Make sure no firewall is blocking traffic for the migration.
  • Create backups from the source and destination Orchestrator.

Procedure:

  • Register a new vRealize Orchestrator appliance in your IPAM solution.
  • Deploy a new vRealize Orchestrator next to the currently running.
  • Upgrade Virtual Machine Hardware
  • Power-on the vRealize Orchestrator appliance.
  • (Optional) Install new SSL Certificates.
  • Navigate with a browser to the Appliance Management interface (https://%FQDN%:5480).
  • Login with the root credentials.
  • Navigate to the migrate tab.
  • Insert the required information.
  • Start the validate and start the migration.

Source: Migrating vRealize Orchestrator – vRealize Orchestrator 7.5

Screenshot(s):

The Migrate Tab in the Appliance Management Interface
The Migrate Tab in the Appliance Management Interface

Note

Do not forget to configure and/or check the following items after a upgrade or migration:

  • Timezone configuration (Appliance Mangement Interface)
  • NTP server configuration (Appliance Management Interface)

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vRO Master Class Livefire Experience

This week we (Vincent van Vierzen and myself) attended the vRO Master Class that was offered to us by our employee ITQ. It is a three-day course on-site in the VMware UK HQ in Staines. The class was attended by seventeen people from all over the EMEA region. Keep in mind: the Livefire courses are only available to VMware employees and VMware partners. The information shared at the Livefire is protected by the VMware NDA, so no information is covered here that will break the NDA.

By the way, what is vRO you might think? That is VMware vRealize Orchestrator (vRO) a video about the vRealize Orchestrator can be found here.

VMware vRO LiveFire - Featured Image

vRO Master Class Experience

Before we went to the vRO Master Class course we didn’t know what to expect. A couple of questions that went through our heads were: What would the expected technical level be? What items would be discussed and explained? Is it a theoretical or hands-on course? 

On the first day, we got access to a dedicated HOL environment that has been build for the vRO Master Class and the vRealize Orchestrator history and architecture is explained. There was also a lot of talk about the new and coming features for vRealize Automation (vRA) and vRealize Orchestrator (vRO).

Day two was about Dynamic Types and the APIs available in vRealize Automation & vRealize Orchestrator. Christophe explained some projects he has done and blogged on his one website. There was just a lot of information available first hand.

Day three was about vRealize Orchestrator best practices. The best practices slides were extensive and were covering all the aspects. Examples were workflow performance and troubleshooting. They also covered workflow and action development. In the afternoon Spas covered the integration with Microsoft PowerShell and his first-hand experience.

The vRO Master Class course covered the following use cases that were relevant for in the real world:

  • Create a bunch of VMs (vCenter plug-in)
  • Resume a failed workflow
  • Leverage the vAPI
  • Create a Dynamic Types plug-in from scratch
  • Create a plug-in with the Dynamic Types plug-in generator
  • Extend the vRealize Automation Lifecycle with Event Broker
  • vRA 7.4 – Create a blueprint with an IP input field (Custom Forms & Iaas plug-in)
  • vRA 7.3 – Create a blueprint with an IP input field (CBP, XaaS, vRA CAFE & IaaS plug-in)
  • Leverage Dynamic Types Microsoft DNS plug-in with XaaS and XaaS Blueprint components
  • Create scalable Photon Swarm Blueprint
  • Use vRA Scalable XaaS components
  • Simple Database Integration (SQL Plug-in)
  • Using PowerShell Credential Delegation in vRO
  • Leverage Guest Operations with Script Manager
  • Use the vRO REST API

As consultants, we were also interested in vCloud Director use cases and real-world examples but they will be included in the new vRO Master Class in 2019. So in case you are going for vCD stuff wait for 2019.



Livefire instructors

The following instructors can be available for the vRO Master Class. We were lucky to have Spas Kaloferov and Christophe Decanini available for the three days. Here is an overview of the vRO Master Class instructors:

Final word

The vRO Master Class is really focused on vRealize Orchestrator. You have to be a vRO guy definitely to join this class. We think it is a good thing that there is a course available that is purely focused on vRO because VMware Education is more or less focused on the entire CMP.

The instructors were really qualified and experts on vRealize Orchestrator. Christophe is one of the original Dunes Technologies employees that came over to VMware when the product was acquired in 2007. He knows all the ins and outs about the Orchestrator product and the history related to chooses that have been made over time.

