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Deployment of VMware vCenter Server 6.7 Update 1

In this blog post, we are going to deploy VMware vCenter 6.7 Update 1 in my Lab environment. The deployment is fully covered with all the additional notes required to perform a successful installation, migration or upgrade. I also added some guidelines for designing your environment.

Now that vSphere 6.7 Update 1 is available since the announcement on VMworld 2018 US, it is a good time to start looking at vSphere 6.7 instead of vSphere 6.5.

Why should you look at vSphere 6.7 you might ask? vSphere 6.5 is still running like a charm! Yes you are correct but… there are a couple of items to consider:

If you are familiar with the VMware vCenter 6.5 graphical deployment it has been improved in VMware vCenter 6.7. In the past it was a web-based wizard, with 6.7 it is a binary executable. This means a lot faster and better-responding interface and it removes the browser dependency and browser plug-in on your workstation.



Checklist

The checklist items can be verified, days or hours before the initial deployment. If you don’t have a plan before installing, migrating or upgrading things will turn out ugly…

With the checklist, you can determine if your environment is ready for vSphere 6.7 Update 1. It’s about checking and validation your current software and hardware and talking to your vendors about compatibility.

I have also added some design decision ideas. Because you can choose to install, upgrade or migrate without looking at your current architecture but maybe it is time to update your current architecture (design).

  • Make sure that all connected/used VMware products are compatible like (vRealize Automation / vRealize Orchestrator / vRealize Operations Manager / VMware Horizon and the list goes on). This can be verified on the VMware Product Interoperability Matrices page.
  • Make sure that all third-party products are compatible like (Backup & Replication software / Storage vendor software).
  • Determine the correct sizing for your environment. How many virtual machines and ESXi Hosts are going to be running underneath this vCenter Server. These figures determine your vCenter Server size.
  • An embedded Platform Services Controller (PSC) is the way to go in the future. An external Platform Services Controller will not be available anymore in the future.
  • Where is Windows? Please read this article from more than one year ago. Please do not deploy a vCenter Server on Windows. This is a thing of the past.
  • Verify the Hardware Requirements for the vCenter Appliance (depending on your chosen size and internal or external PSC).
  • Do you deploy against an ESXi Host or a vCenter Server?
  • Is your ESXi host hardware compatible with vSphere 6.7 Update 1?

Preparation

The checklist is completed and you have determined that everything is working or is acceptable to continue. Let’s start with some basic stuff that is required:

  • Read the release notes (VMware vCenter Server 6.7 Update 1 Release Notes).
  • Download the latest release from the VMware website.
  • Create firewall rules for your new vCenter Server.
  • Create forward and reverse DNS records in your DNS Server.
  • Register your IP information in your IPAM system.
  • Save your passwords in your Password Management system (Appliance password / SSO password).
  • Have a workstation ready to perform the deployment with sufficient network access and administrative rights.

Deployment

Let’s start the deployment of VMware vCenter 6.7 Update 1. I have chosen for a clean installation of VMware vCenter 6.7 Update 1. I have chosen for an embedded Platform Services Controller (PSC). Based on my total amount of virtual machines and ESXi Hosts I have selected a “Small” installation footprint.

The new deployment process for vCenter Server 6.7 Update 1 consists out of two stages, one is the deployment stage and one is the setup stage.

The first part is mainly responsible for delivering the full appliance with the operation system, network settings, and installation application bundles. The second part is configuring the applications that are running on the vCenter Server. A total installation takes about 45 minutes to complete.

Procedure:

  1. Mount the vCenter Server media (iso file).
  2. Navigate to the following path “X:\vcsa-ui-installer\win32\” (X stands for the CD-ROM drive label).
  3. Run the following application “installer.exe“.
  4. Follow the wizard, I have uploadedall screenshots for reference.

Stage 01 – Deployment

Here are the images of the first stage of the deployment of VMware vCenter 6.7 Update 1. I have no issues to report everything was working fine on the first try!

Stage 02 – Setup

Here are the images of the second stage of the deployment of VMware vCenter 6.7 Update 1. This part was also bug-free, so it was a good deployment.



Configuration

After a successful deployment of the VCSA appliance, you need to configure at least some items to get vCenter Server production ready. The items listed below are a basic set of the most common items I see in the field:

  • Install the vCenter Server License.
  • Active Directory.
  • Assign rights & permissions.
  • Generate and installation of SSL Certificates.
  • Connect the required VMware products and third-party systems.
  • Create a datacenter object.
  • Create a cluster object.
  • Create a distributed switch.
  • Join ESXi Hosts to the newly created cluster.

