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It’s time to retire “vCO”

Before anyone gets in a huff, I’m not suggesting that a key part of VMware’s automation, orchestration and cloud functionality be consigned to the bin. This is about the name.

It was Q3 / Q4 last year (2014) that VMware announced the changes to its product names. A whole year ago! Of course, it can take time for a change to take effect, particularly when any of the following are a factor:

  • Older projects and environments using older versions of the products that contain original branding
  • Document, diagram and presentation re-use where the older names are used
  • Investment in any other IP or collateral
  • Ingrained habits, especially if you’ve been using these products for years

But by now “vCO” should be a thing of the past. That’s not its name anymore. I won’t be removing the tag from my blog but I’ll be making an effort not to use it anymore (after this post) and I’m going to remove the search from my Twitter client too:

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Open Orchestrator JNLP files on OSX

New job. New laptop. But of course it isn’t set up like the old one. It doesn’t have all of the tweaks that I made over the years on it.

One annoyance, what with me being a heavy and frequent user of vRealize Orchestrator, is that client.jnlp files downloaded from the vRO web interface don’t have an application association by default. I’m writing this as a quick reference just in case I need it again anytime soon.

  1. Having downloaded and saved the client.jnlp file as normal, use the finder app to select the file, right click and select “Open with > Other…”.
  2. Browse to this path: /System/Library/CoreServices
  3. Select the executable Java-Web-Start.app
  4. Tick the “Always Open With” option.
  5. Click “Open”.

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Done!

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vRealize Automation 6.2 is GA

speeddialLadies and gentlemen, start your downloads!

vRealize Automation 6.2 (formerly known as vCloud Automation Center) has gone GA today. Beside the usual raft of fixes, the major focus for this release is the integration with vRealize Operations 6.0 (formerly known as vCenter Operations Manager).

Download VMware vRealize Automation 6.2

Also updated to download are:

And finally, all new and shiny is vRealize Code Stream. This, I am really looking forward to as it’s aimed at providing continuous delivery of software releases. And that could include vCO (I mean vRealize Orchestrator) workflows – something I’m doing a lot of at the moment.

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VMworld 2014 – Day 1

Tuesday in Barcelona is when things really get going. First up on everyone’s schedule is the VMworld keynote. This is one of times when attendees get to hear from Pat Gelsinger (VMware’s CEO) and a number of other presenters and get an overview of the direction in which VMware are going. It’s also when the major product announcements are officially made.

Historically, VMworld Europe is usually the time when management product updates are announced (with some of the more infrastructure based updates happening at the US conference). It’s been slightly different this year I suppose since there was no major update to the core vSphere platform, but there was EVO:RAIL.

During the keynote, announcements were made about:

Another difference that I’ve picked up on this year is that the general sessions at VMworld are now more widely available. Having watched the US conference keynotes, there was a degree of repetition. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, but it didn’t feel quite as fresh as it did in previous years to me.

After the keynote finished, and the hoards poured out of the main hall, I had a meeting with a company called ByteLife and Joerg Lew (one of VMware’s vCO gurus) about a new community initiative called FlowGrab.

FlowGrab is a new and developing community for vCO workflows and packages. There are some good things coming with regards to this project and if you’re using vCO, I’d recommend that you check it out.

I spent a while after that in the Solutions Exchange talking with representatives of a few companies whose products and services that I’m interested in. Key among those were PernixData, Colt, Atlassian and PuppetLabs.

I had two breakout sessions that I was very keen to attend and I was pleased that neither had been moved around (as has happened a few times over the years). The first of these was SEC1746 NSX Distributed Firewall DeepDive. I haven’t done a lot with NSX outside of my lab but it’s an area of great interest to me given its links to vRA (vCAC) and it position as a key component in the SDDC vision. For me it was a good session as it wasn’t all alien (or new) to me but there was plenty in there to make me think and takeaway.

Immediately afterwards I had my second session of the day, TEX1991 vCenter Orchestrator – What’s Next. I’ve worked a lot with vCO in the last year (at times, almost exclusively), so I was very keen to understand the product’s future. Once again, there were things that I knew about and some that I didn’t. I even learned a few things about version 5.5.2 that I wasn’t previously aware of.

To round out the day at the conference centre, I had a really great chat with Frank Denneman (PernixData) that has kept me thinking ever since. And I had a couple of brief chats about Xtravirt’s forthcoming beta for a new service called Sonar.

As for evening activities, they started with drinks and conversation with some of Xtravirt’s partners in the Solutions Exchange and moved on to Ocana for the vExpert / VCDX reception. As that started to wind down, I moved on to the excellent vJamon party, organised by Cisco’s @CommsNinja.

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VMworld Europe 2014 – Looking forward…

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It’s October now and it means that VMworld Europe 2014 is right around the corner.

I’ll be attending in Barcelona for what will be my 4th VMworld. It will be the first time that I’ve ever attended under a full conference pass rather than just as a blogger. However, I don’t expect the experience to be hugely different. Perhaps in the general sessions the view will be slightly different but that’s about it.