The balance between talking about the material and spending time in the lab environment could be improved. The course should be extended with an additional day to a total of four days (at least). This will bring the course more into balance and it introduces more time for the attendees to spend time on the labs and get more hands-on experience out of the course.



Sources

Here is a list of interesting sources related to the vRO Master Class course:

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ITQ Lightboard Session about vRealize Orchestrator (vRO)

ITQ-Logo

I’m happy to announce that as of today my lightboard session about VMware vRealize Orchestrator (vRO) is online. The guys at ITQ (the company I work for) build a lightboard to record lightboard sessions. So I decided to record a session to help people getting started with automation and introduced to the vRealize Orchestrator.

The session is called “Mischa Buijs explains the benefits of vRealize Orchestrator“. In the session, I explain a basic use case to automate virtual machine provisioning and integrate with external systems like Microsoft Active Directory and a storage array with an SSH interface.

The Storyline Lightboard Session:

Here is an overview of the storyline that I am presenting in the video:

  • Step 01: We are using the REST API integration in vRO for communicating with VMware NSX-V to provision a new virtual network (Logical Switch).
  • Step 02: We need storage to provide space for a new virtual machine. So we are leveraging the SSH integration in vRO to create a new volume on the storage array. This can be for example a NetApp FAS array or a FreeNAS virtual appliance.
  • Step 03: Let’s use vCenter to format the new datastore with VMFS, so it can be used by the ESXi Hosts. 
  • Step 04: Than again we are using the vCenter integration to mount the new volume on an entire vSphere Cluster so let’s say, ten ESXi hosts.
  • Step 05: We also use the vCenter integration to build a new virtual machine.
  • Step 06: Now it is time to leverage PowerShell to create a new computer account in Active Directory.
  • Step 07: The last step is with PowerShell, now we are creating forward and reverse DNS records on the Windows DNS Server.

ITQ YouTube Channel

At ITQ we created a lot of recordings the last couple of months. For all the videos go to the ITQ YouTube channel.

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VMworld 2018 US Announcements

VMworld 2018 US - Featured Images

This blog post is dedicated to the VMworld 2018 US announcements. In the post, you will find the articles, links and highlights. VMworld 2018 US is an event that is organized by VMware. The US version is a five-day event that is held in Las Vegas. It takes place from 26 August to 30 August 2018. This page will be updated multiple times to coming days to add additional information and the latest announcements.

Please reply underneath this blog post if you have some additional information. This can also be additional links or blogs posts.

VMworld 2018 US – Product Announcements

In this chapter are all the product announcements. I can tell you there are a lot of announcements made at VMworld 2018.

vRealize Automation (vRA) 7.5

One the first day of VMworld 2018 US vRealize Automation 7.5 was announced.

The key highlights are:

  • Easy to Operate
    • Modernized vRealize Automation/vRealize Orchestrator(vRO) UI
    • Closed Loop Optimization with vRealize Operations
    • Enterprise-ready ServiceNow plugin
    • NSX-T On-premises Support
  • Built to Support Developers
    • Configuration Management with Ansible Tower
    • Kubernetes Cluster Management with VMware Pivotal Container Services (PKS)
  • Helps Embrace Multi-Cloud
    • AWS Enhancements
    • Azure Enhancements
    • Google Cloud Enhancements

Links:



vRealize Operations Manager (vROPS) 7.0

On the first day of VMworld 2018 US vRealize Operations Manager 7.0 was announced.

The key highlight are:

  • Enhanced User Interface
  • Automating Performance Based on Business and Operational Intent
  • Automated Host Based Placement, Driven by Business Intent
  • Capacity Analytics Enhanced with Exponential Decay and Calendar Awareness
  • Plan Capacity across Private Cloud and VMware Cloud on AWS
  • Simplified Dashboard Creation and Sharing
  • vRealize Operations AWS Management Pack Update
  • Other Miscellaneous Enhancements
    • Workload Right-sizing to avoid performance bottlenecks and reclaim over-allocated resources
    • Built-in vSphere config & compliance: PCI, HIPAA, DISA, FISMA, ISO, CIS
    • Ability to extend to the entire data center and cloud with updated management packs for Storage, vRO, Kubernetes, Federation etc.
    • vSAN performance, capacity, and troubleshooting including support for stretched clusters and through vRealize Operations plug-in in vCenter
    • Wavefront integration for application operations

Links:


vRealize Log Insight (vRLI) 4.7

On the first day of VMworld 2018 US vRealize Log Insight 4.7 was announced.

