VMware Orchestrator ideas for workflow automation samples

I’ve been talking to a lot of customers lately on the  possibilities of VMware Orchestrator. Things like do they use it now, what they might be able to use if for in their current environment. But most of the discussions are in tandem with a vCloud design. Orchestrator has been a mystery for the last few years but VMware has been working on changing that since vSphere 5 was released. It is now being talked about more and 3rd parties are actively developing plug-ins to expand its abilities to automate other infrastructure.

I don’t plan on teaching you how to use Orchestrator, there is a good book by written by Cody Bunch on Orchestrator. What I do want to talk about is some ideas of what you might be able to use Orchestrator for and get your creativity flowing.

Orchestrator ideas:

Idea 1:

A workflow that clones a VM from a template , nothing exciting right. Well what if you could have the workflow do the customization part for you? So what does this mean, well the workflow could look at the template you are deploying from and then select a License Key for the proper OS that is being used. Then it could place the VM in the Active Directory OU of your choosing. Try doing this type stuff with standard vCenter customization templates, the licensing would take multiple customization files and the OU part would require the template to already belong to the OU you want it to end up in. This would add a lot of layers of complexity to your environment doing it the old way. But with a Orchestrator workflow you can accomplish this and make your admins lifes easier.

Idea 2:

The idea here is not that much different from Idea 1, but it involves VCD. So the idea would be that we have several Organizations setup inside of VCD and the VMs from each Org need to belong to a different OU in Active Directory. Well you probably say there is no easy way to do that. You are right but with Orchestrator we can create a blocking task and a workflow with logic in it that will listen to the request coming from VCD and do a look up for which Org is requesting the VM and match that to logic provided in the workflow that will let it know with OU to use.

Idea 3:

This idea came from one of the local VMware reps that I work with. The idea is to use Infoblox for IP and DNS management for vCloud. To make this work a blocking task would be created that would step in when a new vApp was created and use the Infoblox plug-in for Orchestrator. To give you an idea of how this would work in simple terms. You would deploy vApp and select that it grab an IP from a static pool in VCD. This allows the VM to be created but the IP is only temp and is taken from a small pool that is used just for this purpose. Then the blocking task will step in and request a permanent IP from Infoblox and register it with DNS. The workflow will then go back into VCD and change the IP address selection method to static-manual because it was now being provided from Infoblox.

These are some basic ideas but ones that I know people might be able to use. The whole idea is to get you thinking about what types of automation you might be able to accomplish with Orchestrator by providing some examples.

 

Update 10/29/2012

I thought it would be good to get others to submit their VCO automation ideas. I would like to find out what others are doing already with VCO or list ideas that you would like to try and automate with VCO. These should be tasks or things that are required in your environment on a regular basis that automation could be used to save time. You may already do these today with Powershell or something else. Lets share and help the community benefit.

As incentive I have a code for access to the online content from VMworld 2012. This will allow you to download the PDF versions of the slide decks and listen to the recorded sessions, there is also probably some other benefits that I have missed. I will award this to the best idea that seems both possible with VMware tools and would be beneficial to VMware shops.

 

 

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

Read More

VMware needs to integrate Orchestrator into vCloud Director more to improve Cloud automation

In working on several Cloud related projects one of the items that sticks out to me is the need for deeper automation within the vCloud Director product. I understand this is still just version 1.5, but with how hard VMware is pushing the “Your Cloud” journey. I think that some parts are just not ready for what some companies need to do in the way of automation.

If self-service is suppose to be such a big part of Cloud, then the need for automation is going to play a big part. Not everything can be accomplished from creating templates and using customization to change the identity of the new VM. In server virtualization this worked great and saved time for most IT shops. But there were still manual processes that some shops needed to do. This breaks the idea of self-service IT, if a user still relies on someone to execute a manual process to have a VM or application provisioned from vCloud.

I guess what this mostly deals with is private cloud. Many IT shops are trying to automate the creation of as many servers and platforms as possible, to reduce their work load in provisioning new servers. But there are still some manual processes that need to take place and I think that being able to tie vCenter Orchestrator more tightly with vCloud Director could go a long way in help this issue.

Other cloud software companies such as DynamicOps are already doing this type of thing. By making the workflow or automation part of their offerings built into the same admin console. This allows for tight integration and opens up the options for what you are allowed to automate.

If you listen to rumors and in dark alleys you might hear that this type of integration is coming from VMware in a future release. Nobody knows if it will be the next release or even when that will happen.

 

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

Read More

VMware Labs announces VIX Plugin for vCenter Orchestrator

Looks like the engineers at VMware are not slowing down with the cool toys they keep releasing via VMware Labs. These are usually side projects for them that are very helpful to the community. This one I can see a lot of possibilities for. The ability to copy files to and from a VM guest could save time. Also being able to run scripts and affected processes from outside the VM.

vCenter Orchestrator(vCO) supports extended functionality using plug-ins. This VIX plug-in allows users to automate virtual machine operations within guest operating systems as vCO Javascript objects and methods to create workflows to run operations within a Windows/Linux Guest. Some of the sample workflow provide the following functionality:

  • Check for a file or a directory in guest
  • Copy file from guest to vCO and from vCO to guest
  • Create, delete a file or a directory in guest
  • List directory content
  • List, stop processes in guest
  • Run a program or script in guest

You can download it from the following link – http://labs.vmware.com/flings/vix-vco .

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

Read More

VMware Orchestrator is going to make Admins happy

I’ve been wondering what would be possible with VMware Orchestrator. After some reading and attending product demos things are much clearer now.  This tool is going to make automation of common tasks much easier for the admins that are not good script writers. Orchestrator provides a GUI to create work flows that will automate a large number of tasks. The Orchestrator will also allow plugins from 3rd parties to extend the functionality.

While all of these tasks were possible in the past either by manual methods or through scripting. If you were not good a creating your own scripts there is a very dedicated community around VMware and there most likely was already something out there that you could use. With Orchestrator you will have over 400 built in work flow options to perform tasks like find orphaned vm’s, vm’s with snapshots, convert to thin provisioning, add hosts and many other tasts.

Some even better news is that Orchestartor will work with both ESX 3.5 and vSphere 4 hosts.  Each will be made available with a plugin and can talk to multiple vCenter servers for each generation.

Read More
%d bloggers like this: