Automating the VMware Virtual Datacenter


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In this presentation, last presented to the Upstate NY VMUG Users Conference, I share information on the automation tools available from VMware for managing virtual environments. I share information on PowerCLI, vCenter Orchestrator, vCAC,

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  • Virtual datacenters and cloud environments are growing larger and more complex.New features and components are added. New dependencies are created.The responsibilities of each individual are growing.The need to ensure consistency and eliminating human error is high. The cost of misconfigurations in labor and business dollars is often difficult to quantify but everyone knows that it is there.You are one person with more work and responsibilities then most of us can manage in a 40 hour work week. You can turn this around with automation. You can increase your productivity and more importantly your accuracy.
  • The demands of your environment’s consumers are also increasing. People want more, they want it now, and they want it easy to request and receive. This is not exclusive to your consumers. This is also true of your peers.Each phase of increased need has unique challenges and effort required. You’ll find that requests begin as individual requests that are generally easy to manage or muscle through. Those requests begin to increase in frequency until you find your day consumed with more similar requests. The increased demand begins to become more challenging.
  • It is the responsibility of IT departments to absorb the complexities of the growing need in order to quickly serve the needs of our consumers. Since consumer needs are growing more every day it is important that we improve our skills and capabilities
  • The perspective of your environment is complete different when you are the consumer. You want to provide your customers the simplicity of something like a clock. Outwardly a clock is simple. It provides its user exactly what they need without exposing the complexities underneath that make it work.
  • The goal of automation is to reduce the strain imposed by consumer demand in a manner that does not impede the consumer…too greatly. Today’s miracles are tomorrow’s expectations so in order to be a rock star in your environment you’re going to need to step up your game! Make each increasing demand easier and faster to fulfill with automation. You’ll note in this slide that the challenge (in green) has risen higher in the demand stack. The more difficult challenges are easier now. Once you reach the point where tasks are becoming consistently automated you begin to open yourself up to greater automation.
  • This middle section is the target for today’s session. Each of you are going to need to cross these thresholds at some point, while some of you may never need to get to full orchestration or self-service portal. Not a problem because regardless of your environment I am confident that you’ve sat at your desk and thought “there has to be a faster way of doing this”This breakdown was provided on Microsoft’s workflow automation site for System Center 2012. A piece of information to note that I found interesting was it appears that System Center workflow automation was actually a wrapper for kicking of PowerShell or other scripts. Is there anyone here using System Center 2012 Orchestration?Let’s hold onto that concept though because we’re going to be returning to it soon.
  • There are many tools out there for providing automation. In fact you may be using some of them.NetApp OnCommand Workflow AutomationCisco Process OrchestratorMicrosoft System Center WorkflowMicrosoft All-In-One Script Framework <NEW>EMC UIM
  • PowerShell has a wide range of Modules and Snap-ins that can be leveraged. The nice thing about these is that once they are loaded the full scope of their cmdlets are made available to your session.This allows a user to do work against multiple layers in your virtual datacenter or cloud environment.
  • vCenter Orchestrator is a Workflow Engine.This providesComplete workflow interfaceWeb views for different usersAbility to interactShare workflowsSchedule workflows
  • In my homevCO environment I have a variety of plugins installed. While I’m not running a self service portal I am working to expand beyond my scripts to use vCenter Orchestrator to manage my lab and develop workflows for other environments.
  • Consider your TaskWhiteboard your processRun through the process manually and Update.Identify the components required to run the workflow. Always start by looking at what is already prepopulated in cmdlets and workflows. Check the community for existing work as well.Identify the number of logical decisions that need to be made. If the number is greater than 2 then you should decide the impact/effort of coding with PowerCLI
  • Once you’ve Identified your needs the best next step is to check the community. The VMware community…
  • This first automation layer involves basic management. Most of you probably already find yourself doing this layer quite a bit.A great example of what is possible at this layer is Alan Renouf’svCheck
  • In this example we see that the PowerShell script would need to touch multiple layers of the environment in order to execute. Using the Cisco UCSPowerTool to add the vlans to required components and using PowerCLI to modify the virtual switch and the VMs.This is a simplistic view of the process because there are some pieces missing.Assuming that we know the VLAN is trunked to the UCS by the networking team, can anyone give me an idea of what we may need to account for here? What questions might the script need to ask?A: We may need to know whether the vSwitch on the cluster is a DVS or SVSIn this situation you are pretty safe going with either PowerCLI or vCO. There are some points where you’ll need to do verification or modification based on the environment that you’re using. MOST of you will not have to break off into different paths.However, If you have situations where you have separate trees that require different tasks based on that decision then you need to consider vCO.
  • In this situation you’re beginning to transition from automation to full orchestration. This is where vCO starts to shine by allowing you to combine multiple workflows, integrate approvals, and build the foundation for self service.
  • There are great deal of resources out there for learning PowerCLIPowerCLI Reference by Alan Renouf, Luc Dekens, Glenn Sizemore, Arnim van Lieshout, Jonathan MeddManaging VMware Infrastructure with Windows PowerShell by Hal RottenbergTrainsignal’s VMware vSphere PowerCLIVMware Training – Automation with PowerCLI – 2 Days
  • There are some resources available for vCenter Orchestrator as well, though not as numerous at the moment.Automating vsphere with VMware vCenter Orchestrator by Cody BunchVMware Training – vCenter Orchestrator – Develop WorkflowsThe best location to get started is the VCO team website. This is where you’ll get the latest news, examples
  • There are some resources available for vCenter Orchestrator as well, though not as numerous at the moment.Automating vsphere with VMware vCenter Orchestrator by Cody BunchVMware Training – vCenter Orchestrator – Develop WorkflowsThe best location to get started is the VCO team website. This is where you’ll get the latest news, examples
  • Becoming a rock star does not really come over night in the real world, and that stands true in our field. It often takes years of practice, continuous learning and application of skills learned. It is never too early to start!I hope today you’ve learned some techniques and strategies for tackling your automation needs which should help you decide on which tool you should use. The answer is not always clear cut and there is nothing wrong with going with what you feel more comfortable. My intent is for you to now have enough familiarity to know when it may be more effective for your time and your process to look at other tools.
  • Automating the VMware Virtual Datacenter