The key highlights are:

  • Security Improvements
    • Detailed verification of certificate when adding it to vRLI both from UI and REST API
    • Ability to retrieve current certificate details both from UI and REST API
    • LIAGENT_SSL_CA_PATH environment variable
  • Usability Enhancements
    • vCenter Integration now relies on user-provided hostname instead of trying to resolve it
    • Ability to choose the content packs, the fields of which should be dynamically extracted in the query result in Interactive Analytics
    • Improvements in the REST API
    • UI/UX improvements and bug fixes

Links:


vRealize Network Insight (vRNI) 3.9

On the first day of VMworld 2018 US vRealize Network Insight 3.9 was announced.

The key highlights are:

  • Plan micro-segmentation and get visibility for NSX Data Center, including NSX-T
  • Enhanced security for service access with Multi-factor Authentication
  • Custom dashboard support for Cisco ASA firewall and enhancements to Checkpoint Firewall support
  • Many customers are now using VMware Network Insight as a service, and customers based in Europe now also have the option of using the VMware Network Insight service hosted out of London, UK.

Links:


vCloud Director (vCD) 9.5

Just a couple of days before VMworld 2018 US vCloud Director 9.5 was announced:

The key highlights are:

  • Cross-site networking improvements powered by deeper integration with NSX
  • Initial integration with NSX-T
  • Full transition to an HTML5 UI for the cloud consumer
  • Improvements to role-based access control
  • Natively integrated data protection capabilities, powered by Dell-EMC Avamar
  • vCD virtual appliance deployment model

Links:


vSphere Platinum

On the first day of VMworld 2018 US, a new vSphere edition was announced. The product is called vSphere Platinum and it has a tight integration with VMware AppDefense.

The key highlights are:

  • Benefits for vSphere Admins
    • Gain visibility into the intent of each virtual machine, and a detailed inventory of application assets and context.
    • Understand how applications behave and be alerted to potential issues and deviations.
    • Shrink the attack surface and reduce the risk of security compromise.
      Establish a simple and powerful way to collaborate with security, compliance and application teams.
    • Get better visibility and protection with a simple, light-weight and scalable security solution, with no agents to manage, and minimal overhead.
    • Use what you already own, understand, and run in your data center – vSphere – with its unique visibility, automation and isolation qualities.
    • Play a larger and critical role in the security of your entire IT environment – Be the Security Hero!
  • Benefits for Security Teams
    • Better visibility and situational awareness of application behaviours, and virtual machine purpose.
    • Faster detection, analysis, and time to response – quickly understand attacks and make fast decisions using application context and scope.
    • Enhance existing security tools and support compliance efforts through contextual visibility and alerts into application communications and deviations.
    • Lower false positives – integrated behavioural analytics and machine learning offer a more precise method to identify and respond to threats.
    • Big data correlation for better identification and context using cloud SaaS model.
    • Security as an agile business enabler – support DevOps environment through continuous learning and protection.
    • Easily Coordinate with vSphere Admins and Application teams for better security while respecting existing workflows & maintaining separation of duties.
  • Secure Applications
    • VMware AppDefense – Protects the integrity of applications running on vSphere, using machine learning to monitor against threats and automate responses. AppDefense locks down the guest operating system for all applications, the VMware application stack and third-party applications.  To accomplish this, AppDefense gathers inventory data on virtual machines and applications from vCenter Server, development tools, and automation frameworks and applies machine learning to discover the intended state and establish the known good behaviours for the application and machine.  Any deviations from this state are detected and prevented, securing the integrity of the applications, infrastructure, and guest operating system. AppDefense provides detailed visibility for better change management and compliance reporting and also provides a rich set of automated or orchestrated incident response mechanisms to address attacks. Moreover, it leverages machine learning for a simple and automated way to conduct audits and reviews for applications.
  • Secure Data
    • FIPS 140-2 Validated VM Encryption, and cross-vCenter Encrypted vMotion – Secure against unauthorized data access both at rest and in motion, across the hybrid cloud.
      Secure Infrastructure
    • Secure Boot for ESXi – Allows only VMware and Partner signed code to run in your hypervisor.
      Secure Boot for Virtual Machines – Helps prevent images from being tampered with and prevents the loading of unauthorized components.
    • Support for TPM 2.0 for ESXi – Enables hypervisor integrity by validating the Secure Boot for ESXi process and enables remote host attestation.
    • Virtual TPM 2.0 – Provides the necessary support for guest operating system security features while retaining operational features such as vMotion and disaster recovery.
    • Support for Microsoft Virtualization Based Security – Supports Windows 10 and Windows 2016 security features, like Credential Guard, on vSphere.
  • Secure Access
    • Audit Quality Logging – Enables authorized administration and control by providing high fidelity visibility in vSphere operations.