Lab Environment

So how does my Lab environment look like?

  • VMware vCenter 6.5.0 Update 2. The target for the vCenter 6.7.0 Update 1 deployment.
  • VMware ESXi 6.5.0 Update 2 in the 24×7 environment. Known as the production cluster.
  • VMware ESXi 6.5.0 Update 2 in the Lab environment. Known as the lab cluster.

You might ask… why don’t you upgrade the current vCenter Server? Good question! The machine has been converted/upgraded multiple times. It started out in life as a VMware vCenter 5.5 machine, that was on the Windows Server 2012 platform. So it was a good moment to start clean after this many years.

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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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VMworld 2018 EU Announcements

This year VMworld 2018 Europe is held in Barcelona Spain from 5 November until 8 November. This has been the location for some time now. Only the date shifted a couple months backward compared to last year (September > November). This page will be updated multiple time in the coming days. I will add additional information and announcements multiple times a day.

I was able to attend myself in person thanks to my employer ITQ. This year we traveled with 33 ITQ colleagues to VMworld 2018 Europe. In total 12000 people attended VMworld 2018 Europe in Barcelona.

VMworld 2018 EU Logo

VMworld 2018 EU – Product Announcements

On VMworld 2018 in Europe, the following products and/or services were announced.


VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) 3.5

In the opening keynote VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) 3.5 has been released.

VMware Cloud Foundation is an automated release of the Software-Defined Datacenter with vSphere, NSX, and vSAN in the core. On top VMware is using there vRealize Suite for creating an entire Cloud Management Platform.

The VCF 3.5 release includes the following new features:

  • Clarity UI as for all VMware products.
  • More intuitive end-to-end UI driven workflows
  • Improved UI responsiveness and performance
  • Dashboard with widgets to more easily surface important SDDC information
  • Updated navigation and consistency between workflows
  • Extendable platform to ensure that we can incorporate new releases and functionality (ex. New workflow wizards, dashboard widgets)
  • Updated for vSphere 6.7 U1
  • NSX-T Workload domain
  • NFS Workload domain – use cases that requires NFS
  • Composable Infrastructure Support

Source: Announcing VMware Cloud Foundation 3.5


VMware Horizon 7 on VMC

Not my area of expertise (EUC) but VMware Horizon 7 will be available on VMware Cloud on AWS because of the overwhelming interest from the customers. The information can be found in the source below.

Source: What’s New with Horizon 7 on VMware Cloud on AWS


VMware Horizon 7.7

On the second day of VMworld 2018 in Europe, VMware Horizon 7.7 is announced. No information is yet available on the new features.

Source: What’s New with Horizon 7 on VMware Cloud on AWS


VMware App Volumes 2.15

On the second day of VMworld 2018 in Europe, VMware App Volumes 2.15 has been announced. No information is yet available on the new features.

Source: What’s New with Horizon 7 on VMware Cloud on AWS


vRealize Network Insight 4.0 (vRNI)

The new release of vRealize Network Insight (vRNI) is focussed on hybrid cloud visibility and analytics.

  • Support for application migration planning to public clouds
  • Support for Hybrid Cloud Troubleshooting
  • It provides NSX-T topology visualization and correlated troubleshooting for NSX-T events.
  • Users can also get P-P flow visibility through slow support in addition to Netflow and visibility into Cisco ACI underlay and Cisco ASA firewall

Source: vRealize Network Insight 4.0: Hybrid Cloud Visibility & Analytics



VMware vCloud Suite 2018 Platinum

On the first day, vCloud Suite 2018 Platinum was announced. It is a combination of vSphere Platinum and the vRealize Suite 2018 combined.

vSphere Platinum was announced in VMworld 2018 US and is available since last week. vSphere Platinum combines VMware vSphere with VMware AppDefense.

Source: Introducing VMware vCloud Suite 2018 Platinum!


VMware Cloud on AWS Region Expansion

On the first day of VMworld 2018 Europe, Pat Gelsinger announced a Region Expansion for VMware Cloud on AWS. There will be new regions in Europe and the US.

The new regions announced are the following:

  • Europe (Ireland)
  • US West (North California)
  • US East (Ohio)

Source: VMware Cloud on AWS expands across Europe and the U.S.


