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Creating virtual machine blueprints with vRealize Automation

In this installation of our VMware vRealize deployment guide, we take an in-depth look at creating virtual machine blueprints and servers with vRealize Automation.

In the conclusion of this guide to deploying VMware vRealize Automation, we will cover creating basic virtual machine...

(VM) blueprints from premade templates.

The first step is to create an instance of a blueprint. As shown in Figure A, go to "Infrastructure > Blueprints," click "New Blueprint" and select "Virtual/vSphere (vCenter)."

Follow the prompts to select
Figure A

Fill in the details as prompted with a specific name. The name and description are important because business users (or anyone that can request VMs) are able to see the name and description you create.

 Give the vRealize Automation blueprint a specific name and description.
Figure B

In the "Build Information" tab, change the blueprint type to "Server" and then change the action to "Clone." The rest of the menu will change to allow you to select which template to use via the button on the right-hand side. The second part of this form allows an administrator to configure machine minimums and maximums. It should, for the most part, autopopulate. The disk setup portion of the tab should also be filled in automatically when you select the template. Be aware that the machine minimums and maximums may require some additional fine tuning.

Build Information tab
Figure C

On the fourth tab (Actions), you can specify what actions the machine creator (aka the business user) can take, if you so desire. In the meantime, it can be left as is.

Once that is completed and saved, the next step is to publish the blueprint so that it can be seen and deployed by requesters. Publish your blueprint by clicking on it and select "Publish" from the context menu. When it prompts you for confirmation, simply click "OK."

These vRealize Automation blueprints serve the function of essentially creating an IT catalogue of servers and services from which the business can chose. Catalogues can be more than just machines; they can also perform services and other functionalities, such as password reset functionality. These functions can help the business effectively manage its own minor issues without resorting to service desk tickets.

If you want to add a service, go to "Administration > Catalogue Management > Services" and click "Add." Fill in the details such as name and description, again bearing in mind that the name and description will appear in the catalogue as what you configure. For example, the service shown in Figure D is for my Linux servers. Should you want to, you can add an icon for the service.

Input a specific name and description for each service.
Figure D

The status needs to be active -- if the status is inactive it will hide the entire service offering. Leave the hours as they are. As in the rest of the walkthrough, the owner is set to "Domain Admins." Once you complete all of the fields, press "Add" to add the service.

Next, configure the entitlement for the items in the service catalog. It should be evident as to why an administrator would want to restrict who can utilize these services. Navigate to "Administration > Catalog Management > Entitlements."

With the first tab open, create a name for the entitlements. If the status is not showing as "Active," change it via the drop-down menu. The business group should be the one you created earlier. Users and groups should be set to "Domain Admins." After clicking "Next," you can set entitlements at various levels on this second tab (Items & Approvals). For our purposes, it can be set at the service level, but you could also set it at the catalog level.

Options for editing entitlement services.
Figure E

Once the service and blueprints have been configured, the administrator should be able to request a new server based on the vRealize Automation blueprint. Go to the "Catalog" tab (Figure F) and you will see all the services you can chose from. To request one, simply click "Request."

Under the
Figure F

In my setup, I created a Windows 2012 server and an Ubuntu server. To request a Windows 2012 server, click "Request" right underneath it. This will process and you should see a screen confirming that your request has been submitted. A user can track the status of requests by clicking on the "Requests" tab. Now, If you look at the vSphere client, you should see that a "create VM from template" operation occurs and builds the machine in question. It can, however, take a few minutes to go from issuing the request to the vSphere side picking up the request.

This basic overview should give you a good conceptual understanding of how vRealize Automation works and how to set up a basic environment. Although vRealize Automation is a complex product, VMware has fortunately created good quality documentation in order to simplify its services for new users.

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