In vRA 6.2, using vRO 6.0, you may find that the data collection and other vRO workflows fail with the error “You must have at least one properly configured vCenter Orchestrator endpoint that is reachable”. The IaaS/Monitoring/Log will show which DEM worker threw the error. When you check the DEM worker logs for that instance, if you find the message “Could not create SSL/TLS secure channel. —> System.Net.WebException: The request was aborted: Could not create SSL/TLS secure channel“, you have probably been affected by VMKB 2123455 and MS KB 3061588.
Although both articles seem to suggest that removing the offending patch will solve the problem, I think figuring out exactly which patch is rather awkward. The easier fix is to apply a quick registry hack to your DEM workers (and wherever the vRA Designer runs).
Logon as an account with admin rights (suggest the account your IaaS services run under)
Add/update the DWORD value ClientMinKeyBitLength and set the value to 512 decimal (200 hex)
Restart the DEM worker service
The Microsoft patch sets the default minimum group size to 1024. It appears that the vRO 6.0.x appliances use something less than that. This registry hack indicates that SCHANNEL should accept keys as small as 512 bits. I suggest only applying this to the necessary and affected machines since it does lower the bar for the DHE security requirements.
Thanks to Zach Milleson for reminding me that this workaround may not resolve everyone’s issue, depending on which MS patches are installed. If this workaround doesn’t work for you, you may have to locate and remove the offending patch. YMMV.
***UPDATE*** The download link is currently broken. I seem to have lost the file, will fix the link as soon as I find or recreate it. Sorry about that. 😦
In part 1 of this series, we created a list of security groups and displayed that list to users during the request. In this post, we want to enhance that functionality by adding these features.
Creation of Security Groups and inclusion in Dropdown lists
Add a VM to a Security Group post-provisioning
Import existing Security Groups into vRA inventory
Add a Security Group to a Dropdown list
We’re going to do that by importing a vCO package with some new workflows and actions, then link up the workflows to Advanced Services and Resource Actions. As before, we’ll require the NSX and vCAC/vRA plugins for Orchestrator.
Complete the creation of the VCNS.SecurityGroup.Names.production property dictionary and valuelist attribute from Part 1. We’re going to reuse those items. so make a note of the exact name of the property dictionary and the valuelist attribute. In my case, I’ve named the Property Dictionary VCNS.SecurityGroup.Names.production and also named the valuelist attribute for it VCNS.SecurityGroup.Names.production
Make sure vRA Advanced Services Server Configuration is complete and test the connection to the Orchestrator server. The default, built-in VCO is fine.
Login to vCO client as a vCO Admin. Set the mode to “Design” and navigate to the Inventory tab. Make sure that you have a connection listed under “vCAC Infrastructure Administration” and a connection listed under “NSX”.
Get the Package
I’ve put together a handful of workflows and actions that use or expand the NSX plugin to provide information of functionallity back to vRA. Where possible, I reused existing library workflows, but in some cases, I had to use the API to create a REST call and consume that in an action.
By downloading any code, package or file, you acknowledge that:
There is no explicit or implied warranty or support for the code. Neither Brian Ragazzi, his employer nor anyone else is responsible for any problems, errors, omissions, unexpected behavior, breakage, trauma, outage, fatigue, lost time, lost work or incontinence that may occur as a result of using the code or package.
Download the zip file. It contains the package and a couple of images that can be used for the advanced services
Import the Package
Extract the zip file
In the vCO Client, navigate to the packages tab.
Click the “import package” button and select the extracted .package file
On the Package Import Information step, click “Import”
On the Import package… step, check the “Select/Deselect all” box to check all of the items. Please note the server path, these should not be duplicates of anything else you have in your vCO inventory (unless you’ve already imported this package previously). Click “Import Selected elements”.
Review the workflows and actions added to your inventory.
Configure Advanced Services – Create Security Group
This service enables the user to create a new NSX Security Group and automatically adds its name to the appropriate dropdown list of security groups. It can be added once for each different list of security groups. You’ll need to know the exact name of the Property Dictionary and valuelist attribute you created in Part 1.
While logged into vRA as a service architect, navigate to the Advanced Services tab, click “Custom Resources“
We need to make vRA aware of NSX Security Groups. Click the Add button.