Amazon Relational Database Service (AWS RDS) 

In the VMworld 2018 Europe first day keynote, the following relational database services were announced:

  • PostgreSQL
  • MySQL
  • MariaDB
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Oracle

Source: Not yet available


VMware accuires Heptio

On the VMworld 2018 Europe keynote, Pat Gelsinger announced that VMware acquired Heptio as of today.

Heptio was founded by two creators of the Kubernetes project to support and advance the open Kubernetes ecosystem.

https://heptio.com/about/

Source: Breaking: VMware Announces Intent to Acquire Heptio to Drive Kubernetes Across Multiple Clouds


VMware Cloud PKS

On the VMworld 2018 Europe keynote, Pat Gelsinger announced VMware Cloud PKS. To run Kubernetes on their VMware Cloud on AWS.

Source: Try VMware Cloud PKS (Formerly VKE) today and the first $150 is on us!


VMworld 2018 EU – Photo’s

I have created a gallery with some photo’s I have taken the last couple of days on VMworld 2018 Europe.


VMworld 2018 EU – Personal Highlights

To summarize my personal highlights that I encountered on VMworld 2018 Europe.

  • Meeting with the guys behind the VMware Validated Designs (VVD) and VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) (Forbes Guthrie and Daniel Koeck).
  • The VMware Private Hands-On Lab (HOL) Tour provided for the VMware vExperts.
  • Connecting with the vCommunity.
  • Connecting with old colleagues and customers.
  • Connecting with the people that maintain and support the VMware Hands-On Labs (Cody de Arkland / Gavin Lees).
  • My colleague Ruurd Keizer that was called on stage to talk about his experience with PKS (Pivotal Container Service) and share that with other VMware Partners.

VMworld 2018 EU – Keynotes

Here are the recordings of the VMworld 2018 Europe Keynotes and live streams for the coming days:



VMworld 2018 EU – Blogs & Recordings

In this section, I have listed some interesting blogs and recordings from VMworld 2018 Europe. The people listed below are mostly people I work with or are vCommunity friends:


VMworld 2018 EU –  Session 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 is provided on his Git Repository. It will probably be a couple of days till weeks until all sessions become available:

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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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VMware Validated Designs for SDDC 2017 Exam (5VB-101)

Two weeks ago I passed the VMware Validated Designs for Software-Defined Data Center 2017 Exam (5VB-101). In this blog post, I am going to describe my experience and give you some first-hand tips for passing this VMware Validated Design exam.

VMware VVD (VMware Validated Design) 2017 - Badge
VMware VVD 2017 – Badge

In my case, I got 120 minutes because I’ am not a native English speaker. I had to score at least 300 points of the maximum 500 points. I luckily passed the exam with a score of 465.

You can compare this exam to a VMware VCP exam. It looks and feels for 80% the same. The biggest difference is that the exam is about all the products inside the VMware Validated Design. So it is kind of a mix between  Datacenter Virtualization (DCV), Network Virtualization (NV) and Cloud Management Automation (CMA).

After passing the exam you are not done yet! You need to perform a VMware Validated Design deployment and get it signed off by the customer. Then you need to perform an interview with the VMware Education team. The details can be found on the VMware Education page.

VMware VVD – Exam Tips

So what do you need to know?… The exam itself is purely focused on the VMware Validated Design version 4.0! Get this through your head… only 4.0! This means you are dealing with the following software versions:

  • VMware ESXi – 6.5 a
  • vCenter Server Appliance – 6.5 a
  • vSphere Update Manager – 6.5 a
  • vSAN – 6.5
  • VMware vSphere Replication – 6.5
  • VMware Site Recovery Manager – 6.5
  • NSX for vSphere 6.3
  • vRealize Automation – 7.2
  • vRealize Orchestrator – 7.2
  • vRealize Orchestrator Plug-in for NSX 1.0.4
  • vRealize Business for Cloud – 7.2
  • vRealize Operations Manager – 6.4
    • vRealize Operations Management Pack for NSX for vSphere – 3.5
    • vRealize Operations Management Pack for vRealize Log Insight – 1.0.1
    • vRealize Operations Management Pack for vRealize Automation – 2.1
    • vRealize Operations Management Pack for Storage Devices – 6.0.5
  • vRealize Log Insight – 4.0
    • vRealize Log Insight Content Pack for NSX for vSphere – 3.5 vRealize
    • Log Insight Content Pack for vSAN – 2.0
    • vRealize Log Insight Content Pack for vRealize Automation 7 – 1.5
    • vRealize Log Insight Content Pack for vRealize Orchestrator – 7.0.1+ 2.0
    • vRealize Log Insight Content Pack for vRealize Operations Manager – 6.x 1.7
    • vRealize Log Insight Content Pack for Microsoft SQL Server – 3.1
  • vSphere Data Protection – 6.1.3

