Addressing errors when using vRA 7.4 Guest Agent

Having upgraded my vRA instance in my HomeLab to 7.4 not long after it GA’d, I recently decided to create some nice, new templates as well. You know, latest patches, hardware, basic config etc.

I won’t bore you with exactly how I installed Windows, patched it or configured it. The relevant part of the process to this article was the installation of the vRA Guest Agent and subsequent testing of it.

I already had my vRA blueprint configured; just a simple Windows Server 2012 R2 template that has the vRealize LogInsight agent installed and configured on it automatically as part of the provision process:

Installing the vRA Guest Agent

This is a documented process to install the software agent on a Virtual Machine that is then subsequently turned in to a template. For vRA 7.4, the documentation can be found on VMware’s site:

Install the Guest Agent on a Windows Reference Machine

Prepare a Windows Reference Machine to Support Software

This worked without issue. I shutdown the machine, turned it in to a template and update my blueprint.

Testing the new template

This is where I ran in to an issue. Continue Reading

VCAP6 exams retiring in September 2018

If you’re looking at taking one of the VMware Advanced Professional exams listed below, you might want to get your skates on as they’re being retired at the end of September:

  • VCAP6 – Data Centre Virtualization Design (VCAP6-DCV Design)
  • VCAP6 – Cloud Management and Automation Design (VCAP6-CMA Design)
  • VCAP6 – Desktop and Mobility Design (VCAP6-DTM Design)

Slots for these exams will start to run out in the next few weeks, so book up now if you want to take them.

All available exams and certifications are detailed on VMware’s certification page. If you want to check the list of retired or retiring exams, the document detailing those can be found here.

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Extensibility course in vRA / vRO (Feb 2018)

A new vRA / vRO Extensibility course is scheduled to be held in the UK in February 2018. It will provide detailed information on how to leverage the power of vRealize Automation and vRealize Orchestrator.

I should point out that it’s a beta course, so it may not be 100% polished and pristine. However, the course is focussed on version 7.3 of both products (the latest at the time of writing) so it will be bang up-to-date and help you learn the “art of the possible”.

Extensibility course outline and details

The course runs for a full week from Monday 19th February at VMware’s UK office in Staines. If you’re new to vRA and vRO, or you want to take your automation beyond simple virtual machine deployment then this course will likely benefit you. If you don’t manage to get on it, I’m sure there will be further opportunities throughout the year.

Extensibility Topics Covered

The topics covered by the course include:

  • The basics of vRO workflows
  • Design considerations for vRO workflows
  • Development of vRO workflows
  • Extending vRA using the Event Broker
  • Using vRO workflows with vRA’s Event Broker
  • Using vRO workflows to provide XaaS catalog items and resource actions
  • Working with REST APIs using vRO

You can register for the course via VMware’s myLearn website.

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Root password expired on vCenter VCSA 6.5

I thought I’d update my homelab’s primary vCenter to the latest and greatest (6.5 update 1d), when I encountered an issue with the root password. The update showed up ok in the appliance’s VAMI interface and I selected to install it but an error quickly showed up:

VCSA 6.5 is not ready to be updated

Not ready, huh? When I clicked on the “Show Details” button, I saw a message informing me that the root password had expired or expiring soon:


VCSA 6.5 update is blocked by expired root password

Well ok, I’ll go and reset it and turn off the expiry I thought. (That process is covered in the vCenter documentation.) But noooo, permission denied! The password couldn’t be set and the expiry settings could not be changed. Continue Reading

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New Year, New CTOA – Congratulations

CTOA logoVMware’s Office of the CTO (OCTO) runs an annual programme internally to appoint a limited number of outstanding individuals as CTO Ambassadors (CTOA). Broadly, the role of an ambassador is to help ensure a tight collaboration between VMware’s R&D and VMware’s customers.

CTO Ambassadors come from customer facing roles within VMware (such as SEs, PSO, TAMs and GSS). A good number of them are involved with, or are usually present at VMware’s customer focussed events (such as vForum, VMUGs and VMworld). With the new year comes a number of newly minted CTOAs. Whilst I can’t count myself amongst them, I’d just like to say a big, public “congratulations” to everyone that has been selected as a 2018 ambassador.

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South West UK VMUG – 22nd February 2017

I was absent from the VMUG scene for the entirety of 2016 for a number of reasons. I’m determined to make amends this year and I’m jumping in at the deep end!

A week from today is the first South West UK VMUG for 2017 and I’m going to be presenting a session. Registration for the event is open now; so if you’re in the area, drop by. As usual, it’s at the mShed in Bristol.

 

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VMworld 2017 – Call for papers is open!

VMware have a gift for you this Valentine’s day. VMworld 2017 call for papers is open today!

This year, VMworld US and VMworld Europe are closer together. Only two weeks separate the two events. I’m interested to see how that changes the makeup of the sessions and announcements. Of course, to make the best assessment I’d have to be at both conferences. Time to talk to my manager and get some session ideas submitted!

CFP is open now until March 14th 2017.

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New vRO and PowerCLI Automation Training

A lot of the projects that I work on have an element of automation to them and I’ve been asked a few times by customers if there is a training course available that will help them get started in understanding vRO and VMware’s PowerCLI cmdlets and how they can be used. Whilst there have been courses available in the past, there is a new one that reads a bit like “Doing my job 101”. It goes by the catchy title of “Data Center Automation with vRealize Orchestrator and vSphere PowerCLI“.

Looking at the outline, the important stuff is there.

  • Understanding, using and navigating the vSphere API (useful for both PowerCLI and vRO).
  • PowerCLI basics and more advanced uses.
  • vRO Basics and workflow creation / design.

So, if you’re looking to get started with vRO or PowerCLI and use one or both of them to add some automation to your datacenter, it might be worth trying this course out.

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Howto: Creating a CA template for VMware services

Having setup my lab’s PKI infrastructure previously, one of the next steps I needed to complete was to create a template for certificates for VMware’s products to use as they require certain properties to be present in the certificates used.

There is a KB article that covers this but I wanted to run through it and use some of the specifics for my lab.

Template for VMware SSL Certificates

This template will provide certificates for ESXi hosts, vCenter, vRA, vRO etc. To create it, we first need the Certificate Templates Console. This can be opened by running certtmpl.msc.

Per the KB article, I duplicated the “Web Server” template as a starting point. My first task was to give the template a new name and set the validity to 4 years:

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On the Extensions tab, although it’s possibly not required for vSphere 6 (it is for earlier versions of vSphere), I added “Client Authentication” under the Application Policies option.

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Again, it may not be universally required but I’ve added the “Signature is proof of origin” option under Key Usage (also on the Extensions tab.

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Depending on the use case required, it might be useful to be able to export a certificate’s private key. I haven’t worked on View for some years but this option came in handy then. It’s configured under the Request Handling tab.

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On the Subject Name tab, ensure that “Supply in the request” is checked.

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That’s it. Just hit OK to save it.

Template for VMware VMCA

If you want to set up the VMCA as a subordinate certificate authority on a vSphere 6 Platform Services Controller, a slightly different type of certificate is required. I don’t think that I deviated from the KB article here except with the validity period.

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“Publishing” the certificate templates

This is a fairly straightforward process accomplished using the Certification Authority Manager. Templates are added one at a time by right clicking on “Certificate Templates” and selecting New > Certificate Template to Issue.

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Once published, the templates are available via the CA’s web interface for new requests.

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