In the Orchestrator Type field, enter “NSX:SecurityGroup“; for the Name, I suggest “NSX Security Group“, click Next
On the details form, we’re not going to make any changes, but if you wanted to hide certain properties, you could here. Click “Add“.
Click “Service Blueprints”, then the “Add” button.
On the Workflow tab, select the AddNewSecurityGrouptoDropdown workflow, click next.
On the Details tab, set the name to something like “Create new Production NSX Security Group“, because we’re going to create the security group and add its name to the “production”dropdown list. Click Next.
On the Blueprint Form tab, under the “Step” Form page (default), mouseover the text field labelled “Name of Custom Property Dictionary in vCAC/vRA”. Click the pencil “edit” icon when it appears.
Click the Constraints tab of the “Edit Form Field” window. On the Value field, select “Constant” and enter “VCNS.SecurityGroup.Names.Production” (or whatever suffix you used) for the Property Dictionary. Set the Visible value to “No” so it doesn’t show up. Click Submit on the Edit Form Field window.
Using the same method, set the Name of the Attribute appropriately and its visibility to no
Edit the “Value to be appended to the ValueList attribute” field. Set the label to “New Security Group Name“. Do not set a value or make this one invisible, we need the user to enter a value, submit to save.
Edit the vCACIaaSHost field – using the Constraints tab again– when setting the value, choose constant, then click Add by the green plus, to display a treeview, where you can choose your connection to the IaaS Server. Visible: No, submit to save.
Edit the “NSX endpoint” field in the same way, selecting the NSX connection.
When done, all fields except “New Security Group Name” will have a value. Click Next.
On the Provisioned Resource tab, select “securityGroup [NSX Security Group]“. Click Add to save the service blueprint.
Repeat steps 5-15 for any other dropdown lists containing security groups; say “Non-Production” for instance
Highlight the Service Blueprint and click “Publish” to make the blueprint available for entitlements
Navigate to Administration, Services.
Add a new Service named “NSX Management” (for example) – I included a nifty image in the zip file
Under Catalog Items, click the “Create new Production NSX Security Group” item to edit it.
The Catalog item should inherit the Security Group icon from vCO, set its Service to “NSX Management”,click update to save.
Create or Edit an entitlement to include the new Service and/or catalog item.
Try it out, confirm that the Security Group was created in NSX, is visible in vCAC items and it name was added to the Property Dictionary
Configure Advanced Services – Import Security Group
This service allows you to make existing security groups visible as items in the vCAC Items view. Once this is done, we’ll add actions that allow you to add the security group to a dropdown list.
Click “Service Blueprints”, then the “Add” button.
Select the “GetNSXSecurityGroup” workflow, click Next
On the details tab, set the name to “Import NSX Security Group“, click Next
On the Blueprint form, set the “connection” to the NSX connection in vCO, then hide the field. Security Group Name will be a dropdown list of existing NSX Security Groups for the user to choose from. Click Next
On the Provisioned Resource tab, select “securityGroup [NSX Security Group]“. Click Add to save the service blueprint.
Just as before, publish the service blueprint, add it to a service and an entitlement.
Configure Advanced Services – Add Security Group to Dropdown list
With this service, we’ll let the user add the name of an existing Security Group to a drop down list. Unlike the first two, this is implemented as a Resource Action, meaning it’ll be executed against an existing item (a Security Group in this case)
Under Resource Actions, click “Add”
For the Workflow, select the “AddExistingSecurityGrouptoDropdown“, click Next
On the “Input Resource” tab, keep NSX Security Group, click Next
On the Details tab, set the Name to “Add Security Group to Production list” or similar, set the description, leave the Type options unchecked. click Next
On the Form tab, just like the first service blueprint, set the Property Dictionary and Attribute names as appropriate. VCNS.SecurityGroup.Names.production in my example, set visible to no on both.
Again, we’ll set the vCACIaaSHost to the connection to the Server and hide the field
Click Add to save the action.
Repeat steps 1-6 for each security group dropdown list (say “non-production” for instance)
Publish the action and add it to an entitlement
Test by navigating toNSX under Items, highlight a Security group and Select “Add Security Group to…” from the Actions menu.