A couple of items were a surprise to me because I realized you can just ask anything about any product in the VVD. A couple of interesting subjects were:

  • Hardware requirements
  • Recovery of the entire platform
  • VMware licensing

VMware Validated Design – Study Material

An interesting video related to the VMware Validated Design (VVD) exam is this “What’s New” video. This video is created by VMware to get a introduction to the VVD 4.0 version. There is just a lot of information that you need to know for the exam. It covers all the components and all the changes they did for version 4.0.

What’s New in VMware Validated Design for Software-Defined Data Center 4.0


Sources:

Here is a list of valued web pages and articles that I used for studying for the VVD exam. Most articles are directly from the VMware website, there is not a lot of information about this exam on blogs or other media:

Final word

In the blog post, I cover the VMware VVD Exam that is a nice to have for your badge and certification collection. I don’t think it is as valued as a VCP or VCAP exam in the market but still, it’s another certification.

At the moment I still need to pass the signing off by a customer and the interview with the VMware Education Team. I will probably update this article in a later stage when I completed these steps and share my experience.

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vRealize Automation SQL Database Installation

vRealize Automation SQL Database Installation

When deploying VMware vRealize Automation (vRA) you required to deploy a Windows Server that is responsible for the SQL Server Database. It does not matter if it is a small, medium or large deployment. All deployments require a Microsoft SQL Server. The Microsoft SQL Server is the database for the vRealize Automation IaaS components and is responsible for maintaining information about the machines it manages and its own elements and policies.

In this article, I’m going to describe the vRealize Automation SQL Database Installation with an automated/unattended PowerShell script. This article is mainly focused on the IaaS database part, so no additional information surrounding the installation of vRealize Automation components is descriped.

Requirements

The following items need to be performed before running the script:

  • Download the latest Microsoft SQL 2016 Server media from the Microsoft website (SQL 2016 – link).
  • Download the latest Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio from the Microsoft website (SSMS – link).
  • Create a virtual machine with Windows Server 2016 installed.
  • Install the latest Windows Updates.
  • Configure a static IP address.
  • Join the server to your company domain.

Environment

In my lab environment, I was deploying a minimal vRealize Automation installation with an external database. This means the following virtual machines are deployed for the vRealize Automation environment:

  • LAB-vRA-APP.Lab.local – vRealize Automation Appliance
  • LAB-vRA-IAAS.Lab.local – Running Windows Server 2016 responsible for vRealize Automation IaaS Components
  • LAB-vRA-SQL.Lab.local – Running Windows Server 2016 responsible for the vRealize Automation IaaS SQL Database
vRealize Automation - Minimal Deployment
vRealize Automation – Minimal Deployment

Note

Keep in mind the following items:

  • The installation code/script for Microsoft SQL Server is tested with the following versions (2016 Non-SP / 2016 SP1 / 2016 SP2). No doubt the code will work with newer releases but make sure to verify all your settings after installation.
  • I do not take any responsibility and I’m are not liable for any damage caused by this code.
  • I did not create a script that fully automates everything. It is based on one-liners with a complete configuration. The reason behind this is flexibility. Every environment is different and every customer is different. This way small tweaks can be made to parts of the code or you just use sections of the code.


Video

To display the full functionality of the code I recorded a video and uploaded it to YouTube. You can see the end result below. The video shows you the execution of the one-liners and what the server is configuring. The video starts after the requirements phase is completed.

Unattended Installation Files

So let’s list all the steps that are executed on the new Windows Server to make it ready to store the vRealize Automation IaaS Database:

  1. Format the D drive and make sure it is using a 64k allocation unit size for storing the Database
  2. Format the E drive and make sure it is using a 64k allocation unit size for storing the TempDB
  3. Format the F drive and make use of a default allocation unit size for storing the log files
  4. Assign both domain service accounts local administrator access on the server (svc-iaas / svc-vrasql)
  5. Create a Windows Firewall rule to allow SQL traffic on the network
  6. Enable multiple Windows Firewall rules to allow the Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator (DTC)
  7. Install Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio
  8. Install Microsoft SQL Server 2016
  9. Reboot the system
  10. Configure the Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator (DTC).
  11. Reboot the system
  12. Verify the system and functioning of the SQL Server

Optional:

  • In some cases, an additional G drive is required to store the SQL Backup.

