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Automating vSphere with VMware vCenter Orchestrator

Automating vSphere with VMware vCenter Orchestrator

Cody Bunch

Mar 2012, Paperback, 304 pages
ISBN13: 9780321799913
ISBN10: 0321799917
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Unleash the Power of vCenter Orchestrator to Automate Tasks and Improve Efficiency

Today, VMware administrators are responsible for far more infrastructure, servers, and services than ever before. To succeed, they must take full advantage of opportunities to automate and orchestrate their vSphere environments. In Automating vSphere with VMware vCenter Orchestrator, three-time vExpert Cody Bunch shows how to utilize VMware vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) 4.2 to achieve far higher levels of operational efficiency and effectiveness.

Bunch reveals what vCO can do, walks through each step of installation and configuration, explains how its “moving parts” work together, and thoroughly introduces both plug-ins and workflows. Building on this core knowledge, he presents several start-to-finish case studies showing how to use vCO to address real-world challenges ranging from provisioning to snapshots, cluster management to decommissioning.

Whatever your VMware virtualization environment, this book will help you do more with less, save time, eliminate errors, and improve both performance and reliability.

Coverage includes

  • Understanding how vCO fits into your environment and identifying your best opportunities to use it
  • Choosing the right installation scenario and efficiently managing the vCO installation process
  • Configuring vCO: services, passwords, networking, LDAP, databases, SSL, licensing, plug-ins, backup, and more
  • Interacting with vCO through actions, packages, plug-ins, web views, resources, and workflows
  • Automating manual tasks with vCO’s extensive workflow library
  • Creating sophisticated workflows with drag-and-drop components and JavaScript
  • Using plug-ins to control infrastructure within and around your vSphere environment
  • Bringing consistency to VM provisioning, overcoming “VM sprawl” and resource contention, and simplifying support
  • Optimizing VM lifecycle management, all the way through decommissioning
  • Automating all snapshot monitoring processes and components
  • Exporting logs, finding/deleting orphaned files, and performing other day-to-day tasks
  • Efficiently conducting mass VM migrations
  • Quickly adding vCenter hosts and clusters, configuring shared storage, and adding hosts to new clusters
  • Using vCO and third-party plug-ins to gain “private cloud” benefits and flexibility


Preface xv

Part I Introduction, Installation, and Configuration

Chapter 1 Introducing VMware vCenter Orchestrator 3

What Is VMware vCenter Orchestrator? 4

What Can vCenter Orchestrator Do? 5

Why Should You Use vCenter Orchestrator? 6

Do More with Less 6

Reduce the Risk of Human Error 7

Save Time 7

Who Should Use vCenter Orchestrator? 9

Snapshot Maintenance 9

Virtual Machine Lifecycle 10

When Should You Use vCenter Orchestrator? 11

Where Does vCenter Orchestrator Fit? 11

How to Get Started 13

Summary 13

Chapter 2 Installing vCenter Orchestrator 15

vCenter Orchestrator Installation Types 16

Installing vCO Alongside vCenter Server 16

Installing vCenter Orchestrator as a Standalone Server 19

Separating the vCO from the vCO Database 22

Installation Type Comparison 24

vCenter Orchestrator Installation 24

Obtain the Installation Files 26

Extract the Install Files and Open .\vCenter-Server\vCO\ 26

Run vCenterOrchestrator.exe 27

Agree to the License 27

Choose the Install Directory 28

Select the Install Type 28

Select the Location for Shortcuts 28

Install 30

The vCO Client 30

Summary 32

Chapter 3 Configuring vCenter Orchestrator 33

Starting the vCO Web Configuration Service 34

Changing the Default vCO Configuration Service Password 34

Configuring Networking 36

Configuring LDAP 37

Find Your LDAP Path 38

Fill In the Form 40

Database Configuration 41

Configuring SSL 43

Secure vCenter Communications 43

Configure the vCO Host Certificate 44

Licensing the vCO Server 45

Plug-In Configuration 46

Provide Plug-In Credentials 46

Enable Plug-Ins for vCO Startup 46

Install Additional Plug-Ins 47

Installing vCO as a Service 48

Backing Up the vCO Configuration 49

Summary 50

Part II Working with vCenter Orchestrator

Chapter 4 Identifying the Moving Parts 53

Actions 53

Create an Action 55

Duplicate an Action 55

Import/Export Actions 56

Packages 57

Create a Package 59

Import/Export a Package 60

Set Permissions on Packages 61

Remove Packages 63

Plug-Ins 63

Web Views 65

Resources 65

View a Resource 66

Import an External Resource 66

Workflows 67

Summary 68

Chapter 5 vCenter Orchestrator Plug-Ins 69

The vCenter Orchestrator Plug-In Architecture 69

vCenter Orchestrator Default Plug-Ins 70

vCenter Server 71

vCO Library 74

Database 75

SSH 75

XML 76

Mail 76

Net 79

Enumeration 79

vCO Web Operator 79

Using the vCenter Orchestrator API Explorer 81

Summary 82

Chapter 6 Introduction to Workflow-Fu 83

Workflow Organization 83

Workflow Concepts 85

User Permissions 85

Credentials 86

Attributes 87

Parameters 87

Schema 87

Tokens 87

Locking 88

Presentation 88

Modifying the Built-In Workflows 88

Duplicate the Workflow 89

Edit the Workflow 90

Edit Schema 91

Edit the User Interaction 93

Edit the Scriptable Task 95

Creating New Workflows 98

Workflow Scheduling 98

Summary 100

Part III Amazing Smoothies, Inc. (a.k.a. Real-World Use Case)