Configure Advanced Services – Add VM to a Security Group
This service lets you add a provisioned VM to additional Security Groups. So, at provisioning-time, the VM is added to the Security Group selected by the user, but we may need to refine the security by adding that VM to additional Security Groups.
Under Resource Actions, click “Add“
For the Workflow, select the “AddVMtoSecurityGroup“, click Next
On the “Input Resource” tab, keep IaaS VC VirtualMachine, click Next
On the Details tab, set the name to “Add VM to a Security Group“, click Next
On the Form tab, set the connection Value to the NSX connection.
Leave the NSX Security Group field visible, click Add to save the action
Publish the action and add it to an entitlement
Test by selecting a machine under Items and “Add VM to a Security Group” from the Actions menu
You’ll be presented with the list of allNSX Security Groups to which you can add the selected VM
This part of the series should help streamline the management of VMs and their membership in Security Groups. Obviously, items like removing a VM from a Security Group or even removing a Security Group are not included here. The NSX plugin is missing quite a bit of functionality available in the API, so those additional functions require significantly more configuration.
Thanks to John Dias for his information and examples posted here.
In this series, I’ll document how to automate the creation and (some of) the management of NSX security groups within NSX.
First, what’s the use case? Why is this interesting? Let’s assume that you’ve decided to use large “flat” networks instead of many small networks. One reason you may make that decision is because of the challenges with either having many blueprints (one per network!) or making changes to the workflows to reliably set the appropriate properties.
In this solution, we’ll have to have vCAC 6.1 or vRealize Automation 6.2, NSX 6.x and vCenter/vRealize Orchestrator with the vCAC and NSX plugins installed and configured. We have two Logical Switches, one for Production and one for Non-Production. In addition, there’s a corresponding network profile and the business groups have reservations. Now, we have to ensure that there are security boundaries within the flat networks. We’ll accomplish this through Security Groups.
We’ll create security groups and nod in the direction of security profiles, but will not be automating the creation of security profiles nor their assignment to the Security Group(s). That can be done by the security admins through the NSX interface or maybe later we’ll add that capability too. 😉
Create Security Groups.
Open vSphere Web Client and navigate to Networking and Security, then Service Composer.
Click the “New Security Group” icon
Enter a Name and Description for your new Security Group and click Next
If you want to create rules for dynamic membership or include/exclude existing VMs, you can do so in the subsequent steps. Finish the wizard.
Repeat to create all of your security groups
Create Property Dictionaries invCAC/vRA.
Log into vCAC as an Infrastructure Admin and navigate to Infrastructure|Blueprints|Property Dictionary
Click “New Property Definition”, for the name enter “VCNS.SecurityGroup.Names.Production“. You can replace “Production” with a name of your choosing, so you can have multiple lists.
Select “DropDownList” as the control type and check to make it required, click the green check to save.
Click the “Edit” link in the Property Attributes column
Click “New Property Attribute”, select “ValueList” as the attribute type
Set the name to something appropriate, such as the same name as the Property Definition or “ValueList” or “SecurityGroups”
In the Value field, enter the names of the security groups you want included. Separate the group names by commas (no spaces). If you have groups whose names include spaces or commas, put them in quotes. Click the green check to save.
Repeat to create another property dictionary and attribute for the Non-Production list
Edit your “production” blueprints by adding the “VCNS.SecurityGroup.Names.Production” custom property. Set the value to your default security group or leave it blank to require a selection. Be sure to check the “Prompt User” box. Click the green check to save.
Submit a request for the affected blueprint and verify that the dropdown list of security groups looks like you expect it to. Remember, that unlike many other custom properties in vCAC (eg: Network Profiles), you CAN have multiple versions of this one and display different lists.
After a VMis provisioned, verify in the vSphere Web Client that ithas been assigned to the expected security group
In the next parts of this series, I plan to address the problems of maintaining the dropdown list manually and having a single security group per machine.
This is the third post in my series for building a fully distributed vCloud Automation Center deployment. In this post, we’ll configure vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) for High Availability using two nodes and an vCloud Networking and Security Edge Gateway as a Load Balancer. I’ll use the vCenter Orchestrator Appliance v126.96.36.199.1617225. I want to ensure that both vCO nodes return the same, organizationally-trusted SSL certificate, so we’ll configure that too.