PowerShell One-Liners

This file is saved as “Microsoft SQL Server 2016 – Commands.ps1” in the “C:\Temp” directory. The SQL Server media is mounted in the B drive (CD-ROM). The SQL Management Studio installation file is located in the “C:\Temp” directory.

##### Files required
# - Microsoft SQL Server 2016 Installation File
# - Microsoft SQL Management Studio 2016 Installation File

##### Volume 1 - DB 64k
$Disk = Get-Disk -Number 1
Set-Disk -InputObject $Disk -IsOffline $false
Initialize-Disk -InputObject $Disk
New-Partition $Disk.Number -UseMaximumSize -DriveLetter D
Format-Volume -DriveLetter D -FileSystem NTFS -AllocationUnitSize 65536 -NewFileSystemLabel "DB" -Confirm:$false

##### Volume 2 - TEMP DB 64k
$Disk = Get-Disk -Number 2
Set-Disk -InputObject $Disk -IsOffline $false
Initialize-Disk -InputObject $Disk
New-Partition $Disk.Number -UseMaximumSize -DriveLetter E
Format-Volume -DriveLetter E -FileSystem NTFS -AllocationUnitSize 65536 -NewFileSystemLabel "TEMP DB" -Confirm:$false

##### Volume 3 - Logs 4k
$Disk = Get-Disk -Number 3
Set-Disk -InputObject $Disk -IsOffline $false
Initialize-Disk -InputObject $Disk
New-Partition $Disk.Number -UseMaximumSize -DriveLetter F
Format-Volume -DriveLetter F -FileSystem NTFS -NewFileSystemLabel "Logs" -Confirm:$false

##### Make the service account member of the local administrators group
Add-LocalGroupMember -Group "Administrators" -Member "svc-vra-iaas"
Add-LocalGroupMember -Group "Administrators" -Member "svc-vra-sql"

##### Windows Firewall

    ### Windows Firewall - Allow Microsoft SQL Port 1433 TCP
    New-NetFirewallRule -DisplayName "Microsoft SQL Server 2016 - SQL - TCP" -Direction Inbound -LocalPort 1433 -Protocol TCP -Action Allow

    ### Windows Firewall - Enable rule for RPC for DTC
    Enable-NetFirewallRule -DisplayName "Distributed Transaction Coordinator (RPC-EPMAP)"

    ### Windows Firewall - Enable rule for Incoming DTC
    Enable-NetFirewallRule -DisplayName "Distributed Transaction Coordinator (TCP-In)"

    ### Windows Firewall - Enable rule for Outgoing DTC
    Enable-NetFirewallRule -DisplayName "Distributed Transaction Coordinator (TCP-Out)"

##### Microsoft SQL Management Studio
C:\Temp\SSMS-Setup-ENU.exe /install /passive /norestart

##### Microsoft SQL Server 2016
B:\Setup.exe /ConfigurationFile="C:\Temp\Microsoft SQL Server 2016 - Configuration.ini"

##### Reboot the server
shutdown -r -t 0

##### Configure the Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator (DTC)
Set-DtcNetworkSetting -DtcName "Local" -RemoteClientAccessEnabled:$true -RemoteAdministrationAccessEnabled:$false -AuthenticationLevel "Mutual" -InboundTransactionsEnabled:$true -OutboundTransactionsEnabled:$true -XATransactionsEnabled:$false -LUTransactionsEnabled:$true -Confirm:$false

##### Reboot the server
shutdown -r -t 0

GIT Repository: Microsoft SQL Server 2016 – Commands.ps1

SQL Configuration File

This file is saved as “Microsoft SQL Server 2016 – Configuration.ini” in the “C:/Temp” directory.

