vRealize Automation 8.0
Among the announcements at the recent VMworld in San Francisco was that of the imminent general availability of vRealize Automation 8.0.

vRA 8.0 is a complete re-architecture of the vRealize Automation platform with an all new, modern container-based microservices architecture, a completely new codebase, as well as new capabilities & integrations. This new release aligns vRA 8.0 for on-premises datacentre automation with VMware’s vRealize Cloud Automation (formerly Cloud Automation Services) – the SaaS cloud-based offering from VMware launched in early 2019. vRA 8.0 and vRealize Cloud Automation offer the same user experience and allow customers to choose whether they run the newest iteration of vRA in a VMware-supported cloud service or on-premises in their own Datacentre.

vRA 8.0’s architecture has been dramatically simplified from the vRA 7.x approach – moving from a deployment which leverages up to 10 Windows servers to run its component parts, to a single virtual appliance approach, removing the requirement for Windows altogether. Where scalability for performance, capacity and high-availability is required, two additional appliances can be deployed and run in a clustered topology. This new approach significantly simplifies deployment within the Datacentre, as well as simplifying management, configuration & updates to the platform. This should reduce time to deployment to the order of hours rather than the weeks the more complex deployments are taking with the 7.x release. For greenfield deployments, you can now deploy vRealize Lifecycle Manager & Workspace ONE Access (formerly VMware Identity Manager) directly from the virtual appliance-based installer.

vRA 8.0 brings a new HTML5 based UI to replace the dated look of vRA 7.x, an extended API, as well as a refined Infrastructure-as-code YAML-driven approach to vRA blueprints. Blueprints themselves can now contain cloud-agnostic objects, helping customers to move towards a single blueprint, run-anywhere approach and tackle blueprint sprawl. Cloud-init and cloudbase-init, the popular interfaces for customising cloud virtual machine instances, are now supported during deployment. Finally, blueprints now support versioning and the platform comes with out-of-the-box git support to better integration vRA with customers CI/CD pipelines.

Among the enhanced capabilities & integrations are improved support for the mega-clouds – WMware Cloud on AWS, Native AWS, Azure & Google Cloud Platform. These improved capabilities are driving the multi-cloud approach, allowing customers to design a single deployment blueprint and deploy it either within their own Software Defined Datacentre or to one of the public cloud services. vRealize Orchestrator has also been updated with a new HTML5 interface and now also comes with git integration out-of-the-box. Customers may now leverage Action-Based Extensibility (ABX) as an alternative to vRO within vRA – with Python and node.js based scripts acting on specific triggers, reducing or eliminating the requirement for vRO’s javascript-centic approach.

At the time of writing, vRA 8.0 is not yet available for download. vRealize Automation 8.0 is expected to be generally available in VMware’s fiscal third quarter ending November 1, 2019. Customers looking to test-drive the new features may do so however – a 30-day trial of vRealize Cloud Automation is available. Customers are encouraged to contact Asystec for assistance in securing this trial.

 

Asystec’s Datacentre & Cloud Automation Practice
Asystec’s most recent Cloud/Datacentre Automation project was our most ambitious yet – leveraging vRealize Automation on top of a new Dell-EMC VxRail appliance-based on-premises SDDC deployment with its software-defined vSphere compute, vSAN storage and NSX networking capabilities for a large enterprise customer in a heavily regulated industry.

This organisation faced challenges customers will be familiar with – their legacy, silo-based IT approach was causing long time-to-delivery lead times for their development teams to provision virtual infrastructure on which to develop new applications to respond to market challenges. A value-stream mapping identified that manual handoffs from various silos were causing long delays – when a development team required virtual resources they would need to secure IP addresses, networks and VLANs from the networking team, provisioned storage from the storage team and compute resources from the VMware team, all of which required sequential change requests, tickets and manual approvals with their typical long wait-times via their ITSM backend. As a result of this approach, it was taking up to 150 days before a development team could secure the resources to even start developing new applications for the business.

Asystec designed and delivered a project (on-time and in-budget) which enabled their development teams to simply request resources with a single-click from a vRA catalogue frontend UI. A single, unified workflow now integrates with the organisations various disparate services – automatic creation of virtual machines on VSAN-backed, policy-driven storage in the customers new on-prem SDDC environment, configuration of software-defined networks, switches, routers, BGP routing and load-balancers, distributed firewall rulesets to create micro-segments to secure the newly provisioned resources, IPAM integration for automated IP address & network allocation, automatic raising, approval and closing of ITSM tickets and change requests, automatic population of provisioned VMs & network information in the customers CMDB & RHEL satellite systems, security integration and generation of stored local credentials & certificates in the customers security & password management systems for newly provisioned VMs, Active Directory integration allowing developers to authenticate with their existing AD credentials for the created VMs, as well as integration with the customers’ existing Ansible infrastructure for targeted configuration management of the required micro-services capability on the deployed VMs for the various development teams.

As a result, development teams can now have all of their required virtual resources and associated services provisioned in Dev, Test or Prod ready to go approximately 12 minutes after a request from the vRA catalogue front end!

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Talk to Asystec today about how we can help your organisation dramatically drive down the time to delivery of virtual resources via extensive automated integration in your environment.