My employer, Xtravirt, is sending a number of my colleagues along with me to VMworld this year. Whilst we’re all very different people working on different projects, we generally have fairly complementary skillsets and a passion for what we do.

Speaking just for myself, I’m really looking forward to VMworld. Like my children’s birthdays, each VMworld is “the best one ever”. It’s not the announcements, the sessions, the labs or even the free t-shirts that make that happen for me though – it’s the people. Not that I’m knocking the other bits but I love chatting to partners, customers, vendors and pretty much anyone that I bump into.

I’ve planned a few sessions to attend. Mostly they’re focussed around Automation and SDDC as they’re my areas of interest. Ultimately I may have to cancel my registration for a few of them (and catch up with the recordings online later) to make time to speak with everyone that I want to.

Among the partners and vendors that I’ll be targeting are:

I’ll also be calling at the VMUG stand for sure. And of course VMware themselves to learn a bit about some of the upcoming developments and meet up with some key employees who will be around to discuss vCloud Automation Center, vCenter Orchestrator and VMware NSX.

Add to all of that the vBrownBag TechTalks (the schedule will be announced soon), numerous parties, the hands-on-labs and catching up with fellow VMware community members in the Community lounge, I imagine that there won’t be a moment to spare.

That said, if you want to stop for a chat then I’m all for it and so are any of the Xtravirt team.

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vCO 5.5.2 released

Such a minor update (from 5.5.1), why should I bother to write about this? Well, for two reasons really.

  1. Complete support of Dynamic Types. I’ve been doing some work with these on a current project and the potential is pretty fantastic.
  2. vCenter Server plugin enhancement. The property collector is now used to return vCenter Server object properties instead of the inventory service. If you follow the Orchestrator communities forum, you’ll probably already know that the inventory service cause quite a few people some problems.

If you want to know more about Dynamic types, look at this blog post and this example on the vCOTeam blog site.

Download vCO 5.5.2 here.

Release notes are here.

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vCAC 6.1 goes GA

Ping! It’s baked and out of the oven at last. vCAC 6.1 has hit a download server near you.

I’ve been waiting for this for a while now, so what’s new? From my perspective some of the most interesting new bits are:

  • Tighter Puppet integration
  • Enhanced support for NSX (including the use of NSX / vCNS workflows as actions in the vCAC Advanced Service Designer) – I need to try this out!
  • vCenter Orchestrator plugin enabled scripting of entities including Catalog, Approvals, Entitlements, Advanced Service Designer etc (I’ve wanted this for a while now)
  • vCAC support for Windows Server 2012 SP1 R2 (.NET 4.5.1)

But there’s plenty more (see the Release Notes).

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vCO “Plugin” for NSX

If you’re starting to get your hands dirty with NSX and want to automate some operations using vCenter Orchestrator (vCO), there’s now a plugin for it that’s been released into the community by Christophe Decanini (who writes on the vCOTeam blog and works for VMware).

It’s not a traditional plugin for vCenter Orchestrator in the same way that there are plugins for vCenter / vCAC / Infoblox etc. Instead it’s built on the Dynamic Types plugin that was launched with version 5.5 Update 1 of vCO.

The goal of the plugin is to create the ability to offer NSX “as-a-service” operations as catalog items within vCAC. The creation and manipulation of security groups and policies along with the ability to associate VMs with these objects can all be offered as options for users to select within the vCAC catalog using this plugin.

If you’re not using vCAC then the plugin could still be used within your own workflows.

The plugin was released on the VMware Communities site yesterday.

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vCenter Orchestrator Silent Install

Article by Michael Poore (@mpoore)

Is it possible to install vCO on a Windows server silently? Yes.

If you have the EXE file (DVDDrive:vCenter-ServervCOvCenterOrchestrator.exe) available on the server then installing is as simple as:

[text]D:vCenter-ServervCO>vCenterOrchestrator.exe -i silent[/text]

It takes a few seconds to complete but at the end of it the vCO Configuration service is present and running:

Of course that’s just installing vCO, it’s not configured – that’s still to be done (see my earlier article on configuring vCO).

So, what’s the point of doing such an install then? Where’s the benefit? If you look at vCO’s Configuration Maximums it’s not entirely obvious is it?

Item Maximum
Connected vCenter Server systems 10
Connected ESX/ESXi servers 300
Connected virtual machines spread over vCenter Server systems 15000
Concurrent running workflows 150

You’d need a very large environment to *need* more than one vCO server let alone to need a method of automatically deploying them. Either that or a very particular use case.

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Install vCenter Orchestrator on a Dedicated Server

Article by Michael Poore (@mpoore)

The binaries for vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) come bundled alongside vCenter Server and are installed by default when vCenter is installed. But what if, and it’s probably a better practice, you want to install vCO on a separate server to vCenter. How’s that done?

Before running through that, first let’s cover requirements. vCO server components must be installed on a 64-bit Windows OS. The client component can happily sit on 32-bit. The minimum recommended RAM is 4GB but in a lab or non-production environment you can get away with less depending on if the database is co-located or not. Continue Reading