; ************************************************************************************************************************
; Author:       M. Buijs
; Version:      1.0
; Date:         2018-09-26
;
; Information: 
; This configuration file is created to install the Microsoft SQL Server 2016 software for VMware vRealize Automation.
;
; VMware Requirements:
; - Enable TCP/IP protocol for SQL Server. 
; - The Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator Service (MS DTC) is enabled on all SQL nodes in the system. MS DTC is required to support database transactions and actions such as workflow creation.
; - If you have a firewall running between the database server, Web servers or IaaS servers, deactivate the firewall or open the ports needed (MS SQL server uses port 1433 and MS DTC requires the use of port 135 over TCP and a random port between 1024 and 65535).
; - The database service account needs to be local administrator on the server (svc-vra-sql).
; - The IaaS service account needs to be local administrator on the server (svc-vra-iaas).
; - Set up Microsoft SQL server with separate OS volumes for SQL Data, Transaction Logs, TempDB, and Backup. 
; - The NTFS drive where SQL Server is installed has a file allocation unit (cluster) size of 64 KB.
; ************************************************************************************************************************
 
[OPTIONS]

; SQL Server - Workflow
    
    ; Setup Workflow (Install/Uninstall/Upgrade) 
    ACTION="Install"

    ; SQL Server - Accept License Agreement (True = Automatically accepted / False = Users needs to accept)
    IACCEPTSQLSERVERLICENSETERMS="True"

    ; Specify that SQL Server feature usage data can be collected and sent to Microsoft.  
    SQMREPORTING="False"
    ERRORREPORTING="False"

; SQL Server - Unatteded

    ; Parameter that controls the user interface behavior. 
    ; UIMODE="Normal"
    
    ; Setup will not display any user interface. 
    ; QUIET="True"
    
    ; Setup will display progress only, without any user interaction. 
    QUIETSIMPLE="True"

    ; Specifies that the detailed Setup log should be piped to the console. 
    INDICATEPROGRESS="False"

    ; Specify if errors can be reported to Microsoft to improve future SQL Server releases.  
    ERRORREPORTING="True"

    ; Displays the command line parameters usage 
    HELP="False"

    ; RSInputSettings_RSInstallMode_Description 
    RSINSTALLMODE="DefaultNativeMode"

; SQL Server - Installation Features

    ; Specifies features to install, uninstall, or upgrade. 
    FEATURES=SQLENGINE

    ; Language Pack (English / United States)
    ENU="True"

; SQL Server - Updates

    ; Specify whether SQL Server Setup should discover and include product updates. 
    UpdateEnabled="True"

    ; Specify the location where SQL Server Setup will obtain product updates (MU = Microsoft Update).
    UpdateSource="MU"

; SQL Server - Installation Directory

    ; Specify the root installation directory for shared components.  
    INSTALLSHAREDDIR="D:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server"
    
    ; Specify the root installation directory for the WOW64 shared components. 
    INSTALLSHAREDWOWDIR="D:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server"

    ; Default directory for the Database Engine backup files. 
    ; SQLBACKUPDIR="<InstallSQLDataDir>\<SQLInstanceID>\MSSQL\Backup"
    
    ; Default directory for the Database Engine user databases. 
    SQLUSERDBDIR="D:\Database"
    
    ; Directory for Database Engine TempDB files. 
    SQLTEMPDBDIR="E:\TempDB"

    ; Default directory for the Database Engine user database logs. 
    SQLUSERDBLOGDIR="F:\Logs"
    
; SQL Server - Instance

    ; Specify a default or named instance. MSSQLSERVER is the default instance for non-Express editions and SQLExpress for Express editions. 
    INSTANCENAME="MSSQLSERVER"
    
    ; Specify the Instance ID for the SQL Server features you have specified. 
    INSTANCEID="MSSQLSERVER"

    ; Specify the installation directory. 
    INSTANCEDIR="D:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server"

    ; Specifies a Windows collation or an SQL collation to use for the Database Engine. 
    SQLCOLLATION="SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS"

    ; Level to enable FILESTREAM feature at (0, 1, 2 or 3). 
    FILESTREAMLEVEL="0"

; SQL Server - SA Account

    ; Specifies the password for the SQL Server SA account.
    SAPWD="VMware1!"