Links:


vSphere 6.7 Update 1

On the first day of VMworld 2018 US vSphere 6.7 Update 1 was announced.

The key highlights are:

  • Fully Featured HTML5-based vSphere Client
  • Enhanced support for NVIDIA Quadro vDWS powered VMs; and Support for Intel FPGA
  • New vCenter Server Convergence Tool
  • Enhancements for HCI and vSAN
  • Enhanced vSphere Content Library

Links:


vSAN 6.7 Update 1

On the first day of VMworld 2018 US vSAN 6.7 Update 1 was announced.

The key highlights are:

  • Simplified Operations
    • Cluster Quickstart
    • Driver & Firmware Updates using Update Manager
    • Decommissioning and Maintenance Mode Safeguards in vSAN 6.7 U1
    • More vRealize Operations Intelligence
    • Improved Capacity Reporting
  • Efficient Infrastructure
    • TRIM/UNMAP Support
    • Mixed MTU Support for 2 Node and Stretched Clusters
    • Updated Sizing Tools
  • Rapid Support Resolution
    • Improved Health Check Guidance
    • Enhanced Support Diagnostics

Links:


VMware Validated Design 4.3

Also, the VMware Validated Design (VVD) received some new features and changes to the documentation. Personally, the greatest value in this release is the Visio stencils that are available for everyone.

The key highlights are:

  • Official NSX-T Support
  • Documentation Updates
    • IT Automating IT Scenarios
    • Intelligent Operations Scenarios
    • Introduction to Security and Compliance
    • Operational Verification
    • Certificate Replacement for 2-pod
    • Certificate Replacement for 1-pod
  • Architecture and Design of VMware PKS for Workload Domains
  • Design and Deployment of VMware Skyline
  • Architecture and Design Guidance for NIST 800-53
  • VVD Diagrams and Stencils

Links:


VMworld 2018 US – Technical Previews & Projects

There were also a lot of announcements surrounding some new developments/projects.

Project list:

  • Project Concord – Project Concord uses Byzantine fault-tolerant consensus protocols to deliver a functioning distributed trust system: one that is both “safe” and “alive.” Concord is a generic state machine replication library that can handle malicious (Byzantine) replicas.
  • Project Dimension – Project Dimension will extend VMware Cloud to deliver SDDC infrastructure and hardware as-a-service to on-premises locations.
  • Project Magna – Project Magna will make possible a self-driving data center based on machine learning.
  • RDS on VMware – VMware demonstrated how Amazon Web Service’s RDS service will run on VMware in a private data center, thus offering developers a familiar RDS Functionality available on VMware in a private data center or at the Edge.
  • Virtualization on 64-bit ARM for Edge – VMware demonstrated ESXi on 64-bit ARM running on a windmill farm at the Edge.

Links:


VMworld 2018 US – ITQ Blogs 

Here is a list of ITQ blogs with additional VMworld 2018 US content:


VMworld 2018 US – Keynotes

There are already some recordings available of the keynotes. These can be found on YouTube with the following links:


VMworld 2018 US – Recordings

Just like every year, William Lam from the website virtuallyGhetto creates a GIT repository with all the VMworld sessions. For each session, a recording and presentation are provided. It will probably be a couple of days till weeks until all sessions become available.

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vRealize Orchestrator Client and High-Resolution Screens

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No Workflow Output in vRealize Orchestrator (vRO) 7.4

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