Chapter 7 Your First Day at Amazing Smoothies, Inc.: Network Orientation 103

A Brief History and Tour of Amazing Smoothies 104

The Network Layout 104

Amazing Applications 107

Systems Integration 108

Growing Pains 109

Summary 109

Chapter 8 Amazing Smoothies Day 2: Dealing with Snapshots 111

The Current Processes 112

Creating Snapshots 112

Committing Snapshots 113

Problems with the Process 114

Improving the Process 114

Size 115

Age 115

Decision 115

Process 115

Turning the Process into a Workflow 116

Net New Workflow 116

Modify the Existing Workflows 116

Use the Existing Workflow 116

Creating Snapshots 117

Schema 117

Scripting 118

Scheduling 121

Committing the Snapshots 122

Schema 122

Scripting 123

Scheduling 125

Real-World Application: Patch Cycles 126

Taking the Snapshots 126

Deleting the Snapshots 127

Summary 128

Chapter 9 Amazing Smoothies Day 3: VM Provisioning 129

The Current VM Provisioning Process 129

Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen 130

Too Many Templates 130

The vCO Way 131

Consistent VM Specifications 131

Golden Images 137

Customization with VMware VIX 140

Approval Process 146

All Together Now 148

Summary 153

Chapter 10 Amazing Smoothies Day 4: VM Decommissioning 155

Amazing Smoothies VM Decommissioning Process 155

Inconsistency 156

VM Sprawl 156

Management 156

Security 157

Optimizing the Decommissioning Process 157

vCenter Orchestrator Workflows 159

Power Management 159

Snapshot Management 160

Clone/Copy VM 161

Move VM 163

Delete VM 164

Notification and Approval (via Email) 165

Third-Party Cleanup 165

Tying It All Together 167

Power Off Virtual Machine/Remove All Snapshots and Others 168

Decommission VM — Clone and Decommission VM — Move 169

Is the VM Secret? How About Sensitive? 170

Summary 173

Chapter 11 Amazing Smoothies Day 5: Other VM Management 175

Exporting vCO Logs 176

Checking for Orphaned VM Files 178

Maintaining VMware Tools 181

Mount Tools Installer 182

Unmount Tools Installer 182

Upgrade Tools 183

Upgrade Tools at Next Reboot 184

Delete Unused Files 185

Mass VM Migration 188

Summary 188

Chapter 12 Amazing Smoothies Day 6: New Hardware 189

Add a New Host to vCenter Server 190

Add a Cluster to vCenter 192

Configure Shared Storage on Hosts 194

Add Inputs 194

Create the Schema 195

Link Inputs 196

Add the Scripting 196

Add the Hosts to the New Cluster 197

Tying It All Together 198

The Workflow 198

Add Standalone Host 201

Is Host Clustered? 202

Does the Cluster Exist? 203

Create Cluster 204

Add NFS Datastore 204

What Is My Cluster? 205

Move Host into Cluster 205

Running the Workflow 206

Summary 207

Part IV Appendices

Appendix A Working with VMware Onyx 211

What Is Onyx? 211

Installing Onyx 212

Configuring Onyx Output for vCO 214

Using Onyx with the VI Client 214

Connecting 214

Example 216

Using Onyx with VMware PowerCLI 217

Connecting 218

Example 218

Summary 219

Appendix B Troubleshooting vCO Workflows 221

Basic Troubleshooting 222

Basic Troubleshooting 222

Knowing Where vCO Fits 223

Finding Information 224

Where vCO Hides Log Files 225

Configuring Logging Levels 227

Finding the Last Time a Workflow Ran 228

Debugging Workflows 229

Workflow Validation 229

System.Log(), Server.Log() 231

Locking 231

Other Resources and Techniques 232

Troubleshooting Examples 234

Unable to Add vCenter to vCO 235

Scheduled Workflow Failed to Run 237

Summary 238

Appendix C The vCenter Orchestrator vApp 239

Downloading 239

Deploying 240

Configuring the vApp 242

Change the Default Passwords 242

Enabling the vCenter Server 5 Plug-In 245

Summary 246

Appendix D VMware VIX Plug-In 247

What Is VMware VIX? 248

Preparing the VIX Installation 248

Installing the VIX Plug-In 251

Summary 252

9780321799913 TOC 2/9/2012

Cody Bunch is a private cloud architect hailing from the hill country just outside San Antonio, Texas. Cody was recognized as a VMware vExpert in 2009, 2010, and 2011 and has been involved in the VMware community since late 2007. Cody has also spoken on virtualization and automation at VMworld 2011 and the Virtualization Congress 2009. Cody shares his nuts-and-bolts operations and automation guidance on his website