    ; Specifies the security mode for SQL Server.
    SECURITYMODE=SQL

; SQL Server - Service Access

    ; Windows account(s) to provision as SQL Server system administrators. 
    SQLSYSADMINACCOUNTS="Lab.local\Administrator" "BUILTIN\Administrators"
    
    ; Provision current user as a Database Engine system administrator for SQL Server 2012 Express. 
    ADDCURRENTUSERASSQLADMIN="False"
 
; SQL Server - Connection Support

    ; Specify 0 to disable or 1 to enable the TCP/IP protocol. 
    TCPENABLED="1"
    
    ; Specify 0 to disable or 1 to enable the Named Pipes protocol. 
    NPENABLED="0"

    ; CM brick TCP communication port 
    COMMFABRICPORT="0"
    
    ; How matrix will use private networks 
    COMMFABRICNETWORKLEVEL="0"
    
    ; How inter brick communication will be protected 
    COMMFABRICENCRYPTION="0"

    ; TCP port used by the CM brick 
    MATRIXCMBRICKCOMMPORT="0"
    
; SQL Server - Agent Service and Service Account

    ; Auto-start service after installation.  
    AGTSVCSTARTUPTYPE="Manual"

    ; Specifies the account for the SQL Server Agent service.
    AGTSVCACCOUNT="NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM"

    ; Required Specifies the password for SQL Server Agent service account. 
    ;AGTSVCPASSWORD=""

; SQL Server - Browser Service and Service Account

    ; Startup type for Browser Service. 
    BROWSERSVCSTARTUPTYPE="Disabled"
 
; SQL Server - Server Service Account

    ; Startup type for the SQL Server service. 
    SQLSVCSTARTUPTYPE="Automatic"

    ; Account for SQL Server service: Domain\User or system account. 
    SQLSVCACCOUNT="Lab.local\svc-vra-sql"

    ; Specifies the password for SQLSVCACCOUNT.
    SQLSVCPASSWORD="heT5S-AbEsagu7ad"

; SQL Server - Report Server Service and Service Account

    ; Specifies how the startup mode of the report server NT service. 
    RSSVCSTARTUPTYPE="Manual"

    ; Specifies which account the report server NT service should execute under.  
    RSSVCACCOUNT="NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM"

    ; Specifies the password for the startup account for the Reporting Services service.
    ;RSSVCPASSWORD=""

GIT Repository: Microsoft SQL Server 2016 – Configuration.ini



Final Word

This blog post helps you to set up a Microsoft SQL Server 2016 for vRealize Automation 7.X. The code can be used in lab and production environments but make sure to verify the configuration. I think there might be more improvements possible related to the one-lines but maybe also additional SQL configuration improvements. Do you have feedback please respond below or send me an email.

Sources

To create this article and scripts I used the following resources:


  • Update 2018-10-04 – Article was missing the Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator (DTC) information and code (video recording is still missing that part).

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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 Automation enabling the VMware Identity Manager GUI

In this blog post, I am going to show you how to enable the VMware Identity Manager GUI when it is located inside vRealize Automation. I am going to explain why you sometimes should and how the procedure is performed.

For some who don’t know, VMware vRealize Automation (vRA) is using under the covers VMware Identity Manager (vIDM). By default is the VMware Identity Manager GUI disabled after the vRealize Automation installation process. If you want to configure parts of vIDM you are configuring it through the vRealize Automation GUI.

Let’s get everybody on the same page: So you are talking about two GUIs the vRealize Automation GUI and the VMware Identity Manager GUI? Who is who, explain it to me!

vRealize Automation GUI - Displaying Active Directory Users
Here is the vRealize Automation (vRA) GUI – Displaying multiple Active Directory users

VMware Identity Manager GUI - Displaying Active Directory User
Here is the VMware Identity Manager (vIDM) GUI – Displaying an Active Directory user (by the way: the name Dick is a common name in The Netherlands)

Keep in mind: I’m not completely sure what will happen if you would configure items with the vIDM GUI. Because you are bypassing the default vRealize Automation GUI. I have done some tests and no problems were caused in my Lab environment but it might cause issues later on… So why do you enable it then? Because of the large amount of information provided throughout the vIDM GUI. The vRealize Automation GUI is only showing a small peace and not the big picture.

Product support: I have tested this procedure on vRealize Automation version 7.3 and vRealize Automation 7.3.1. I would expect it to work on newer and older vRealize Automation 7.X releases.