Database Server (ideally , it should be configured for high availability – I’ll be using a Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Failover Cluster)
Database for vCO
Credentials for database
Reserve IP addresses for two nodes and virtual IP
DNS records for both nodes and virtual IP (I’m using vcvco1 and vcvco2 for the appliance nodes and vcvco as the virtual)
Appropriate Identity Sources added to SSO
A vCO administrators security group with appropriate members
An Active Directory integrated Certificate Authority
In the steps below, text in red is not meant to be typed verbatim. You’ll replace the value with something relevant to your environment.
Configure database settings (MSSQL)
To ensure that multiple Orchestrator nodes can use the database without clashing, you’ll need to enable a couple of optional settings.
Thiscan be done through script:ALTER DATABASE [vcvCO] SET ALLOW_SNAPSHOT_ISOLATION ON; GO; ALTER DATABASE [vcvCO] SET READ_COMMITTED_SNAPSHOT ON; GO;
Or through theSSMS GUI:
Deploy and configure the First Orchestrator Appliance
Using the vSphere or vSphere Web Client, deploy the appliance from OVF to an available HA cluster. I named mine vcvco1.
Adjust the resources if necessary and power on vcvco1.
Browse to https://vcvco1:5480, logon as root
Set the timezone, confirm the network settings and hostname. I set the hostname to the vcvco, the cluster name. Log out of the VAMI.
Browse to https://vcvco1:8283, logon as vmware
Navigate to the Network section
(Optional) on the Network tab, set the IP address to the actual address. Leave the port numbers at default
On the SSL Trust Manager tab, type the URL to your SSO server (eg: https://vcsso.domain.local:7444) and click the Import button. Verify that the certificate information is correct and click Import to add it to the trust. Repeat this for your vCenter Server(s).
In the Authentication Section, you can choose LDAP or SSO. I’m going to configure it for SSO. Enter your sso hostname (eg: vcsso.domain.local). Click the Advanced Settings Link to see and verify that the Token service and Admin service URLs are fully populated with the correct port number (7444). Enter the user name and password for anSSO administrator (eg: email@example.com) in the appropriate boxes. Click the RegisterOrchestrator button. Wait for it….
After the registration is confirmed, select the correct group in the vCO Admin – domain and group dropdown list. Then, click the Accept Orchestrator Configuration button.
In the Database section; again I’m using SQL Server, but you’d select what’s appropriate for your environment.
After the connection is made, click the link to Create the database tables, then Apply Changes.
On the Licenses section, enter the host name of the vCenter Server and credentials, then click Apply Changes.
Install any plugins you need (vCAC, ViPR, Powershell, etc) and restart the service to complete the plugin installation.
Create Package Signing Certificate
On the Server Certificate section, click the “Create a certificate database and self-signed server certificate” link. Enter vcvco.domain.local – that’s the load-balanced name, not the actual hostname – for the Common Name, set the organization, ou and country, then click Create.
Still in the Server Certificate section, click “Export a certificate signing request”. Save the vCO_SigningRequest.csr file to your system.
Log into the Microsoft CA certificate authority Web interface. By default, it is http://servername/CertSrv/.
Click the Request a certificate link.Click advanced certificate request.
Click the Submit a certificate request by using a base-64-encoded CMC or PKCS #10 file, or submit a renewal request by using a base-64-encoded PKCS #7 file link.
Open the certificate request (vCO_SigningRequest.csr) in notepad. Copy the content between —–BEGIN CERTIFICATE REQUEST—– and —–END CERTIFICATE REQUEST—–
Paste the copied content into the “Base-64-encoded certificate request” textarea. Select Web Server as the Certificate Template.
Click Submit to submit the request.
Click Base 64 encoded on the Certificate issued screen. Click the Download Certificate Chain link.
Save the package as C:\certs\certnew.p7b.
Double-click thep7b to open it incertmgr. Navigate to Certificates – Current User\C:\Certs\Certnew.p7b\Certificates.
You’ll see two certificates here (unless you have intermediate certificates, then you’ll have more).