    1. 1. $Conference = “Upstate NY VMUG Users Conference“ $Speaker = “Josh Atwell” $Session = Get-Automation VMware Get-Knowledge $Conference $Session $Speaker Josh Atwell @josh_atwell
    2. 2. The Datacenter is Changing
    3. 3. Why We Need Automation?
    4. 4. Why We Need Automation? Without Automation With Automation
    5. 5. Without Automation Need Servers Today! Test Environment More Challenge Resources I Need a new VM Consumer Demands
    6. 6. Complexity does not disappear with cloud. It is the responsibility of today’s IT departments to absorb the complexities of Cloud and make those complexities transparent to the user in order to improve their experience. Brian Cinque Service Management Leader Commercial Cloud General Electric
    7. 7. Customer IT Crowd
    8. 8. With Automation What’s Next? Need Servers Today! Test Environment Challenge More Resources I Need a new VM Consumer Demands
    9. 9. Self Service Portal Orchestration Workflow Automation Challenge Management Virtualization Hardware
    10. 10. Various Workflow Products
    11. 11. PowerCLI Pros  Console  Data Gathering  Bulk Config Changes  Some Workflow Logic  Many Extensions  Easy Setup  Community! Cons  Console – Not Visual  Digging into API takes experience  No Sharing/Kickoff Interface
    12. 12. PowerShell PowerCLI VCD VUM VDS VDI Cisco UCS Microsoft AD Exch NetApp VSC
    13. 13. vCO Pros  Workflow Engine  Many Plugins  User Interaction  Easy to Initiate workflows  vCenter Integration (5.1)  WebView - Sharing Cons  Initial setup  Java knowledge  Smaller Community
    14. 14. Plugins Inventory
    15. 15. vCAC vCloud Automation Center
    16. 16. vCAC vCloud Automation Center
    17. 17. The Software Defined Datacenter
    18. 18. Awesome. Where Do I Start?
    19. 19. Initial Planning Consider your Task Whiteboard Execute Manually Identify Components and Logic Required Consider Platforms
    20. 20. Start with Community! vCAC |
    21. 21. Consistency and Compliance  Snapshots  Switch Naming  Reporting on Usage  Security Compliance MGMT
    22. 22. Report Data MGMT Get-VM | select *
    23. 23. Workflow VM Needs new VLAN UCS • Add VLAN to UCSM • Add VLAN to vNic Profile ESXi • Add Portgroup with VLAN to ESX hosts VM • Change NIC assignment to new Portg
    24. 24. UCS Configuration Workflow ESXi Host Configuration VM Adapter Configuration
    25. 25. Orchestrate Need New VM
    26. 26. Get Practice - PowerCLI  Sessions at Vmworld  #vBrownBag Podcast  PowerCLI Reference  Managing VI w/ Windows PowerShell  TrainSignal/PluralSight  Mastering vSphere 5.5  VMware 2-Day Course  #PowerCLI & @PowerCLI
    27. 27. Get Practice - vCO  Sessions at VMworld  #vBrownBag Podcast  Automating vSphere with vCO  VMware Training – Develop Workflows 3 Days   #VCO & @vCOTeam
    28. 28. Get Practice - vCAC  Sessions at VMworld and VMUGs  The #vBrownBag Series   #VCAC & @vCACTeam
    29. 29. Get Practice - AutoLab Provides Full vSphere Lab with Minimal Config • • • • • Workstation or ESXi Laptop or Desktop 64-Bit CPU 8GB Memory 60GB-200GB HD Space
    30. 30. Get Practice - AutoLab
    31. 31. #vBrownBag Automate All the Things  9/18/13 – Introduction to automation products with Josh Atwell  9/25/13 – Setting up your test environment using AutoLab with Todd            Lewey 10/2/13 – Intro to PowerCLI with Josh Atwell 10/9/13 – PowerCLI for the infrastructure manager with Alan Renouf 10/23/13 – PowerCLI for the VMware administrator with Alan Renouf 10/30/13 – PowerCLI for the VDI geek with Andre Leibovici 11/13/13 – PowerCLI futures with Alan Renouf 11/20/13 – vCAC 101 with Jon Harris 11/27/13 – vCAC 202 with Jon Harris 12/4/13 – Hardcore vCAC with Jon Harris 12/11/13 – vCenter Orchestrator 101 with Cody Bunch 12/18/13 – vCenter Orchestrator Built in Workflows with Cody Bunch … And more in the works!
    32. 32. Need Proof?
    33. 33. Never too early to start Automating! @Josh_Atwell #vBrownBag