Enable the vIDM Interface

This procedure is for enabling the interface:

  • Step 01: Connect with an SSH session to the vRealize Automation Appliance. Use for example Putty.
  • Step 02: Login with the root credentials.
  • Step 03: Run the following command to start the VMware Identity Manager Interface: (vcacvami horizon ui enable).
  • Step 04: Open a web browser and navigate to the following URL:(https://%FQDN%/SAAS/admin/).
VMware Identity Manager (vIDM) interface enable
VMware Identity Manager (vIDM) interface enable

Disable the vIDM Interface

This procedure is for disabling the interface:

  • Step 01: Connect with an SSH session to the vRealize Automation Appliance. Use for example Putty.
  • Step 02: Login with the root credentials.
  • Step 03: Run the following command to stop the VMware Identity Manager Interface: (vcacvami horizon ui disable).
  • Step 04: When you navigate to the following URL no page should appear: (https://%FQDN%/SAAS/admin/).
VMware Identity Manager (vIDM) Interface/GUI disable
VMware Identity Manager (vIDM) interface disable

Status of the vIDM Interface

This procedure is for viewing the vIDM Interface status:

  • Step 01: Connect with an SSH session to the vRealize Automation Appliance. Use for example Putty.
  • Step 02: Login with the root credentials.
  • Step 03: Run the following command to view the current status of the VMware Identity Manager Interface: (vcacvami horizon ui status).
  • Step 04: When you navigate to the following URL no page should appear: (https://%FQDN%/SAAS/admin/).
VMware Identity Manager (vIDM) interface status
VMware Identity Manager (vIDM) interface status

VMware Identity Manager URLs

The following URLs are available when the GUI is enabled (there are probably more URLs available than listed below):

  • Main page: https://%vRA-Appliance-FQDN%:8443
  • Tenant-specific page (Tenant vSphere.local): https://%vRA-Appliance-FQDN%/SAAS/t/vsphere.local
  • Tenant-specific page (Tenant Production): https://%vRA-Appliance-FQDN%/SAAS/t/production
  • Tenant-specific page (Tenant Development): https://%vRA-Appliance-FQDN%/SAAS/t/development

vRealize Automation Internal Proxy Explained

To explain what happens under the covers is the following: When you run the command to start or stop vIDM interface the reverse proxy configuration located in vRealize Automation Appliance (vRA) is changed. The command adds or removes some configuration files. Then the proxy daemon is reloaded to pick up the changes. At that point, the vIDM webpage becomes available or unavailable depending on the given command. Under the covers, vRealize Automation uses HAProxy for IT guys working in container or web hosting environments that might be a very familiar product. Here is a quote from the HAProxy website to explain what HAProxy is capable of:

HAProxy is a free, very fast and reliable solution offering high availability, load balancing, and proxying for TCP and HTTP-based applications. It is particularly suited for very high traffic websites and powers quite a number of the world’s most visited ones. Over the years it has become the de-facto standard opensource load balancer, is now shipped with most mainstream Linux distributions, and is often deployed by default in cloud platforms. Since it does not advertise itself, we only know it’s used when the admins report it.

https://www.haproxy.org/#desc

VMware Identity Manager GUI Advantages

The main advantages of enabling the GUI:

  • You can view the currently logged in users in vRealize Automation.
  • When logging into the default tenant in the vIDM GUI you can view the total amount of users and groups that are identified by vIDM (counters are from all tenants combined).
  • You can view the health status of VMware Identity Manager (vIDM).
  • You can view the user login history based on the last days and you have reporting functionality.

Final word

In this blog post, I explained how to enable and disable the VMware Identity Manager interface on a vRealize Automation Appliance. As noted before be careful! I personally only use this method for troubleshooting Identity Manager related problems with authentication and viewing user activity.

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VMware vExpert NSX 2018

VMware vExpert NSX 2018 - Badge

I am happy to announce that as of today I entered the VMware vExpert NSX sub-program. Thanks, VMware for the award and congratulations to everyone else who also made it! Also an extraordinary achievement for our team at ITQ, we managed to get seven consultants in the vExpert NSX 2018 sub-program! This year VMware awarded 169 people worldwide for the vExpert NSX sub-program.

vExpert NSX:

  • Since when does the vExpert NSX sub-program exist?
    • The VMware vExpert NSX sub-program was introduced in the year 2016 and announcements are made every year.
  • So what is the difference between the vExpert NSX sub-program and vExpert program?
    • The program is built upon the vExpert program. To apply you must be a current vExpert as well as evangelizing VMware NSX.
  • What is VMware expecting of a vExpert NSX?
    • Each of these vExperts has demonstrated significant contributions to the community and a willingness to share their expertise with others. Contributing is not always blogging or Twitter as there are many public speakers, book authors, scriptwriters, VMUG leaders, VMTN community moderators and internal champions among this group.

Related links

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