Right-click the one for the vCO server, choose All Tasks|Export. Save the file as Base-64 encoded X.509 (.CER) as vco.crt
Right-click the one for root CA server, choose All Tasks|Export. Save the file as Base-64 encoded X.509 (.CER) to as root.cer . Close certmgr.
Before vCO will accept the CA-signed certificate, we have to import the root certificate. Launch the Orchestrator Client. You can use https://vcvco1.domain.local:8281/vco/client/client.jnlp
Login to thevCO client as a member of thevCO Admins group
In the client, launch Certificate Manager from Tools|Certificate Manager.
Under Known Certificates, click the “Import Certificate” button. Browse to and select root.cer that you saved earlier. Verify that the certificate details are correct and client the “Import Certificate” button to finish. Close or minimize the vCO Client.
Back on the Server Certificate section of the vCO configuration, click “Import a certificate signing request signed by a certificate authority”. Select the vco.crt file you saved and click import. If you get an error here, make sure you’ve imported the correct root (and any intermediate) cert into vCO.
Replace vCO Client certificate
Now, if you navigate to https://vcvco1.domain.local:8281/vco, you’ll see that the certificate is still untrusted. Let’s fix that. The certificate and key is stored with a specific alias and password, we’re going to replace them, but reuse the alias and password.
SSH into vcvco1 as root
Navigate to /etc/vco/app-server/security and make a copy of the jssecacerts keystore file
cd /etc/vco/app-server/security cp ./jssecacerts ./jssecacerts.backup
Use keytool to delete the item with the “dunes” alias. The keystore password is “dunesdunes”
Shutdown the first vCO appliance (vcvco1) to be safe
Clone vcvco1 to a new VM named vcvco2, be sure to update the hostname and IP address in the vApp Properties. (Although it doesn’t affect the guest OS in this case)
The cloned VM will retain the original IP address and hostname, so browse to https://vcvco1:5480, logon as root and set the correct IP address and hostname.
Once vcvco2 is on the correct IP address, you can power on vcvco1
Browse to https://vcvco2:8283, logon as vmware.
On the Network area, select the correct IP address and apply changes.
Configure the cluster
Browse to the vCO Configuration web interface, http://vcvco1:8283. Logon as vmware.
Under Server Availability, select Cluster mode
Set the number of active nodes to 2, leave the heartbeat values at default unless you have a reason to change them. Click “Apply Changes”. Note that there will be times when you’ll have to set the number of active nodes to 1.
Under Startup Options, restart service. This may not be necessary, but in my case, the nodes were not listed until after I restarted the vCO service.
Repeat steps 1-4 on vcvco2
Preparing to load-balance Note – this worked for me, YMMV
Using vCNS Manager, locate the appropriate edge gateway, click Actions|Manage to open it for editing
On the Configure Tab, edit the interface that will listen on the virtual IP
Edit the Subnet and add the Virtual IP. It’s probably not the primary IP. Save and publish those changes.
On the Load Balancer tab, on the Pools page, click “Enable”, then “Publish Changes”
Click the green plus to add a load-balancing pool
Enter a recognizable Name and Description, click “Next”.
On the Services step, check HTTPS, set Balancing Method to “ROUND_ROBIN” and the Port to 8281.Clck “Next”.
On the Health Check step, set it as shown. Click “Next” when done.
On the members step, click the green plus to add the IP address of yourvCO servers to the pool. I suggest keeping the weight for each at 1, while both nodes are active. There are times when you’ll want to make one node active though (details below). Keep the HTTPS port and Monitor Port at 8281 for each. Click “Next” once all you membersare added.
Review the Ready to complete step and click “Finish” if it all correct
Click the Publish Changes Button before proceeding
Click the “Virtual Servers” link, then the green plus to add a Virtual Server
Enter a meaningful name and description, provide the Virtual IP adddress that you added to the edge earlier, select the Pool created in the steps above and Enable HTTPS on port 8281. Set the Persistence Method to SSL_SESSION_ID and make the “Enabled” box is checked. Click “Add” then “Publish Changes”
Test by navigating to https://vcvco.domain.local:8281/vco and verifying that the certificate matches.
