Tag Archives: vRA7

vRA 7 Blueprint designer preview

One of the big changes you’ll see in vRA 7 is the new blueprint designer. If you can’t wait until the GA release, here is a vRA 7 bleuprint designer preview.

In summary these are the differences from the old pre-7 blueprints:

  • Graphical canvas
  • Unified blueprint. No difference between single machine, multi-machine or application blueprints
  • NSX integration. You can now drag and drop NSX object into your blueprint canvas
  • Ability to use blueprints in blueprints Yes, nested blueprints!
  • Ability to set dependencies between elements in the blueprint
  • Ability to use vRO workflow in a blueprint. This is now called XaaS, formerly ASD
  • Last but not least: The designer is on a separate tab in the vRA GUI not hidden in the infrastructure tab.

So basically all the good elements of application director (or appD or application services) are now integrated into the vRA blueprint designer. On top of that we can now use workflows directly in a blueprint. Which is exciting to me really.

This is what the designer looks like when you just created a new blueprint:

vra7-canvas-empty

And this is what it looks like when you would create a typical two tier application:

vra7-canvas-populated

Please note that these screenshots are taken from a BETA version so the GA release might look a little bit different.

As you can tell from the screenshots all features are now nicely integrated. You no longer need to hack NS integration into the product or use vRO to actually integrate app services and vRA.

I don’t want to complain because this is a huge step forward but…. The thing I’m still missing though is a higher abstraction layer on top of the blueprints. The bueprint author still has to decide one which reservation policy the VM will land for example. If you have different environments you’ll end up with blueprint sprawl. A better approach would be a form that asks functional questions like: is it for dev or prod? and then populates the different properties in the blueprint. I used to build that kind of functionality in workflows and then publish those in the catalog instead of the actual blueprints. Hopefully VMware will build something into the product to facilitate this.

VMworld news: vRealize Automation 7

I’m currently at VMworld Barcelona where this morning VMware announced the new version of vRA. It’s going to be called vRA7. As far as I know it’s still not GA (general availability)  but the Beta program is in full swing.

This morning I attended a a vExpert deepdive session hosted by @virtualJad. Here is an overview of some of the new features:

  • Simplified architecture You no longer need 24 machines for an enterprise deployment.
  • Simplified installation: From download to up and running in 20 minutes. All wizard driven so anybody can run a vRA PoC without assistance from PSO or other consultants.
  • One converged blueprint. No difference between IaaS and ASD (which is now called XaaS by the way) and application blueprint
  • Blueprint designer is now a beautiful canvas which allows for visio style drag and drop design.
  • Nested blueprints: You can use other blueprints in your blueprint (nice!)
  • Eventbroker: instead of having a few workflow stub we can now create policies that define when to kickoff a workflow. There are 60 different lifecycle events to which you can attach workflows. And each event has multiple stages (pre, event, after).

This event broker makes the product so much more extensible than what it currently is. The possibilities are almost endless. The other nice thing about this is that it is policy driven and defined by the vRA admin. So extensibility is now no longer part of the workflows. This means you can give the workflow designer to an application architect while still making sure that important IPAM or CMDB workflow is kicked off with each deployment. The application architect can consume XaaS workflows to extend his own blueprint.

In summary: really cool stuff, you’ll be reading lots more about it here in the coming months. I know, I know, I haven’t blogged in a while but I promise you’ll see some good vRA 7 stuff here on this blog!