IMPORTANT UPDATE! – Repeat steps 7-14 above for TCP 8286 and 8287. Without these undocumented ports, neither the vCO client nor the vCAC appliance will connect to the vCO cluster.
Additional steps Put the two vCO nodes in a vApp, set them to start a few minutes apart to prevent both nodes from trying to initialize the database concurrently.
Notes, Caveats and Warnings
When writing information to vCO, such as designing and importing new workflows, VMware requires that only one vCO node be active. I suggest that before you connect vCAC to vCO, you take the following steps:
Logon to vcvco1 configuration as vmware , set the number of active nodes under Server Availability to 1. Apply changes.
Logon to vcvco2 configuration as vmware , set the number of active nodes under Server Availability to 1. Apply changes.
Watch the Service Availability area, wait for it to indicate that one node is in standby. If you’re impatient as I am, you can restart the service on vcvco2. It should come up as standby. Record which node is RUNNING.
Logon to vCNS Manager, locate the appropriate Edge Gateway for the vcvco virtual server.
Edit the Load Balancer pool, leave the RUNNING node with a weight of 1, set all other nodes’ weight to zero
Once the workflows have been created and edited and you want to resume distribution of vCO jobs among the nodes, just reverse these changes, setting the active nodes to 2 and the weights to 1 for both nodes.
Do not connect the vCO client to the virtual address. In this case, only TCP8281 is forwarded and the vCO client needs additional ports forwarded to the nodes. Other load-balancers/NAT devices may not have this issue.
This post may get some edits as I work through the rest on the vCAC distributed build.
I still have no idea why the certificate alias and password is “dunes”. UPDATE – The company that was bought by VMware that originally developed the product that is now vCO was named “Dunes”.
It may or may not be apparent, but NSX for vSphere is in many ways the next version of vCNS. In my lab, I’ve attempted to keep vCNS while adding NSX to the same vCenter server. The license key or configuration apparently overlap; if vShield Manager boots up first, NSX indicates that it’s not licensed. If NSX manager boots first, the vShield Manager states that it’s not licensed.
I did not, but should have, performed an upgrade from vCNS to NSX and now will have to add NSX Edge Gateways to replace the vShield Edges.
The native VMware vSwitch and Distributed vSwitch do not use MAC-learning. This was removed because the vSwitches would be aware of the VMs attached to them and the MAC addresses in use. As a result, if you nest ESXi under a standard vSwitch and power-on VMs under the nested instance, those VMs will be unable to communicate because their MACs are masked by the virtual host and the vSwitch is not aware of them.
Enable Promiscuous mode on the vSwitch.
This works but should never be used in production. It adds a lot of unnecessary traffic and work to the physical NICs. It makes troubleshooting difficult and is a security risk
Attach your virtual hosts to a Cisco Nexus 1000V.
The 1000V retains MAC-learning, so VMs on nested virtual ESXi hosts can successfully communicate because the switch learns the nested MAC addresses.
If your physical servers support virtual interfaces, you can create additional “physical” interfaces and pass them through to the virtual instances. This allows you to place the virtual hosts on the same switch as the physical hosts if you choose. There is obviously a finite amount of virtual interfaces you can create in the service profile, but I think this is a clean, low-overhead solution for environments using Cisco UCS or HP C7000 or similar.
The Nexus 1000V brings back important functionality for nested ESXi environments, especially those environments that do not have access to features like virtual interfaces and service profiles.
As Carl pointed out, I left HTML Access (aka Blast) off of the first round of View network port diagrams. So after going through the documents and making various connections while running TCPView, here’s the updated diagrams including the networks ports used by HTML Access and the Blast Secure Gateway.
I’ve recently had to attempt to describe the ports used in the various connection scenarios used by VMware View and found that a diagram really helped clear things up and have aided in producing accurate firewall rules.
A couple notes about the connections depicted though;
I only included v5.x. Previous versions behave differently, so use caution if you reference these in an environment where v4.x components are reused.
I did not depict the connection from the vCenter Server to hosts, LDAP etc. These diagrams are View-centric
Although the View client may connect to the View Connection Server over HTTP/TCP80, I did not depict it because we strongly prefer the HTTPS, encrypted connection.